Winter time brings on the bugs, seemingly at the same time every year. The ants in our area seem to love to visit our kitchen when the first heavy rains hit. Almost everyone has to deal with pests. Whether indoor or outdoors, we need to think about eco friendly, green alternatives to toxic pesticides. Here are some Winter Pest Control Tips that we have found from trial and error.
Access control – Finding Where Ants are Coming From
We try to first watch where the ants are coming from, then plug the holes with caulk. Unfortunately these pests came come through holes slightly larger than a pin size, so that strategy works up to a point. Also examine the perimeter of your house. Make sure all branches and plants are not touching your building.
Keeping food in sealed containers, the tables and counters free of any crumbs, and the kitchen immaculate also helps. Place sweet items like sugar, candy, syrup inside Ziploc plastic bags. If you have some problem prone areas, you may have to rearrange her kitchen during the peak insect infestation season.
Be sure to check plants for insects. They love the moisture in the soil. You may need to mix the soil with the insecticide to prevent ants growing in your plants. We have also found leaving the plant outside in the cold for a couple hours, drives the ants away.
We also use Orange Guard, which is d-Limonene (orange peel extract) based to keep ants away. Spray and leave it on for a while to soak in and deter other ants from coming back. This spray helps remove the pheromone trails that ants leave.
Orange Oil is advertised on the radio for controlling termites. You can buy some on amazon and use it yourself for a lot less.
Safer Ant & Crawling Insect Killer is another product we use. It contains diatomaceous earth (77.69%). Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. OMRI-listed and compliant for use in organic gardening. We dust the cracks where ants may come out of with this stuff. It also works on Cockroaches, Ants, Earwigs, Silverfish, Crickets, Millipedes & Centipedes. Avoid inhaling this stuff.
You can make your own ant traps by combining 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon of borax. Sprinkle it in ant infested areas. Ants will take this mix back to the nest and slowly eradicate it. Be patient and do not move the trap around, as it takes several days for this to occur.
You can also sprinkle baking soda, talcum powder or food-grade diatomaceous earth (not swimming pool quality) in areas where ants are active, and also in any cracks, crevices, or wall openings. Vinegar or bleach can be sprayed on ant trails.
In 2015, we learned that corn meal was a good way to stop ants. We sprinkled some around problem areas and it actually worked.
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is another eco-friendly insecticide. It is made from plant essential oils.
- Niban, moisture-resistant, fine granular bait made of Boric acid, is a good product for ants and silverfish control.
- Greenbug for Outdoors is a good cedar-based outdoor product to spray on your foundation.
Other Green Pest Control Tips For Ant Problems
This website has a good list of eco-friendly or green insecticides. Others have suggested using coffee grounds, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, laundry detergent, cornstarch, or Vaseline.
Eco-friendly or Green Bed Bug Treatment and Removal
Bed bugs infestations have been popping up all over the country lately. Hotels, movie theaters, dorm rooms, have all been found to harbor bed bugs. Acquiring bedbugs from a hotel in bringing them home, is a worst-case scenario. Removing bed bugs is extremely difficult and there is controversy as to whether natural sprays are effective. Strong pesticides can pose health risks and researchers have found that bedbugs have evolved stronger biochemical defenses against common pesticides. Bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding! Bed bug bites are nothing to laugh about.
In May 2011, one person was so desperate to get rid of bedbugs, she applied pesticide to her chest and soaked her hair in the pesticide and placed a plastic bag over it, causing severe health problems leading to respiratory failure.
Here are some green bed bug treatments:
- Encase your mattress and box spring in special barriers. Most of these also help with dust mite allergies
- Sanitize your clothing and pajamas in the microwave. Only do this if there are no zippers or metal parts on your clothes
- Buy or Rent a Portable Steam Cleaner and clean any fabric or surface in your room. Repeat this as necessary. 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is needed to kill them
- Washer clothes in hot water after returning home from a hotel stay
- Act fast and be extremely thorough, these bugs circulate quickly
- Try a Climbup Insect interceptor
If all else fails, call a professional as fast as possible, to prevent infestation from spreading.
Verilux CleanWave Sanitizing Wand
Verilux CleanWave Sanitizing Wand is a new ‘eco-friendly’ wand that uses UV-C light to get rid of viruses, mold, dust mites, germs and bacteria. They also make a smaller travel version.
This wand works by disrupting DNA present in bacteria, viruses, allergens, etc. to cause the cells to collapse. It automatically shuts off to minimize unwanted exposure. A timer helps you use it in a consistent manner.
It is akin to cleaning without cleaners or chemicals as they put it, but the jury is out on how useful this device is.
If you want to try one, Costco carries it, so you can buy it and return it any time.
There you have our Pest Control Tips for the Winter. We will probably have to try new things next year!
Feel free to chime in with solutions you have found worthwhile.