Author – Likhitha Krishnan
Showered with constant unpleasant visits by pests in our garden, my vexed mother resorted to Google to figure out a way to avert them. Having surrendered to nature’s novel ways, she set on to become an inspirational icon for me starting our journey with natural pest control. Borrowing her insights I penned down the following methods that ensure that pests do not invade your greens.
The ideal way to keep the pests in check is to avoid them from entering the home. Food, water, contamination and garbage are the baits for most insects and pests. Your first step towards natural pest control is to locate their common entry points and cover them.
List of natural pest control methods at home
The most familiar pest-guests to our kitchens are ants. How can we arrest their advances here? Keeping a clean and neat kitchen area is the initial preparation ground to prevent ants. Make sure there are no crumbs or stains of food blemishing the ground. Tightly enclose the sugar and honey containers. Then bring in the below in your play:
- Majority of ants have natural distaste for cucumber. Set these at entry points. Lemon juice, tea bags and coffee powder can also bring out the same result.
- Keep a night lamp or LED light switched on for two to three nights to disturb routine activities.
- Keep them away from your pet’s food bowls by moping the floor with hot and soapy water. This will wipe away the ant’s trail (they leave a scented trail for other ants to follow). You can also place the bowl in a shallow pan of soapy water.
- Ants cannot digest cornmeal. You can place these near their population daily to eliminate them.
- Being weak fliers, mosquitoes prefer times when there is least amount of disturbance in the air, like early mornings and early evenings. Keep windows and doors closed during stormy season.
- Do not leave any water-holders stagnant. Change the water in bird-baths, and your pet’s water bowl twice a day. Get rid of any hoarded item that can retain water.
- Mix one cup of Garlic juice to five cups of water. Shift it into a spray bottle and apply to places where mosquitoes generally stay.
- Neem tree’s oil contains sallanin, which possesses strong mosquito-repelling properties. You can safely add a few drops of neem oil to body lotion to keep away mosquitoes.
- Plant flowers like rosemary (mehndi), marigolds (ghenda), lemon grass (gavati chah) and basil (tulsi) do not attract mosquitoes.
- Check this infographic to find out more about plants that have excellent mosquito repellent properties.
Flies can be a household nuisance and can be warded off in the following ways:
- Smear a cloth with eucalyptus (nilgiri) essential oil and place it near to a flies-dominant area.
- Adopt hygienic habits. Wrap and tightly seal household waste in recyclable covers before dumping them into garbage can.
- Use boiling tap water to kill maggots in garbage cans.
- In a spray bottle, add a few drops of peppermint (Pudina) essential oil to a spurt of liquid detergent and load the bottle with water. Spray this mix on cobwebs in doors and windows. Apart from its lovely aroma, this mixture is nontoxic and harmless to both pets and children.
- Mix coconut oil and white vinegar to prepare an efficient spider repelling spray. Since the oil can leave stains, test the mixture on hidden area of carpets and curtains initially.
- Spiders taste through their feet. Add citrus oils like those of lemon and orange to peppermint oil to keep them away.
- Usually spiders thrive in dark and dingy places like on piles of debris and wood. Monitor these areas regularly and use the above stated methods.
One best all-purpose homemade repellent:
- 230ml Apple Cider vinegar
- 45 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 15 drops Lemon or Wild Orange essential oil
Combine the above ingredients in a bottle and spray to affected areas. This can be used over three months when stored in a refrigerator.
Dust mites are microscopic, thus cannot be seen with human eyes. They have a wide presence ranging from our clothing, beds, furniture, book shelves to stuffed animals. Asthma or allergic patients have a tough time fighting them. Implement these to hold off dust mites:
- Wash bedding with detergent at high temp (55 Celsius or more).
- Do not keep stuffed items, rugs, books and laundry in the bedroom. Also, dust and clean stuffed toys often.
- Avoid humidifiers as dust mites thrive on warmth and humidity.
- Wrap heating ducts with filters that trap miniature dust particles, i.e. smaller than 10 microns.
- Plaster mattress and pillows with laminated covers to prevent penetration by dust mites. Avoid fabric-covered headboards.
- Keep the living area clean and tidy to discourage cockroach infestation.
- Did you know that cockroaches prefer places in heights than lower ones? Pour boric acid on top of the kitchen cabinets (not inside). As boric acid is toxic, keep away from children and pets.
- Cucumber slices, bay leaves and garlic have good effect on cockroaches by curbing their growth.
Read our story on Bio pesticides in India!