Friday, March 2, 2012

Frugal and homemade remedies for springtime pests!

The weather warmed up and suddenly we started seeing tiny little ants, mostly in our bathroom. We had this issue in our other home, so I was well prepared for this invasion and stopping it. I make my own homemade ant killer, which also works somewhat for fruit flies.

My ant killer is as follows, you will want to keep it out of reach of children and pets, though my cats never seem to care much about it. I've heard you can place the ant bait into plastic containers and poke holes in the top for the ants, I intend to try this. 

Ant Bait
1 cup sugar 
1 cup water
1/2 cup Borax

Heat in a pan until everything is dissolved, then you take a cotton ball and soak it in the liquid, put the cotton balls in places where you see ants. I used to place them on muffin papers because once the cotton balls dry, they will stick. For the first day or two, ants will SWARM the cotton balls. After that they will be gone. They take the bait back to the colony and it kills those who eat it. 

  • Another trick that works for ants is to put cut cucumbers or cucumber peels in the area where you find the ants. It somehow deters the ants or kills them, however it can attract fruit flies. 
  • To kill fruit flies you can make a trap which is oddly fascinating to children.
  • You simply pour an inch or two of dish soap into a cup and cover it with an inch or two of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar attracts the fruit flies and when they land on it, the soap wicks them down and kills them. 
  • Pots of Basil around your house are supposed to deter house flies. 

  • Mint growing outside of your home deters mice. (Which may actually work because the mint attracts cats!)
  • Diatomaceous Earth: (can also use inside the home) Nice, non-toxic pesticide that is pet & child friendly. Probably the most effective naturally occurring protective powder, this is a great option if their nest is underneath a deck or patio and sidewalk blocks. Sprinkle this in the cracks that the ants will have to crawl up through. Diatomaceous Earth is easily picked up by the hairy bodies of most insects, whereupon it scratches through their protective wax layers and they also absorb some of this material. The result being that the insects lose water rapidly, dry up and die. Further protection is provided by the powder’s property of repelling many insects. In houses it can be used effectively to prevent the entry of certain insects such as earwigs, ants, and cockroaches, and to control these and others that are present in cupboards containing food, carpets, basements, attics, window ledges, pet areas (for fleas), etc. In all of these examples it is important to place a small amount of the powder in corners, cracks, crevices and other areas where insects might hide. Source: Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University

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