When it comes to pest infestations, the natural impulse is to reach for store-bought pesticides and insecticides. But these pesticides are often laden with chemicals that can adversely affect your garden, soil, and even your health. Before declaring an all-out war on pests with chemicals, you might want to consider safer methods first.
Many homeowners turn to pest control to combat serious home and garden infestations. But not all insects are harmful, and artificial pesticides can kill indiscriminately, affecting the entire micro-ecosystem. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of pests without the use of harsh chemicals.
1. Mint and garlic
If you have insects eating your basil and marigold, try driving them away with a natural insect spray made of mint leaves and garlic cloves.
Mix garlic cloves, mint leaves, chili pepper, water, and some dishwashing liquid and mix them in a blender or food processor. Afterward, simmer the solution and let it cool overnight. Strain the liquid into bottles, and you can start spraying your plants.
2. Coffee grounds
Many of us drink a hot cup of Joe for a quick boost of energy, but insects hate coffee. You can use coffee to get rid of an ant infestation.
If you brew your own coffee, don’t throw out the used coffee grounds just yet. You can sprinkle them near crevices and areas where ants congregate. Coffee is toxic to ants, and the presence of coffee grounds is a signal for ants to avoid that area.
3. Sugar and borax
Another great way to get rid of ants is to use sugar and borax. Borax is toxic to many insects, but the sugar will bait them into bringing it to their hive.
Mix a cup of water, a tablespoon of borax, and half a cup of sugar to make ant bait. Adding too much borax might scare the ants off. Place the baits near crevices and points of entry, and after a few days, the ants should go away. Borax is also toxic, so pets so don’t forget to secure the area before placing the bait.
4. Essential oils
If you have dust mites in your home, one way to get rid of them is with a simple aromatic spray made of essential oils and water.
Add a few drops of lavender, rosemary, clove, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Mist it around the affected areas and allow the soaked surfaces to dry on their own. Not only will your home smell great, but you’ll also breathe better once the dust mites are gone. You can also add lemongrass or basil to the mixture to repel lice.
5. Hot pepper
Hot pepper is a tried-and-tested method of repelling insect pests. To create a natural pepper spray, add four tablespoons of dried pepper flakes or 15 finely-chopped fresh peppers to a gallon of water. Boil the mixture for up to half an hour and let it sit for a day before spraying. If the solution isn’t sticking to the leaves, a few drops of mild dishwashing soap should do the trick.
Gardening is already hard enough without pests turning your plants into a buffet. These pointers will help you get rid of the pesky critters without artificial chemicals destroying your soil ecosystem.