Safe Alternatives - Pests

Safe Alternatives for Pesticides

  
INSECTS

Encouraging populations of helpful predators around the home will help minimize problems with insect pests. Helpful predators include frogs, spiders, ladybugs, praying mantis, and dragonflies.

Ants:Prevention. Find out where ants are entering the house and seal it off. Try pouring a line of any of the following where ants enter: cinnamon, cream of tartar, red chili pepper, salt, or dried mint or sage. Some perfumes will also deter ants.

Pennyroyal*, Spearmint, Southernwood, and Tansy. Growing these plants around the border of your home will deter ants and the aphids they carry.

Bone-meal or Powdered Charcoal. Ants will usually not cross lines of bone-meal or powdered charcoal. Use these materials to create barriers where ants are entering, or use in gardens to prevent ants and the aphids they carry from entering.

Lemon. Squeeze lemon juice in a hole or crack where ants are entering. Cut up lemon peel and put around the entrance.

Vinegar. Washing counter tops, cabinets, and floors with equal parts vinegar and water will help deter ant infestations.

Flour and Borax*. Mix 1 cup flour and 2 cups borax* in a jar. Punch holes in the lid of the jar and sprinkle contents around the house foundation. Keep Borax* out of reach of children and pets.

Borax* and Sugar. For heavy infestations, mix 1 tablespoon borax, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons water to make a thick syrup. Soak cotton balls in the mixture and place in a low jar lid or other flat surface that ants can get to. Ants will eat the mixture and take it back to their nests. Keep this mixture well out of reach of children and pets.

Mint Jelly and Boric Acid*. Mix 4 ounces mint jelly with 2 tablespoons of powdered boric acid. Cut small squares of masking tape. Dab the back (non-sticky) side of the tape in the mixture and stick on floors behind cabinets, appliances, etc. Keep well out of reach of children and pets.

Sticky Tape. Place sticky adhesive tape around the base of plants and trees to prevent ants, which carry and colonize aphids.

Aphids:

Soap Sprays. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap (not detergent) with one gallon of water and place in a spray bottle. The mixture must be sprayed directly on the insect to be effective. Try different soaps, some may be more effective than others. Also works on Mealybugs, Whiteflies, Earwigs, and some scales.

Garlic, Chives, Petunias, Nasturtiums. Planting these plants in your garden will help repel aphids.

Natural Predators. Introduce ladybugs or lacewings, natural predators of aphids, to your garden. BE SURE YOU ONLY INTRODUCE NATURAL PREDATORS THAT ARE NATIVE TO YOUR AREA!

Physical Removal. Crush colonies of aphids on plant tips, or prune off.

Fleas:

Vacuum. Thoroughly vacuum your house. Immediately remove and seal the vacuum bag and dispose of it outside of your home.

Vinegar. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to each quart of drinking water to keep your pets free of fleas and ticks.

Brewer's Yeast, Vitamin B, or Garlic Tablets. Add these to your pet's food to keep them free of fleas. Add 25 milligrams of brewer. s yeast per 10 pounds of body weight. Note that brewer. s yeast given in large doses or with dry food can cause severe intestinal discomfort.

Fennel, Rosemary, Red Cedar Shavings*, Sassafras*, Eucalyptus*, or Pennyroyal*. Spreading these materials around your pet's bed acts as a flea repellent.

Oil of Lavender* and Salt. Mix 1/4 ounce oil of lavender* with 4 cups rock salt. Spread a thin layer in areas where fleas may be found. Keep pets form licking the mixture.

Rosemary Rinse. Boil 1/2 cup fresh or dried rosemary in 1 quart water. Steep for 20 minutes, cool, and strain. After bathing pet with soap and water, dry thoroughly and spray or sponge the rosemary rinse on pet and allow to air dry.

Flies:

Prevention. Keep garbage cans tightly sealed to prevent the development of fly larvae.

Dry Soap. After washing your garbage can and allowing it to dry completely, sprinkle dry soap in the can to repel flies.

Citrus. Scratch the skin of a citrus fruit and leave out. The citrus acts as a fly repellent.

Cloves. Hang a cluster of cloves to repel flies.

Mint, Basil or Tansy*. Plant near kitchen door or other areas where flies tend to cluster to repel flies. A pot of basil set on a windowsill or table helps to repel flies. Keep the basil well watered from the bottom to produce a stronger scent.

Oil of Lavender. Soak a sponge in oil of lavender and place in a saucer.

Baited Jars. Place sugar, honey, etc. in a jar to bait flies. Shape a piece of paper into a cone and insert it into the neck. Flies can get in, but can't get out.

Sugar and Corn Syrup. Make your own fly paper by boiling sugar, corn syrup, and water. Place the mixture on brown paper and hang or set out.

Egg, Molasses, and Black Pepper. Beat the yolk of an egg with a tablespoon each of molasses and finely ground black pepper. Set out in shallow plates. Flies will be killed rapidly.

Fly Swatters, Fly Traps, or Fly Paper. Use according to directions.

Mosquitoes:

Prevention. Eliminate pools of water where mosquitoes breed. Avoid wearing perfume, bright colors, flowery print fabrics, or bright jewelry that may attract mosquitoes.

Citronella*. Apply citronella oil* to skin or burn citronella* candles to repel mosquitoes.

Mint or Pennyroyal*. Rub on skin to act as a mosquito repellant.

Basil or Tansy*. Plant these plants in areas where you want to discourage mosquitoes.

Natural Predators. Encourage natural predators such as dragonfly and praying mantis. BE SURE YOU ONLY INTRODUCE NATURAL PREDATORS THAT ARE NATIVE TO YOUR AREA!

