Pest control does not necessarily mean applying toxic chemicals regularly around your home or using poisons to wipe out pests. Here are five natural pest control methods everybody can use. They are overwhelmingly safe for your family and pets, while most of them are eco-friendly as well.
Seals, Borders and Storage, Oh, My
The best natural pest control methods everyone can use are those that prevent pests from entering in the first place. Seal cracks in the windows, doors and floor that allow pests to enter in the first place. Putting bedding in plastic storage bags where it sits for at least a month starves bed bugs without requiring toxic soaps and shampoos. Close the doors that let bugs fly in. Caulk bathroom and kitchen cracks. Plug holes over a quarter inch wide to keep out rodents, though anything smaller admits anything from ants to roaches to lizards.
Keep It Clean
One of the simplest ways to control pests is to limit their access to food. Sweep the floors daily to pick up crumbs that ants and roaches are attracted to. Clean the food residue on the counters that roaches and ants are consuming. Replace rotting wood before termites can infest it. Remove old newspaper before rats turn it into nesting material. Vacuum floors thoroughly every day or two to pick up fleas and other blood sucking insects that may have hitched a ride on pets. Take out the trash daily or store it in plastic bins with lids to prevent mice and other pests from feasting on them.
Vinegar is popularly used as a natural cleaning solution. It has the side benefit of destroying the scent trails left by household pests to navigate. Scrub the paths ants are taking into your home and many of them will go elsewhere. Or, mix dish detergent and vinegar in a jar full of water and leave it open to the air. Fruit flies will be attracted to the mixture and drown in it. For other types of flying insects, sticky fly strips are a good option.
Diatomaceous earth or DE naturally repels fleas, though it has been used for the same purpose, though not as well when dealing with bed bugs. It is also so safe you could eat it as an all-natural laxative, the opposite of the kaolin clay used for treating diarrhea. Before you apply diatomaceous earth to the areas where your pets spend most of their time, thoroughly vacuum the area to pick up any flea eggs and wash bedding. The surfaces need to be dry before you apply the DE. Dust the affected area and let it sit for two weeks before vacuuming it up. During this time, thoroughly comb your pets to remove fleas and their eggs. The only concern for humans is if you inhale it, since it can aggravate asthma.
Boric acid powder is less toxic to humans than most pesticides are. Dusting cracks and crevices with this powder will slowly poison crawling insects while avoiding the health problems other pesticides can cause. You can also scrub affected areas with fatty acid soaps, which are even safer though less effective. Note that both fatty acid soaps and boric acid need to be kept away from children and pets.
When it comes to pest control, the best defense is a good offense.