We are eco-friendly and believe that there are a number of ways to pest-proof your yard this summer without harming our planet! Here are some pests that may make their way onto your property and how you can repel them using eco-friendly methods.
Voles can make their way onto your lawn and chew up plants, forming tunnels all over your property. They tend to drive gardeners and homeowners absolutely crazy. You will immediately recognize a vole by the snakelike tunnels they create all over your lawn. It is important to note first that voles are not moles, and that moles require different prevention measures. They are small, stocky rodents that can be spotted by the shallow, 2-inch tunnels they create. Voles are particularly active during the spring and summer months. Voles will eat up your root vegetables, flower bubbles from beneath the ground, and bark.
We would recommend removing woodpiles and any potential hiding places for voles from around your shrubs, garden, and trees. You should attempt to keep your lawn mowed and all the bushes trimmed up from the ground. One way to protect your vegetable garden and plants is to create a fencing area or barrier using mesh cloth. This should be standing at least 12 inches above the ground and buried at least 6 to 10 inches deep to ensure the voles cannot get in.
Furthermore, there is a variety of natural, eco-friendly irritants that voles despise. A few of these include cayenne pepper, garlic, onion, castor oil, and ammonia. These kitchen cabinet ingredients can be mixed in with some water and poured into a spray bottle to be dispersed across the vole tunnels or surrounding your plants and vegetables. Castor oil specifically can be derived from the seeds of the castor plant and mixed with capsaicin, an oil found in hot peppers. These oils can then be poured into tunnels or sprayed around areas where the voles are consistently infesting.
Opossums can be helpful when clearing out garbage and feeding on unwanted insects. However, they can often be a nuisance, causing havoc on your plants and rummaging through your trash cans. It can be very difficult to get rid of opossums in order to protect your pets and plants so here are a few eco-friendly ways to keep them at bay.
Similar to voles, we recommend putting up fencing which is at least four feet high to prevent the opossums from getting into your garden. Attempt to make your yard less appealing to the opossums by pruning trees, shrubs, and removing any other debris. Fallen fruit should be cleaned up immediately. Pet food and water should be stored away at night and garbage cans should have tight-fitting lids so that the opossums cannot get in.
It is important to note that water sources, food, and trash are all an open invitation to opossums for a feast. Bushy homes with leftovers will immediately attract opossums. Onions and garlic have proven to work as an effective natural deterrent. Simply place a few onions and garlic in two liters of water, bring to a boil and then spray grapevines, roses, and any other plants that need protecting. Additionally, electronic repellents such as motion-activated sprinklers and lawn lights can startle opossums, scaring them away. These repellents can be used on lawns, compost bins, trees, entryways, pools, and barns to deter opossums. Visit howtokeepopossumsaway.com to learn more tips.
Groundhogs are the largest member of the squirrel family but are still classified as a rodent. Groundhogs can quickly become a pest that requires exclusion. You can easily identify a groundhog by the stocky build and brownish-grey fur. Groundhogs rarely carry harmful diseases but can be a nuisance due to their immense appetite for eating plants and crops. Groundhogs will commonly feast on apples, carrots, berries, corn, lettuce, soybeans, and dandelions. As a groundhog prepares for hibernation by consuming more food than use, it may cause considerable damage to your backyard garden or farm.
You can spot damage by groundhogs by the bite marks and hollowed-out crops they leave behind. Groundhogs bulk up during the summer months so be wary of any of these signs. You may also notice fruit trees that have been gnawed at or potentially even power cables. We would recommend a fence with no openings, dug at least two feet into the ground to keep groundhogs out. Alternatively, you can plant specific food sources that will turn groundhogs away. For example, clover, basil, parsley, green beans, or beets. It is also vital to keep your yard as clean as possible. Regular sanitization will get rid of any potential smells of vegetation that grounds can detect. Do not allow food to rot and get rid of food scraps immediately. We recommend double bagging any food to throw out and use a bin with a tight lid to prevent groundhogs from getting in.
Mosquitoes are small but mighty. They are the deadliest insects as they cause several fatal diseases such as dengue, malaria, and yellow fever. On a smaller scale, they are irritating for the itchy bites they leave us with during the hot summer months. Aside from mosquito repellent, we would recommend using the following natural remedies around your house.
Camphor, for example, is a natural home remedy that deters mosquitoes. This is because of the strong odor. We recommend closing all of your doors and lighting up camphor. In approximately thirty minutes, you will notice that you cannot find any mosquitoes. Garlic is made up of a few properties that offer assistance to keep mosquitoes absent. To test this strategy out, you should crush some cloves of garlic and after that bubble them in water. At that point, you’ll need to pour the arrangement in a shower bottle and shower it around your room, carpet, garage, and any other targeted areas.
There are many similarities in repelling pests, all of which are eco-friendly. Here is a summary of the four primary methods to keep pests at bay:
- Plant pest control
Mint, rosemary, basil, lavender, and other herbs work well as a natural pest control. By planting these herbs in your garden, you will keep your space pest-free and also be able to use them indoors for any unwanted guests. If you don’t want to use companion plants in your garden but want to keep pests at bay, consider planting petunias, chrysanthemums, lemongrass, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, or marigolds instead.
- Vinegar and essential oils
One of the most crucial steps in the pest-prevention process is cleaning. Rather than getting in poisonous or chemical-laden cleaners, we suggest that you clean using natural products for the majority of your cleaning. 1/2 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and 10-15 drops of essential oils make one of the simplest cleaners you can make at home that also works as a pest deterrent, particularly peppermint or eucalyptus. For a more robust spray, consider a straight-up solution of one part coconut oil and two parts distilled vinegar. Another alternative to essential oils is citrus peels covered with vinegar to marinate in a cool, dry space for a few weeks. This solution can be strained and used as a natural bug repellent.
- Use food waste to repel pests
In addition to making a citrus cleaning spray with orange, lemon, and lime peels, you can cut up these peels (and even banana peels) and apply them directly to your garden to help fertilize your plants and serve as a natural insecticide. Pests can be deterred by placing citrus peels on counters and window sills. The chopped leftover onion should be added to water and left out in the open to naturally decompose. Coffee grounds also tend to work as a deterrent due to the strong smell. If the coffee grounds have been brewed, it works even better. Fortunately, many pests are repulsed by this odor. Rather than throwing away those grounds, you can use them to repel ants, mosquitoes, wasps, bees, and other insects. The grounds can be put on the outside or inside of your house, along window sills. Cucumbers are also unappealing to ants. We recommend taking the peel from a cucumber the next time you make a cucumber salad or just want to snack on one, and put it in key “points of entry” around your kitchen to deter pests.
- Sprinkle your seasoning around your window sills
Although most people season their food to improve its flavor, certain seasonings are considered to be poisonous to insects and bugs. Pest deterrents can be found in your kitchen drawers such as cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, salt, turmeric, and black pepper. Simply sprinkling some seasoning around the window sill would suffice. Put cinnamon, bay leaves, or cloves in small bags and place them in cupboards, closets, bookshelves, or other areas around the house where pests have been discovered.
The key with all of these pest repellents is to keep your pets in mind and ensure your space is still safe. Even eco-friendly, natural pest control methods carry the risk of being harmful to certain animals. If you have pets, ensure to read up on specific ingredients, be wary of any potential allergies, and follow necessary safety precautions. We would recommend trying natural, eco-friendly, and organic pest-control solutions first. If your pest problem is out of control, please contact professional pest control as soon as possible.
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