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BUGS & PEST CONTROL

What are Fall Armyworms & How to Get Rid of Them

Cedarcide blog post image, What are Fall Armyworms & How to Get Rid of Them

Imagine this: You wake up, prep your morning coffee, glance out the kitchen window to admire your well kept lawn—and bam! It’s all gone. Where there was once a beautiful stretch of green grass there is now an ugly patch of brown. Unfortunately, if you’re facing fall armyworms this nightmare can quickly become a reality. It’s not unheard of for armyworms to devour an entire lawn overnight. One moment your lawn and garden are intact, the next you’re left with a backyard full of dirt.


What Are Fall Armyworms

Especially problematic in the South, Fall armyworms are the larvae of a small brown moth that lays its eggs in grass, crops and other greenery. Once hatched, these small green caterpillars begin feeding on nearby plant life, and can devastate an entire lawn or field of crops in days, sometimes hours depending on the size of the armyworm population. Unfortunately for your yard, these populations can get out of hand fast, as female months can lay up to 2,000 eggs in a single night. Once matured, these caterpillars change appearance, going from green to brown with white lines running along the side of their bodies. Because several damaging species go by the popular name armyworm, if you spot caterpillars in your yard, regardless of appearance, you need to act fast to preserve the health of your yard.

Here are 6 natural approaches to tackling these nasty pests:


Mow and Water Regularly

For whatever reason, armyworms tend to avoid moist lawns with shorter grass. Keeping your lawn a little shorter throughout fall, and watering soon after each mowing session, can help prevent an armyworm population from flourishing in your yard.


Trichogramma Wasps

These tiny wasps have a long history of use in natural pest control because they attack the eggs of many damaging bugs, armyworm eggs included. Trichogramma wasps can be found at many local garden supply shops and countless online retailers. This approach works best in the early stages of an armyworm issue, as this method will address armyworm eggs only, not recently hatched or mature caterpillars. Green lacewings, minute pirate bugs, ladybugs and other beneficial egg-feeding insects are also effective.
 

 

Invite Birds to Your Backyard

If your yard has never been the victim of armyworms, chances are natural predators like birds are to thank. Which means If you’re currently struggling with armyworms, you can alleviate the situation by inviting these predators back into your lawn. Bird feeders and bird baths are the most obvious choices and tend to work wonders. This natural approach can be a real time saver and is usually quite effective, given that birds target both the armyworm moth and the subsequent caterpillars.

 

Naturally Sourced Outdoor Pesticides

Naturally sourced outdoor pesticides—like those made with all natural cedarwood oil—can be effective at both preventing and killing active armyworm populations, without using the harsh chemicals associated with traditional pesticide use. Apply at the first sign of trouble, whether that be armyworm moths, eggs, or immature caterpillars.


Bacillus Thuringiensis

This bacterium is a popular and eco-friendly way of naturally ridding your lawn of armyworms. Typically applied to yards as a spray, bacillus thuringiensis works by paralyzing the armyworm digestive system, eventually killing them via starvation. Best of all, this bacterium is not harmful to beneficial insects, humans, pets or other wildlife. This method works best when used in the early stages of an armyworm problem, when the caterpillars are small, green and immature. Bacillus thuringiensis can be purchased from local gardening stores and countless vendors online.


Beneficial Nematodes

As one of the most well known biological pesticides, beneficial nematodes work to combat dozens of unwanted pests. After applied to the yard, these near microscopic roundworms parasitize armyworms and armyworm eggs without affecting humans, plants or beneficial insects.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

Mosquito Bites: Facts & Myths

Cedarcide blog post image, Mosquito Bites: Facts & Myths

Ever notice how mosquitoes tend to bite some individuals more than others? From the sweetness of your blood to what you eat and wear, the internet is abuzz with rumors about what does and does not attract mosquitoes. Well, we’re here to help set the record straight. Some myths, some facts, here are 5 common beliefs about mosquitoes and mosquito bites.


Mosquitoes Prefer Certain Blood Types

Myth

Although some studies have suggested mosquitoes prefer Type O blood to others, the vast majority of scientists have disregarded these findings as baseless, concluding instead that mosquitoes are fairly non-specific with their victims. For years, rumors have argued that certain types of blood—sweeter diabetic blood, for example—are more likely to attract mosquitoes, but there’s really no reputable science behind such claims. In reality, mosquitoes need the protein, not the sugar, from their hosts, and so the flavor and type of blood really makes no difference whatsoever.

 

Fair Skin Makes You More Appetizing to Mosquitoes

Myth

It’s not hard to see how this old wives’ tale probably got started: mosquito bites are much more obvious on fair skinned individuals than on those with darker skin. In fact, those with fair skin readily suffer more intense reactions to mosquito bites, too, only further complicating the issue. But, no, mosquitoes do not prefer one skin tone over another.

