Pesticides & Pet Care Products
- Place herbs that have insect-repellent qualities on pantry shelves or even in stored grain. U.S. Department of Agriculture has found this to be effective. Try bay leaves, coriander, dill, cinnamon, lemon peel, black pepper.
- Vacuum and wash down pantry shelves to kill eggs.
- Dust shelves and cracks with a dehydrating dust.
- If moths persist, try non-toxic, sticky, meal moth traps with pheromones.
- Store grains and flours in pest-tight containers (e.g. a glass jar with a rubber seal and a metal spring clamp; zip-lock type bags are not adequate).
- Freezing newly purchased bulk grains for a week will guarantee no new moths.
- Aphids almost always arrive before their predators. Don't panic. While you're waiting...
- Crush dense colonies at plant tips.
- Spray off with a strong stream of water.
- Spray with insecticidal soap.
- Mix 1 tablespoon dish soap/detergent and 1 cup vegetable oil. Add 1 teaspoon of this mix to 1 cup water and spray on aphids (works on mites, too). Try solution on a few leaves first.
- Oil may harm vegetable plants in the cabbage family.
- Introduce green lacewings to your garden. They stick around longer than imported lady bugs. Green lacewings love perennial bunch grasses growing in the shade. They appreciate a source of nectar and pollen in the winter (e.g. fennel and calendulas).
- Control aphids by controlling ants if ants are seen in aphid-infested areas.
- Don't fertilize plants with high nitrogen fertilizer in early spring. Aphids love the fast, new growth. Use a slow-release fertilizer like fish emulsion.
It is important to note that fleas can never be completely eradicated from your pets, or your home as long as you have pets. The key is to control infestations through a combination of these alternatives.
In the House
- Vacuum house frequently (every day, at the beginning of your flea program-especially carpet edges at the wall and pet bedding).
- Remove, seal, and dispose of the vacuum bag outside the home and away from pets.
- Leave vacuum bag in the sun for a day to kill fleas (will keep fleas from escaping into your yard from the trash).
- Clean pet bedding regularly.
- Steam clean the carpet; kills adults, the larvae and some eggs. The heat will trigger some of the eggs to hatch, so be prepared to vacuum soon after steam cleaning.
- Apply a dusting of diatomaceous earth or silica gel to pet bedding, under furniture and around house's foundation. Dehydrates adult fleas.
- Use Precor (methoprene), an "Insect Growth Regulator." "IGRs" interrupt the reproductive cycle of fleas. It prevents the flea larvae from maturing. Low-toxicity to mammals. Precor has recently become available by itself, without the more toxic adult flea killers. Pyrethrin/methoprene is a least-toxic combination of IGR and adult killer. Pyrethrin-based flea products are reported to be the least-toxic of the most commonly used conventional flea control products.
- Common forms found, in order of increasing toxicity: pyrethrums, pyrethrin alone or with inerts, pyrethrin with piperonyl butoxide and inerts.
On Your Pet
- Use a flea comb specially designed to remove fleas from pets, drop fleas into soapy water.
- Wash pet with an insecticidal flea soap, a pyrethrin/methoprene flea shampoo, or a citrus oil shampoo or dip containing limonene or linalool.
- Begin regular baths when pets are young so they can get used to the idea.
- Pyrethrum powders can be used directly on pets. Avoid getting powder into pet's eyes, nostrils, mouth. Wear a dust mask. When cats clean themselves, they will ingest some, so don't over apply, and powder only when necessary.
- While not proven, many pet owners find it helpful to feed pets vitamin B pet supplements. Or sprinkle pet's food with brewer's yeast (nutritional yeast). Or mix raw garlic into pet's food. Seems to make the pet less attractive to fleas, and these additives are certainly good for the pet's general health. Discuss with your veterinarian. Best to introduce the pet to these additives when young.
- Experiment with natural flea repellents such as: eucalyptus, citronella, cedarwood, pennyroyal, and black walnut leaves. While herbal repellents are not registered as pesticides, some pet owners swear by them. Find them in "essential oil" flea dips or herbal flea collars. Herbal repellents are most useful once the flea population is under control.
- Avoid using conventional flea collars (a constant, low-level exposure of your pet to a toxic substance). If you use them, limit use to periods of serious infestation.
In the Yard
- Spray insecticidal soap outdoors in areas where fleas are concentrated. A walk with white socks will reveal the target areas.
- IGRs are not effective outdoors; they breakdown in ultraviolet light.
- Sprinkle litter box with baking soda before adding kitty litter.
- If pet wets the carpet, absorb as much moisture as you can, right away, with paper towels. Then either:
- Sprinkle a mix of 1 part borax to 2 parts cornmeal on the spot. Vacuum up after 1 or 2 hours.
- Or, apply a mix of 2 cups white vinegar in a gallon of water, and gently blot the stain.
- Both borax and vinegar could slightly bleach the carpet, so try on an inconspicuous area first.
- To discourage pets from wetting that spot again, sprinkle with dried pennyroyal.
- To keep cats from clawing furniture:
- Purchase a scratching post or make one from carpet scraps.
- Rub the herb rue on upholstery they claw. Rue is a bitter herb which cats detest.
- Avoid deterrent products containing paradichlorobenzene (there's evidence that it causes cancer in laboratory animals).
- To keep cats or dogs out of your yard: Blend 3 cloves garlic, 4 hot red peppers, and a few drops of detergent in water. Mix into a bucket of water and sprinkle solution around the edges of your yard.