With spring firmly established, and summer on its way, our thoughts turn to positive aspects of the new seasons. We look forward to the increased light which boosts our mood, think of picnics, leisurely walks outside and more time spent in the great outdoors.
Unfortunately, the onset of better weather also brings some negative traits – usually coming in the form of insects and pests which wake up and seem intent on sharing their joy of the great outdoors with you, at every available opportunity.
While some bugs and critters are welcome as part of the change in season, the majority can tend to wreak havoc in the home and garden, and can be highly unwelcome visitors. For those of us with pets or children, a colony of insects can not just be an annoyance, but pose a threat to the safety of our families and home life.
Most people approach pest control in the same way as they approach most aspects of their domestic environment, reaching for harsh chemicals to control the problem. However, these chemicals can be just as tough on the surrounding area as the bugs themselves, leaving us caught up in a hazardous environment which can quickly pose a threat to our homes and gardens. Despite this tendency, there are a number of great ways to control pests in the home and garden without resorting to the harsh chemicals which can have a negative impact on our surroundings.
Keeping ants under control
Ants are never welcome in the home. They seem to take great delight in colonizing domestic areas with great ease, becoming firmly established before you even notice they have moved in with you. To get rid of these pesky bugs in a safe and ecological way, the best way is to use neem seed oil, mixed up with a coconut oil soap solution. Neem seed oil is made up of a compound of azadirachin, which prevents the ants from reproducing. You can make the solution by mixing 1-tbsp of neem seed oil, 1-tbsp of coconut oil soap and 10 ounces of water together in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and then spray it liberally around where you have an ant infestation.
Cockroaches are unwelcome visitors to any home, and they don’t choose a household based on whether it is clean or dirty, so don’t worry! They breed prolifically, and need to be eliminated as soon as possible through use of a number of natural baits, powders and traps. One of the most effective ways to get rid of cockroaches is by putting diatomaceous earth in the cracks and crevices where the cockroaches have been spotted. As long as this is placed out of the reach of pets and children, it should be safe. It works by dissolving their waxy outer covering, which leads to water loss, dehydration and eventual death.
Fleas can drive your pets to distraction, and are highly irritating when they move in with you. Because they are difficult to get rid of and have a tough breeding cycle, they can be resident in a household for far longer than they need to be, unless tough action is taken to get them to move on somewhere else. Chemical flea products can be nasty for children and animals, so it’s best to go for a natural deterrent if possible. Combing pets regularly with a flea comb, sprinkling baking soda and salt on carpets and thoroughly vacuuming are all great ways to keep them at bay, as is washing any pet or human bedding often to keep them away.