Moths:

Prevention: Clothing Moths. Store items in clean condition. Moths especially like areas soiled with food stains. Kill moth eggs by running clothing through a warm clothes dryer.

Prevention: Flour Moths. Wash pantry periodically. Keep flours and grains in sealed containers. Use up contents and clean containers before refilling.

Dried Lavender, Rosemary and Mint, or Peppercorns. Place sachets of dried lavender , equal parts dried rosemary and mint, or peppercorns in closets, drawers, or closed containers to "mothproof" garments.

Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Dried Lemon Peel, and Cinnamon. Mix handfuls of the first 3 ingredients. Add a little lemon peel and a pinch of cinnamon. Place in muslin bags.

Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Cloves, and Ginseng (optional). Chicago area weavers and spinners use 1/2 lb. rosemary, 1/2 lb. mint, 1/4 lb. thyme, 1/4 lb. ginseng (optional), and 2 tablespoons cloves. Place the mixture in cheesecloth bags and place in closets, drawers, etc.

Molasses and Vinegar. Mix 1 part molasses with 2 parts vinegar. Place in a yellow container to attract moths. Clean regularly.

Roaches:

Prevention. Seal gaps around piles and electric lines. Caulk small cracks along baseboards, walls, cupboards, sinks, and bathtub fixtures. Seal foods tightly. Rinse food off dishes that are left overnight. Do not leave pet food out overnight.

Borax*. Sprinkle in cracks, along baseboards and doorsills, and in dark places. May take 2-10 days to decrease a large infestation. It may appear that there is an increase in numbers since roaches may wander out of the walls as they are dying.

Oatmeal, Flour, and Plaster of Paris. Mix in equal parts and set out in dishes. Keep our of reach of children and pets.

Flour, Cocoa Powder, and Borax*, or Brown Sugar and Borax*. Mix 2 tablespoons flour, 4 tablespoons borax, and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or equal parts brown sugar and borax. Set out in dishes. CAUTION: Borax is toxic if eaten! Keep these mixtures away from children and pets.

Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar. Mix in equal parts and set out in dishes. Keep away from children and pets.

Bay Leaves. Place bay leaves around cracks where roaches may enter.

Silverfish:

Molasses and Vinegar. Mix 1 part molasses with 2 parts vinegar. Place in dishes near cracks or holes to trap the pests.

Borax* and Sugar or Honey. Repel silverfish by treating baseboards, table legs, and cracks in cupboards with a mixture of borax* and sugar or honey.

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GARDEN PESTS

General Insect Pests: (see suggestions provided under "INSECTS" above)

Hot Peppers, Onion, and Garlic. Blend 2 or 3 hot peppers, 1/2 onion, and 1 clove garlic in water. Boil, steep for 2 days, and strain. Pour mixture into spray bottles and spray on plant foliage. Can be frozen for future use.

Crop Rotation. When faced with an increasing infestation of pests in the garden, switch to plants that are less desirable to that pest for a season or two.

Aphids:

Soap Sprays. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap (not detergent) with one gallon of water and place in a spray bottle. The mixture must be sprayed directly on the insect to be effective. Try different soaps, some may be more effective than others. Also works on mealybugs, whiteflies, earwigs, and some scales.

Garlic, Chives, Petunias, Nasturtiums. Planting these plants in your garden will help repel aphids.

Natural Predators. Introduce ladybugs or lacewings, natural predators of aphids, to your garden. BE SURE YOU ONLY INTRODUCE NATURAL PREDATORS THAT ARE NATIVE TO YOUR AREA!

Physical Removal. Crush colonies of aphids on plant tips, or prune off.

Cabbage Maggot:

Screening. Place screened enclosures around plants in the cabbage family to protect against the fly whose offspring is the cabbage maggot.

Leaf-sating Caterpillars:

Biological Control. Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacterium that is deadly to most leaf-sating caterpillars but harmless to birds and mammals. Check for availability with local nurseries.

Slugs and Snails:

Prevention. Trim grass and remove litter. Snails and slugs hide and feed in these areas.

Raised Beds. Box in gardens to make raised beds. Attach gutter wire or plastic mesh to the top of the frame to keep snails and slugs out.

Natural Predators. Encourage populations of natural predators such as garter snakes, grass snakes, box turtles, salamanders, ducks, and lightning bug larvae. BE SURE YOU ONLY INTRODUCE NATURAL PREDATORS THAT ARE NATIVE TO YOUR AREA!

Clay Pots. Place overturned clay pots near the shady side of a plant. Prop up one edge of the pot. Slugs and snails will collect under the pot during the warmest part of the day. Remove and drop in a bucket of soapy water.

Beer. Set out saucers or jars of stale beer below ground level. Snails and slugs are attracted by the fermented liquid and drown.

Sand, Lime, or Ashes. Snails will avoid a protective border made of any of these materials.

Tin Can. Remove both ends from some tin cans. Protect young plants by encircling them with the cans, pushing the bottom end into the soil.

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RODENTS

Mice:

Mashed Potato Powder or Buds. Place instant mashed potato powder or buds in strategic locations with a dish of water nearby. After eating the potato powder or buds, mice will need water. This causes fatal bloating.

Mouse Traps. Use according to directions.

Moles:

Castor Oil* and Liquid Detergent. Whip together 1 tablespoon castor oil and 2 tablespoons liquid detergent in a blender until it reaches a consistency similar to shaving cream. Add 6 tablespoons water and whip again. KEEP THIS MIXTURE OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN AND PETS. Add 2 tablespoons of this mixture to a watering can filled with warm water. Sprinkle over areas of mole infestation. For best results, apply after rain or thorough watering.

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