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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Natural Bug Patrol Part I

Spring is such a beautiful time of the year! But at my house it is also a hectic time of the year. Anyone else know what I’m talking about? You have been cooped up in the house all winter so the first nice day you open up all the windows to air the house out and start your spring cleaning, inside and out. While you’re cleaning, you have the kids running in and out, door opening and closing, snacks being carried from here to there and of course crumbs going everywhere inviting those pesky ants to follow the crumb trail and take residence in your home. And my least favorite part, finding spiders hiding in various places around the house. Instead of using harsh chemicals to rid your house of unwanted pests and maybe doing more harm to you and your family than your unwanted guest would, here are some all natural bug repellents to try.

1.      Keep A Clean Environment: Probably the most common sense way to keep ants away is to keep counters and floors clean of crumbs and do not leave food sitting out.  But if you have children, unless you followed them every second of the day with a broom and dust pan, this is not going to happen.  But keeping your counters as clean as possible is a great start to controlling your ant population.
2.    Cinnamon Sticks and Garlic: The aroma that comes from both cinnamon sticks and   If you find the entry source or just a common place you see them, place a cinnamon stick or a peeled garlic clove there.  We also like to keep a cinnamon stick in our pantry, the smell is welcoming when opening the doors and it keeps the ants from taking up shop in unwanted places.
garlic cloves (the first being the most pleasing) are natural repellents for ants.
3.   Vinegar or Black Pepper: These are another two natural ant repellents.  Keep white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to have on hand when you see one these pesky visitors.  Black pepper is a great one to use when you see a group of ants.  And here is a tip; keep an eye out for where they run too.  They will most likely lead you to the very way they are getting in so you can load up the pepper at the entrance so they may never return!
4.      Mint: Mint is said to destroy the smelling capabilities of ants therefore preventing them from smelling the wonderful goodies hidden in your home.  To use mint as a preventive tool for ants, plant it around your home, especially near doors and close to areas where you find ant hills.  You also can place mint leaves in your window sills or around your doors to prevent ants from entering.  Or like the cinnamon stick, keep a couple leaves in your cupboards or pantry for a pleasant smell and natural repellent. (Mint tea bags work well also).
5.     Cucumber Peels:  Yes I said cucumber peels!   These help to ward off ants, bitter ones work the best.  Slices will also work, but the peels seem to work the best.
6.     Homemade Ant Trap: Mix one liter of water, one teaspoon of Borax and a cup of sugar. Soak cotton balls in the solution and place them in a small yogurt container with holes punched in the lids to allow ants access. Place container in a location where ants are present. Ants will carry the bait back to their colonies where it will eventually kill the colony. Important: use indoors only; must be kept away from pets and children.

1.    Essential Oils: Some essential oils (especially the citrus ones) make wonderful spider repellents.  Simply add up to 5 drops of essential oil and up to 5 drops of natural dish washing liquid to 1 qt of water.  Put into a spray bottle and shake well.  Spray the mixture around along your baseboards, in corners and around any area that you tend to see spiders hang out.  Reapply once a week. Best Oils to Use:

a.       Citrus (lime, lemon, lime)
b.      Tea tree
c.       Lavender
d.      Cinnamon
e.      Peppermint
f.        Citronella

2.   Citrus Juice:  Most spiders (and other insects) are repelled by the smell of citrus.  Buy a sugarless Citrus juice and mix with water.  Put in a spray bottle and use to wipe down your counters, inside of drawers and cabinents.  You can also spray around windows and doorways.   This also makes a great garden spray for your plants.  Another way to repel unwanted garden guests in to lay lemon, orange or lime peels in your garden.  If you are not a fan of citrus, try this mixture:  Add ½ cup of vinegar and 2 Tbsp of chili powder or hot chili sauce  mixed with 1 qt of water, mix well and put in spray bottle.  Spray this spicy blend on spider webs and around places that spiders like to build their webs.
3.   Chestnuts:  Chestnuts are a natural spider repellent that can be laid around your garage, basement and house.  

Stay tuned, because next we will discuss some natural repellents to get rid of those pesky flying insects!  And also our unwanted garden guests!

What natural repellents do you like to use?

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