Environmentally-friendly pest controls are at the order of the day, especially since we found out that DEET used in most mosquito repellents can cause brain cell death after a prolonged exposure. Chemicals might seem to be the best solution, to get rid of pests since they are effective in the short term. But overall, they cause a lot of damage to our planet.
1. Using sprays with a high concentration of essential oils
Although they’re not as effective as regular DEET or picaridin, homemade essential oil sprays do have a repellent effect on mosquitos, ants, and other bugs. The key to successfully repelling bugs with essential oils lies in acknowledging their volatility: you have to reapply the spray every hour and it has to have a concentration of at least 10% and up to 50%. Peppermint and lemon-eucalyptus oil are very common for these purposes.
2. Burning plants like eucalyptus
Starting a fire to scare animals and bugs off is a technique that has been used since the dawn of humanity. Today, a big campfire is not necessarily what you want or need at home, but the resulting smoke still works as an effective repellent, depending on what you are burning. This study showed how various plants’ smoke, including eucalyptus, can act as a bug repellent.
3. Having a tomato plant, with leaves, at home
Tomato leaves naturally contain a substance called IBI 246, which acts as a repellent to mosquitoes and ticks. This sudy showed that it was just as effective as DEET, but without harming the environment or your health.
4. Spraying a combination of spicy chili, garlic, and soapy water
If you’re not into super spicy food, there’s a big chance that the bugs trying to break into your house aren’t either. Chili spray is used as an effective bug deterrent. You do have to be careful to not apply it on anything edible and to avoid any contact with your eyes and hands. You can also combine it with garlic and a little bit of soap.
5. Eating garlic or using it to spray on your plants
During an experiment carried out with Swedish military personnel, researchers found that candidates consuming high doses of concentrated garlic were significantly less bitten by ticks than their peers. Garlic spray can be used to treat plants as well.
6. Letting natural predators de-bug your home
One of the most effective ways of getting rid of a pest is to introduce natural predators into the picture. Of course, you have to be extremely careful to not create new pests. Spiders, wasps, beetles, and even cats are natural bug predators, so next time you see one, think twice before killing it! It might help you get rid of those annoying mosquito buzzes.
7. Using LEDs instead of normal lighting
A study carried out in 2016 concluded that although all lights attract insects, LEDs have the potential to reduce the number of unwanted visitors when compared to traditional lights, if used moderately. If you absolutely need a light on during the night, you might consider changing to an LED bulb.
8. Getting new plants that can act as a barrier
If you have a balcony or space at home for plants, then you might want to consider getting peppermint, lemongrass, or lavender. A lot of these plants repel bugs naturally thanks to their scents, while at the same time perfuming your home. A geranium scent is also known as a bug barrier, according to some florists. If you use diatomaceous earth you can keep the bugs away from the plants too.
Have you tried any of the methods mentioned above? Do you have any other environmentally-friendly methods to share with us? Let us know in the comments!