Insects in the home and garden can be a nightmare and it can be difficult to deal with them if you have pets or small children as many insect repellents are toxic to humans and animals and can be extremely harmful to the environment. If you are seeking something which will act as a repellent but will be safe to use then you may find the following tips useful.
Slugs and Snails
There is nothing more annoying than making the effort to plant your summer bulbs, watching them grow and then noticing that they have been attacked by an army of snails or slugs. There are several ways to deal with this problem in a natural way.
Find an old soda or water bottle and cut it in half. Pour beer into the bottom half of the bottle and dig a small hole in the soil for the bottle to rest upright. The slugs and snails love the scent from the beer and will be climb into it. The beer will drown them but they will die happy. Darker ales work better as they have a more pungent odour which is better at attracting these unwanted guests.
There are several types of eco friendly slug pellets which you can buy from garden centres or online. These pellets contain 3% metaldehyde which kills the pests but has no harmful effects whatsoever on birds, humans or other insects such as bees or butterflies.
Lastly, there are a few things which you can plant in your garden which will simple stop slugs and snails from visiting. Astrantia is a shrub which emits an astringent scent which slugs and snails seem to dislike. An herb called Chervil is detested by snails and can be used in salads (place in a cool moist location for good foliage). Daffodils work great in the garden as a slug deterrent as they dislike the scent of these flowers.
These pests can get inside kitchen cabinets and lay eggs as well as working their way through your closets. One environmentally friendly way to repel moths is to buy cedar chips and place them in cloth or muslin squares and leave them in places where moths tend to gather. You can make these chips yourself from natural cedar oil and bark chippings, but if you cannot be bothered, they are available to buy ready made. You can also use green moth balls which will not harm the planet, but these do have a very strong smell.
Wasps are territorial insects so if you notice them near you home trying to build a nest, you can buy a false nest called ‘the waspinator’. If you place this in your garden, they will go elsewhere to build their nest. It contains nothing harmful to the environment and gives off a scent which can only be traced by the wasps.
Alternatively, if you are trying to enjoy a meal al fresco and the wasps will not leave you alone, you could burn a couple of citronella candles which will simply make them fly away. Citronella is a natural oil and be used to repel other insects such as mosquitoes.
Flies, Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes
As well as using citronella oil either as a spray or a candle, you can also make your own concoction using natural essential oils to get rid of flies, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. Place a couple of drops of each of cedar oil, rose geranium oil, orange oil, lemon eucalyptus oil and cinnamon oil. Add carrier oil such as almond oil and make up your own spray pump. If you notice fleas in your home or on your pet, this spray is perfectly safe to use and will get rid of these unwanted creepy crawlies. You can also spray this mixture on to bare skin or bed linen to deter mosquitoes.
It is not uncommon to get earwigs and cockroaches in your home. Cockroaches favor higher locations such as the top of a kitchen cabinet while earwigs gather where there are lots of objects such as a shoe rack. Both of these insects can be deterred by placing down diatomaceous earth which is non toxic and completely kind to the environment. By using this you will stop these insects from coming in the first place and you will not have to use a lot of anti bacterial sprays to clean your house which are not good for the environment.
Ants and Head Lice
During the warmer months, these little critters can be difficult to eradicate without the use of poisons. However there are simple tips such as leaving cucumber peel or used mint tea bags. Ants like neither of these things so they act as a good repellent. Alternatively, spraying ants with soapy water will certainly help diminish their quantity.
As well as using the aforementioned tips as a natural insect repellent you can also use Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) either as a high dose tablet or worn as a patch. This vitamin is excellent at repelling biting insects or stinging insects such as wasps, mosquitoes, gnats and fleas.
A natural way to treat head lice is to thicken the affected hair with conditioner, section hair off and comb through hair in sections, dipping the lice comb in a bowl of water after each stroke. Tea tree oil also works very effectively on head lice and can be sprayed on after shampooing as a preventative measure.
Head lice treatments bought from a pharmacy or supermarket are dangerous to the environment due to the high level of chemicals in the ingredients. They can also bring on rashes and breathing difficulties in children so this natural repellent is the perfect answer.
Banner Photo by James Jordan