Home Services

Pest Control the Frugal, Natural Way

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  1. Whether in the garden, yard or in the house, all of us have, at one time or another, had to deal with pests.
    Here are some ways to get rid of insects and other pests without spending a lot on expensive products.
  2. For garden pests, make a mixture of 1 tablespoon liquid dish-washing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil. Mix about 3 tablespoons of this concentrate with a quart of water in a pump bottle and spray on plants.
  3. Another recipe for insect control: soak citrus rind (lemon, orange, grapefruit) in water for a few days. Pour the water into a pump bottle and spray on plants.
  4. Sprinkle cayenne pepper around plants to keep cats away.
  5. Cucumber peel on a kitchen shelf will deter ants. You can also try washing or spraying your cabinets with vinegar and water.
  6. Basil is a natural insect repellent. Keep a pot in your kitchen. Take a few leaves along with you on a picnic and put them out on the table to keep the flies away.
  7. Bay leaves in your pantry will keep pests away. A bay leaf in a container of flour, cornmeal, or cereal will keep weevils out.
  8. Plant peppermint around your house. It will keep ants out and it repels mice also.
  9. Also cinnamon sprinkled around your foundation is said to keep ants out.
  10. Weeds are not really pests, but they can be really pesky! Hot water will kill most unwanted plants –just boil some water and pour it over the plant you want to kill.
  11. Mint teabags can be used in your clothing drawers or in your closet to repel moths.Try these tips and do a little bit to help the environment and your budget at the same time.

Organic Cockroach Control

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Cockroaches are among the most hated insects that invade people’s homes. They can live up to a year. The females lay several cases of eggs during their lifetimes, each containing 30-50 eggs.

Cockroaches have antennae that can pick up chemical signals in the air. This makes cockroaches hard to destroy with pesticides. Similarly, they sample food before eating it and can detect pesticides being used against them. Cockroaches have good memories and have developed immunity to many pesticides.

These insects can survive in almost any environment. They can live without food for 3 months and without water for more than 30 days. Cockroaches are capable of traveling many miles in a day. They can enter through cracks in the walls, and wherever they can travel, they can lay eggs. Under the right conditions, these egg cases may survive for years before hatching.

Cockroach Control

When planning a cockroach extermination plan, the first thing to figure out is where and how many. Keep a log for a couple of weeks. Take notes whenever you see them, identifying areas and numbers. If you’re just dealing with one stray cockroach every now and then, it’s probably not worth taking action. But the number you will tolerate is for you to decide.


Natural Cockroach Dust

Various dusts can be used to control cockroaches by sprinkling them in places cockroaches frequent, such as inside walls, drawers, cabinets, etc. You want to be careful where you spread cockroach dust so that pets and kids won’t get at it. You don’t want it to be ingested by anything other than the roaches.

Recipe for Safe Cockroach Dust:

1 c. dried up a leaves (powdered)
1 c. peppermint leaves (powdered)
1 tbsp. of garden grade diatomaceous earth
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper/chili pepper
1 tbsp. Powdered pyrethrium
1 tbsp. salt

Mix these ingredients together, then use a mortar and pestle to grind them into a fine powder. This mixture works best if it is allowed to stay for 24 hours or more. Good places to apply it are in between walls, the attic, the cellar, and under your house. You can also make this mixture into a paste by adding a tablespoon of butter and a little bit of water. This may make it easier to apply.

Questions to Ask before You Fumigate

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Fumigation is the usual treatment for Drywood termites infesting numerous areas of the house. It’s a costly process, so you’ll want to get estimates from a number of companies. Try to find a couple of former customers and see if they were happy with the service. You may also want to call the state agency overseeing the industry and find out how the violations were filed against each company in the past couple of years. Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out the company’s reputation.

Don’t let any company pressure you. Even if you have the termite infestation, you’re house isn’t going to crash to the ground tomorrow.

