(July 2005)

Natural   Pest Control Inside Your Home

 ANTS- The first line of defense is to remove the attractants. keep counters free of crumbs. cover sugar and food, cut off water sources such as drips and dishes left soaking overnite. Other things you can do is to keep a spray bottle with a bit of soapy water and spray them when you see any. set out cucumber peels or slices, they have a natural aversion to it. Leave a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active. Dry crushed mint leaves, or cloves also work as ant teterrents. Find the point of entry, and set something the ants wont cross, cayenne pepper, citrus oil (can be soaked into a piece of string) lemon juice, cinnamon. You can also leave a small low watt nite lite on afew nites by the most ant activity, the change can disrupt their foraging patterns.

Microscopic dust mites- are everywhere in the home, in our beds, clothing, furniture, book shelves and stuffed animals. to help rid them- vacuum mattresses and pillows, wash bedding at 55 degrees centigrade or higher (131 farehiet) Detergents and commercial laundry products dont have any effect on mites unless the water temp is high. Tannic acid neutralizes allergens in dust mite and animal dander, dust problem areas with tannic acid powder available at health food stores and pet centers. Cover mattress and pillows with laminated covers and avoid fabric covered headboards. Cover heat ducts with a filter that can trap tiny dust particles smaller than 10 microns, Avoid using humidifyers, dust mites thrive on warmth and humidity.

Cockroaches -A little known fact is they like high places, put borox on top of kitchen cabinets, the roaches will take the borox back to their nests killing all of them. Boric acid is toxic by mouth. keep away from kids and pets. Catnip is also a natural repellant, you can also simmer it to make a "tea' which you can spray around baseboards and behind counters. (use only in a home without cats) Spray roaches directly with soapy water will kill them. Place bay leaves or garlic in cabinets as a deterrent.

Grain (Flour) Moths- Bay leaves are the best repellent. Sprinkle bay leaves on shelves or tape leaves inside canisters or cereal boxes. Flour moths like warmth and moisture, so store grains in air tight containers and in a cool place. 

Folk wisdom says other deterrent herbs for weevils are cloves and peppercorns, place in storage area.

 Diatomaceous earth (refer to last months newsletter for more info on this)

Flies- also refer to last months newsletter.

Flea's- Citrus is a natural deterrent, pur a cup of boiling water over a sliced lemon. include the skin, scored to release more citrus oil. let soak overnite, sponge on your pet to kill fleas instantly. You can add brewers yeast and garlic or apple cider vinegar to your pets food, (but dont give to cats). Cedar shampoo. cedar oil and cedar filled sleeping mats are available. cedar repells many insects including fleas. For carpets, vacumme thoroughly, and under furinture, put flea powder in the vacuum cleaner bag to kill that are vacuumed up, Trap fleas using wide shallow pan half filled with soapy water. place on the floor and shine a lamp over the water. they will jump to the heat of the lamp and land in the water. the soap stops them from bouncing out. Most of the fleas are living in your pet's environment, rather than in its fur. (Every flea found on your pet may mean that there approximately 30 more living in your home.) A single flea can lay as many as 60 eggs per day. The lifespan of a flea is about 90 days.
Controlling fleas does require some effort, but there are there safer and effective ways to control fleas than several well-known commercial flea control products. Even if all the ingredients in a flea repellent product are natural, this doesn't ensure that they won't be toxic to your pet. For instance, d'Limonene, which is derived from citrus peels and found in many natural anti-flea products, can be highly toxic to cats. Herbal flea collars, though they don't contain the poisons that conventional flea collars do, come with the same warning: do not let children play with the collar. If it's not good for your child, why would it be good for your pet? Other natural ingredients known to cause allergic reactions or have toxic effects in some animals include Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil and Pennyroyal oil. Cat owners take special note: Cats should not be given any essential oils, period. raw garlic is known to be toxic to cats. To kill fleas in carpeting pour 1 tablespoon Dawn dishwashing liquid in a 16 oz spray bottle, fill with water, shake well. spray carpet, upholstery and floors. The soap dries up the insects, killing them almost instantly. after 15 minutes wipe the floors with a damp towel and vacuum the carpet. You can also kill fleas you suck into the vacuum cleaner by putting a hartz tick and flea collar in the vacuum bag.  Sprinkle a light coating of Borax on the carpets and floors, let sit for 24 hours and then vacuum, borax kills all the fleas.

 Mice- House mice eat many types of food but prefer seeds and grain. They are not hesitant to sample new foods and are considered "nibblers," sampling many kinds of items that may exist in their environment. Foods high in fat, protein, or sugar may be preferred even when grain and seed also are present. Such items include bacon, chocolate candies, butter and nutmeats. A single mouse eats only about 3 grams of food per day (8 pounds per year) but because of their habit of nibbling on many foods and discarding partially eaten items, mice destroy considerably more food than they consume. Unlike Norway and roof rats, they can get by with little or no free water, although they readily drink water when it is available. They obtain their water needs from the food they eat. An absence of liquid water or food of adequate moisture content in their environment may reduce their breeding potential.  House mice are mainly nocturnal, although at some locations considerable daytime activity may be seen. Seeing mice during daylight hours does not necessarily mean there is a high population present, although this usually is true for rats Mice have poor eyesight, relying more on their hearing and their excellent senses of smell, taste and touch. They are considered essentially colorblind. The first defense against mice is to avoid attracting them. keeping food sources in plastic or other  containers, If you already have a mice problem, set traps and secure food stores. If Mice cannot find food they will search elsewhere.

Next Month- Edible wild plants