While it would be dandy if nature stayed in its place (outside our homes), sooner or later you’ll find your home invaded by creepy crawlers. Since you don’t want to share your home, you’re going to have to attack the problem head on before the pests get too comfortable and start to spread out.
Unfortunately, many home insecticides are made with poisons that you really don’t want floating around in your air. The toxins tend to linger long after you’ve sprayed, and while that may keep the bugs at bay, that also means that you, your kids, and your pets are breathing in all those fumes.
So before you pull out the big guns, try a little natural pest control first. Your body will thank you for it, and you may find that the problem is easily solved without ever having to resort to toxic remedies.
Know Your Enemy
First of all, a “bug” problem could mean anything from termites to spiders to giant, hissing roaches – and you can’t expect the same approach to work across the board. Because there are so many distinct species, you’d better figure out just what it is that you’re dealing with.
There are loads of non-toxic insect repellents, but you’ve got to pick the right weapon for the job. If you can see the bugs and know what you’re dealing with, that’s half the battle won. In some cases though, you might only see the effects (bites, for instance). If you’re unable to identify your unwanted house guests, you may want to call in an exterminator to help you figure out the source of your problem
Pre-empt and Prevent
Obviously, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. You can prevent a pest problem by keeping them out of your house in the first place. Leaving open sources of food and water lying about is like putting out the welcome mat for all manner of critters, so shore up your defenses by emptying your kitchen garbage pail daily and storing food and drinks in air tight containers. Bowls of pet food are a prime culprit for attracting ants and roaches (and possums and raccoons), so feed your pet at specific times and keep the bowl empty and clean when not in use.
Once you’ve removed the source of food and water, make sure to seal off your home as well as possible. Replace old screens and weather stripping wherever they’ve become torn and cracked, and seal off any holes in your walls, floors or doorways.
Try Non-Toxic Agents
Sometimes your best efforts won’t keep the bugs at bay. If that’s the case, there are plenty of non-toxic solutions that might just solve your problem. Fleas can be killed off by scattering diatomaceous earth in specific areas. A light sprinkling of boric acid in insect hot spot can wipe out a whole colony of roaches or ants. Oil of eucalyptus is an excellent ant repellent, but it won’t pose a health hazard to your family or your pets. Once you know the insects you’re targeting, do a little research or talk to your exterminator about the appropriate natural agents to use on your pests.
Choose Friendly Pesticides – and Use Them Wisely
When all else fails, you may have to call in some reinforcements in the form of commercial pesticides. Even if you have to resort to this, you still have plenty of options. There are friendly pesticides that are plant-based, and while they aren’t exactly safe, they are a much better alternative to toxic chemical compounds that are widely used.
Just remember that even if a pesticide isn’t highly toxic, it’s still wise to use it sparingly. Closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use good common sense in your application.