Natural and Non-Toxic Pest Control

Natural and Non-Toxic Pest Control
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Warm weather brings bugs and other pests. I try to use as many natural methods of controlling pests in the house as I can. We struggled with a worsening mice infestation in our old house until we did the most natural thing we could do-we adopted a cat. Besides being my daughter's best friend he is a fierce mouser, and the problem was gone within a month or so, and has never been an issue again. Today I wanted to give a few tips for curbing those pesky ants that seem to find their way into the house as soon as warm weather hits. Too bad the cat doesn't catch ants!
-Check all rooms for leftover food, especially bread, crackers and cookies. The kid's room can be a place that has hidden crumbs in window wells, headboards, closets etc. Check them all and keep everything as crumb free as possible. Don't ask me how, but kids can leave crumbs in places we would never even dream of eating near.

-Keep all countertop surfaces clean. Sounds easy, but with kids around there are always drips of one kind of another, especially when they are pouring their own juice. Double check and wipe clean. It's a good time to vacuum out all the drawers and cupboards in the kitchen and bathroom.

-If possible, keep pet food and birdseed covered and out of the house in the garage or a shed.

-Rinse out pop can and bottles when empty and get a routine going for returning them to the store. In the summer, it would even be best to remove them from the house daily. Same goes for any containers that hold anything sweet or syrupy.

-Be careful moving plants outdoors and back in. Ants or other pests can nest quickly, so check before bringing something back in.

-Check around the outside of the house for any cracks or openings. Use caulk to seal, or for a quick fix til you can do that use petroleum jelly in the cracks. You can also use boric acid dust around the foundation, BUT it has to be where kids and pets can't be exposed, so sometimes this isn't an option.

-When you do find ants in the house vacuum them up or pick up and throw in the trash or outside. IF you smash them you need to wash the area with soap and water to get rid of their scent. It attracts more ants!

-One home remedy to try is peppermint water. You can add peppermint essential oil to water in a spray bottle or brew a strong peppermint "tea" to use. Try spraying cabinets, floors or any areas that you have been having problems with ants.

-When you do find the nests outside in your yard, dig a hole into the nest with a shovel and pour in an insecticidal soap (this is usually a mixture of alcohol, dish soap and water) into the nest and put back the soil. You may have to do this a few times to really get rid of the ants.

-I've used ant traps/baits with some success but I only buy the ones that are safe to put on the counter, and non-toxic-I put them in the cupboards and under the sink.

Jim Patch, one of our subscribers, shares on ridding the garden and yard of ants: Boil water first thing in the morning and pour it on previously identified nest areas. I found that this works at any time of day. As I suspected boiling water will kill grass and larger plants, so be cautious. This can be an advantage as well. I found pouring boiling water in the corners by raised beds to kill ants also killed the Bermuda grass that kept coming up through the corners. It is a chemical free method of weed control.

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About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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