Saturday, March 23, 2013


     When you ask someone in Florida, "What pests do you suffer?"  The answer will be some kind of bug.  They will tell you ants, roaches, silverfish, termites, spiders or some other kind of bug.  We have bugs.  They are every where.  They get in to every thing.  And, yes, I know spiders are arachnids but if it creeps or crawls it's a bug.  

      Millions upon millions of dollars are spent each year here in an effort to irradicate these pests from the home.  I work in houses that spend an average of $3000 a year to keep bugs out of the house and off the lawns.  Extra funds are spent to treat for fire ants and other ant varieties. God forbid one of their beloved pets should scratch a flea!  And, no pest control company guarantees against spiders!  

     The terrible part is, I know the best way to reduce infestations in the home is to stop inviting them in.   My grandmother had a point when she wrapped all food and anything that had a hint of sugar in plastic.  Ants will enter the home to find a cough drop in the corner of a bathroom cabinet! Don't feed them, or entice them to enter, wrap it up.  

     Trim the hedges and trees at least one foot, twelve inches, away from the house.  This space is where you lay your bug bait, creating a barrier around the house.

     Trimming branches keeps other pests at bay.  Raccoon, possum, and birds that all carry fleas, mites or other pests can make the jump from trees too close to the structure.  Trim it back.  

    Keep leaves off the roof and out of the gutter.  Decaying leaves can rot your roof, wet decaying leaves can create compost.  Many kinds of bugs blow in with the wind and with leaves on the roof they can make a home, hidden from too much light or water. 

     Now that you are practicing prevention, how do you get rid of pests you already have?

     In the yard, I treat the ground with a sprinkling of Borax.  I like the Twenty Mule Team Borax brand.  I spread it once a year in the spring to rid me of fleas.  Beside the neighborhood wild domestic cats, we have possum and there is a flea problem in the sandy yards of the neighbors who don't believe me, but no fleas in my yard.  

     For ants, I use grits.  Yup!  grits!  It's that simple.  Ants feed on what they find, dig holes and establish a colony.  If you see a mound, they have eaten everything they can where there is sand.  Measure the distance from the hole to the first grass and double the distance.  That is where the ants are foraging.  Sprinkle some grits in a circle at that distance.  They will come get it, take it in and die.  I don't know if they blow up or it creates a gas, I don't care.  They are dead.

     For roaches, I toss a box of moth balls under the house every other month.  If you like the smell, you can toss a moth ball in the kitchen cabinets and one under the sink.  I have used bay laurel leaves for indoors and it makes a better smelling repellent.  Boric acid works, but you need to apply it with a soft makeup brush.  The squirting of boric acid (which is just borax in a bottle in a more refined grain) in huge piles means roaches will just walk around it.  A light dusting with a soft brush means they walk through it and the are dead.  

     Two scents repulsive to silverfish are cucumbers and cloves.  I can't see cutting strips of cucumbers and tossing them in the cabinet, ever.  I do like the smell of opening a cabinet and being greeted with cloves and bay laurel.  

     Spiders can be got rid of with cinnamon oil and water mixed in a squirting bottle and spray as needed.  (Two tsp. oil to one cup water)

These are good remedies that have been tested and they work.  It beats out the three billion pounds of pesticides poured out around homes in this country annually.   These remedies are inexpensive.  I buy my moth balls at Dollar Tree, at a dollar a box and the peppermint oil I get at the flea market at a cost of $3 a bottle twice a year.  The cloves, bay leaves, and grits I have on hand for cooking.  Boric acid is also available at the Dollar Tree and any grocery store.  I get Borax in the laundry section at the grocery store.  


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