Go Green: How to Protect Your Home from Pests
As we anxiously head into Spring, we begin to turn our thoughts toward Spring cleaning. A very important aspect of keeping our homes clean is pest control. Unfortunately, many commercial pest control products can be toxic to humans, animals and the Earth. That's why it is important to incorporate green methods to discourage, repel and rid our homes and gardens of pests. The number one rule of environmentally safe pest control is to choose the path of least harm. Your pest control will still be effective, even if your neighbors don't do the same.
How to Protect Your Home from Pests
The first line of defense for green pest control while following the path of least harm is prevention.
- Keep kitchen counters, cupboards and floors clean.
- Keep food out of bedrooms.
- Seal all methods of entry that pests might use to get into the home. The most common places are baseboards, areas near pipes, cracks under exterior doors, etc.
- Plant mint around the foundation of the home to deter ants.
- Plant Fleabane or Pennyroyal around the foundation of the home to deter fleas.
- Keep window and door screens patched and free of holes.
- Maintain low moisture levels within the home by fixing leaky pipes and using a dehumidifier (roaches, ants & silverfish love moist environments).
The second line of defense for green pest control, while following the path of least harm, is to deal with pests in the least toxic and most humane way. The following ideas incorporate the path of least harm and are excellent ways to encourage our insect friends to leave our homes in a compassionate way:
Set one or more of the following things where ants congregate or at the point of entry:
- Cucumber peels
- Dry, crushed mint
- Mint tea bags
- Lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper
- Coffee grounds
Set one or more of the following things where cockroaches congregate or at the point of entry:
- Sachets of catnip (in areas where cats can't get to it)
- Bay leaves
- Cucumber slices
Set one or more of the following things where flies congregate or at the point of entry:
- Sachets of crushed mint
- Bay leaves, cloves and/or eucalyptus wrapped in cheesecloth hung in windows
- Sweet basil near food and pet food
The third line of defense for green, non toxic pest control while following the path of least harm is extermination, which involves killing the insects. If your home has a problem that can't be handled by repelling the insects, the next step is to kill them. There are many safe, green ways to exterminate pests that have infested our homes. Go to EarthEasy.com to find a detailed listing of green extermination methods for pest control.
Finally, the last line of defense (this can also be the second or third line of defense depending on your needs) while following the path of least harm is to call a pest control company that specializes in non-toxic methods of pest control. Be warned that some companies say that they are green when they may not be, so ask them to explain how their methods are green and to list the ingredients that they use in their products.
What are your favorite green alternatives for pest control?
Tracey Lenac is the founder, editor and publisher of Raising California, an online magazine that highlights elements of holistic, organic, GREEN lifestyle choices along with homeschooling and spirituality. She is also the founder of Soul Centered Kids in Los Angeles, California, where she teaches soul centered skills such as meditation, reiki and yoga to children of all ages and developmental abilities and the founder of The Souls of Boys, an online store specializing in non violent, non toxic, soul centered toys, books, media and resources for boys. Tracey has a Master of Arts degree in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She is also a registered Reiki Master/Teacher, organic gardener, the mom of two boys and a secular homeschooler.Featured image courtesy of Flickr.