The gases used in fumigation are odorless, tasteless, colorless, and quite deadly. Here are a few questions to ask the company’s representative before you fumigate:

Will your foods be protected?
Will photographic equipment be damaged?
Will artwork be damaged?
Will plants inside or outside the house be affected?
How will your home be secured while it’s vacant?
How will you know when it’s safe to return to the house?
How long will the fumigant protect your house?
How much will the whole fumigation process cost?

Make sure you have answers to these and other questions before you start.

Companion Planting as Natural Pest Control

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Companion planting is a form of natural pest control. Basically it means to grow plants that repel certain pests along with the regular plants in your garden. If you add plants to your garden that have odors or tastes that are offensive to pests, the insects will move on to other feeding grounds. Finding the right plants is something of a matter of trial and error depending on your geographical location, but below are some suggestions.

Suggested Companion Plantings

Pest — Plant Repellent

ants — spearmint, tansy, pennyroyal
been leaf beetle — onion, turnip, potato
Codling moth — common oleander
flea beetle — onion, mint, garlic
Harlequin bug — turnips, onion, radish
Japanese beetle — garlic, larkspur, red buckeye
Mexican bean beetle — potato, garlic, radish, onion
root-knot nematodes — French marigold
spider mites — onion, cloves, garlic
squash bug — marigold, radish
squash vine borer — cloves, garlic, onion
stink bug — radish
tomato hornworm — marigold, sage
whitefly — marigold, nasturtium

Nontoxic Pest Control for Your Home and Garden

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Pesticides are toxic and, while often effective against pests, can be dangerous for your family and pets. Outdoors, sprayed pesticides might drift on a breeze and dust your vegetable garden or your neighbour’s yard. Indoors, pesticides can linger in the air, exposing the family to harmful chemicals. For these reasons, many people are turning to nontoxic pest control methods.

Prevention is the best way to control pests, but there are times when even the most thorough preventative measures will not save you from intruders, so this article discusses both preventative pest control methods and nontoxic pest control products.

Preventative Pest Control Methods


As they say, cleanliness is next to godliness. And it keeps pests out, too. Keeping your home clean is the most effective pest control method. If you don’t leave food or dirty dishes lying around the house, animals and insects won’t be attracted to the smell. Sweep and vacuum regularly. Remember, just because you can’t see crumbs doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Clean inside pantries and cabinets cabinets, under and around the stove and refrigerator at least once a year.


This may seem obvious, but screens on doors and windows are a simple and relatively cheap way to keep insects out of the house. Also, screens on crawlspaces keep rodents from obtaining easy access routes into the house.


By caulking cracks in your house, you can minimise places for insects to hide and nest. Target bathrooms and the kitchen, especially doors and windows.

Nontoxic Pest Control Products


There are many kinds of traps available that target many kinds of pests. Some examples are sticky traps for cockroaches, glueboards for mice, flypaper, bug zappers, and traps specifically for rats, gophers, or moles. You can usually pick up traps at your local Home and Garden store.


Pheromones, essentially insect scent hormones, can be used in traps as bait. By emitting the scent of the female insect, pheromones can be used to lure males into a trap, where they are caught in a sticky glue. Insects are only attracted by pheromones emitted by their own kind, so you need to know exactly what kind of insects you’re trying to eliminate and plan accordingly.

Biological Control:

Biological control is more often used in agriculture but can sometimes be used in home and garden situations as well. Basically it means using desirable organisms to eliminate undesirable organisms. For instance, planting certain plants in your garden can deter certain pests. For example, spearmint repels ants. Garlic repels Japanese Beetles. Indoors, spiders eat fruit flies and houseflies, so it may be worth leaving some of those webs around.


There are nontoxic repellents available for pest control. Mosquito repellents are the most popular, but if you look around, you can find repellents that target other pests. Some herbs, like eucalyptus and wormwood, are known for repelling animals and insects.

