An unusually-warm winter and spring has led to an explosion of insect populations across much of the country, and this problem is expected to persist until the late fall. While this unprecedented outbreak as been a boon for exterminators, we can also take advantage of some tried-and-true safe, natural and homemade alternatives to chemical sprays and baits. If you’re struggling with out-of-control pest problems, consider some of the following tips before calling your local pest control company.
Cockroaches are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and warm, humid weather, along with an abundance of water, has allowed populations to flourish in places where they’re normally not a problem. Boric acid powder works well along perimeters where roaches will come into contact with the material and ingest it. The tiny particles have sharp, jagged edges that will cut up and destroy the digestive system of roaches. Unfortunately, this technique will only work on roaches that come into contact with the powder. Additionally, boric acid doesn’t repel roaches either.
However, bay leaves do. Bay leaves produce an odor that roaches can not stand, and a number of species will avoid areas where they are present. Place the leaves in areas where roaches are known to travel, and chances are that the problem will go away. While this may not completely eliminate roaches from your home, cabin or shelter, it can help to keep them away from food, clothing and other items that can become contaminated with a variety of pathogens that these disgusting insects carry.
Bring fruit into the home, leave it in on the counter, and chances are that fruit flies will show up within a day or two. But how do they get there? Surprisingly, they hitch a ride on the fruit that we bring home. Their eggs and larvae are often too-small to detect, and they go unnoticed until they mature and start flying around. This also means that we’re unintentionally eating fruit flies more-often-than-not as well.
Fruit should be soaked and rinsed before eating as a general rule. Not only will this help to remove fruit flies, but it will also help to reduce the amount of contaminants and pesticide residue that we ingest when eating fruit as well. Fill your sink with cold water, add in a little bit of vinegar, and let the fruit soak for about 10 minutes or so. When finished, drain the water, give the fruit a good rinse, and you will be amazed at how this simple process can dramatically-reduce or even eliminate fruit fly problems.
Mice are just as difficult to get rid of as cockroaches, and unfortunately, warmer weather has caused their populations to increase as well. We’ve talked about how to control mice and other rodents before, but to recap, it involves a multi-pronged approach. The first step is to seal off any crack and crevice that can give them entry into your home. Then, seal off cracks between rooms in order to limit their freedom of movement. It’s also important that you seal food items in storage containers and remove any garbage or food remnants from the home every day. Rodents have a strong sense of smell, and even the faintest odors can attract them.
Once you have sealed everything up, the next step is to get rid of the ones that are inside. Traps are ideal as they don’t involve poison, and getting a cat or two can help to reduce populations as well.
Ticks are also making a resurgence this year, and they’re showing up in places that have normally been relatively tick-free. Put flea and tick collars on pets, make sure that you cover exposed skin before heading into wooded areas, and inspect clothing, hair and skin before coming back inside.
If bitten, remove the tick by using a pair of tweezers to gently, but firmly, pull the tick away in the opposite direction that it latched on. Rinse the affected area with rubbing alcohol and then warm, soapy water, and keep an eye out for symptoms of infection in order to get prompt treatment if necessary.
These are examples of a few notable problems that are plaguing parts of the country as we speak. Fortunately, these examples also illustrate how there are plenty of safe and natural ways to try and keep infestations under control as well. What problems are you experiencing in your area? Are there home remedies that you know about that have been effective? Feel free to share some tips you have so we can all benefit from these potential solutions as well.