natural pest control

Fend Off 5 Spring Pests Naturally

Bugged by spring insects? Use natural pest control—not unhealthy, toxic chemicals—to protect yourself and your home.

By Leah Zerbe


Pesticides are designed to kill. That's why people use them. But researchers are increasingly finding that their effects aren't limited to the pests they're intended to wipe out. Aside from poisonings, synthetic chemical insect repellents have been linked to prostate cancer and other men's health problems, a common birth defect, nervous-system disruption, asthma attacks, seizures, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and childhood brain tumors, among other ailments. The good news is you can prevent bug bites and control other pest problems without poisoning the environment, yourself, or your family.

Here, 5 common pests that rear their ugly little heads this time of year, and some natural solutions.


Though tiny, the diseases ticks can transmit to humans, such as Lyme disease can take a huge toll on people's health. Your best defense:

1. Take a shower or bath within two hours of being outside in areas where ticks may be present.

2. Perform a whole-body tick check within 36 hours of being in your yard, sooner, if you've been out in the woods.

3. Install a deer fence around your property, to keep out the critters that ticks latch on to.

4. Keep your grass mowed.

5. Install a gravel barrier between your yard and wooded areas, which helps keep tick-carrying mice out of your yard, and keep woodpiles neatly stacked so they don't become hiding places for ticks.

6. Use plant-based repellents that work. BiteBlocker is a safer alternative to DEET, and protects against ticks for two hours.

Published on: April 8, 2010
Updated on: May 23, 2012

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I've been using the ant recipe for 20 years now from Organic Gardening magazine. I only use 1/4th of the recipe because I usually only need one bait at a time. Even 1/8th would do. I simplified the process by mixing it in the container, add the cotton balls or tissues, drain the excess, slit the holes in the container and I'm ready to go. It does go moldy in a week or two so no sense in making too much. The same bottle of boric acid still shows no sign of emptying so this is a really cheap way of getting rid of them pesky ants. It's amazing that within an hour the ants are trailing in and out of the container and usually by two days, they are gone.

natural pest control

Another caution in terms of ticks. People are talking a lot about ticks carried by deer or mice.
I believe that ticks however are carried into our homes by our pet animals who share living spaces, sofas and beds. They are more likely to roam in grassy spots where the ticks can be picked up and then brought into the house where they can switch to a human host.
Dogs and cats should be regularly checked for ticks and be given a regular treatment of Frontline or similar pesticide.

Eradicating Pests

I love your article on natural pest control, especially the last tip. We used to live near the ocean, and our neighbor had a huge Kraken infestation. Now we live in Vermont and our problem is dropbears. We've found that if we bang two sticks together as we hike the dropbears avoid us. Other hikers thought that it was just noise that scared off the dropbears so they played their i-pods and talked on their cellphones, but apparently the electromagnetic energy from those devices actually attracts dropbears.

Seriously, though, I'll be adding the boric acid laced cotton balls this season. Thanks for another great article!


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