18 nontoxic ways to keep pests at bay this summer

Trulia

While we love to welcome guests into our home during the summer, I think we can all agree that insects and critters aren’t a part of the list. With the weather warming up, it’s likely that some of these pests will decide to find a new home inside of your home or garden this summer. This Trulia article by Meaghan O’Neill provides 18 natural pest control tips to help you take care of these uninvited guests this summer. 

Be Tidy

If you don’t want pests in your home, start by eliminating things that attract them. That means keeping food in tightly closed bins, cleaning up food scraps and crumbs promptly, and keeping lids on garbage cans and emptying them frequently. Moisture will also attract many pests, so fix any leaks and use a dehumidifier. Outdoors, don’t allow water to pool, which provides a breeding ground for some bugs, like mosquitoes.

Use borax to deter ants

To create a nontoxic ant trap, mix ⅓ cup of borax, ⅓ cup of sugar, and 1 cup of water in a jar. Add a wad of toilet paper, then poke a few holes in the jar’s lid before fastening it on. Trapping ants won’t affect their colony, though. To attack them at the source, sprinkle borax along their pathways, where they’ll pick it up, bring it back to home base, and share. One caveat: Keep borax away from curious pets and kids.

Lure fruit flies with vinegar

Who says you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar? Fill a small jar with apple cider vinegar, then affix plastic wrap over the opening with a rubber band, poke a few holes in it, and wait.

Deter flies with a basil cocktail

Keep fruit flies away by soaking a pint of packed basil leaves in water overnight. Pour the infusion into a spray bottle, then douse infested areas.

Sniff out houseflies

Houseflies can’t stand a host of great-smelling plants, including basil, lavender, sweet woodruff, lemon verbena, mint, thyme, rosemary, bay, and chamomile, according to Annie Berthold-Bond, author of Better Basics for the Home. Plant these near doorways or keep potted specimens on windowsills.

Go garlicky with garden bugs

Sometimes it’s possible to handpick bugs off garden plants. When it’s not, try this all-purpose concoction from Berthold-Bond: Peel and mash one head of garlic, then place it in a Mason jar. Cover with boiling water; allow it to sit overnight. Strain, empty the liquid into a spray bottle, and spray on affected areas.

Blow away mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are known to dislike citronella and lemon balm, but that won’t always do the trick. One friend found that adding an oscillating fan to her arsenal gave the scents extra power and blew the bugs away.

Plant companions

Many plants — such as nasturtiums, chrysanthemums, and marigolds — can be planted alongside others to act as natural protectors. Known as companion planting, it helps repel unwanted bugs. Native plantings also tend to be more resistant to local critters; it’s just how they evolved.

Read the full article here.

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