It’s that time of year again. If you haven’t seen them already, it’s very likely you’re going to start seeing more and more pests trying to invade your garden and home. Fortunately, we’ve got some eco-friendly solutions for you. Rather than using toxic pesticides and harmful chemicals to rid your home of unwanted pests, try one or more of these eco-friendly options first. You and your family will be glad you did.
1. Plant Your Pest Control in Your Garden
Mint, basil, lavender, rosemary and other herbs work really well as a natural pest control. Planting these in your garden will not only help keep pests away, but these herbs can be used to control pests indoors as well.
Herbs are what many consider to be “companion plants” for use in vegetable gardens and throughout the yard. Their purpose is two-fold: attract beneficial insects and deter pests.
If you don’t want to have companion plants in your garden, yet still want to prevent pests from overtaking the yard, try planing some of these: petunias, chrysanthemums, lemongrass, clover, eucalyptus, lavender or marigolds.
2. Season Your Window Sills
While most people season their food to make it taste better, certain types of seasoning are known to be quite offensive to insects and bugs.
Cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, salt, tumeric, black pepper and other seasonings work very well as pest deterrents. Just sprinkle some seasoning in a line along the window sill. Let’s say it’s your way of drawing a line in the sand.
You also might want to put some cinnamon, bay leaves or cloves in small bags to place in cupboards, closets, bookshelves or other places around the house where you’ve found pests.
3. Clean with Vinegar and Essential Oils
Cleaning is one of the most important steps in the pest prevention process. Rather than bringing in toxic-laden or chemical-filled cleaners, we recommend you do most of your cleaning with natural products.
One of the simplest cleaners you can make at home, that doubles as a pest deterrent, is 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 cups water and 10-15 drops of essential oils (particularly peppermint or eucalyptus). You can also try a straight-up solution of one part coconut oil and two parts distilled vinegar for a heartier spray.
If you don’t have any essential oils, no worries. You can add citrus peels to a glass container or jar, then cover with vinegar and let it sit in a cool, dry space for a few weeks. Afterwards you can strain the solution out, add some water and use it as a natural, DIY cleaner and bug repellent.
Cleaning with vinegar and/or essential oils removes food remnants and smells so bugs, insects and creepy crawlies won’t find a reason to stay.
Regularly wiping down window sills and frames with eucalyptus oil or clove oil is another way to eliminate ant trails and keep pests out. For spiders, you might want to try a garlic spray. Start by blending 10-15 garlic cloves with 1 1/2-2 cups of water. Strain the mixture to remove any pulp, then combine with about a gallon of water. Transfer the garlic spray into a spray bottle and spray it in areas where you’ve seen spiders. They’re not fond of garlic, so this makes an effective pesticide. If you don’t want to make such a big batch, you can crush garlic cloves and add them directly to a spray bottle filled with water.
4. Use Food Waste to Turn Pests Away
Instead of throwing away those orange peels, coffee grounds and cucumber peels, why not put this food waste to good use?
In addition to using orange, lemon and lime peels to create a citrus cleaning spray, these peels (and even banana peels) can be cut up and added directly to your garden to help fertilize your plants and act as a natural insecticide. Citrus peels can also be placed on counters and window sills to keep pests away. Leftover onion should be chopped up, added to water and placed out in the open to naturally repel mosquitoes.
Ground coffee lets off a very strong scent. It is even stronger once the coffee grounds are brewed. Fortunately, many pests don’t like this smell. So, instead of throwing those grounds away, you can use them to help repel ants, mosquitoes, wasps, bees and another insects. The grounds can be placed along the outside of your home or on the inside along window sills. (Personally, I prefer outside.)
Ants do not like cucumbers. The next time a recipe calls for cucumber, or you just want to munch on a cucumber, take the peel and place it in key “points of entry” around your kitchen to help turn pests away. NOTE: Bitter cucumbers, like the slicing cucumber, generally work best.
Side note: you should also consider storing food in glass or stainless steel, pest-proof containers. This will help preserve food, prevent waste and make sure you’ve got nothing for those pesky pests to find.
Keep Pets Safe While Doing Pest Control
Please remember to keep your pets in mind whenever taking measures to make your home pest-free. Even natural pest control methods can be harmful to certain animals when it comes in contact with their skin and especially if the products are ingested. If you have pets in your home, follow all necessary safety precautions, but definitely don’t opt for harmful chemicals and toxins as a pest control “solution”. Using natural, organic and eco-friendly methods is the way to go.