 

All Mosquitoes Transmit Disease

Myth

There are over 3,500 species of mosquitoes on our planet, but not all target humans. Of the ones that do, only females bite, which they do in order to gain the nutrients necessary for breeding. All female mosquitoes that bite humans are capable of transmitting disease, but in reality only a small number of these individuals commonly carry disease. Some species, however—such as the tiger mosquito and marsh mosquito—are more likely to harbor disease than other types, especially when it comes to West Nile virus, yellow fever, and malaria.

 

Mosquitoes Prefer Larger People to Smaller

Fact

Research has found that mosquitoes prefer larger individuals to smaller ones, such as adults over children. But why? One way mosquitoes home in on their targets is through carbon dioxide emissions, and bigger humans simply give off more of the gas than their smaller counterparts. Heat also attracts mosquitoes, and—you guessed it—larger people also emit more warmth than smaller folks. This same logic has led some researchers to believe pregnant women might also be more attractive to mosquitoes, as they tend to give off more warmth and carbon dioxide, too.

 

Your Diet Matters

Fact

Studies have indicated that mosquitoes seem to prefer people who have more uric acid in their blood, which is increased by meat and saturated fat consumption. Other preliminary research has suggested that mosquitoes might also target individuals with higher levels of potassium and ethanol. Alcohol consumption can increase ethanol and body heat (another mosquito attractant), and studies have seemed to back up the belief that drinking alcohol makes you more appetizing to mosquitoes, too. Meat, saturated fat, alcohol—no wonder BBQs are notoriously good events for collecting mosquito bites.

 

Your Clothes Matter

Fact

While the details are uncertain, researchers believe darker colors—like black, blue and red—make you more visible to mosquitoes and therefore more likely to be targeted by them. While these colors don’t necessarily make you more attractive to mosquitoes, it’s believed that they do make it easier to find you when other modes of detection—like skin bacteria and carbon dioxide—fail.

 

How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

6 Reasons You Can Feel Good About Switching to Cedarcide


Did you know over 1 billion pounds of synthetic pesticides are used worldwide every year? Even scarier,
over 95% of these chemicals end up somewhere other than their target destination—such as in oceans, forests, drinking water, our food, and inside our homes, pets, children, even breast milk! By choosing Cedarcide, you’re helping combat this worldwide problem, and taking steps toward a brighter, less chemical-dependent future. Here’s 6 reasons you can feel good about switching to Cedarcide.

 

You’re Helping Protect You & Your Family

From flea collars to yard treatments to personal bug sprays, traditional pesticide use can have a serious impact on you and your family’s health, especially in the long term. Not to freak you out, but synthetic pesticides have been linked to all of the following health conditions:

By switching to a non-toxic alternative like Cedarcide, you’re helping minimize you and your family’s pesticide exposure. Children and pregnant women stand to benefit the most from this switch. Studies show that children with parents who use chemical-based pesticides are at higher risk of behavior issues, brain damage, lower IQs and several types of childhood cancer. Because of their tendency to put their hands into their mouths and proximity to flooring (most floors are covered with pesticides), children absorb considerably more pesticides from the environment than adults. And because of their low body weight, our kids are much more likely to be harmed by this exposure.

As public health scientist Miriam Rotkin Ellman has said, “with a pesticide it doesn’t take very much to cause effects that will stay with kid[s] for the rest of their lives.”


Scary, huh?
Click here to learn How to Lower Your Risk of Pesticide Poisoning.

 

You’re Helping Pets Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Much like children, our pets are extremely vulnerable to pesticide poisoning. Unfortunately, from flea collars to yard sprays, our pets have countless opportunities for exposure. Choosing naturally sourced yard sprays and pesticides over traditional, chemical-based options helps limit that exposure.

Think about it: Your pets live and play in your yard (they sometimes eat its grass, too!). Studies have shown that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides have up to a 70% higher chance of contracting potentially fatal canine malignant lymphoma. Other studies have found that bladder cancer is also associated with lawns treated with synthetic pesticides, with even indirect exposure from adjacent lawns raising your pet’s risk of this cancer. Chemical burns, gastrointestinal complications, organ failure, even death—all have been associated with use of traditional flea and tick medications. In addition to using pet-safe bug repellents, we suggest consulting a vet or holistic vet to find the healthiest flea & tick precautions for you and your pup.

Worried that your pet may have pesticide poisoning? Read Signs and Symptoms Your Pet has Pesticide Poisoning


You’re Not Poisoning Your Home or Yard

A big issue with traditional pesticides is that they contaminate your home and lawn with toxins. Whether used inside or not, pesticides almost always find their way indoors. Pesticides applied to your lawn, for example, are easily introduced inside via windows, vents, shoes, and even your pet’s paws. Studies have found that even a week after outdoor pesticide treatments, pesticide residues are commonly found on indoor surfaces—including flooring, kitchen countertops, and tabletops. By choosing non-toxic options like Cedarcide, you’re helping reduce the levels of pesticides both inside and outside your home, doing a big favor to the environment, wildlife and your neighbors in the process.