How to Tell If You’ve Got a Rodent Problem

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Older houses are most vulnerable to rodents, but it’s possible for them to crop up in just about any neighborhood. There are often large rodent populations in the city, but apartment owners typically rarely see them since their landlords will typically take care of building maintenance, including unwelcome visitors. Rodents are more problematic to the average suburban homeowner. Here are some signs to look for to see if rodents are living in or around your house:


Rats are typically active at night. You might hear such indicators as the patter of paws, squeaks, or climbing sounds in the walls. Mice may also emit a little whistle.


Rats and mice lairs give off a noticeable pungent smell.


Look for rodent droppings near your food supplies, i.e. kitchen cupboards or countertops. A variety of sizes may indicate an established colony with both older and younger animals.


Look for freshly gnawed wood, indicated by a paler coloring than the wood around it.

Excited Pets:

Dogs and cats are sensitive to the sounds and smells of rodents. If your pet frequently paws or sniffs at the wall or floor in one particular spot, especially near kitchen cabinets or storage areas, it may be an indicator of rats or mice.

Actual Sightings:

If you actually see a live rodent, it’s a good indicator that you have a problem. Rats are secretive and are usually only out at night, so if you see one in the daytime, it probably means there are enough to have forced that individual out. Assume there are at least 10 more rats in the general area for every one you see. It is important to note that mice are naturally active during the day, so a mouse sighting doesn’t necessarily mean there is a colony in your house.

Flea Collars: Yea or Nay?

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Flea collars are often purchased for pets at the first sign of the first flea, or even as a prophylactic. The problem is they expose both people and pets to toxic vapors 24 hours a day. The substances the collars are imbued with may be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Your pets may develop dermatitis on their necks from the collars. Cats are especially susceptible. Humans can also get rashes.

In general, flea collars are not particularly helpful. They may kill a flea here and there in your pet’s fur, but they will not touch the masses of fleas hiding in your carpet or yard. Also, flea collars are largely ineffective on large dogs since the vapors tend not to reach the tail, where fleas gather.

Some alternatives to flea collars are flea sprays or flea bombs for use in the house (these can make people sick, though, so use with caution), or pyrethrin dusts for use on your pet. Pyrethrin dusts are not considered toxic, but they can cause rashes and allergic reactions.

Pyrethrin dusts don’t always kill fleas, but work for stunning them. The best way to use a dust is to stand your pet on newspaper while powdering him (you should wear gloves), comb the fleas onto the paper, then burn the whole thing.

The Early Signs of Termites

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If you’re trying to figure out what signs of termites are (AKA have you got termites in your home?), here’s the lowdown on these pesky insects:

Subterranean termites live deep in the ground, though they come up to feed the frequently. They live in colonies that can have as many as a quarter of a million termites. Drywood termites live in the wood they eat instead of underground. They’re colonies are smaller, and it’s easy for them to be accidentally transported in crates and furniture from one area to another.

Termites can be a problem even in brick houses. They can creep into cracks as small as a 32nd of an inch wide. Drywood termites are common in the Gulf States, California, and the islands in the Caribbean.

Newer homes are less likely to have termites infestations, but termites could become a problem early on if the house was built near an existing colony. Houses older than 35 years are the most likely to see termite damage.

Signs of Termites in the Home Include:

Tiny wings scattered around the floor/ground (could also mean ants) left over from “reproductive swarms” where the queens and their concerts fly out of the colony to mate before burrowing into the wood to lay eggs.

Oval, six-sided fecal pellets near “kick-out holes” are signs of Drywood termites cleaning out their tunnels.

Shelter tubes (pieces of earth and wood stuck together with a glue-like secretion) are a sign of subterranean termites. They are usually found hanging from a girder or joist or clinging to a foundation.

Dark or blistered areas in your wood flooring that can be easily scratched with a kitchen knife is a sign of subterranean termites. If you knock on the wood, you’ll hear an answering tapping that means the termite soldiers are alerting the others to danger by banging their heads on the walls.

If one or more of these signs of termites exists in your home, you should call an exterminator immediately.  The sooner you catch the damage, the less you’ll have to pony up for repair bills later.

Integrated Pest Management: What Is It?

