Pesticides are one of the most harmful toxins lurking in most homes, garages, and garden sheds. According to a recent UN report over 200,000 people die each year from pesticide exposure, while millions more are unknowingly sickened by these insidious toxins which are linked to everything from cancer and Parkinson’s to depression, developmental disorders and sterility1. I know this all too well as my son had a pesticide exposure at age 10 that left him with extensive brain damage and no ability to detoxify, neutralize, and metabolize the chemicals found in products and materials we use every day. His doctors said he would never recover, but after tossing the toxins and making a clean sweep of products with harmful chemicals, reducing EMF exposures, using food as medicine, among other methods, he was able to fully recover.
It is imperative that toxic pesticides be permanently removed from the home for the health of your entire household. That being said, who wants annoying or even harmful pests lurking in their home? No reason to worry, here are five of our favorite safer, natural pesticides and pest control solutions.
#1: Repel mosquitos and ticks with these 4 proven essential oils
No one wants to deal with disease-carrying mosquitoes or ticks which is why many turn to pesticide-based bug sprays. However, given that our skin absorbs whatever we slather on, bug spray can be a nasty source of pesticide exposure, especially for young children with their developing immune systems.
Instead, we recommend either purchasing or making your own essential-oil based bug spray. Which essential oils should you choose? Research has shown that lemongrass, thyme, geranium, and rosemary are all effective at repelling ticks2, and we’ve found they do double-duty on mosquitos too.
Easy and Natural DIY Mosquito and Tick Spray
- Fill a 16 oz glass spray bottle (like this one) with water about ¾ full.
- Add 4 tablespoons 100% witch hazel.
- Add 20-30 drops tick-repelling essential oil of choice (rosemary, lemongrass, thyme, or geranium).
- Top the bottle off with water.
- Shake well and spray on.
Other Bug Sprays
- Primally Pure Nature Spray (Mosquito Repellent)
- Spartan Mosquito Eradicator
- More recommendations in our guide “How To Replace Toxic Pesticides”
#2: Prevent and repel moths with a HEPA vacuum and these handy sachets
Moth infestations are more than a nuisance, they can ruin your entire wardrobe. Unfortunately, using conventional moth balls can put your health at great risk as they contain potentially carcinogenic ingredients like naphthalene and 1,4-diclorobenzene3.
A safer way to prevent moths is to use natural moth repellent sachets, like Stay Away Moths by Earthkind, and vacuum your closet regularly using a HEPA vacuum which will suck up moths, larvae, and the dust they feed on. Note: This product contains essential oils – order a sample to see if the smell is acceptable.
If you already have a moth problem, check out our step-by-step guide to eliminating moths naturally.
#3: Keep pests out of your garden with this common spice
Many people choose to grow their own food as a way to reduce the cost of buying organics, offset their carbon footprint, and/or for the pleasure of it. But keeping aphids, slugs, and other pets at-bay can be tricky without toxic pesticides. One of our favorite all-natural DIY pesticides for bugs and larger pests, like rabbits or squirrels, is a chile pepper-based spray.
To make, combine a quart of water with 1-2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and 10-20 drops Branch Basics Concentrate or Castile soap. Shake well and spray directly on plants as-needed.
#4: Stop sugar ants naturally with this inexpensive hack
If you’ve ever woken up to a sugar ant infestation, you know how hard they are to get rid of. No need to call in pest control, try the following:
- Locate where the ants are coming from (usually it’s a gap in a door or window)
- Remove their source of food (honey, sugar, a spill on the floor, etc.)
- Use BB All Purpose to spray all the ants and wipe them up. Continue to do this as they come into the house. Sometimes that is all you need to do.
- Next, apply food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) to the source of the problem. For example, if they’re coming in through your front door, sprinkle a layer in front of the door. DE is an all-natural, abrasive substance made from skeletons of small sea creatures that basically disables ants by cutting them. DE can be found in the pool section of your local hardware store.
*Note: Though it is all-natural, DE can cause respiratory problems if too much is inhaled long-term. Though home-use is considered perfectly safe, you can wear a mask as an extra precaution.
#5: And above all, follow the golden rule of natural pest control
What’s the golden rule of safer pest control? Keep a clean house. By vacuuming regularly, wiping countertops and surfaces, dusting, keeping a clean pantry, taking out the trash regularly, storing food safely, and sweeping floors you’ll deter the majority of common household pests like cockroaches, spiders, moths, and ants while creating a healthier home.
Want more information on safer, natural pest control solutions? Check out:
- Our Guide to Non-toxic Pesticides
- Integrated Pest Management: An Inexpensive, Safe, & Sensible Way to Avoid Pests.