 

You’re Helping Save Wildlife

Wildlife—especially marine life and birds—have been hit hard by traditional pesticide use. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, over 72 million birds die in the U.S. each year as a result of pesticide poisoning. Because many types of pesticides are bioaccumulative—meaning toxic levels can build up within an organism over time—they have the potential to disrupt entire food chains, affecting nearly every living thing on the planet.

But what can homeowners like you do to help minimize the impact of pesticides? A lot, actually! The average homeowner uses ten times more pesticides per acre than farmers do on industrial farmland. So in many ways, it’s in the hands of people like you to start reducing pesticide use for the sake of animals everywhere.

 

Your Purchases Support Good Causes

Without you we could not support the causes that inspire us! Animal welfare is one such cause essential to the Cedarcide mission. In addition to supporting animal rescues and founding the Cedarcide Horse Rescue, our team spends a great deal of their personal lives fostering and volunteering for disadvantaged cats, dogs and other animals.

Veterans, soldiers, and first responders also play a big role at Cedarcide. These real life heroes inspire us every day, which is why each year we support and participate in Dallas’ Carry the Load March. This 20-hour walk honors military service of all shapes and sizes, with proceeds benefiting corresponding charities.

 

You’re Helping the Environment

As mentioned earlier, pesticides nearly always end up somewhere other than intended. Wind, runoff, and over-application are the obvious culprits. In addition to wildlife, the environment pays the highest price for this widespread pesticide contamination. But just how extensive is pesticide pollution? According to one study by the U.S. Geological Survey, pesticides were found to contaminate every stream in the United States, and over 90% of all wells researchers tested. Unbelievable, right? By adopting non-toxic pesticides and engaging in responsible pesticide practices—like careful application and avoiding overuse—you can have a real impact on the health of your family and community.

 

What’s your favorite thing about Cedarcide? What do you most enjoy about the switch? Let us know in the comments or head over to our Facebook page and strike up a conversation!

What You Need to Know About Mites

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, What You Need to Know About Mites

 

What Are Mites?

There are over 48,000 species of mites. They can be found in almost every corner of the world, surviving everywhere from tropical environments to arid ecosystems, even indoors alongside humans.

Like ticks, mites are both arthropods and arachnids, but unlike ticks, not all mites are parasites. Some—like house dust mites—are scavengers, feeding off the dead skin and hair of humans. Some mites feed on mold and other plant-life. Some are symbiotic, living on the backs of insects like bees. And, yes, some are parasitic—like bird mites, rat mites and chiggers—which feed on the blood or skin of their hosts.

 

Do Mites Affect Humans?

You might be surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of American homes have mites. The good news is that most mites are harmless to humans. However, there are in fact a few species that bite or pose other health risks to people. The extremely irritating skin condition scabies, for instance, is caused by an allergic reaction to the itch mite, which burrows into the skin of mammals to live and lay eggs. Mange is often the result of the same itch mite, along with another species, the Demodex mite (or eyelash mite), which infests the eyelashes of millions of people each year. The Demodex mite has also been linked to rosacea.

The most common biting mites found in the home are rat mites and bird mites. These two parasitic species prey mostly on small animals, but occasionally feed on humans too, causing dermatitis and acute itching. Another common household mite, the dust mite, is not parasitic and therefore does not bite; however, it’s a leading cause of allergies and has been found to cause asthma, too.

 


How Do You Get Mites?

The two most common biting mites—rat mites and bird mites—enter our homes through wild animals and pests. The former is typically brought into the home by a rodent, while the later finds its way in from nearby bird nests. Dust mites on the other hand live almost exclusively within homes, where they deeply embed themselves in carpets, bedding, rugs and other especially dusty surfaces. In fact, a typical mattress contains tens of thousands of these mites. Even more—around 100,000—can live in a single square foot of rug or carpet.

Perhaps most offputting of all, Demodex mites—sometimes called eyelash mites—make their home in the hair follicles and glands in and around the human eye. People with pets are particularly at risk of contracting Demodex mites, as these insect-like organisms are usually transferred to humans from dogs and cats.


What Are The Signs Of A Mite Infestation?

Because of mites’ near microscopic size, and because they vary so greatly from species to species, it’s extremely difficult to correctly identify a mite infestation. While some mites leave noticeable markings—spider mites spin webs, clover mites are recognizable by their bright red color—most mites leave little to no evidence of their existence.

