LoveToKnow guest columnist Wendy Nan Rees offers some alternative, safer methods to control summertime insect pests while keeping our dogs safe.
Pet-Safe Pest Control
Without fail, when the warm weather comes so do the flies, ants, mosquitoes and wasps. Keeping insect pests under control can be tricky business when you have household pets. Poisonous chemicals can be dangerous to our pets if they accidentally come into contact with them, so I thought I would offer some suggestions to make those "bugs be gone" without harming ourselves, our pets or the environment.
Cinnamon Spice Makes Ants Think Twice
I had a problem with ants this week. I was up at 3:00 a.m. for some reason, and into the kitchen I went with the boys behind me. To my surprise, there was an ant trail coming from outside to my new cookie jar just filled with treats.
I quickly got some cinnamon powder and sprinkled it around the table, the outside of the door and windows. Back to bed I went, knowing in the morning I was going to have deal with my once a year visit from the ants.
I never use toxic chemical sprays, I always use my cinnamon trick, and then I get the non-toxic ant traps in little containers and I put four of them in the kitchen. I never put them on the floor or anywhere a child or pet can get to them. Within six hours, all the ants are gone, and they never come back until the next year. I use cinnamon to sprinkle by the doors and windows, this does keep them out, but it is the ant traps that make sure they do not come back for a good twelve months.
You Catch More Flies With Honey, or in This Case Molasses
Get some bright yellow poster board and cut 3-inch strips. Next, take some dark molasses and spread a thin layer across the strips, and hang them outside to catch the flies. This is not the best-looking solution to reducing your fly population, so if you want to hide them in out of the way places that's fine; it does work well.
How to Trap a Fruit Fly
If you need to trap the fruit flies that have come into your home via your bananas or other fruits:
- Place some beer in a jar- it doesn't take much.
- Cover the top with plastic wrap.
- Poke holes in the plastic wrap.
- Use a rubber band to secure the plastic wrap.
The fruit flies will be attracted to the beer. They can get into the jar, but they can't get out.
Pleasant Aromatic Oils as Insect Repellent
Cedar oil, citronella oil and lavender oil will all keep flies and other insects away. I always add a cotton ball with oil on it in the bottom of all my trash cans, even the outside cans. I add the oils, it smells great and it does keep the flies away.
When I'm outside I burn citronella candles all the time to keep the mosquitoes away. I also use a few small fans; yes fans. I point them towards the guest, but not too close. This keeps us cool and the air moving so that even if my mosquitoes want to stop by, the air is moving a bit too much for them to have a long visit for a bite of dinner.
Here's another good tip I was taught by my grandfather. If you have small amounts of water that are standing like a bird bath, add one to two drops of cooking oil to the water. This way the mosquitoes cannot lay their eggs.
Along Came a Spider
Spiders are not all bad; there is an old saying that when you see spiders it means good fortune will be upon your home, and the spiders eat all the little bugs you want gone. So, if I see a spider I simply get a paper cup and scoop it up and let it go free outside. Not all bugs are bad.
Just a Hint of Mint
Mice and rats do not like mint, so I use mint oil in the attic and under the house. In a pinch, if you do not have mint oil try mint toothpaste.
I hope you try some of these tips, they work and are fun. Most of all, they are green and will not harm you, your dogs, or our earth!
Remember, the animals in your life are not just your pets; they're your friends. WNR