Natural Pest Repellants

I live in the country, and alongside the peace and quiet, comes critters. Some are cute and fuzzy; some have big eyes and long ears with cute white cottontails; some are long and slinky and eat baby birds; and some smell bad, really, really bad. For those animals that you do not desire living in close proximity to you, there are natural ways to run them off as opposed to annihilating them with bullets or toxic pesticides. After all, all creatures are part of nature's food chain, and each and every one has a right to live where it sees fit. It's just that some of them weren't invited to move in with you, and some of them might eat your dog!

Here are safer alternatives to commercial pesticides:

For Ants - sprinkle cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, or baby powder in problem areas along baseboards and windowsills. If you have fire ant mounds, encourage armadillos to cruise around at night to root them up; works every time for me, and it IS worth the holes in the garden!

For Ants, Fleas, and Ticks - just sprinkle diatomaceous earth (or use a hand duster). When insects come into contact with diatomaceous earth, the sharp edges lacerate the bugs' waxy exoskeleton, and then the powdery substance absorbs into their body fluids causing death from dehydration. Diatomaceous earth is an all-natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. These plants have been part of the earth's ecology since prehistoric times. Also kills aphids, silverfish, cockroaches, bed bugs, carpet beetles, slugs, snails, tomato hornworm, house flies, fruit flies, red spider mites, and earwigs.

For flies - small sachets of crushed mint placed around the house will discourage flies. Potted sweet basil plants work, too.

For mosquitoes - mix 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar in a glass of water placed on your deck, balcony or porch. You can also dab lavender oil on your wrists and elbows. Warning: this might attract other predators - the 2-legged kind!

For Flies, Fleas and Mosquitoes - Oil of Citronella has been used for over 50 years as an insect repellent and as an animal repellent. It is found in many familiar insect repellent products: candles, lotions, gels, sprays and towelette wipes. When used according to the label, citronella products are not expected to cause harm to humans, pets or the environment, but be prudent, especially around children.

For cockroaches - sprinkle equal parts of baking soda and confectioners' sugar or the packaged powdered diet sweeteners in problem areas.

For mice - Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil near problem areas. Used cat litter also repels mice - snakes work, too, but I don't typically recommend that.

For skunks - sprinkle or spray fox urine around their hole, around your barn, house, fence lines, greenhouses, decks or patios. You can purchase fox urine at your local feed and farm store in liquid or in granules made by Leg Up Enterprises. (I am serious! Great name, isn't it?) It really works, too!

Happy hunting!

Posted August 2008 | Permanent Link

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