In fact, the sole sign of an infestation often comes by way of the symptoms mites can cause in humans, such as skin irritation and general allergic reaction. Unless you’re able to capture a mite sample and have it identified by a professional, there’s little to no way to confirm what sort of mite infestation you may or may not be dealing with.

 

What To Do if You Have Mites

While some mites—like the mostly harmless dust mite—are all but impossible to completely eliminate from your home, troublesome biting mites are comparatively easier to treat. Rat mites and bird mites, for example, can often be solved simply by removing any small rodents, birds and bird nests from your home.

If you have mites, but are unsure of the source, fogging your entire home might be a good option for you. If you believe mites have infested your bedding or other linens, washing and drying them on a hot cycle should rid your items of any remaining mites.

Watch Cedarcide’s Fogging Tutorial Below:

 

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, causing more deaths annually than sharks, snakes, wolves, lions, crocodiles, tigers, bears and humans combined?

During the height of breeding season,  Mosquitoes outnumber every other animal on the planet, except for termites and ants. Unfortunately, mosquito bites don’t affect only humans, they also affect animals like dogs, cats and horses, too.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your yard and family from mosquitoes. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these non-toxic tips to mosquito-proof your yard this mosquito season.

 

Remove Possible Breeding Sites
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The first and arguably most important step to keeping mosquitos out of your yard is to get rid of all potential breeding areas—which primarily means removing all sources of standing water. Mosquito eggs often remain attached to receptacles even after they’ve been drained, so be sure to thoroughly clean, not just empty, all areas where water has collected. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove pet bowls, buckets, tires, unused lawn equipment—everything that easily catches rainwater
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or, better yet, empty them during mosquito season
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water
  • Frequently check A/C drip pans for standing water
  • Keep pools well-maintained
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water
  • Cover or fill hollow tree stumps and other natural water-collecting reservoirs
  • Clean and remove all blockages from gutters and storm drains
  • Check flower pots and flower pot drip trays for standing water
  • Cover all trash cans and dumpsters
  • Remove all additional clutter from your backyard, such as appliances, unused tools, sporting equipment, children’s toys—anything that can potentially hold water

 

Maintain Your Yard
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Mosquitoes love hiding in tall grass, shrubbery and damp, unkempt areas like woodpiles. Keeping your grass short and yard well-maintained is essential to mosquito control.

 

Treat Your Yard
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Treating your yard with an a non-toxic, water-soluble insect repellent, especially before outdoor activities, will significantly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in your backyard. Cedarwood chips are also a natural insect deterrent; sprinkle them throughout your yard—especially along foundations and fence lines—for additional mosquito protection.

 

Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours
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Lack of wind, sunlight and heat make dawn and dusk ideal feeding times for mosquitoes. In the U.S., mosquitoes are least likely to bite in the middle of the day, and most likely to bite just after sunset. Limiting outdoor activity—particularly in wooded, humid and shady areas—during these periods will greatly decrease the chances of being bitten. Wearing clothes that match your surroundings—darker colors at night, lighter clothing in the day—has also been shown to limit mosquito bites. Wearing closed-toe shoes helps, too.

 

Use Outdoor Fans
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Surprisingly, outdoor fans have proven effective at reducing mosquitoes and mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, body heat and body odor. Fans work by dispersing and redirecting these attractants throughout the air, diminishing not only the appearance of mosquitos in your yard but also the likelihood of getting bitten.

 

Use Mosquito-Repelling Plants
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The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties. Place or plant them in areas where you spend the most time outside:

  • Marigolds’ distinct aroma is a natural insect repellent
  • Basil’s strong scent naturally deters mosquitoes and other insects
  • Catnip has been shown to be 10x more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET
  • Lavender, in both living and dry form, actively repels mosquitoes
  • Lemon balm attracts beneficial insects like bees, but repels mosquitoes
  • Peppermint’s smell helps drive away mosquitoes. It can also be crushed for use as an effective mosquito bite relief treatment
  • Rosemary has a long history of use as a mosquito repellent
  • Citronella’s strong smell can help mask carbon dioxide and body odor, in effect, hiding you from mosquitoes
  • Pennyroyal, both crushed and fresh, helps to repel mosquitoes

 

 

Team Up With Your Neighbors
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Regardless of how many preventative measures you take, if your neighbors don’t pitch in, they might not do any good. Managing and implementing mosquito control best practices—removing standing water, lawn care, etc—is almost always a team effort.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants
Carpenter ants are among the the largest ants in the United States, measuring up to 20 mm—or roughly Ÿ of an inch. Most often black but sometimes red or yellow, carpenter ants live both indoors and outdoors, nesting inside moist, decaying wood (like old tree trunks, or rotting wooden boards in human structures). While they burrow and colonize inside wooden materials like termites, unlike termites, they do not consume wood. Instead, their diet is like that of other ants, consisting mostly of sweet foods and meats.

