We’re getting close to that time of year when we all have some sort of bug infestation – ants, flies, moths, wasps, ticks, fleas, earwigs, bed bugs, mice, rats, and mosquitoes. So I’ve learned a few ways over the years to keep them away from your home, pets, and family safely and effectively. I will discuss natural alternatives to chemical sprays and powders.
First of all there are ants, sneaking in the cracks of your basement, in your walls, through cable holes, and under your doors. Through my research I discovered that alum, a spice you can buy at any grocery store, was utilized as an insect repellent over 50 years ago. So what you do is find the cracks where they are coming in at and take a plastic straw, fill it with alum by holding your finger on the end while you pack it into the alum. Carry the straw to the area where they are coming in and slowly release some by releasing your finger from the top of the straw and sprinkle it into to crack. They pick up the alum and take it home, it kills the ant larva and prevents the and from crossing the alum into your house. You can also use the alum much like the Home Defense crystals and sprinkle it all around your foundation. This creates the same type of invisible barrier that will not poison your pets or any wildlife near your home. Be aware that it will get washed away over time and will need to be replaced.
Mother Gaia makes a great, all-natural bug repellent spray.
Flies are more difficult because they come in whenever the weather changes. Citronella will keep them away but there are many people who are allergic to it, so instead I recommend Pennyroyal. It is an insect repellent that you can plant in your garden that will assist in repelling flies and wasps. Also you can use Pennyroyal tea to create barriers around windows and doors. All you need is a tablespoon of dried Pennyroyal and a cup of water. Boil the Pennyroyal in the water for 10 minutes, remove from heat, allow to cool, and strain with paper towel or coffee filter. Pour it into a spray bottle not used for people or pets. Go around your house and spray it lightly around each window and door seal. This will keep the flies and earwigs out of your home.
For moths Pennyroyal is also invaluable. Get about 1 ounce of dried Pennyroyal and a package of cheesecloth. Fill a small square of cheese cloth with 1 tablespoon of Pennyroyal and tie shut with a string or rubber band and place anywhere you have moths. This works better than mothballs without the smell. This will also work to repel rodents. Replace the bags every summer and your clothes and bedding will be free of holes.
I know we’ve all seen those lovely yellow wasp traps hanging around. They are effective a trapping and killing wasps but the chemicals provided with the traps are toxic so what I have found is keep the trap but fill it with processed turkey lunch meat, honey cured is the best. They love it and they’ll leave you alone to get it.
Now for ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes on your pets and children, because if your pets have them your children most likely do too. I have discovered a spray that is safe for pets and kids and is quite effective. A very inexpensive version of this is a simple garlic spray. Take one whole clove of garlic, chop it up fine and simmer gently in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Strain with coffee filter or paper towel into a spray bottle and spray the pets, kids, and yard as needed. It’s also useful for repelling aphids from your garden without killing lady bugs, spiders, or preying manti. Also if you have found a puddle of standing water nearby spray some directly into the puddle and it will kill the mosquito larva and eggs there. This also works to repel deer flies, which bite hard, and leave an itchy open wound.
Mother Gaia makes great sprays to repel bugs safely and naturally.
If you happen to be unfortunate enough to have gotten bed bugs from a hotel or something and brought them home, use hot water and bleach on your bedding and spray your mattresses (top and bottom) and pillows with a Lemon and Thyme essential oil spray. To prevent bringing home bed bugs take the spray with you to your hotel and spray your suitcases, shoes, kids toys, etc as you unpack in the room. This will keep them from coming home with you.
Essential oils are measured in drops because they are highly concentrated and can cause irritation if used at full strength, so please always dilute them before you use them. Alternative measurements to counting drops –
1 ounce of EO = 30 ml,
30 drops = 1ml(approx)
3 ml = 90 drops
1 ounce(30ml) = 900 drops (approx).