Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Natural Ingredients Repel Insects in the Home and Garden
By Kristin Masters
Insects create a nuisance, both inside and outside the home. While chemical pesticides are often effective for removing these tiny pests, they can also be harmful to children, pets, and the environment. Furthermore, many pest populations have grown resistant to commonly used pesticides. Natural insecticides remain the best alternative for safe and effective pest control in the home and yard.
The easiest way to control yard pests is to landscape with plants that repel them. Known as companion planting, this technique takes advantage of plants’ natural properties, completely eliminating the need for chemical pesticides. Companion planting can be used to deter virtually any six-legged invaders, including ants, mosquitoes, aphids, and beetles.
- Nasturtium repels aphids, moths, beetles, and squash bugs, making it a wonderful companion to squash, pumpkins, and other root vegetables, along with cucumbers, beans, and cabbage.
- Marigolds are effective complements to tomatoes, beans, and asparagus, since they repel beetles, worms, and flies. Marigolds are a worthy addition to any outdoor area, since they also repel mosquitoes.
- To combat potato bugs, gardeners can plant horseradish between potato plants. Both lovely and edible, the horseradish adds dimension to any garden.
- White geraniums make a tasty snack for Japanese beetles, but they are also toxic. Planting them about twenty feet away from the garden will draw the beetles away from the garden and halt their proliferation.
- Cucumbers repel ants, and can be grown along fences or in other areas where ants tend to nest. Sliced cucumbers can also be used to deter ants indoors.
- Both rosemary and sage ward off mosquitoes when they are burned. The fragrance of these herbs is a mouthwatering addition to an outdoor barbecue, and both plants can be used for seasonings.
- As its name implies, fleabane repels fleas, making the yard a less appealing habitat to these jumping pests. With its attractive flowers, fleabane also enhances outdoor landscaping.
Thorough, frequent cleaning is the best deterrent for indoor pests. Wiping down surfaces, vacuuming frequently, and eliminating water sources like leaky faucets or soaking dishes are all important steps, because they reduce insects’ food and water sources within the home. Natural pest control methods complement these measures, to fend off ants, roaches, and even fleas in the home.
- Cucumber peels, mint leaves, and cloves all deter ants. Place them near the ants’ point of entry and throughout the kitchen.
- Ants will not cross a line of cinnamon, coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, or citrus oil. Create a barricade around the ants’ point of entry by drawing a line around it with one of these substances.
- Catnip naturally repels roaches. Sprinkle it around the house, or simmer some in water and apply the spray to baseboards and inside cabinets.
- Create an all-natural roach trap by placing one or two slices of beer-soaked bread in an empty coffee can.
- Electronic pest repellers, which use a variety of technologies to send out vibrations that deter both roaches and ants, can be plugged into every room, for whole-home pest control.
- Citrus and cedar oils both repel fleas. Mix a teaspoon of either into your pet’s bath for a natural flea control remedy.
Pests in the home and garden are not only a nuisance; they can also pose a threat to the health of you and your family. With natural remedies, eliminating these insects is easy.
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