Because they do not eat wood, carpenter ants are not nearly as damaging to homes as termites. However, if given enough time, a highly developed and mature colony can cause extensive damage to nearly any wooden structure. With queens living up to 25 years, it’s not hard to imagine how costly a carpenter ant colony couble be to a homeowner. If you’re seeing these little carpenters crawling throughout your home or looking to prevent an infestation before it takes hold, here’s 10 Non-Toxic Tips to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants.

 

Prevention

Prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple guidelines to keep carpenter ants out of your home.

  • Keep your home clean—particularly the kitchen, flooring, windowsills and countertops. Without a food source, ants will have no reason to enter your home.
  • Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and residues (Tip: wipe off all those jam, sauce and honey containers).
  • Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Take the trash out regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
  • Any spilled food should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices and holes—all potential ant entrances—with caulk or other sealant.
  • Remove or remedy all sources of unnecessary moisture both inside and outside your home, including: leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces, A/C units, hoses, faucets, sprinklers, clogged drainage areas, etc
  • Remove possible nesting spaces from your yard, such as: woodpiles, wooden yard equipment, brush, dead or dying trees & tree strumps, unused dog houses, furniture, and any other possibly  moist, wooden items.
  • Keep tree limbs and branches away from the walls of your home. Carpenter ants use these as bridges to enter your home.
  • Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home.

 

Find The Nest

The most effective methods for ridding yourself of carpenter ants all involve locating and treating their nests directly. Carpenter ants nest in moist, decaying wood. These nests can be located either inside or outside the home, and unless you actually follow the trailing ants back to their origin, it’s not always easy to determine which. However, in general, if you find carpenter ants inside your home during late winter or early spring, chances are the colony is located indoors. Here’s some tips for locating a carpenter ant colony:

  • Look for frass. Frass is finely ground wood debris that resembles sawdust. It’s the result of carpenter ants boring into wood to build their nests. If you see this in your home, the carpenter ants are somewhere inside.
  • Damaged wood on or within walls, doors, cabinets, and wood beams is a good indicator of an indoor colony. Look specifically for sandpaper-smooth carpenter ant galleries and holes.
  • Place attractants like dog food, jam or other sweets where you most commonly spot carpenter ants. Using their trail, attempt to find the location of their nest.
  • If you have woodpiles or other wooden debris inside or just outside your home, check them thoroughly—the ant colony could be inside.

 

Boiling Water

If you were able to find the carpenter ant nest (and it was located outdoors), this natural method is a way to attack the ant colony directly. It’s simple: boil a few liters or more of water and then pour it directly into the nest (this can be dangerous, so please exercise extreme caution). Adding a natural and water-soluble insecticide, essential oils, or soap to the boiled water will make this approach even more effective. You may have to repeat this process two to three times to completely eliminate the colony.

 

Sugar and Baking Soda Bait

A simple and natural carpenter ant bait can be made by mixing equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. Strategically place this mixture in shallow dishes in the locations with the most ant traffic. These can also be placed outside, particularly near doors and windows. The sugar in the mixture attracts the ants, while the baking soda naturally kills them (for chemical reasons, baking soda is deadly to ants).

 

Essential Oils

Like most ants, carpenter ants use pheromone trails for navigation and communication—it’s also how they find food. Essential oils can be used to disrupt these trails, which ultimately disorients and deters ants. Lemongrass, peppermint, clove, cedarwood, tea tree, orange and lemon oil are all effective.

Dampen a cotton ball or kitchen towel with an essential oil of your choosing. Use this to wipe windowsills, baseboards, the perimeters of countertops, door frames, and any potential entry points. Repeat daily until ant population disappears. Your chosen oil can also be diluted with a carrier oil to create a natural ant-killing spray.

 

Soap & Water

A simple mixture of soap and water is toxic to carpenter ants. Mix one part natural dish soap to two parts water in a spray bottle. Spray as needed to kill ants and eliminate their pheromone trails. Continue to treat problem areas until the ants no longer return.

 

Diatomaceous Earth

Made from crushed algae fossils, Diatomaceous Earth is a well known natural pesticide. This abrasive material damages the exoskeleton of ants that come into contact with it, eventually killing them. Spread DE throughout ant problem areas and directly on the colony’s nest if possible. Diatomaceous Earth is especially effective for combatting carpenter ants, which regularly die from consuming it.

 

Non-toxic Insecticides—Both Indoor and Outdoor

All natural, over-the-counter insecticides are often the easiest and most effective option for completely eliminating a carpenter ant colony. The best approach is to treat both outside and inside your home. Non-toxic indoor insecticides can be used as both a repellent and a contact killer. Naturally sourced outdoor insecticides also work as both deterrents and spot killers. For best results, apply non-toxic outdoor pesticides alongside fence lines and your home’s foundation; this will create a repellent barrier to keep ants from entering your home. Treating your entire yard will help to eliminate any active outdoor carpenter ant colonies.

