Okay so anything that is moving, and isn’t a kid or a pet, is on my I can step on radar, or scream like crazy until someone comes and does it for me! I am not okay with spiders, mice, bugs or rodents period. That is until I realized the dangers that came with my “treat the whole house and watch them die” attitude. I mean think about it for a second, if I am spraying something that can kill something else, it probably isn’t safe for me as well. Yes they are small creatures, but over time isn’t that exposure going to affect me in some way? The answer is yes, until recently I just didn’t realize how much.
Like pesticides, insecticides contain carcinogens, cancer causing agents. Over time build up of these chemicals in your yard, and around your house allow exposure to your family. Going barefoot in your yard obviously will cause contact. Another way we become exposed is by simply spending time in our yards and then coming into our house with our shoes on. (Read my TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF! blog)
I was guilty of overexposure! I would have a professional spray, then spray again, then run around the yard with even more granular insecticide. I thought that every bug must die! Sorry, did I say I don’t like bugs, I really meant it! I assumed after a few days of rain our yard would be safe for play. Problem is that if the bug repellent is still on the ground killing the bugs it obviously still has the potential to harm my kids. Besides harming my family I was also harming our yard. Bugs do have a place in this world, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. I am learning to accept their place and try natural changes and I hope you to will consider alternatives for the sake of both your family and our environment.
Here are some tips and great links for going natural and insecticide free.
1. Accept the occasional bug, not the masses, but the occasional bug
2. Practice good waste management – do not allow food and trash to sit around
3. Use nature to help you. Many birds are natural predators for bugs, by creating environments for birds to make your home their home, you will be getting your own personal exterminators. Great link to find the bird for the insecthttp://www.gardeners.com/Attracting-Bug-Eating-Birds/8103,default,pg.html
4. Use Natural Remedies: Here’s a wonderful list from http://www.suite101.com/content/top-ten-pest-control-products-that-wont-harm-the-environment-a253591
• Diatomaceous earth is one of the safest natural pesticides. On the surface it looks like a fine, soft powder; but an insect crossing a trail of this product experiences the human equivalent of walking barefoot on broken glass. It is effective at killing ants, cockroaches and slugs. Diatomaceous earth is available at most garden centres.
• Beer is a natural way to prevent slugs from chewing garden plants. Pour beer into a shallow plastic container and leave it in the garden overnight. Slugs will be attracted to the beer, fall in and drown.
• Soap mixed with water and sprayed on plants will help control aphids. Leave the mixture on plants for approximately 30 minutes before washing off.
• Boiling water, when poured between the cracks of pavement stones, will help to destroy weeds and ant colonies. • Mint is an effective natural pest deterrent. Plant peppermint in the garden to ward off mice, ants, fleas, flies and moths. Gardeners recommend planting mint in pots and then placing into bedding soil – mint can take over your garden if allowed to grow freely.
• Borax and flour, when mixed together (one part borax to two parts flour) and sprinkled near household entry points will help to keep down populations of ants and cockroaches. Insects die when they ingest the Borax while grooming the dust from their bodies. Note: Borax is also poisonous to humans if ingested; using this solution is not recommended in homes with young children or pets.
• Bay leaves are a natural deterrent to cockroaches and ants. Place bay leaves in the pantry where food is stored. • Insect predators are nature’s way of preventing any one insect population from gaining too much control and upsetting the ecosystem. Unfortunately, humans have interfered with that balance in many areas. Find out what species of insects do not like each other, and how to regain order in the garden