Protecting your home from pests over the summer is only half the battle to ensuring that your home remains bug and critter free year round. Adam Dachis of Lifehacker offers a guide that can be used to manage a summer pest problem, but the information he offers is useful year round for keeping your home bug and pest free.
Summer pests affect the vast majority of the country, but the size and types of bugs will reflect the region of the home. For those in the North, it may be flies or ants, while in the South, homeowners may find palmetto bugs or scorpions. Regardless of the season, how you approach a pest or rodent problem will depend on the specific critter that is found in your home.
Dachis suggests creating your own traps in order to catch flies, and offers many ways to catch them using products most homeowners will have around the house.
The easiest way to make a fly trap is to use a little bit of honey and spread it across a surface. The flies love the sugar, and because they are so small, once they make contact, they cannot fly away; the sticky substance is too strong for their size.
If laying patches of honey around your house is not appetizing, there is a simple funnel fly trap that takes less than ten minutes to build and only requires a cup, such as a mason jar, one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper, tape, and honey. Dachis points out that you will need at least three of these traps in order for them to be effective, but with mason jars available for a few dollars a piece at a local craft supply store, they are inexpensive, organic alternatives to commercial fly traps.
To make the trap, roll the sheet of paper into a funnel, leaving a hole at the narrow end that is bigger than a fly. Check to ensure that the funnel is wide enough to sit about half way into the jar, without touching the bottom. Using tape, tape the edge of the cone so it does not lose it shape, and then pour honey into the bottom of the jar to cover the surface. Any other sweet substance will work if you do not have honey on hand. Finally, just place the cone back into the jar, and wait for the flies to find it.
Ants are a scourge that homeowners across the country must contend with. There are dozens of ant traps available in hardware stores that use chemicals and poisons to kill the ants, either on contact, or after they bring the poison back to their colony. Poisons only work to eliminate all of the ants if it makes its’ way to the queen, otherwise, your attempts to eradicate your ant problem will be in vain.
Dachis offers information on a pesticide-free ant trap, written by Alan Henry, and published on Lifehacker. To get rid of ants in your garden, take an old jar that has a wide mouth, a short length of pipe, two screw-top plastic bottle caps, teflon plumber’s tape, water, sugar, and dish soap. Using the teflon tape, wrap the pipe so that the ants cannot crawl up it to the sugar that will be on the top of the pipe. Standing the pipe up in the jar, add a little water to the bottom of the jar, and a few drops of dish soap before sprinkling sugar on top of the pipe to lure the ants into the trap.
The easiest way to beat an ant invasion is to prevent an ant infestation. First, clean your house and don’t leave crumbs and food out. Erica Ho suggests using chalk lines around doors and windows to keep ants out of the house; while the science is not very well understood, chalk keeps ants outside. Dachis also suggests using spices and extracts that you likely already have in the house to keep ants out. Mint, bay leaves, cardamom, or even mint-flavored Listerine can be used to keep ants out, and your home safe from an invasion.
Garden pests are best outside the home, and outside of your garden; killing them from the garden isn’t just cruel, the chemicals and poisons used to kill garden pests could also get onto the food you are growing or the flowers you’re planting.
Jason Fitzpatrick offers advice on how to keep your yard and garden pest-free and without the need of chemicals. Using coffee grounds in your garden not only adds nitrogen to the soil, which is great for your plants, but most creatures that will use your garden as a playground do not like the acidity of the coffee, and avoid it. To keep slugs out of your garden, without having to kill them, is to use copper such as decorative copper tape. To keep bigger, but cuter, pests like rabbits and deer out of your garden using Bloodmeal is a great way to keep them away. Bloodmeal is a byproduct of the meatpacking industry and animals dislike the smell. But, do not apply directly to plants, just around the garden; the high nitrogen of the dried blood can burn the leaves and destroy your plants.
Dachis offers an easy chemical-free pesticide courtesy of Apartment Therapy that only requires 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid soap, one quart of water, and a few drops of orange or essential oils mixed together. You can spray this on trouble areas around the home and garden, and directly on bugs in order to kill them.
Perhaps there is no greater summer annoyance than the mosquito. With increased threat of the Zika virus and the continuing threat of West Nile Virus, keeping mosquitoes out of your home and yard is important for your health.
According to Dachis, the American Mosquito Control Association suggests staying away from sprays and candles. Instead suggesting using a fan, bug lights, and wearing light-colored, long sleeves and pants that are loose-fitting. There is no reason not to use citronella candles, as they do offer a repelling effect, but in order to be effective, many candles must be lit within an area to get rid of the threat of mosquitoes.