We all want our homes and gardens free from insects and other critters. However, if you're a dog owner, have children or are generally concerned about your health, using pesticides and other harmful chemicals to control pests is a less-than desirable option. Fortunately, there are many natural solutions to pest control that won't harm you, your pets or your family.
There are many pest control products on the market that contain pet- and child-friendly, non-toxic ingredients. These products are available for purchase online or at your local hardware store and contain ingredients such as lemongrass, citrus oils and eucalyptus that are natural solutions to pest control.
As the weather gets warmer, mosquitoes begin to surface. For hot summer nights free from mosquitoes, try placing a bowl of maple syrup or brown sugar and water in a saucer. Mosquitoes will be attracted to the natural sugars in the mixture and stick to the contents.
If this doesn't appeal to you try an insect lamp or "bug zapper." These lamps attract mosquitoes using ultraviolet light and electrocute them when they get close to the lamp. Mosquito lamps are a great chemical-free way to control mosquitoes, but should be used with caution as with any other electrical device.
To kill ants, try mixing three tablespoons of of dish soap with 16 ounces of hot water in an empty spray bottle. Mix the contents and spray where ant population is most prevalent. If ant hills are visible, use a garden hose to remove the hills. Although ants may return eventually, continuously spraying the hills with water is a relatively quick process and is guaranteed not to harm your dog or family. Additionally, ants which congregate on decks, outdoor patios or concrete can be eliminated using a garden hose and dish or laundry detergent.
Introducing other species of insects into your garden is a great pet-friendly, non-toxic way to control certain garden pests. You can purchase live lady bugs at your local garden center to control aphids or introduce praying mantis eggs to control a variety of insect populations. Introducing other species of insects not only controls garden pests, but also contributes to your garden's ecosystem without risking the health of your dog, family or the environment.
For more serious pest control problems, try calling an extermination company and asking them about their pet- and environmentally friendly options. Most commercial exterminators will have pet-friendly options available and are the best resource for discussing ingredients, processes and extermination plans.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images