to more 10 Commandments
... for Less Pesticide Exposure
Pesticides kill bugs, right? So they can't be good
for us humans. Here's how to reduce pesticide use.
- Wash your produce! See "Are Your Fruits and Veggies Safe to Eat?"
and "Imitate a Raccoon; Wash your Produce".
All vegetables and fruits should be thoroughly washed before using them.
They can be washed with a veggie spray, or soaked briefly in a bowl or pan
of water with a tablespoon or two of white vinegar added. A
slings water-- and contaminants-- off your greens fast
- Keep food safe from bugs. Remove everything from
cellophane, plastic and cardboard packages as soon as possible when you bring them home
from the grocery, saving any instructions you may need. Store these foods in
labeled containers. Tupperware«
has an excellent assortment. If you can't afford Tupperware«, use empty mayonnaise
jars and deli or whipped topping plastic cartons with tight lids. I did that for
years when my kids (and our budget) were small.
- Refrigerate food promptly and clean up food residue; take
out the garbage too. Bugs love your leftovers. If you keep your kitchen
clean, they won't come calling as unwanted, six-legged dinner guests.
- Many people swear by bay leaves; put one or two in a canister of flour,
they say, and it will keep weevils and such away. Try it in containers
of pasta, too. If you do find a bug in grains or cereals, put
the container in the freezer for 24 hours to stop infestation in its tracks.
- Use natural remedies as much as you can to repel insects. Talcum
powder, baking soda or boric acid powder discourages ants, fleas and
possibly roaches. So do citrus peels. Cedar repels moths and
other insects. Cedar spray with real cedar oil to apply to wood, included old, dried out cedar.
Lavender reportedly helps keep bugs out, and makes your linens smell nice as well.
Other herbs and spices that bugs hate are cloves, cinnamon, mint, rosemary, thyme,
basil and chili peppers.
- Install a bug zapper for outside patios. Get a fly
swatter or two; they're fun! Helps your coordination; kids especially love the
challenge. If your dog or cat has natural tendencies that way you can train them to
catch flies and dispose (Bleaacch!) of them. Some stores still sell fly paper, those
sticky spirals that catch flies and other bugs.
- Fleas and ticks can carry dangerous diseases. You
may have to use some insecticides or other chemical remedies here for your sake and
your dogs', but you can minimize them with natural remedies. See Fleas and Ticks
from K-9 Web for hints. Sprinkle 20-Mule-Team Borax on carpets,
working it into the fiber, for flea control. Put it under dog's and
cat's sleeping pads or blankets, too.
- Encourage frogs, toads, wild birds, bats, snakes and
lizards, especially geckos. We almost never use insecticides; we have an
amazing gecko patrol. Geckos are harmless to humans, clean (they 'toilet train'
themselves, usually a spot on a windowsill), amusing, quiet (except in mating season), and
generally work unseen when the lights go out. They eat almost all kinds of
bugs. If you don't poison them with insecticides, you'll have a natural bug patrol
for life. (If you go on vacation in wintry weather, be sure and leave the heater on
low for them; freezing kills them.)
- In your garden, plant marigolds amongst the
veggies. Most bugs hate marigolds. Use garlic, soap and
other natural remedies as much as possible for insect control on your
plants. Plant geraniums around your patio; there's some that are especially
bred for mosquito repellant qualities. Buy citronella candles. Use
especially on children outdoors at night. Make sure all your screens are intact and
that the screen doors close and fit tightly. Screens can be lightly sprayed with
Avon "Skin-So-Soft" to repel no-see-'ums and tiny gnats that otherwise might
slip though the screens. Be sure you dump all standing water that might breed
natural pest control whenever you can. But when there's no help for it,
and you do have to use insecticides, use precautions. Don't breathe the spray; air
the house before you return. Don't spray where food rests, baby crawls and children
play. Whenever possible use pyrethrin-based
insecticide. Pyrethrins are extracted from a flower, in use for
centuries as a natural insecticide and fish killer/catcher with no reported ill effects on
humans. Be sure you completely remove pets, fish, reptiles and birds before using
pyrethrins or any insecticide. They are far more sensitive than we humans appear to
be. Perhaps that's trying to tell us something?