It’s easy to rush out to the home supplies store to find chemical solutions to get rid of pests in your home or garden. But the first site below warns that these “may be more harmful to you and the environment than the pests” you wanted to get rid of in the first place. So today’s ‘Green tip’ contains some suggestions for avoiding the harsh chemicals that can damage both your health and the environment.
For the home:
There are hosts of natural ways to control pests in your home. Take the simple ant, an invader that often plagues us, especially in kitchen areas. You can spray them with soapy water. And it turns out, ants don’t like the following: cucumbers, mint tea, cayenne pepper, citrus oil, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon or coffee grounds. Try any of these, placed or sprinkled strategically on the invader’s preferred pathways or entry points.
The first reference below includes specific remedies for ants and four other common household insect pests. The solutions range from using simple household products, to more adventurous remedies such as providing bat houses (Who knew that some bats can eat 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in a night?) The site also provides links to other articles, and a warning note on the dangers of DEET, a widely used component in chemical-based insect repellants.
One substance that is often mentioned in connection with pest control is diatomaceous earth. The second article below deals with this powder, which is made up of fossilized remains of prehistoric freshwater organisms. This powder kills all insects indiscriminately, so it’s best used only indoors; used in the outdoor garden, it will destroy beneficial insects as well as harmful ones.
For the Garden:
Here, too, there are many options, some of which might surprise you. Tomato leaf spray kills some garden pests because the leaves of all nightshades (like tomatoes) contain alkaloids that are harmful to many insects. But other options for the outdoor garden include garlic oil spray, hot pepper spray, and simple soap spray (one tablespoon of dish washing soap dissolved in a gallon of water). Also, check out the site below for some innovative recipes for preventing powdery mildew (milk; baking soda spray), and even weeds (vinegar, boiling water).
To share your own experiments in home or garden, or to send on any other green tips that have worked for you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.