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Index 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.

  1. 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 salad spinner slings water-- and contaminants-- off your greens fast and efficiently.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.

  6. 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. 

  7. 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.

  8. 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.)

  9. 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 repellant, 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 mosquitoes.

  10. Use 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?
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