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According to the book Common-Sense Pest Control, integrated pest management is, “an approach to pest control that utilizes regular monitoring to determine if and when treatments are needed and employs physical, mechanical, cultural, biological and educational tactics to keep pest numbers low enough to prevent intolerable damage or annoyance” (p. 38).

OK, so what does that mean? Basically, integrated pest management involves monitoring your house and backyard, or any other area where pests are a concern for you, and taking action when the pest problem is likely to cause economic or aesthetic damage, or become a medical issue. A wide range of pest control treatments are possible, as mentioned in other parts of the site, and you should choose one that is going to be, “most effective and least disruptive to natural pest controls” (p. 38).

It is important to consider whether the cost of any particular pest management program will be more than the value of the damage. As attractive as a beautiful green lawn is, you must ask yourself whether preventing the damage is more important than exposing “your family and pets to the potentially health-impairing chemicals in conventional pesticides, or, alternatively, whether you’re willing to put the requisite time and effort into less-toxic alternatives” (p. 38). In the end, the decision is yours, but please consider all of the alternatives carefully. Read books such as Common-Sense Pest Control, discuss plans with your local pest control specialists, and of course, check web sites such as this one.

Types of Deck Lights For Your Home

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Thinking of decorating the exterior of your home? Then let me tell you the easiest way which can not only increase the look of your home, but also help in enhancing the exterior, and that is deck lights.

There are many types of deck lights for your home, many of which you can install yourself. Planning for a simple installation allows you to decorate the exterior of your home with ease. There are other advantages of installing deck lights, not least of all the security aspect, and these things need to be taken into consideration early on.

Let’s take a look at some examples of deck lights. There are accent deck lights, recessed deck lights, stair deck lights, etc. You just know one of these choices will be perfect – but how to you choose?

Types of deck lights for your home

Many of the home owners have different perception, well some of the home owners want the style to get installed in their home exteriors in the form of deck lights for your home which are more costly but mark my words more appealing when you install it. While some of the home owners believe in simplicity and like the simple things to be install in their home and so this article is meant to give you all the varied choices which can help you in getting all the knowledge which you are in need of at the item for going for types of deck lights for your home.

I know you might be thinking that if you could get such deck lights for your home which can help you in enhancing the look of not only the deck but also for all of the exteriors of your home than mark my words you are going for the same thing which you are in need of. Accent deck lights for your home are considered to be the best types of deck lights for those home owners of having fantasy of growing their whole of the exteriors home to be the best in their appealing factor. The functioning of accent lights that they focus of the thing where you have placed it. Not only that but you can also go for the color accent deck lights which can definitely give you the most appealing ambience which the home owners are in actual need of. You can not only install in your deck but you can install it on your lamp post and the railing which is installed in your home.

There are varied options of deck lights for your home which you can install in your home but another option which you can install in your home for the matters of installing deck lights for your home is stair deck lights. This type of deck lights are common in the market which you can observe in most of the houses too. The installation process of stair deck lights for your home is very simple and easy which the home owners can easily get comply of. It helps the members of the home to keep the safe feet on the stairs because of the light the visibility of the stairs is even better and thus a good option which the home owners can install in their home. Not only that but the structure of the stair deck lights are small in size but it comes in various types of shapes and styles which the home owners can go for in their home.

If you are having the plans for getting lower budget kind of deck lights for your home than you must go for such type deck lights which can help you in lowering down your energy consumption bills which can help you in saving up your money factor. Well, don’t worry but your option is being in my use, you can go for low voltage deck lights which are easily available in the market. The bulbs which are used in the as lights in it are low cost and thus are of halogen which only consumes 10 watts of power of your energy consumption, which can be definitely said as the saving up of energy consumption which is going to increase the efficiency of your home. Not only that but you can also go for solar deck lights which are just considered to be the alternative option for the use of low voltage deck lights for your home.

Finally, if you do have a pool, deck lights can complement the aesthetic beautifully. The site of your deck and pool lit up nicely can be breathtaking!