This past weekend, it was (oddly) about 80 degrees and sunny here in Kansas in March. The weather felt great because I’m ready for May, although it’s not nearly May yet! There were even bees and wasps buzzing around. Amid all the springtime glory was a reminder of some of the season’s less-than-desirable characteristics when I saw three ants crawling around my bathroom. OK, three ants isn’t a big deal, but three ants generally leads to many, many more ants–a problem I am anxious to nip in the bud. I can’t stand killing bugs, so I let the little guys outside, but I can’t be catching ants all summer. Hence, I turned to the handy dandy kitchen pest control sidebar we feature in the current (March/April 2012) issue of Natural Home & Garden, excerpted from the excellent book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier. This list is only a short sample of the many bugs and methods Karen includes in her book, so check it out if you have problems with pests not listed here or if these remedies don’t work for you. Or check out the remedies we list in this article from 2010. The Naturally Clean Home also includes more than 150 recipes for naturally cleaning every room in your home, a sampling of which can be found here.
Even the cleanest of kitchens are susceptible to unwanted visitors. Give bugs the boot with these quick remedies.
Ants: Wipe cabinets with a damp sponge and 6 to 8 drops peppermint or citronella essential oil. Then place 3 to 5 drops of the same oil on windowsills, doorway cracks and in the corners of cabinets under the kitchen sink.
Centipedes, earwigs, silverfish: Place several drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or citronella essential oil in areas that collect moisture such as basements, garages and cabinets that house plumbing fixtures.
Cockroaches: Sprinkle a mixture of washing soda and sugar in dark areas where roaches like to hide, but avoid this method if you have children or pets. It may be best to consult an exterminator.
Mice: Place sprigs of fresh peppermint between pantry items in your cabinets, or make a solution of 2 cups water and 3 teaspoons of peppermint essential oil and spray it wherever you find mouse droppings.
Mites and weevils: Place a few whole nutmegs in flour containers.
Other insects: Place loose bay leaves in kitchen cabinets.
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