When spring comes, it brings the bugs with it. You know you don’t want to share your space with them, but you don’t want to poison your space to get rid of them, either. Here are a few ideas for non-toxic and pet safe bug repellent and abatement ideas you can use to live in a healthy, bug-free space.
Non-Toxic Bug Treatments
1. Chalk. Did you know ants won’t cross a chalk line? If you have ants, you can simply take a piece of chalk and draw a line that you don’t want them to cross. Keep them out of your space or confine them to an area by drawing a chalk line at thresholds.
2. Diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a chalk like powder of a sedimentary rock made from fossilized diatoms (prehistoric shelled organisms). This powder, while harmless to mammals, is fatal to bugs. Internally and externally, this fine powder acts like tiny razor blades that cut the insects and kills them. Diatomaceous earth has been a gardening staple for ages, and you can use it in your landscaping, on window sills and door jambs (anywhere that you don’t mind the dust) to naturally kill insects and spiders. Make sure you get the food grade DE (there have been reports of respiratory problems with using the pool grade DE).
3. Vacuum. It may strike fear in the heart of your kitty or pup, but it won’t kill them. Vacuuming is an effective way to get rid of spiders, box elder beetles, and earwigs found inside. Box elder beetles do not reproduce indoors; they only seek the warmth, but can become troublesome by number. Spiders are often more solitary and can often be dealt with on an individual basis. Earwigs, also, prefer cool and damp places, so vacuuming to make sure an area is dry and exposed, as well as picking up the ominous looking critter with using your hands or gunking up your shoe.
4. Essential Oils. Essential oils are the plants way of keeping the bugs away and can work for you, too. Some oils are more effective with different bugs and you can also customize your blend so it smells nice in your home. A quick internet search will offer lots of resources available about what oils to use. In general peppermint, cedarwood, lavender, and citronella are good starters. Peppermint is often used by gardeners who plant it next to tomatoes and other vulnerable plants to keep the bugs away. Peppermint works well to repel ants, flies, spiders, and even mice (though it will not cure a mice infestation). Cedarwood can be effective against moths, roaches, and even fleas and ticks. Lavender and citronella keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
To use, you can put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and leave in an area you would like to keep bugs away from. Make sure that it is out of reach of any small children or pets. Or, you can combine a few drops of the essential oil(s) of your choice into a re-usable spray bottle. Fill almost full with warm water, then add a small squirt of dish soap. Spray in the corners of windows and doorways and any area you would like to keep bug free. (If the dish soap is biodegradable and does not irritate your skin, you can squirt this mixture onto yourself and your clothes to keep bugs away, too. You can make a mixture of just essential oils and water and a splash of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol to use for your pet, too). Make sure not to get it in or near eyes.
Pest control does not have to be toxic. You can keep your home safe for your kiddos and pets by looking into available alternatives such as these.
Check out our blog to see some common bugs in the Treasure Valley. If you think you’ve got a big bug problem, give us a call or put in a maintenance request on the Tenants page.