It’s Spring, It’s Texas, and That Means Bugs!

And since it’s nearly Earth Day (April 22) I thought I’d share a few organic pest control tips to use for pesky many-legged and winged critters.

Ant ParadePrevention is the best way to go, if possible. If you’ve lived here any time at all, you know you can’t leave food on the counter without attracting some unplanned guests. Especially ants! You don’t want to get ants started; they are smart as the dickens, and I’m pretty sure they never forget a spot where they once found a feast.

If you see an ant parade along your kitchen counter, the only way I know to encourage them to forget the “address” to their feast is to wipe them up with a damp sponge, rinse and wring out the sponge, then pour a small amount of white vinegar on the sponge, and thoroughly wipe the entire trail area again.

I learned this from Heloise, the advice columnist who grew up in San Antonio, just down the road a piece. The vinegar destroys the pheromone trail the ants leave to find their way back.

Leaving fruit on the counter to ripen fully is great… as long as you’re keeping a close watch. Let it go just a bit too long and you will have a cloud of fruit flies. Fill a small necked bottle (those little 8 oz water bottles work great) half-way up with apple cider vinegar. Leave it open on the counter and it will attract the fruit flies and function like a minnow trap.

Bye bye flies.

When fleas are a problem, they are a BIG problem. They usually come in on your pets, so keep YOUR critters shampooed. Adding a few drops of lavendar, rosemary, or tea tree essential oil to the shampoo will help repel fleas and ticks. I’ve heard of people vacuuming their animal friends to remove fleas and their eggs from furry coats; I don’t think my dog would put up with that.

It’s much easier to check your pets for ticks if you keep them trimmed pretty close… cooler, too. And you should check them for ticks. The CDC says we don’t have Lyme disease in Texas. HA! Tell that to the little Lyme spirochetes in my blood (thank goodness I’m a Naturopath and can self-treat).

If you find a tick on your pet, or your kids, or yourself, don’t bother with those methods of trying to get the tick to remove its head from your flesh. Get the tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as you can manage, and YANK!

Wash the bite and use hydrogen peroxide or an antiseptic. Take note of the bite location in case the infamous “bull’s eye rash” makes an appearance. If it does, get thee to a doctor for some very powerful antibiotics, and then call me 🙂 to help you finish the job.

I’ve always heard the best thing to keep scorpions down is to have chickens. Fresh eggs and no kitchen waste are good side benefits.

Moths are another issue you don’t want to get started. Non-perishables do better in glass containers, or even old-fashioned tins (remember saltines and Ritz crackers in those cool metal boxes? great for storing Tinker Toys when we were kids).

I go even further and keep my flour in the freezer, but I always add bay leaves to the pantry items. Beans, rice, quinoa… that type of food item will stay clean, even in long-term storage, with a few bay leaves added to the container.

Here is one of my Pragmatic Woo-Woo Tips:
Many of the creepy crawlies will steer clear of your house…. if you ask them to.

Even cock roaches and scorpions.

Ants are the only insects I have had trouble with in the co-operation department – I guess they are very independent minded.

What I do in this case is to proscribe a perimeter around my house, and make an announcement that no ants are allowed inside this line (because if they are under your house or close to doorways, they WILL find a way in.

If a mound shows up, they get a treat of organic corn meal. A few days later and they are gone.

NeemAura Skin Conditioning SprayMy favorite insect repellent is not officially a repellent. They call it skin conditioning spray for legal reasons.

NeemAura makes a spray for people and one for pets, too. (use my coupon code – PEY289 – and save $5-10 on your first purchase at iHerb.com)

 

Do you have a favorite natural or organic pest control method to avoid getting buggy?

Please share it in the comment section below:

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