It makes sense to use herbal pest control instead of chemicals in areas where food is stored or prepared. Parents and pet owners should also consider using herbs instead of chemicals when children and pets have the potential to be exposed to pest control. Care should still be taken to ensure that the children and pets won’t ingest any herbs that may be harmful.
Herbal pest control works because the insects or rodents are repelled by certain scents. Different scents work for different pests. Herbs can be used inside and outside of the home to be effective as pest control.
- 1 Herbal Ant Repellant
- 2 Alternative Pesticides
Herbal Ant Repellant
According to The Forgotten Arts: Growing, Gardening & Cooking with Herbs (Yankee Publishing, 1972), tansy has a slightly strong, medicinal odor that is effective at repelling ants. Growing tansy outdoors will keep ants away from the garden or other areas where they are a nuisance.
The Reader’s Digest Home Handbook: Herbs (RD Association, 1990) suggests that sprigs of tansy be used on shelves and in cupboards to discourage ants. Rearrange the leaves periodically to release more of the medicinal scent. Replace with fresh sprigs when the tansy loses its effectiveness.
Herbal Pest Control for Mice
Mice can be particularly difficult to control in the cool months. Nobody wants mice in the kitchen, but they are naturally drawn to the warmth and the food. The Reader’s Digest book advises those with a mouse problem use mint. A strong, mint scent is particularly effective at repelling mice. Keep fresh sprigs of mint in cupboards and drawers that tend to attract mice. Mint-scented products may also help. Try keeping a tin of peppermint Altoids in a mouse-prone area.
Natural Herbal Pest Control for Moths
Pantry moths and moths that eat clothing are both troublesome pests. Moth balls are dangerous and should never be used in the home or kept near food. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that naphthalene, the active ingredient in moth balls, is hazardous and is associated with liver and neurological damage.
Instead of moth balls, the author of The Forgotten Arts suggests tansy, wormwood, lavender, peppermint or curly mint be used to repel moths. Make a sachet out of individual herbs or place a mixture of all the recommended herbs together for effective pest control. Freshen the sachet occasionally for a greater effect.
Ants, mice and moths are common pests that most people deal with in their home at some time. Look for natural, herbal solutions to pest control instead of reaching for chemical pesticides.
Many traditional pesticides contain poisons that vaporize into the air and cause harm when inhaled by humans and animals. While these products may be effective at killing insects, they can make you sick and damage the environment.
Choosing safe, non-toxic natural substances to repel and kill pests is a safer choice. Natural products are less toxic and will not make animals or children ill with proper use. Natural insecticides are as effective as toxic pesticides.
Borax: A Non-Toxic Pesticide
Borax is a naturally found mineral that can act as a pesticide. When Borax is sprinkled in areas infested with insects, the fine powder adheres to the insect and damages the exoskeleton. When Borax is used as a powder it must be kept free of moisture to work properly.
If Borax is mixed with a sugar solution, it acts as a bait for pests like ants, silverfish and roaches. The insects take the bait back to their nests, where it kills the entire population through dehydration. Borax should be kept away from children and animals to avoid accidental ingestion.
Soap and Insecticide Applications
Hand soap mixed with water can be used to kill insects on contact by spraying the solution onto the insect. This technique works on insects like ants and roaches, because the fatty acids in the soap penetrate the exoskeleton to kill the pest. Spraying soap on insects only kills the present insects, as the insect will not return with soap to the nest.
Oils With Pesticide Properties
Some natural oils have insect repelling properties. Eucalyptus oil repels pests like flies. To use eucalyptus oil, soak cloth in the oil and place in areas where flies frequent.
Citrus oils, like lemon, repel ants and other insects. Oil soaked cloth should be placed in cracks and crevices where ants travel to repel them.
Moths are repelled by the scent of cedar. Soak a cloth with cedar oil and place with clothing to repel moths and keep clothing safe.
Pepper to Repel Pests
Cayenne pepper repels insects like ants. Sprinkle pepper along a baseboard or in areas where ants are seen to keep them from advancing.
Diatomaceous Earth: A Natural Insecticide
Diatomaceous earth is a natural pesticide that can be used inside or outdoors in a garden. It is made from ground shells and marine life. Like Borax, it works by penetrating the exoskeleton which dehydrates the insect.
There are many natural options to repel and kill insects. Natural pesticides are not only cheaper and better for the environment, but they are safer for using in the home. Natural insecticides can be purchased in grocery stores or home improvement stores. For a persistent pest problem, contact an exterminator that specializes in natural and environmentally friendly ways to eradicate insects.