In addition to sound, herbs and essential oils are another vital
weapon in the war on bugs. Here are some common indoor pests and just
some of the natural materials you can use to chase them away:
It's a Jungle Out
- Ants can be defeated with diatomaceous earth
(fossilized diatoms), borax powder, or ground cloves.
- Cockroaches can be kept away with boric acid, or a
dust made of 1 part natural pyrethrins (from chrysanthemums) and 2 parts
diatomaceous earth. (Note that cats can be affected by even low amounts of
- Fleas are repelled by diatomaceous earth, rosemary
oil, and orange oil.
- Flies will avoid areas scented with basil, tansy,
pine oil, or cloves. Or make fly strips of kraft paper coated with a gooey mix
of corn syrup and sugar. Fruit flies will flee from areas sprayed with a
solution of basil oil and water.
- Mice are best handled with either fresh mint or
- Moths can be discouraged with lavender, cloves,
camphor, or cedar.
- Termites can be chased away with boric acid,
diatomaceous earth, or pyrethrins.
That takes care of the indoors, but what about the great outdoors? There, gardens and humans alike are fair game, and our pest problems are often worse. When bugs start biting, try these strategies to save both crops and skin:
These are but a few of the time-tested, natural pest control strategies
available to those who wisely wish to avoid the dangers of conventional
chemical pesticides. They'll help keep the bugs at bay and your home a safer,
healthier place to play.
- In the garden use an all purpose pest spray made from
water and a head of mashed and boiled garlic. Or put 3 tablespoons of neem oil
and three cups of water in a spray bottle.
- Raise beneficial insects-good bugs that eat the bad
bugs eating your garden. Harmless ladybugs, for example, feast on aphids.
Nematodes (tiny worms) feed on the larvae of many garden pests. Milky spore (a
harmless bacteria) can help with Japanese beetles. And praying mantises will
feast on many pests. These and other healthy scavengers can be obtained from
garden supply companies.
- For protection from biting insects, replace synthetic
DEET (a chemical whose ultimate safety remains uncertain) with gentle oils of
lavender, bergamot, lemon balm, and/or pennyroyal. (Note that pennyroyal
should not be used during pregnancy.) In a pinch, vanilla extract can even be
used. A little goes a long way, and essential oils can be irritating, so
dilute them with olive oil or water first.
- Ticks are repelled by essential oils of rose geranium
Geoff Davis is a freelance writer and commercial inkslinger whose work
has been featured in an variety of local and national media. He lives
sustainably with his wife, daughter and faithful canine in the
forested wilds of Monkton, Vermont