Pests are called that for a reason – they are problems in our homes and gardens that we would rather be without. But using nasty chemical products to get rid of them can cause as many problems as it solves. The good news is that there are natural ways to control pests and here are a few ideas.
In the garden
Pests in the garden can often end up in the house as well. Plus they can spoil all your hard work making your garden attractive and green. So conquering them the natural way has multiple benefits.
Top of the list is to regularly weed your garden. Weeds can be a breeding group for other bests and can choke the goodness from the soil, leaving little for your plants. The best time to weed is after a good rain or just after you have watered. If there is a big area of weeds, pour some boiling hot water on them – this will kill the weeds easily.
Clear out weak or dying plants
All plants have a natural lifespan, although some may be decades or even longer. If you notice a plant is weak or dying, it may be worth removing it as it can become a haven for bugs. It also clears the space for other, healthier plants to grow.
Build up the soil organically
Depending on where you live, the soil will have a profile. To encourage the good plants and a healthy garden, look at organic ways to improve or boost the soil. You might want to consider building the soil towards the type of plants you want to grow.
Keep plant foliage dry
Plant foliage (leaves and stems) can be prone to pests if they get too wet. Therefore, if you are watering your garden try to get the water to the roots without touching the foliage. If you go for an irrigation system, look for one that is low to the ground.
Clean the plants
Nature does a good job of keeping plants clean but it never hurts to help. A little natural soap and water are ideal to wash over the plants and ensure no mould or pests are clinging to them. Do a little research on the type of soap you are using to make sure it is suitable for the plants in the garden.
In the house
Pests in the house are an even bigger problem than in the garden because it is where we live, eat and sleep. But there are also natural ways to control pests in the house too.
Start with good preventative measures. This might mean regularly vacuum cleaning on carpets and floors to make sure nothing is building up anywhere. It might also mean sealing up food in containers and sealed bags to stop pests getting into them.
Use a Borax mixture
Mix together eight parts Borax, four parts flour, 1 part powdered sugar and enough water to make it into a dough. Place balls the size of a grape around the house in spots that bugs are likely to appear. You can replace them periodically or use water to freshen them up. Bugs will eat the substance and then die.
Another natural way to get rid of bugs is catnip. Harmless to humans and pets, it repels bugs and will help keep them away. Wrap some fresh catnip in a cloth satchel and place them around the house.
Cover entry points
Pests come in more than just bugs – rats and mice are another big problem. And they need a little bigger of an entry point to get into the house. Look for spots around sinks, water heaters, pipes and vents that could allow them access and cover them up or even staple mesh on them.
Natural pest preventatives
There are also substances that are completely natural but great for getting rid of different pests. Examples include:
- Cedar oil – this brings a nice fresh smell but is also great to ward off moths so use a piece of wood soaked in the oil to hang in closets to keep them away from clothes
- Garlic – wards of lots of pests such as mites and other insects, you can even make a mix with water to spray on your skin (if you can handle the smell!)
- Apple cider vinegar – use a dish with a little in to trap gnats while mixing it with water and rinsing your dog’s coat will help repel pests and treat bites
- Citronella – candles made with this area ideal to ward off pests, especially mosquitos
These are just a few ways to naturally ward off pests and keep your home and garden free from them. None use harsh chemicals that can harm you, your pets or the environment.