Chasing down indoor
The manufacture of all household pesticides creates
massive quantities of toxic and potentially carcinogenic chemicals that can end up in our
air and water supply. Once in your home, these products can cause even more concern.
No point of entry
Your first line of defense is to stop pests from
getting in your house:
- Repair holes in walls and window screens.
- Caulk around windows, doors, cracks and crevices.
- Weatherstrip windows.
- Install sweeps on bottoms of outside doors.
- Reduce moisture by repairing leaks, cleaning gutters
and maintaining good soil drainage around your house.
- Staple sheets of plastic beneath buildings to create
vapor barriers and block insect paths.
If the pests still make it inside your home, try
the least toxic solution your can find -- boric acid, silica aerogel or diatomaceous
earth. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of tiny sea creatures called
diatoms. All three substances are effective against indoor crawling insects like
roaches, ants, silverfish and termites and can be found at most lawn and garden centers.
You can also see, "Herbs provide safe substitute for
Other easy pest remedies
- When they first appear, wipe them away with a soapy
- Ants will also avoid lines of powder and sharp
crystals, so sprinkle barriers of talcum powder, chalk, bone meal, cayenne pepper, cream
of tartar, red chili, paprika, dried peppermint or boric acid across their trails.
- Plug or caulk small cracks along baseboards, wall
shelves, cupboards, around pipes, sinks, and bathtub fixtures. A light dusting of
borax around the refrigerator, stove and ductwork will help, too.
- For a trap, lightly grease the inner neck of a
bottle and put a little stale beer or raw potato inside.
- Mix sugar, flour and boric acid into a powder that
cockroaches will take back to their nests and poison their colony.
- Susceptible clothing includes wool, fur, hair and
feathers, and cotton, rayon, paper and straw to a lesser extent.
- In summer, store woolens in a cedar chest, cedar
closet or tightly sealed bag.
- If items aren't stored, shake, brush and air
outdoors in the sun.
- Try cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint or
- Install screens or close windows before the sun hits
them. Flies usually enter homes through sunny windows.
- Don't spray, swat.
- Non-insecticide fly paper still works, too.
Insects on houseplants:
- Spray houseplants with used dishwater or soap and
water solution, then rinse.
- Blend six cloves of crushed garlic, one minced
onion, one tablespoon dried hot pepper, and one teaspoon pure soap in one gallon water.
Let set one to two days, strain and spray on plants.
Especially for pets:
With more than 100 million dogs and cats in
America, is it any wonder 50 million flea collars are thrown away every year? That a
solid- as well as a toxic-waste problem.
Some side effects of three common flea-collar
compounds -- piperomylbutoxide, dichlorvos (or DDVP) and carbaryl -- include potential
nerve and liver damage, cancer, mutations and birth defects in animals.
The pet absorbs the chemical until it reeks of the
toxin, and that, in turn, paralyzes the bug. Try these alternatives instead:
- Prevention is best. Keep the
pet's bed laundered. Regular vacuuming will help.
- Sprinkle herbs -- fennel, rue,
rosemary or eucalyptus seeds or leaves -- around animal sleeping areas.
- Add brewer's yeast and garlic to
your pet's food. For some reason, fleas hate it.
- Rub citrus-oil sprays into your pet's fur.
You can make your own by running orange or grapefruit skins through a blender or
food processor, then simmering with some water. After the mixture cools, rub into
your pet's fur. Be sure to use only fruit skins to avoid making fur sticky.
- To chase away both ticks and fleas,
wash pets well with soap and warm water and dry thoroughly. Add one-half cup fresh
or dried rosemary to one quart boiling water. Steep 20 minutes, strain and cool.
Then spray or sponge this herbal rinse evenly onto your pet. Allow to air
dry, as toweling down will remove the residue. Make sure pet is completely dry
before going outside.
- Look for flea preparations containing
methoprene, a growth inhibitor that interferes with flea-larvae development.
For more information
The National Pesticide Telecommunications Network
is a toll-free, 24-hour information service available by calling 800-858-7378.
Operators can provide a wide range of information
about health effects of pesticides and assistance in dealing with pesticide-related
SOURCE: The Earth Works Group. 50
Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth. Berkeley, Earth Works Press,