Author – Likhitha Krishnan
Pestered 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 by finding some natural pest control methods. Borrowing from her insights, I have jotted 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 your home. Food, water, contamination and garbage are the baits for most insects and pests. Your first step towards a natural pest control method is to locate their common entry points and cover them. Pest control companies such as Crazylegs San Francisco utilize a concept called ‘Integrated Pest Management’, which is a common-sense approach that combines prevention with traditional applications of effective pesticides.
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:
- Most ants have a 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 the least amount of disturbance in the air, like early mornings and early evenings. Keep windows and doors closed at night.
- 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.
- Plants like rosemary (mehndi), marigolds (ghenda), lemon grass (gavati chah) and holy basil (tulsi) do not attract mosquitoes. Check out this infographic by Steroidsmag 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 oil (nilgiri) 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 a garbage can.
- Use boiling tap water to kill maggots in garbage cans.
Take a spray bottle and add a few drops of peppermint (Pudina) essential oil to a spurt of liquid detergent along with water. Spray this mix on cobwebs in doors and windows. Apart from its lovely aroma, this mixture is non-toxic 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 areas 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.
- Spiders usually thrive in dark and dingy places with on piles of debris and wood. Monitor these areas regularly and keep them clean.
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 on 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, bookshelves 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 temperature (+55 degrees 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.
- Mattresses and pillows with laminated covers can prevent penetration by dust mites. Avoid fabric-covered headboards.
- Encasing your mattress with a bed bug mattress cover is an effective solution too.
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). Since boric acid is toxic, keep away from children and pets.
- Cucumber slices, bay leaves and garlic have a good effect on cockroaches by curbing their growth.
Read our story on Biopesticides in India!