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April 18, 2014  |  Login
Beating Mighty Mice and Insect Invaders: Safer Pest Control
By Dr. Alan Greene
When we discover ants, cockroaches, rats, or other invaders living in our house, most of us want to start spraying, poisoning, and exterminating these creatures as quickly as possible, without too much concern or caution regarding the method.

Insects and rodents carry diseases, rodent-damaged electrical wiring causes house fires, and insect food infestation destroys our family food supply. Coexisting is not an option, and the wait-and-see approach is ineffective, because once you spot a bug or rodent, you know it’s got a whole family it’ll be inviting for dinner. (Two mice starting to breed on New Year’s Day could theoretically have as many as thirty-one thousand de­scendents by December 31!) But conventional methods of pest management consist of traps and poisons that are toxic and cruel, and they seldom solve the problem over the long term.

Fortunately, there are pest management options now available that keep our families on the green side of insecticides and pesticides. And remember, you can’t just toss old toxic cans and sprays in the garbage; they need to be disposed of in a way that does not damage or pollute the environment. Disposal of dangerous poisons and toxins is a process that is becoming increasingly mandated by your local town or state

Pest Prevention

  • Prevention of infestation is the greenest move you can make to keep your home insect and rodent free. Look around your kitchen and make sure to
  • Securely wrap and store all food. A box of cereal with the inner bag and box top wide open says “Come on in” to hungry pests.
  • Keep the kitchen table and counters food free. Do not let crumbs from breakfast lie on the counter for cleanup later in the day.
  • Clean thoroughly before going to bed. Do not leave any food or drink on the kitchen table or counter overnight. Many insects and rodents are nocturnal and will wait until you’re fast asleep to seek their midnight snack. A single drop of juice left behind on a countertop can attract hundreds of ants by morning.
  • Empty your kitchen garbage can regularly. The smell of old food is an open invitation to hungry critters.
  • Keep your outdoor garbage cans securely covered and far from the house. The smell of garbage draws bugs and rodents.
  • Keep the outside area around your home free of wood piles and weeds. Locate and seal any holes in the walls or floors that rodents can use to enter your home. Check air vents and crawl spaces.

Green Pest Solutions

If it’s too late for prevention, you need to move fast to get rid of pests in the kitchen. The morning you walk into the room and see the line of ants scurrying from the back door to your pantry, you’ll have to resist the desire to grab the nearest toxic product at hand and obliterate them. So plan ahead: properly dispose of that can of bug spray (the one containing the very poisons you’re trying to avoid by buying organic products) and choose a green indoor pest solution that is not toxic to your own children.

Soapy water or citrus oil and water can kill ants on contact. Sugar and boric acid ant baits can help eliminate ants back in their colonies. You can make your own traps with equal parts borax, sugar, and water in jars with a few holes in the lid. Afterwards, sealing holes and cracks in the kitchen with a no-VOC sealant can stop more outside ants from getting in.

The sugar and boric acid baits may also help with a cockroach problem. more



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