A while ago, around beginning of this year, we saw this Green Shop in the old town of Heidelberg. Is a bit hidden, but we went inside because the plate hanging on the gate said “Grünes Design” (german for Green Design). What a surprise, we don’t know how or why we had never seen this shop before and since when was there! But is really cool (and surprisingly big in size). It has upcycled, bio, fair-trade and vegan products: from chocolate to furniture. Everything for the home, office, personal care and education/entertainment.
Natural and Organic Pest Control in the Home and Garden
Originally published on Aardvark
There are many different types of pest that can invade your home and make life uncomfortable or even dangerous. From contaminating food to causing structural damage, even tiny pests can do a large amount of harm. They can also carry disease, and make you feel afraid in your own home.
There are many different ways of preventing or removing infestations. The specific method will depend upon the type of pest you have. Rats and mice are going to need a very different approach to Hornets or wasps. Yet whatever the pest, and whatever method is used to exterminate them, it is important to pay attention to the impact of pest control upon the environment. When used incorrectly or irresponsibly, many pesticides can harm other animals or plants than those they are intended for, which could mean that you end up reducing the number of friendly and harmless animals in your garden.
Thankfully, there are many natural and organic pest control options that can be used in the home and garden to ensure they are pest free. These methods are perfectly effective, without causing damage to the environment.
Non-toxic methods of pest control
The aim of clearing your home from pests and vermin is to provide you with a clean and safe environment. It is therefore not much of an improvement if you are harmed by the pesticides you are using to protect yourself. Many pesticides can be harmful to humans, particularly young children, as well as household pets. Using non-toxic methods protects you and the environment, making them a sensible as well as a safe choice.
- Diatomaceous earth
One effective non-toxic method of pest control for killing insects is diatomaceous earth. This is perfectly harmless to humans, and can be sprinkled on areas where cockroaches or ants are often seen. Diatomaceous earth is made up of tiny particles which, when crossed, slice open the exoskeleton, causing the insects to dry out over one to two days. As they dehydrate, ants and cockroaches will seek out sources of water, so you may find that insect sightings increase after the treatment has been applied.
- Soapy water
For individual sightings, it is worth having a spray bottle filled with soapy water nearby. Spring this on to ants and cockroaches will kill them, making this useful for getting rid of the occasional unwanted visitor. It is always worth killing the odd bug, as social animals like ants will report back to the colony if they find a place with ample food supplies.
- Light traps or sticky traps
You can also try specific traps, such as light traps or sticky traps for nuisance insects, as well as lethal or nonlethal rat and mouse traps. These allow you to target and deal with only the vermin, without harming other animals, insects, or plant life.
Biologically friendly pest control
Many methods for eliminating pests can have the unfortunate side effect of doing damage to nonthreatening plant and animal life. Just because you want to remove one infestation from your home or garden doesn’t mean you want to kill off all types of plants and wildlife! Most people will naturally choose the most potent pesticide or prevention method in order to quickly and effectively deal with their pest problems. However, there are many biologically friendly ways of managing pests that can do significantly less, or even zero, damage to anything else in the surrounding environment.
A more environmentally friendly method of pest control is to start with the prevention or extermination methods that are the least toxic or dangerous to other plants and animals. In many cases you may find that these low impact alternatives are sufficient to deal with your problem. In these instances you have therefore saved yourself from causing a lot of damage to the flora and fauna in your garden. If the pests in question are resilient to more biologically friendly methods, then move up to stronger products, until you find one that works. This way you are only using strong substances and extreme tactics where needed, rather than as a default option.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a responsible way of preventing infestations in your home or garden. The best way to deal with any infestation is to prevent it happening in the first place, and Integrated Pest Management is an effective program that is followed by farmers and can be easily applied to domestic situations.
Instead of waiting for problems to develop and then reacting to them, Integrated Pest Management works to stay one step ahead of insects and vermin. Once the potential risks of infestation have been identified, methods can be taken to avoid making the home or garden an attractive place for pests. In the garden this could include clearing up areas of stagnant water, removing any junk that provides shelter or collects water, and remaining vigilant of any potential nesting sites. In the home, keeping foodstuffs tidied away and sealed in airtight containers will help to prevent ants, mice and rats from entering in the hope of an easy meal.
An important part of Integrated Pest Management is that threats are constantly identified and monitored. By paying attention to problem areas, and being vigilant at all times, you can take steps to ensure that things which would attract pests are confronted and removed before they can do so.
Natural pest control
The best kind of pest management is one that occurs naturally, as this will work in harmony with the local ecosystem, rather than causing any damage. Planting rose-scented Geraniums in your garden can help to keep mosquitoes and other unwanted insects at bay as they contain Citronellal and Geraniol, both of which are natural insect repellents. Ageratum, Horsemint, Marigolds, and Catnip all also have properties that repel mosquitoes, although the last one won’t be very effective if you have any feline family members! There are dozens of plants which have insect repelling properties.
You do not have to resort to pesticides or other extreme measures to remove pests from your home. In fact, many commonly available household grocery items can be used as repellent to keep your home free of insects such as ants, cockroaches, and fleas. All three have an aversion to citrus, so by leaving a trail of lemon juice, or an item soaked in it, across likely points of entry will stop these insects trying to access your home that way. Cucumber and garlic are also both effective at keeping away ants and cockroaches. Similarly, treating likely spots with peppermint oil is thought to deter rats.
A particularly useful way of helping you to manage troublesome insects is to create a garden environment which attracts their natural predators. Many common American garden birds feed on mosquitoes, so making your garden an alluring place for these species, complete with secure nests and birdfeeders, means you will essentially have your own little caretakers to help manage a mosquito problem.
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