 

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is an extremely effective natural carpenter ant deterrent. It disrupts their pheromone trails and the smell prevents them from returning. Mix a 1-to-1 ratio of water to vinegar in a spray bottle (both apple cider and white vinegar will do). Shake the solution and then spray along baseboards, door frames, window sills, countertops, and directly on the nest if possible. Repeat the process daily or as needed to repel carpenter ants. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and multi-surface cleaner—so feel free to use the spray liberally.

 

Cinnamon & Cinnamon Oil

Not unlike the previously mentioned essential oils and vinegar, cinnamon and cinnamon oil deter ants by interfering with their pheromone trails. Dispense the cinnamon in whatever form throughout ant problem areas and directly on the nest if possible. When used around windowsills, baseboards, near doors and alongside countertops, cinnamon helps prevent carpenter ants from entering your home.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

What You Need to Know About Chiggers + How to Get Rid of Them

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What Are Chiggers and What Do They Look Like?

Red bugs, mower’s mites, berry bugs, harvest bugs, chiggers—the arachnids scientifically known as trombiculidae mites go by many names. Ranging in size from 0.3mm to 0.4mm (1/60 of an inch), chiggers are nearly microscopic organisms known for their extremely itchy “bites.” Most active during spring, summer and fall, chiggers have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. But only the larval stage individuals—in other words, the babies—are parasitic.

Found in moist vegetation worldwide (like grassy lawns, bushes and forests), these red-orange mites attach themselves to a host—a reptile, rabbit, insect, or human for example—in order to feed on their skin. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not bite or burrow into their hosts; instead, they inject digestive enzymes into their host’s skin in order to create a hole from which they can feed. After sucking up this liquified skin meal, the baby chigger drops to the ground, where it matures into its next life stage.


What Do Chigger “Bites” Look Like?

Appearing 6-48 hours after the chigger has fed, chigger “bites” consist of red bumps infamous for their intense itchiness. These irritating lesions usually occur in clusters in or around areas where skin and clothing are in close proximity—like the waist, ankles, armpits, crotch-area and back. While the first several days are the worst, these bumps can persist for weeks, even months in a milder form.


How Do You Prevent Chigger “Bites?”

Like with mosquitos and ticks, you need to use a repellent when venturing into chigger territory. Because of the toxicity of traditional bug sprays, we recommend using only non-toxic pesticides & repellents. For the sake of your pet’s well-being, treat them to repel chiggers, too. For additional protection, we recommend wearing long clothing when walking in suspected chigger areas, being sure to tuck pants into socks, and shirt into pants. After returning from these areas, bathe immediately in warm, soapy water. All possibly infested clothing should be promptly washed in warm/hot water, too.

 

How Do You Get Chiggers?

This a two part question: (1) How does one get bitten by chiggers? And (2) How do chiggers get into our lawns. Walking through a wooded area, tall grass or weeds, or on lawns not treated with pesticides, is how most people pick up their first chigger “bites”. This is also a common way chigger populations are introduced into our yards, as chiggers readily hitch a ride on our clothing only to be dropped somewhere near our homes. Other common hosts such as rodents, turtles, small birds, and more also contribute to the spread of chiggers—which is why a regular outdoor pest-control regimen is encouraged during the warmer seasons.


What To Do If You Have Chiggers

If you fear chiggers have invaded your lawn & garden, or if you want to prevent them from doing so in the first place, you’ll need to treat your lawn with an naturally sourced outdoor pest control solution. In the heavy chigger months between spring and fall, we recommend treating your entire yard at least once per month to help keep your home and lawn chigger-free.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

How To Bug-Proof Your Home Naturally

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Summer’s here, which means so are the bugs. Vacationing visitors, BBQs, and late nights spent on the patio all make this season one of our favorite times of the year. However, bites, stings and bug infestations have a way of ruining the fun. Don’t worry—we’re not letting that happen to you. Follow these 5 tips to bug-proof your home naturally.

