Given all the various chemicals and harsh tactics so many of today’s pest control companies and DIY pest control solutions utilize, as well as the potential energy and fuel expenditure that can be involved, killing pests can be a killer for the environment.
It may seem like a notion of unavoidably comic irony to try to stop pests in a “green” way or by using environmentally friendly pesticides, but the fact remains that some pests can impede our attempts at preserving the environment. Keeping harmful insects and animals out of backyard gardens that promote sustainability, for example, is paramount in helping ensure that your efforts to reduce your resource consumption aren’t for naught. Also consider how allowing termites to infiltrate your home can lead to a waste of the countless resources that go into constructing a wooden structure.
The point of the following tips isn’t necessarily to fight nature, but to make a greater attempt to live alongside it, separate from the pests that could cause you to exhaust further resources, not strictly against them. You may even find that some of these solutions provide added sustainable benefits beyond just pest control, and it’s always important to remain healthy.
Sealing Up Your Home
No matter where you live, sealing up your home against the forces of nature is a huge step in keeping everything you want inside your house inside your house and everything you want outside of it on the outside.
If you’ve found any manner of critter inside your home, from spiders to lizards to ants to even wasps, start by checking the seals on your windows and doors. Other than looking them over with the naked eye, a good practice for windows and doors alike is to close them and then light a candle. Move the candle around the surface area and see if the smoke finds any gaps to escape through. For doors, you can also try turning off your lights and shutting your shades when it’s bright outside and look where light comes in.
The best solution for “leaky” windows is caulking, but there are also adhesive options as well. For doors, you may need to reset the hinges on an uneven door frame fixture. Otherwise rubber, vinyl, and felt paddings can go a long way to supplement any minor caulking areas.
And keeping things out isn’t the only benefit here. According to housing tip experts at HouseLogic.com, “An average home loses up to 30% of its heating and cooling energy through air leaks.”
If you have multiple kids running rampant through your house, this may not be the end-all solution as they traipse in and out of the house all day, but it can be a big help.
Protecting Your Garden
Many gardeners complain of their plights against various plant-eating predators. One of the primary culprits is aphids.
To keep aphids out completely, try incorporating herbs with strong smells, which aphids tend not to like. Consider adding mint, basil, chives, rosemary, etc. to your arsenal. Also some plants attract aphid predators, so try to grow things like parsley, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, dill, and fennel to bring in aphid-killing wasps, ladybugs, and other beneficial parasites. The wasps you attract can even work to keep out leafhoppers.
As for rabbits, look into fine fencing like chicken wire or even more aesthetically pleasing options like wood or brick. Try to get them into the ground to keep them from burying beneath, as well. Rabbits are also famous for their vampire-like aversion to garlic, so try finding ways to incorporate garlic scents (sprays, actual garlic, etc.) in the area. This can be helpful for keeping squirrels out too, though they are a bit more industrious. Try making chicken wire/wooden box hybrids to cover your plants with, keeping squirrels out and sunlight in.
Don’t Get Antsy
Many homeowners go through the ringer trying to keep ants out. Even sealing up your home, as stated earlier, may not do the trick, as ants can find their way in through just about anywhere.
First, don’t leave food out. Ants can find food practically anywhere, but if you keep it locked up tight, you can make things harder for them and keep the problem from getting worse.
Second, if you see ants, try to follow their trail if you can find it to see if you can pinpoint where they’re coming from. Once you have their route, one natural solution that has been known to help, however, is creating barriers with strong herbs/powders. Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, or baby powder have all been known to create impassable barriers for ants.
Third, try creating a natural trap. These ants love anything sweet, so find a sticky, preferably cheap sweetener like syrup or molasses, or something containing these, like soda, and mix it with borax. The ants will be attracted to it and will get stuck, allowing you to dispose of them however you like.
Other than that, honestly, you’re mostly in for a war.
Hopefully some of these solutions can be of help in keeping pests out without requiring a call to the exterminator or a canister of aerosol bug-killer. However, in cases of extreme pest problem, using green pest control products will definitely deliver more effective results.