Ticked off

Want to avoid using pesticides in your home? Seventh Generation offers the following tips:

  • For ants, sprinkle boric acid or ground cloves along baseboards, in the back of cabinets, and other “edge” areas. Or spray a solution of two teaspoons of peppermint oil in two cups of water in the same areas.
  • Cockroaches can be kept away by a powder of one part natural pyrethrins (made from chrysanthemums) and two parts diatomaceous earth, which is algae. (Note: keep pyrethrins away from cats.)
  • Flies will avoid areas scented with basil, tansy, pine oil, or cloves. You can also make fly strips of kraft paper coated with a gooey mix of corn syrup and sugar. Fruit flies will avoid areas sprayed with a solution of basil oil and water.
  • Fight moths with oils of lavender, cloves, rosemary, camphor, or cedar. Make scented sachets with whole herbs or spray solutions of two teaspoons of oil in two cups of water in problem areas.
  • Termites can be chased away with boric acid, diatomaceous earth, and/or pyrethrin powder sprinkled in problem areas.
  • Ticks are repelled by essential oils of rose geranium or palmerosa. Make a solution of two teaspoons oil in two cups of water and spray. A half-and-half mix of rosemary and myrrh oils can also be used.
  • Fleas are repelled by herbs like lavender, rosemary, catmint, eucalyptus, and camphor. Citrus oils will also help. (Don’t use citrus oils and products around cats.) For dog and cat infestations combine one to two drops each of eucalyptus, citronella, tea tree and pennyroyal oils in 2 cups of witch hazel extract (omit citronella for cat use). Test on the animal first. If it’s tolerated, rub a teaspoon on the collar and a half teaspoon or so into the fur. Store the remainder.
  • Use traps for bees and wasps. Buy commercial traps and bait them with a protein (dog food, ham, fish and meat scraps, etc.) in the spring and sugars (corn syrup, spoiled fruit, jelly, etc.) in the summer and fall. Get rid of ground nests by covering their entrance with an upside down bowl.

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