Today’s guest blog post is from Sarah Smith from Down Under! I LOVE this topic since more of the traditional and popular anti-pests methods are really toxic and sometimes even carcinogenic. We’ve all heard the horror stories about pesticides. It’s not good to use them, be around them or eat them on our fruits and vegetables.
Of course, I come from a family that has chosen to co-exists with the pests, which is another option for you. The only problem with the co-existing route is that you will lose food, sweaters and shoes that way. And potential boyfriends. And sometimes your sanity. But you might get the plague out of it.
And if it’s mice or bats you are co-existing with, you won’t be able to sleep at night, because they get realllly loud when they know no one is out to get them. But enough about my crazy family home back in Pa! Let’s read what Sarah has to say below. – Dr. Eeks
In addition to being a personal nuisance, pests can negatively affect your home, your family and your health. Rodents, for example, can eat away at doors and get into your pantry to snack on your food. They will scurry around and leave droppings, possibly contaminate your home and everything in it. If the problem is not dealt with, there can be an infestation and, consequently, significant damage to your home. Plus rodents may be riddled with rabies and other diseases, posing serious health risks to you and your family if they bite.
Termites have the power to destroy your entire home, which is why termite control is so important. They can live underground or inside wooden structures. They may cause enormous damage to your home’s foundation, eat through anything made of wood and compromise your home’s entire plumbing system.
Some pests are downright poisonous and deadly. Fire ants, black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders are a few you need to steer clear from. Even a house fly or mosquito can transfer diseases to humans either by biting them or infecting their food with harmful bacteria. Of course, a bite from a mosquito, even if it is not disease-ridden, can cause itchy bumps to break out on skin. Pests can have serious health consequences to you, your family, your pets and even your house plants.
Obviously, once you discover a pest, you want to remove it. Pest removal techniques, however, can also be harmful. Many pesticides like bug sprays contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to humans. Some of the ingredients are highly toxic and carcinogenic.
Pesticide chemicals, such as those used in termite fumigation, are especially harmful to young children and pets. They can cause nerve damage and disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Pregnant women exposed to pesticides are at an increased risk for having a miscarriage or bearing a child with birth defects.
When spraying chemicals, you can get sick not only by breathing in the fumes, but also from any residue on appliances or food that might have been sitting out. You may inadvertently ingest harmful chemicals by eating something that was exposed to the spray. Never leave food out when you spray and thoroughly clean all counters and other surfaces within range of the affected area. Pesticides can kill your pests but, unfortunately, they can kill you, too.
Nontoxic pest removal
Since you don’t want pests and don’t want to risk your health to remove them, it seems the best solution is a non-toxic, yet effective, way of controlling the problem. The good news is there are nontoxic pest control alternatives.
• Biological pesticides
Biological pesticides and made from organic matter like fungi. They are chemical free but effective pest control weapons while posing little or no risk to humans. They also don’t leave a residue, unlike chemical pesticides which linger in the air or on exposed surfaces.
• Peppermint oil
This non-toxic solution repels rodents. The oil’s scent is so overpowering to them that they will not go near it. Dab it around your pantry and potential entry points like doors and places with cracks.
• Humane traps
These trap rodents in a box so they cannot get out until you release them, preferably deep in the woods very far from your home and anyone else’s. If you catch a rodent in the act, cover it with a towel and place a bowl over it until it can be freed. While these methods inconvenience the rodent, they will not otherwise harm it, nor will your or anyone else’s health be compromised.
The pungent odor of vinegar can repel insects and is completely harmless to humans and animals. To make an insect-repelling vinegar solution, fill a spray bottle with three parts water and one part vinegar and spray it near windows, sinks and doors.
Finally, one of the best ways to control a pest problem is by preventing it in the first place. Here are some ways to avoid a pest invasion:
A clean home discourages pests, who thrive in messy homes where food crumbs litter the floor, food is left uncovered and candy wrappers are strewn carelessly about. Also keep a lid on the trash, which smells heavenly to pests and immediately attracts them.
• Seal cracks and crevices
If you remove the point of entry, you prevent pests from entering your home in the first place. Be sure to check your roof and basement.
• Keep dry
Pests like termites love moist areas. One of the best ways to exercise termite control is by making sure you don’t have any leaks or plumbing problems. Make sure you don’t have any wooden support structures coming into contact with soil, which can be a termite haven.