Maintain Your Home
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Ants, fleas, flies, termites, roaches, mosquitoes and other common household bugs can all be deterred by taking the proper precautions—prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple preventative measures to keep bugs away from your home:

  • Keep your home clean and free of clutter—particularly the kitchen, flooring, window sills and counter tops. Without a source of food, bugs will have no reason to enter your home.
  • Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and food residues (Tip: wipe off all jam, sauce and honey containers, too).
  • Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Take out the trash regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
  • Most bugs are prone to moisture loss, and enter our homes to seek water and cool down. It’s important to remove any standing water and other sources of moisture, such as leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces and A/C units (do this outside, too!).
  • To prevent smaller bugs like mites, be sure to also treat newly purchased indoor plants with an all natural, plant-safe pesticide.
  • To prevent bed bugs, be cautious about bringing any used furniture, luggage, linens and clothing into your home. Treat all such items with a natural repellent to kill possible stowaways.
  • Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home. Doing so attracts various types of bugs, including termites

 

Seal Your Home

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Most insects require only the smallest of openings to gain entrance into your home. Checking both inside and outside, use caulk or other appropriate materials to fill all cracks and holes in baseboards, windows seals, doorways, light switches, outlets, fixtures, basements, roofing, utility lines, piping, attics, walls, foundations and the like. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly closed as well.

Wild animals like birds, squirrels, possums and mice carry bugs such as mites, fleas, and ticks. Properly sealing your home will prevent these creatures from carrying additional pests into your home

 

Use Natural (Indoor) Bug Sprays

In the spring and summer months when bugs are particularly active, a regular indoor pest control regimen is recommended. Non-toxic, all natural indoor pesticides are your best option, as they are both highly effective and safe for use around family and pets.

Use these natural pesticides as both a spot killer and as a preventative solution. Regularly spraying window sills, doorways, baseboards, counter tops, attics, basements and other possible entry points will create a repellent barrier against insects and other bugs (we recommend doing this weekly during spring/summer months, or as needed). For serious infestations like fleas and bed bugs, fogging is the easiest, most affordable option.

Treat Yourself and Your Pets
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Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our homes. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pet against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy.

Having guests over? Remember bed bugs often enter our homes through visitors’ luggage or clothing. Treating the outside of luggage with a travel size bed bug spray is a smart way to ensure pests don’t hitch a ride into your guestroom. If you and your family are traveling, it’s a good idea to treat your luggage before returning home to prevent accidentally introducing a bug population into your house.

 

Treat Your Lawn & Garden

Where do most bugs comes from? You guessed it: your yard! Not surprisingly, bug-proofing your yard is one of the most important steps to bug-proofing your home. During the spring and summer months, sticking to an outdoor pest control regimen is essential.

We recommend treating your yard with an all natural outdoor pesticide monthly or as needed. Cedarwood chips can also be used to create a repellent perimeter around your lawn and home. Simply sprinkle the chips along your home’s foundation and fence line, as well as any insect trouble areas. (Tip: Cedarwood chips can also be used inside dog bed coverings to deter biting insects, or hung in stockings and placed within closets to repel damaging bugs like moths).

 

How To Bug-Proof Your Yard Naturally

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From mosquitoes and ants to ticks and fleas, bugs can ruin an otherwise peaceful lawn. Pool parties, BBQs and other backyard festivities are much less fun once the biting insects and other creepy crawlies show up. They’re not just nuisances either, bugs like mosquitoes and ticks for instance carry harmful diseases that put both your family and pets’ lives at risk. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these family-safe, pet-safe tips to bug-proof your yard this summer.

 

Maintain Your Yard

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Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward protecting your lawn & garden against pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, chiggers and more. Here’s where to start:

  • Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (mosquitoes use stagnant water to breed).
  • Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight can be lethal to many bugs, like termites, chiggers, scorpions and more.
  • Many bugs need lush vegetation to hide, so regularly mow, edge, weedeat, rake, and trim the hedges.
  • When mowing, bag the clippings and dispose of them. Do not disperse them onto your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or empty them during mosquito season.
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water.
  • Keep pools well-maintained.
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
  • Cover all trash cans and dumpsters.

 

Treat Your Lawn With Naturally Sourced Pesticides

Traditional pesticides threaten not only the health of your yard, but also your family and pets. When treating your lawn, it’s important to go with a naturally sourced alternative. (Tip: The best time to treat is early morning or in the evening—this helps prevent evaporation, and gives the natural repellent/pesticide sufficient time to soak into your yard). Follow these guidelines:

  • Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
  • When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from re-entering your yard after treatment.
  • Spray front, back and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of your yard.
  • During the spring and summer months, we advise spraying your yard at least once per month, or more often as needed.

 

Use A Mulch Barrier

A repellent mulch barrier (like those made from cedar chips) is an easy way to repel bugs from your yard. For this approach: surround your lawn and garden with a thick perimeter of dry mulch (anywhere from 1-3 ft.). Do not use damp mulches, as these can actually attract some types of bugs.

 

Treat Your Pets (and Yourself)

Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our yards. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy process easy.

 

Deter Wild Animals 

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Wild animals are one of the primary ways bugs enter your yard. Treating and keeping your lawn maintained as discussed above is the first step to making your yard inhospitable to wild animals like bug-carrying rodents. From deer to possums to raccoons, here’s what you need to do to keep unwanted animals out of your yard.

