Pesky! That’s what most folks call those critters that seem to gather in the most undesirable spots in your home and yard and bother you when you are trying to enjoy yourself in the great outdoors. What’s also bothersome are the toxic sprays and chemicals used to remove or repel those unwanted pests. There is growing evidence that synthetic pesticides pose a health risk to humans and animals. A more natural approach to controlling bugs and insects is necessary for health and an environment that thrives.
Bug Barriers For the Body
First it is probably good to note that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggests the use of “non-chemical” methods to deter biting insects before any consideration of chemical insect repellents.
Most bug sprays and repellents contain DEET. DEET is a pesticide that is considered HIGHLY toxic. Experts report that up to 56% of DEET applied to the skin penetrates the skin and about 17% is absorbed into the blood stream.
One of the major adverse effects of DEET exposure to children is seizures and brain damage. As parents, it is wise to utilize caution, care and knowledge in your approach to protecting your children from dangerous insect bites. Consider using barriers like window screens and netting to shield your children and protect their skin with long-sleeve shirts, long pants and socks.
Maybe it is because I am soooo naturally sweet but bugs LOVE me. I am a mosquito beacon and it seems my kids are too. During the summer months we can be found several evenings a week attending some outdoor event so we need a good insect repellent. One natural way to repel bugs is to make an essential oil spray. Just put some clove, peppermint, eucalyptus, or cedar oils inside a carrier oil like Jojoba and spray as needed. Also be sure to check with an essential oils guide to make sure you are using safe oils and dosages for children.
We are trying out a few new conventional products this summer too:
Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent – Natural ingredients, the primary one being rosemary.
Skedattle Anti-Bug Spray – Made with essential oils, including citronella, Lemongrass, Peppermint, and Vanillin.
SmartShield SPF 30 Insect Repellent Combo – This is a combo products that repels bugs and protects you from the sun. It comes in a spray or towelettes. I would go for the spray myself but the towelettes could be very handy for young kids. This is not quite 100% natural but it is DEET free.
California Baby Baby Bug Repellent – Citronella lemongrass and cedar essential oils (known for their safe and effective bug repellent properties). Repels fleas, mosquitoes, ticks, and biting flies.
Bite Blocker Insect Repellent – Contains Plant Oils, Plant Extracts, Plant Derivatives, and Skin Moisturizers.
Bug Barriers For the Home and Garden
There are some vegetables that can be used to get rid of insects like ants, wasps, mites, moths, flies and other pests. Cucumbers have natural and generally non-toxic ingredients that repel or get rid of bugs. All you need to do is slice them up and place them in insect target zones like window sills and door jams. You can also use garlic to repel bugs. Simply grind it up with water and apply to bug infested areas. Other safe ingredients you can use to create barriers to bugs are cayenne pepper, cinnamon, powdered charcoal, bone meal, talcum powder or chalk.
As you are creating these ‘bug barriers”, keep in mind that different pests have different aversions. You’ll have to test and see what substance works best for getting rid of the bugs.
Another way to think of these barriers is to think pretty. In other words, grow certain plants around the periphery of your home. By using certain plants you are not only creating a beautiful home but you are deterring pests as well. A few plants that are known to repel ants and aphids include spearmint, peppermint and pennyroyal. Other plants that smell good to human but repel insects like flies are mint and basil.
The thought of a roach in the home can make a person feel as if their home is not clean. The fact is that sometimes the habits of others can cause these unwanted creatures to enter into your home. Baking soda and powdered sugar mixed in equal parts is a good roach killer. Just spread the solution around the area where you see roaches and soon your unwanted guests will vanish.
If your pet is worried with fleas, here is a very simple solution to helping them get relief. Grind rosemary leaves into a fine dust and sprinkle it onto your pet or its bedding to ward off fleas.
What about the slimy slugs and snails? There are solutions other than salt to get rid of them. All you need to do is invert a flower pot near a shady plant. Use a stick to prop up the flower pot or place on uneven ground. What you are trying to do is give enough of an entrance way for slugs and snails. They will crawl under the rim to avoid the heat. At the end of the day, check the flower pot and remove the slugs and snails.
Spiders? Check out an article I wrote awhile back about getting rid of spiders naturally.
And who can forget fruit flies? Find out how to get rid of fruit flies.
Toxic chemicals do not have to be the answer to removing bugs. To help the environment, your health and that of your family, try the natural approach.