Friday, May 25, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Natural Pest Control

Roach control: This is a five-step process:

1. Exclusion. Keep them out of your house. Most roaches like it outside until they get hungry, can't find anything tasty there, and walk in through a house's holes or cracks to feast on the water and food crumbs left from dinner. To stop them, use caulking, steel wool, and copper mesh to fill the cracks in masonry, spaces between trim and brick, and holes of all kinds, including spaces around pipes. Put wire screens in air vents and stop up any other entryways.

2. Elimination of cracks. Fill cracks and crevices inside the house. One of the best weapons against roaches is the caulk gun. Every time you fill in a crack with caulk, you reduce the number of roaches that your home can support. Roaches will not mate unless they are nestled in the security of a very small space. A 1/8-inch-wide crack is too wide for roach comfort.

3. Removal of cardboard boxes. The honey-combed design of cardboard offers miles of tunnels that are perfect hiding and mating spaces; the glue on cardboard boxes and on paper sacks is attractive food for these critters.

4. Cleanliness. Eliminating food and water sources such as dripping faucets, leaks, pet water and food, and dirty kitchens makes your home much less attractive to roaches.

5. Baits. Once the roaches are in the house, there's a two-step attack. Boric acid dusted lightly where the bugs are seen is very effective, but use light dustings. If you can see the material after an application, so can the roaches--so you've put out too much. Diatomaceous earth products also work well.

Effective homemade baits can be made by mixing one part sugar and one part Arm and Hammer detergent. A pinch of boric acid added to this mix makes it even more effective. This mixture has extremely low toxicity, but it still should be put in bait stations or lids and located in areas where pets and children can't get to them.

Stronger baits can be made by mixing two parts flour, one part boric acid, and one part sugar and moistening enough to form little balls or cakes. Add more moisture from time to time to keep them more appetizing. Always keep all pesticides, even these organic home remedies, away from the pets and the kiddos.

6. Spray. The best organic sprays for roaches are the citrus products.

Control starts with thorough cleaning and the elimination of water and food in the house. Dust problem areas indoors with boric acid and natural diatomaceous earth. Put out baits indoors of 50% sugar and 50% Arm and Hammer laundry detergent. Use lids or other small containers. Apply beneficial nematodes to the grounds around the house and spray with plant oil products.

Roaches - simple solutions

Simple but effective roach baits can be made by mixing equal amounts of baking soda or sugar, equal amounts of Arm and Hammer Soap and sugar. Some have reported that cocoa works better than sugar

Snails and Slugs

Natural Control: Maintain permanent stands of clover and mulches to favor ground beetles and rove beetles (which eat slugs). Centipedes also eat slug eggs. Other predators include small mammals, snakes, fogs, toads, lizards, birds, and carnivorous beetles. In the insect world their biggest enemy is the larva of the lightning bug.

Organic Control: Dust dry hot pepper in problem areas - - it works great. Mix with diatomaceous earth for economy. Coarse-textured, crushed hot pepper like as that used on pizza is best. Citrus oil spray works well, and coffee grounds sprinkled on top of the mulch also helps. Cedar mulches are also important.

Snail control: garlic-pepper tea works pretty well when they are young and just getting started. Later, the Garden-Ville Fire Ant Control works well. Mix equal parts molasses, orange oil, and compost tea. Mix 4 oz. Of the concentrate per gallon of water and spray directly on the pests. Also, mix equal parts DE, dry hot red pepper, and fine textured cedar flakes. Dust around affected plants. Fireplace ashes work well, especially in acid soils – rock phosphate, zeolite, and eggshells also work.


Most spiders are beneficial. They eat insects and help to control many pests. Only two spiders in the US are poisonous to most people – black widow and brown recluse. Brown recluse spider venom has no antidote, but get to a doctor quickly if you’re bitten by either of them.

Problem spiders can be controlled with garlic/pepper tea, or citrus sprays but it is better to knock the webs and nests down with a broom or vacuum them. Citronella sprays such as Skeeter D’Feeter also work well.

A product that will prevent spiders and wasps from locating their webs and nests in unwanted locations is Dr. T's Cobb Web Eliminator. The ingredients are:
Capsaicin (hot pepper)
Corriander oil
Anise oil

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