  • Become a dog owner. Dogs and dog urine deter wild animals, as canines are a natural predator to many animals.
  • Consider installing fencing. If you already use fencing, check it thoroughly for holes, cracks and other openings animals might use to enter you yard.
  • Consider replacing plants that attract animals to your yard: such as roses, apples, beans, peas, strawberries, corn, chrysanthemums, tulips and more. Or, install chicken wire fencing around your garden.
  • Because ticks are especially dangerous, consider installing deer-repelling plants: such as iris, sage, chives, lemon balm, lilac, holly, and more.
  • Remove or repair sources of unnecessary moisture—such as standing water, leaking plumbing, drains, gutters, and sprinkler systems.
  • Firmly secure trash cans and trash can lids, or start storing trash cans in a garage or other outbuilding.
  • For more tips on keeping animals out of your lawn & garden click here.

 

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

8 Ways to Get Rid of Scorpions Naturally


Scorpions are one of our planet’s great survivors. From scorching temperatures to below-freezing conditions, scorpions can thrive in almost any environment. Having existed for over 400 million years, there are now over 1,700 species of scorpion—these predatory arachnids can be found on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. In the U.S., scorpions are mostly limited to the Southwest, such as Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico. Unfortunately for those living in these areas, scorpions can be difficult to eliminate. In fact, some scorpions can go anywhere from six to twelve months without food, and because they’re nocturnal and active almost exclusively at night, they can be hard to properly control.

The good news, however, is that scorpions are not nearly as dangerous as people think, with most encounters being no more harmful than a bee or wasp sting. The better news is that by taking preventative measures and using various natural methods, a scorpion problem can be prevented or outright solved. Follows these 8 simple guidelines to control scorpions naturally.

 

Get Rid of ALL the Bugs

The first and most crucial step to controlling scorpions is general pest and insect control. By removing the scorpions’ food source, you can send these venomous arachnids packing.

When it comes to scorpions, we advise creating a repellent barrier around both your house and yard using a naturally sourced outdoor pesticide. Be sure to spray around your home’s foundation and along fence lines (this treatment should be done twice a month until the problem is resolved). Natural indoor pesticides can be used to kill individuals that have found their way into the home, and as a preventative measure to treat doorways, windowsills and baseboards.

 

Maintain Your Yard

Keeping a clean and well-organized yard will go along way toward safeguarding your home against scorpions. Vulnerable to dehydration—and therefore extreme heat and sun exposure—scorpions require shady, cool places to hide during the daytime before emerging to hunt at night. Make sure to do the following:

  • Keep bushes and small trees landscaped. Do not allow them to overgrow and touch the outside walls of your home—scorpions use these as bridges to enter through windows or other small openings.
  • Keep grass & other vegetation short and trim.
  • De-clutter your yard, removing all unnecessary items: including brush, debris, decorative rocks, woodpiles, lawn equipment, etc.


Maintain Your Home

Just as crucial as de-cluttering your yard is keeping your home clean and organized. Clean—because crumbs attract bugs which in turn attract predators like scorpions. Organized—because scorpions will use everything from shoes to boxes to piles of clothing to hide. Traditionally cluttered spaces like closets and underneath beds will require attention, too.

 

Seal Your Home

Scorpions require openings no bigger than a credit card to enter your home. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, and even ceiling fans are all potential scorpion entrances. Seal your home by remedying these cracks and openings using caulk (don’t forget to check basements and attics, too!). The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any foundation/wall cracks & holes. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly shut, too.

 

Eliminate All Excess Moisture

Scorpions are prone to moisture loss and usually enter homes as a way to find water or cool down. Whether inside or outside your home, it’s important to remove puddles, standing water, and any other sources of moisture. Plumbing, basements and crawl spaces should also be kept dry and free of leaks.

 

Sticky Traps

Those sticky traps used to catch mice and small rats can be re-purposed as scorpion traps. Place them along common entryways, near possible water sources, and in other dark, cool spaces like closets and underneath furniture. Caution: some sticky traps contain synthetic pesticides and other toxins; for the safety of your pets and family, be sure to only purchase the non-toxic versions.

 

DIY Burlap Trap

A moistened burlap sack makes for an effective scorpion trap. Simply wet the sack and place it in scorpion trouble areas like basements, attics or just outside your home. Leave the bag opened and in place overnight and check it in the morning (be extremely careful when checking both inside and underneath the bag—scorpions pack a nasty sting!). Repeat this process until you no longer see scorpions in or around your home & lawn.

 

Essential Oils

Lavender, cinnamon, peppermint and cedar are all essential oils said to deter scorpions. These can be diluted with a carrier oil (or smaller amounts of water) and sprayed along scorpion problem areas and entry points—such as baseboards, windowsills, doorways, and around the perimeter of your home.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

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