Magazine article The World and I

Safer Modes of Pest Control - Pest Control without Toxic Pesticides

Magazine article The World and I

Safer Modes of Pest Control - Pest Control without Toxic Pesticides

Article excerpt

Here are some practical tips to control pests in the home and garden, circumventing the use of harmful pesticides.

Beneficial insects. In the yard and garden, take advantage of beneficial insects and other predators, such as lacewings, ladybug beetles, predatory mites, parasitic wasps, and spiders. Support these creatures by growing appropriate plants, such as clover, white lace flower, evening primrose, cilantro, fennel, caraway, dill, flowering buckwheat, white yarrow, and tansy.

Fleas. On pets, use flea combs and traps, and bathe pets often with mild shampoos. Some flea traps attract fleas to a light source and immobilize them on sticky paper. In pet bedding, use eucalyptus, rosemary, and bay leaves to deter fleas. You may also use supplements (garlic, sulfur, zinc) or commercial products such as Pet-Guard that help repel fleas.

Ants. In the home, block the entry of ants with duct tape or petroleum jelly, or use Tanglefoot. Outdoors, pour boiling water down ant colonies and nests you wish to destroy. Wash ant-infested surfaces with soap and water to remove the chemical trails left by ants that lead them to food. Baits such as Drax Ant Kill Gel limit the exposure to humans, pets, and the environment. Ants eat the bait and take it back to the colony, where it is shared. Baits are the best way to kill the egg-laying queen. In addition, deny ants food and water. Store dry foods in airtight containers or in the refrigerator. To protect pet food from ants, place the food bowl inside a larger, water-filled bowl, to create a water barrier from the food.

Sapsuckers. These are common garden pests that suck the sap of plants. …

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