Simple steps to repel 5 pesky pests

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Spiders and skeeters and flies, oh my! They're everywhere, making themselves right at home in your kitchen cabinets and living room baseboards. What’s a person to do? As they say, the best defense is a good offense.

You won’t have to treat yourself for painful bites and stings if you keep the bugs away in the first place.

 

1.  Stamp out skeeters in a rain barrel. You hate them. Fish love them. So why not feed mosquitoes to some goldfish or a school of minnows? It’s easy if you have a do-it-yourself (DIY) rain barrel.

Some rain barrels come with a solid cover, which helps to keep mosquitoes out. But many DIY rain barrels call for a mesh cover. The screen keeps debris out, but not mosquitoes. Since the stagnant water just sits there until it’s needed, it’s the perfect place for mosquito larvae.

That’s where your fish friends come in. Goldfish and minnows love to snack on larvae. The more larvae they eat, the fewer mosquitoes you have buzzing around your yard. It’s a win-win!

Look online or check your local home improvement store for affordable DIY rain barrels.

 

 

2.  Aromatic ways to repel ticks. Natural practitioners swear by essential oils for a variety of ailments. They also use them to deter ticks.

Make a spray with rose geranium oil and/or red cedar oil. Mix 15 drops of either or both in an 8-ounce spray bottle filled halfway with witch hazel and the other half with distilled water. Shake and spray on.

Herbalists say the oils work by masking your natural body odors, making it harder for ticks to find you.

 

3.  Fragrant herb makes flies fly away. You love adding basil to your pesto and pasta sauce. Here’s another reason to love basil — it’s a natural fly deterrent.

Place pots of the sweet-smelling herb around doorways and windows to keep houseflies out. Or sprinkle dried basil into small pouches and tie them with ribbon. Rub the little sacks periodically to release the basil’s aroma.

If you’re ever around horseflies, make this natural repellent. In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups vinegar with 1/4 cup baby oil and a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Shake and spray on yourself before heading out to an area with lots of horseflies.

 

4.  Citrus juice sends spiders packing. Spiders hang out at your house year-round. Thankfully, limes and lemons are available year-round, too. Pour pure lime or lemon juice into a spray bottle with some water. Spray the solution around your door frames and window sills, and use to clean your countertops (except granite and marble). Not only will spiders stay away, your house will smell nice and clean, too.

 

5.  Banish bees with herbs and spices. Garlic, cinnamon, and peppermint— three very different flavors with one thing in common. Bees hate them.

Make a spray adding a few squirts of dishwashing soap to water. Add either cinnamon, crushed garlic, or peppermint oil to the solution, and spray it around your house. Or better yet, place pots of peppermint on your porch or patio.

To rid your pool or garden fountain of honeybees, mix 1/4 cup dishwashing soap with about a quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray the bees directly while they’re buzzing around near the water. They will die in an environmentally friendly way. When they don’t return to their colony, the rest of the bees won’t know where to find the water source.

 

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  • FC&A Staff Writer