It is not a great feeling to encounter persistent pests and critters that infest your kitchen or take shelter in your garden, wreaking havoc on your indoor plants. In a household with children, having such creatures is not without its dangers. Many of these pests may carry germs that can be harmful to your children’s health. While an occasional fly or two do not pose much of a problem, an infestation of cockroaches in the kitchen corners or aphids in your garden need to be dealt with immediately.
So what can you do to get rid of pestering insects? Chemical-based pesticides and repellents can be harmful to your family’s and pet’s health. Children are especially vulnerable to the effect of chemical pesticides and it is high time we banned these from our households. According to a report ‘Pesticide Exposure in Children’ published in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal, children encounter pesticides daily and this exposure causes acute poisoning risks. There can be chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure including paediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioural problems. Children can also develop various skin and respiratory allergies.
But there is no need to panic. There is no dearth of natural remedies for this menace. All you need to do is look around your house for some home-made solutions to bugs and pests and you would be surprised at how effective these can actually be. Here we give you some simple hacks that will help rid your house of pests --
1. Lemongrass and citronella oil for mosquito -- According to the website plantcaretoday.com, lemongrass has long been used as a natural insect repellent. This is an ornamental grass that is native to Asia and grows well in wide pots. It is a good idea to grow this strong-smelling grass in your garden or balcony in containers, to keep away the mosquitoes. Burning the grass inside the home can also give good results. Alternatively, citronella oil, which is extracted from Lemongrass is quite effective in keeping mosquitoes away. Just burn some oil in a diffuser or light up citronella-based natural incense sticks, specifically in corners of the house and watch the pests do a disappearing act.
2. Talcum Powder for ants -- Do not be surprised but this really works. Sprinkling generous amounts of talcum powder into crevices in the house and behind doorways, which are likely to be infested with colonies of ants, will keep them away. If you see a line of ants on the floor, just dust a thick line of talcum powder on the ants and watch them either disappear or become immobile. This is how it works -- ants are known to breathe through their skin and the substances found in regular baby powder dries it out, so this eventually kills them. A thick line of chalk in an area frequented by ants will also do the trick.
3. Neem and garlic spray for garden insects -- Neem is a great natural repellent and neem oil works on almost all kinds of bugs and critters. Here is a great solution for those hardy insects that ruin your plants. Instead of using harmful insecticides in your garden, try this all-natural solution -- in a spray bottle, mix a few drops of neem oil or a paste of neem leaves with some crushed garlic, a little liquid soap, chilli powder and top it up with water. Mix this well and spray the plants regularly. This solution will help keep those whitefly infestations away from your plants. In fact, neem is known to be effective in killing hundreds of pests.
4.Vinegar and soap for fruit flies -- You hate seeing them sit on your kitchen counter and contaminate the fruits and vegetables. If you have tried many different measures but have still not been able to get rid of the stubborn flies, don’t lose hope. Here is an effective hack that you can try at home -- take a shallow bowl and fill it with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, detergent soap and water. Cover the top of the bowl with cling film and make a few holes in it. Keep this bowl near the spot where you find a lot of flies. The smell of the vinegar will attract them and once they get into the bowl, they will fall inside and die.
5. Egg shells and garlic for lizards -- The last thing you want is a lizard contaminating your kitchen. We don’t know what it is about eggshells and garlic, but both work well to repel these reptiles. Keep broken halves of egg shells on your kitchen window or any other corner which is frequented by lizards. It is likely they will stay away. If you do not like the sight of eggshells all over the house, try garlic pods. The strong smell of this spice is enough to repel them.
6. Bay leaves for cockroaches -- It is difficult to get rid of cockroaches in the house as they are resilient. Keep your house and surrounding clean, making sure there no food particles strewn on the floor or counters. One solution is to shred a few bay leaves and place them around the house. They hate the strong smell, which forces the parasites to avoid the area.
Enrol your children's help to take up the responsibility of executing some fo these measures in the house. These hacks will ensure that you will never lose against pests.