Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated February 17, 2012)
There are many natural alternatives to controlling pests without using pesticides. As with most pest control options prevention is the best method to follow. Keep counters free of crumbs and spills, empty trash receptacles often. Don't leave dishes in the sink and store dry foods in air tight plastic or glass containers. Check for leaky pipes or pooling watering.
Ants can be bothersome, but they do not carry disease. Try keeping a small spray bottled filled with soapy water handy. Spray the ants with the soap solution. Bitter cucumber peels or dry peppermint tea bags set at the point of entry into the house will also act as a natural barrier. Other natural barriers include: cayenne pepper, citrus oil, lemon juice, cinnamon and coffee grounds.
People who suffer from allergies are often sensitive to dust mites, they are everywhere. Vacuuming often is one way to keep this pest under control. Don't forget to vacuum beds, pillows, couch and chair cushions. Washing and drying bedding at high temperatures will also kills these pests. Applying covers over the heating ducts will also reduce the spread of these tiny creatures as they will be stuck in the filter. Avoid using a humidifier, dust mites thrive in humid environments.
Cockroaches are the most difficult pest to get rid of. Catnip is a natural repellent and it is non-toxic to humans and pets. Small pouches can be left around high cockroach activity. Catnip can also be boiled and the water can be sprayed on baseboards and behind counters. Spraying them with soapy water will also kill them. Beer is also toxic to roaches, soak a couple of pieces of bread in beer, place the bread in an old coffee can, the roaches will consume the bread and meet their demise. Bay leaves, cucumber and garlic are also natural repellents.
Flies can be annoying to have in the house. Hang sachets of mint around the house to discourage flies. A mixture of bay leaves, cloves, eucalyptus can be wrapped in cheese cloth and hung in front of windows to deter flies from entering a home. Place a small container of sweet basil and clover next to pet food to deter flies from gather around the pet dishes. Natural fly traps can be made from 1/4 cup syrup, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1tablespoon of brown sugar. Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Cut strips of brown paper and soak them in the mixture. Let dry over night. To hang: poke a hole and push a thread threw. This is an easy effective way to trap flies once they are in the house.
If you live in humid environments, try using a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home. Most insects tend to thrive in warm humid environments. Anything that can be done to make an atmosphere less hospitable, the easier it will be to remove them should you have an infestation.
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