There are so many things to love about living in Australia, creepy crawlies and bugs in the home though is not part of that desired lifestyle, although it is hard to avoid, especially when you live in the country, rural or tropical areas where the bugs can get pretty big, and into just about everything.
Of course, when you are living in your home you want it to be pest free, more than that though when you are looking to sell your home you want to present the cleanest space possible. Cockroaches, spiders, flies, ants, mice and termites are going to be a real turn off to potential buyers. Rather than reach for a can of poison and put your family and pets at risk, it's well worth considering some proven natural ways to help keep outside creatures out where they belong in the garden and your inside areas free from harmful chemicals.
Remember that every time you use chemical sprays and aerosols, residue toxins go into your curtains, carpets, bedding and benchtop surfaces and can build up with continued use, which poses the risk of skin irritation and lung issues like wheezing, coughing and asthma. An even bigger risk is bait and pellet type poisons which can be accidentally ingested or handled.
Also consider the environmental impact of these chemicals washed into the soil or down drains with rain or cleaning and the effect this has on your soil quality, and the animals who live and drink from those waterways.
These trusted and safe methods allow you to protect your home from bug invasions or, if the infestation has already occurred, treat your home and drive the unwanted residents back to the treetops.
Prevent pest problems by spending five to ten minutes cleaning up. Keep your kitchen tidy, remove food scraps and leftovers straight away, empty your scraps container into the compost bin after every meal preparation so that you don't unintentionally invite bugs in. Correct food storage is also a great way to keep your kitchen area tidy, hygienic and unwelcoming to pets.
Get rid of open water sources
Mosquitos and cockroaches are attracted to bodies of water, especially in warmer months. It doesn't need to be a large amount of water to be appealing to pests. Wipe up any remaining water once the dishes are done, clean up puddles in the bathroom and laundry, replace washers so taps are watertight and refresh any pet water you have and wipe out the bowl frequently.
As well as pests that use water to reproduce, ants and other creatures will often come into a home looking for a drink in hot weather and will be deterred if there is none easily available.
Use essential oils
Essential oils are well known for creating beautiful scents, bringing atmosphere in the home and improving mood, what few people know is that are also a fantastic way to discourage pests.
The most useful oils to have on hand are eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, lavender and cedarwood.
Another handy household pest deterrent is white vinegar.
Here's how to use them.
A few drops of lavender oil in a humidifier is a great way to relax and wind down, it also helps to deter mosquitoes. Lemongrass oil can be added to the water in a humidifier to help shoo away flies. If you are struggling with airborne pests you can increase the strength with citronella oil. A few drops goes a long way.
Ants leave a scent to help guide the way for fellow ants and also get them home. Using a few drops of peppermint oil on a cloth to wipe over your surfaces will erase their tracking ability and stop them from marching all over your kitchen. You can also use a spray bottle with diluted white vinegar for the same result.
Pantry and cupboard spray
Cupboard moths are easy to pick up in packets and spices when you do your regular shop, but, oh so hard to get rid of. This solution is perfect for wiping down your pantry shelves and wardrobe shelves to keep moths and small bugs out.
Application: Spray bottle
Contents: Equal parts water and white vinegar
Oils: Eucalyptus 15 drops
Cedarwood 10 drops
Peppermint 5 drops
If you're like me cleaning out a mousetrap is almost as bad as having mice in your home. An alternative to snappy traps and poisons that are slow to work and yet painful are the use of some oils and cotton balls to show them the exit.
Application: Cotton balls
Chose any of the following oils:
Lightly scent each ball with your preferred oil and place the balls in your home instead of traps. Dark hidden spaces are most used by mice so, behind the washing machine, dishwasher and fridge work best, as well as any areas you suspect mice are using as entranceways.
If you feel your pest problem is out of control then you can ask your local pest control specialist to examine your property and give you options for chemical-free services.