Fall is the time of year to get ready for the cool winter months. Humans are not the only creatures seeking a warm and safe winter haven. Insects, snakes, rodents, and other critters want to be your housemates. Here are some ecofriendly insect control tips, some courtesy of Planet Natural.
Seal up your home as much as possible by checking doors, windows, pipe and wire entrances, foundations, siding and gutters. Many critters need only a pinhole opening to enter. Caulk, insulate, weather strip, etc. to keep you warm and critters out. Expandable foam insulation works well but use sparingly since it expands rapidly. Contact a professional if you aren’t sure of the best solution for your situation.
Remove any items near your house’s foundation, especially wood piles, boards, and anything that will contribute to a damp environment. Many insects (and other critters) love damp and wood. Wood should be stored at least 20 feet from structures. Clean up debris from around the foundation. Trim landscaping. Check your foundation for loose siding or boards, or cracks. Repair where needed.
Cockroaches: There are over 3,500 species of cockroaches, and chances are some live in your location. This common pest reproduces at an enormous rate and is capable of producing several thousand offspring in a year.
Cockroaches consume human foodstuffs and contaminate them with saliva and excrement. They are also responsible for transmitting diseases such as the bacteria which cause food poisoning and are a significant source of allergies indoors, second only to house dust.
Cockroaches prefer a diet of carbohydrates to protein and fat. They thrive in moisture. Sanitation is one of the best ways to keep them away. Store all foodstuffs in sealed containers, not baggies. Plastic and metal are best. Dispose of food waste outside in a sealed waste receptacle or grind in a garbage disposer immediately.
Apply least-toxic pesticides, like boric acid and diatomaceous earth, to areas where pests are found. Insect growth regulators provide long-term roach control both indoors and out indoors or out. Spray botanical insecticides in cracks, crevices and other roach hiding places if pest levels become intolerable.
Glue type traps capture live insects but don’t poison them. Citrus products repel bugs and usually are chemical free. Some products contain rosemary and cinnamon oil, too. Products are available in sprays, powders, and bait traps. Some should be used only inside or outside, some are safe for both.
Spiders: Some 30,000 species of spiders occur throughout the world. They have eight legs and two body segments. For the most part, they are considered to be beneficial because they feed primarily on insect pests and other spiders. Many people are afraid of spiders and just want them out. Some spiders are poisonous and need to be eliminated from homes.
Three more prevalent types of poisonous spiders are the Black Widow, Brown Recluse, and Hobo Spider. Their bites are rarely fatal to adults, but are quite serious to children and pets. Bites are painful and can become ulcerated and infected, especially if not medically treated promptly. Many other spider bites cause pain, swelling and itching but are not poisonous.
Females lay eggs in sacs which they carry or house in webs. Hatching usually takes about 2 weeks. Some spiders live 5 - 20 years but most 1-2 years.
Good sanitation is a good spider preventative. Boxes and items stores in dark places and rarely disturbed are places spiders like. Garages, basements, attics, and storage rooms are common spider location. Clean up around and dispose of unused equipment, boxes, piles of junk and other detritus. Also clean around trash receptacles. Repair and fix loose or open access points- spiders have very tiny bodies.
Spiders and their webs can be eliminated by using a broom or vacuum cleaner. Traps placed into small, tight corners will capture many crawling insects. If pest populations become intolerable, apply diatomaceous earth and/or botanical insecticides to cracks, crevices and other hiding places. For crawl spaces consider using a least-toxic insect fogger.
Many crawling pests dislike borax and boric acid. Consider applying inside and outside foundations. Spider control products are available in home improvement sores, big box stores, hardware stores, and online outlets. Research products online to find what chemicals they may contain.
All pest control products should be kept away from pets and children. Even if they contain non-chemical products, pest control products contain high concentrations of some plant oils, or inert ingredients that can poison pets and children. In some cases, you may need a professional exterminator for pest control. Research the companies and ask questions about the contents of the products they use.
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