Shortly after becoming entranced by the beautiful blooms and aromatic scents that announce Spring, we are reminded of those pesky pests that find their way into our homes and gardens. Read on to find ridiculously simple solutions for avoiding pests on you, in your garden, and in your home.
Ants: A relatively new discovery for killing off ants is Aspartame. That lovely chemical that sweetens your diet sodas acts as embalming fluid to ants and kills them, yet they can't resist that sweet flavor. (Research shows it does the same to us on a smaller scale.) You can apply a packet of Equal to an ant mound and watch them die off quickly. Ants also respond well to sulfur, diatomaceous earth, and club soda.
Mosquitoes: With all the harsh chemicals and gimmicks on the market for mosquito repellents, there is one natural solution that works. Soap. Put some Murphy's Oil Soap in a spray bottle, even better if it is the citrus kind, and spray it on yourself. You can also add soap to standing water and rain barrels to avoid Mosquitoes.
Roaches: Diatomaceous earth and boric acid are the best solutions to roach infestations. You can place either one around the outside of your house and as the pests cross that border they ingest the powder, which is fatal to them.
Ticks: The essential oil Rose Geranium is a natural tick repellent. Try putting a few drops on your dog's collar or your own clothing when hiking through woody areas. Wear a hat and light colored clothing so you can spot ticks easily. Check animals before they get back into your car or house.
Garden pests: Pests of all sorts will invade your garden. Let your first line of defense be companion planting. Plant marigolds, peppers, and beans among your garden to deter pests. When that doesn't do the trick, try the good old soap in a spray bottle, and add cayenne pepper to the soap if they persist. The soap and pepper spray will not harm your plants and should be reapplied after rain. Neem oil is also a good product to spray that will make the pests unable to reproduce, but it only lasts 3-7 days. Crushed egg shells and coffee grounds are fatal to slugs.
Japanese Beetles: These pests have the worst reputation among the gardeners. Once they hit they are tough to get rid of. Captain Compost suggests hand picking them off plants and placing in a bucket of soapy water. He also suggests making a trap where you have a smaller bucket with rotten fruit inside a larger bucket filled with canola oil and soapy water. The beetles will be drawn to the fruit and drown in the soapy water. Milky spores and nematodes should be applied to soil in the fall to keep Japanese beetles from reappearing.
Keep in mind that pests cannot build a tolerance to these natural pesticides. So not only are you treating your garden and yourself right by not using harsh chemicals, you also aren't helping create super-pests that become immune to chemicals and cause us to create a more harsh pesticide.