How to prevent unwanted pests from your home without use of harmful chemicals
Do you have a pest infestation? When insect and rodents invade your home it's time to fight back. Living in the country I've had to deal with my fair share of pests. I used to go straight for store bought pesticides. While they worked great at getting the job done, I absolutely hated the smell of them and I wasn't too crazy about using harmful chemicals in areas where my kids and pets often played. According to DIY Home Sweet Home, these are great ways to safely eliminate unwanted pests
Repel: Clean with white vinegar. Not only does vinegar make a great all-purpose cleaner but ants can't stand the smell and it will mask their scent trails so they will lose their direction. Follow the ants to locate the food source (usually something sticky that has been spilled on the counter or floor). Removing the source and cleaning the area with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water a couple times a day will usually eliminate the ants.
Exterminate: If you still find ants try this simple bait recipe. Mix one part powdered sugar to one part baking soda*. Place this mixture in small shallow dishes (I found that Gatorade or juice lids work perfect for this) and leave around the home in places where you often find ants. *Please note large amounts of baking soda can be harmful to pets. For this recipe you should only be using a small amount but to be on the safe side I would place the mixture in areas where your pets can't get to it.
Repel: Place mint & bay leaves around the home. Cockroaches hate the smell and will stay away. I like to place the leaves in small mesh or muslin bags and place in dark areas such as closets and cabinets where cockroaches like to hang out. Exterminate: The same recipe we used above for ants will also kill cockroaches. Place equal parts of powdered sugar and baking soda into shallow containers and leave around the home where you notice cockroaches.
Repel: Grow marigolds, basil, & mint. Mosquitoes are repelled by the strong scent of these plants. Place live plants around your home or place dry mint leaves in muslin bags to keep in your home. Also cleaning with mint or citrus scented cleaner will do wonders at keeping mosquitoes away. Exterminate: Make a mosquito trap. Mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup hot water. Cut the top off of a bottle. In the bottom half of the bottle add the cooled down brown sugar mixture and 1 gram of yeast. Place the top half of the bottle upside-down inside the bottle. Wrap a sheet of black construction paper around the bottle and tape it in place. Place the bottle in at area of your home where you find the most mosquitoes. Placing these bottles in your front and back yard a few feet away from your home will also attract the mosquitoes and trap them before they have a chance to enter the home. Mosquito’s larvae live in water. Removing any standing water around your home can greatly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in and around your home.
Repel: Mice hate peppermint. Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil and a drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray this around your home especially any entry points or holes that mice use to come into the home. Exterminate: The best way I've found to kill mice is a simple mouse trap. I've tried other traps and even tried poison with little or no luck. Place a small amount of peanut butter or cheese on the traps before you set them and leave them in several areas around your home where mice have been seen making sure they are out of reach of children and pets. Be sure to check the traps often. You don't want a dead mouse stinking up your home. If you would like to catch mice without killing them try out this handmade 5 gallon bucket trap and leave out the water. SPIDERS
Repel: Peppermint repels spiders. The same recipe used above to repel mice also repels spiders. You can replace the water with white vinegar and it makes a great cleaner. Use this solution to wipe down counters, appliances and even the floors. Your home will be spider free in no time. Exterminate: Fill a spray bottle with one part white vinegar and one part water. Spray this directly on spiders. The acid in the vinegar will kill spiders on contact. FLIES
Repel: Lemons & cloves. Cut a lemon in half and stick several cloves in the pulp. Leave the lemon halves on your kitchen table or wherever flies gather. The scent of the lemon and cloves will drive the flies away. Exterminate: Cut a plastic bottle in half. In the bottom half pour in a small amount of wine and fruit scraps. (I usually use strawberries or some kind of melon.) Place the top half of the bottle upside down inside the bottom half. Place the trap in your kitchen and replace every couple days until flies are gone. Another option would be to use rotten meat in place of fruit and place the trap outside, away from the home. The rotten meat smell will attract the flies and keep them away from your house.
On top of following these methods of controlling insects you should also find a cleaning schedule that works for you and stick to it. Insects and rodents tend to like messy/dirty homes a lot more than they like clean home. It seems that every time I find pests in my home it's always after a busy week or after I haven't been feeling well. That's usually when I tend to slack on my cleaning schedule and it doesn't take long for the bugs to set up camp and move on in. Sticking to a cleaning schedule won't guarantee that you will not find bugs in your home but it does help a lot to minimize them. Another great way to keep bugs out of your home is to make sure they can't get in the first place. Go over your entire house and look for areas where insects may be entering the home. Replace any caulking around windows and doors, check weather stripping to make sure it's in good shape, and fix or replace broken window screens. After the pests are removed or exterminated and you need professional cleaning, please call SERVPRO of Cambridge/Belmont (617) 864-7378 to assist you.
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