Keeping home and garden pests at bay no longer requires expensive exterminators or launching chemical warfare in your living space. Here are 6 ways to keep your home and garden pest-free – without resorting to harmful chemicals or poisons.
When Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure,” he was probably referring to pest management. Simply put, if your home and garden doesn’t provide the environment that pests need to survive, they won’t become a problem. Here are some quick preventative measures that you can take to keep your home and garden pest-free:
- Select pest- and disease-resistant plants for your garden
- Remove and properly dispose of diseased and infested plants and foliage before the problem can spread
- Seal small cracks and holes in your home around doors, windows, the foundation and the attic
- Always keep food areas clean, and keep trash cans secure
2. DIY Remedies
Sometimes all you need is a little do-it-yourself remedy to keep pests away. DIY remedies tend to be more cost-effective than store-bought products, are easy to make, and are generally ecofriendly. Some examples of DIY pest control include:
- A spray solution of dish soap and baking soda that will kill aphids and other insects on contact
- Protecting your garden beds from slugs and other bugs with a barrier of row covers, diatomaceous earth or copper strips
- A spray solution of garlic and chili powder to deter rabbits and deer from munching on garden plants
3. Mother Nature
Homeowners and gardeners can take advantage of the food chain and let mother nature do the work for them. Got mice? Barn cats and owls are voracious rodent predators. How about aphids? Insect predators such as ladybugs and assassin bugs are easy to attract– and they are always hungry.
If mosquitoes are a problem, try attracting bats! These small native animals are fun to watch and extremely effective. A single bat can consume as many as 500 bugs in an hour, and an entire colony can consume hundreds of thousands of bugs every night. A Cedar Bat House is a great way to entice bats to roost on your property ($52.95 at www.lehmans.com).
Completely harmless to pets and people, natural pest repellents use taste and smell to keep bugs and other critters away. You can deter mosquitoes and other problem bugs away, for example, with pungent plants and essential oils. Common ones include:
- Scented geranium
Try putting some of these plants around your back patio to keep mosquitoes at bay, and leave cotton balls soaked with their essential oils indoors to deter spiders, ants and centipedes from taking up residence.
If deer and rabbits are a problem in your area, you can repel them using predator urine, or even better, predator urine-based products like Summit Deer Ban. This product uses treated coyote urine to repel deer. (People can’t smell it, but deer can.) Use as directed, and watch as deer steer clear at first sniff.
5. Natural Products
Thanks to new eco-friendly products, there is no need to depend on chemical-laden pesticides to control pests around the home and garden anymore. Some natural pesticides use naturally occuring bacteria to reduce pest populations. Mosquito Dunks are a perfect example. Mosquito Dunks contain BTI (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), which is deadly to mosquitoes but completely harmless to people, pets, wildlife, fish and beneficial insects.
Simly place a Mosquito Dunk into any standing water around your property. The Dunk starts working right away to wipe out mosquito larvae, and best of all, your local frogs, fish and other wildlife won’t be affected at all. If you have a problem with fungus gnats indoors, use Mosquito Bits® from Summit Responsible Solutions. Both of these natural mosquito killers are available at hardware stores, garden centers and online at www.summitresponsiblesolutions.com.
When you want to take a more direct approach to getting rid of many pests, traps can be a good option. You can use wildlife traps to capture rats, gophers and raccoons. You can also make your own traps for common garden pests. Shallow dishes of beer, for example, can trap and kill dozens of slugs every night.
Traps can also be used to control indoor insect pests. If you have a food moth problem, for example, you can use GreenWay Food Moth Traps. These traps use a pheromone bait that moths find irresistible. Simply place the trap in a cupboard or pantry where food is stored. Once the moths are drawn in, sticky strips will prevent them from getting back out. Available for $6.00 at www.greenwaytraps.com.
Keeping your home and garden pest-free can take some persistence, but with these great natural pest controls, you can keep your home both ecofriendly and free of unwanted critters.