Our environment is filled with harmful contaminants. Widespread use of chemical-based pesticides plays a large role in our planet’s ever increasing toxicity. Because avoiding daily pesticide exposure is now all but impossible, it’s important to take steps to decrease the amounts of these toxins in our bodies. By lowering pesticide levels in the bloodstream, you can decrease your chances of experiencing the many horrifying effects of pesticide exposure—including cancer, diabetes and infertility. Here’s 9 things you can do to lower your risk of pesticide poisoning.
Eat Organic (and Reduce Dairy and Meat Intake)
Eating organic has been shown to greatly decrease pesticide exposure. For instance, in one swedish study, which looked at pesticide levels in the bloodstream both before and after switching to an organic diet, it was found that eating organic foods lowered certain pesticide levels by nearly 95%.
Reducing dairy and meat intake has also proven helpful. Because pesticides and other harmful chemicals accumulate in fatty cells, and because meat and dairy are more likely to be contaminated with GMOs than produce, limiting your intake of animal-based foods is a fairly easy way to lower your risk of pesticide poisoning.
Switch to Non-Toxic Pesticides
Clearly, personal pesticide use represents the most direct source of pesticide exposure. Switching from chemical-based pesticides to naturally sourced alternatives is a smart choice, not just for you and your family, but also for your pets and the environment.
While not all experts agree on dry brushing’s effectiveness, many swear by it as a method to detox the body of chemicals—including pesticides. Considering how many pesticides we’re exposed to daily, the concept of deep cleaning the skin to remove residual exposure seems like a no-brainer step to take. For more info on dry brushing, and how to do it properly, click here.
Shoes Off in the House
Shoes are a common vehicle for pesticides to enter our homes. We walk around every day unknowingly collecting pesticides on our clothing and shoes, and when we bring those things into our homes, we’re bringing the toxic chemicals along with them. An easy way to decrease this source of pesticide exposure is to take your shoes off before, or just after, walking through the door.
Drink Lots of Filtered Water
Switching from tap to filtered water, and drinking lots of it, is a smart way to ensure your body’s capable of naturally detoxifying itself—sufficient hydration is essential to that process.
Eat More Cilantro
Cilantro isn’t just delicious, it’s good for your health, too! Several studies have revealed the herb as an incredible detoxifier—including the removal of heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides.
Exercise and a healthy organic diet are crucial to your body’s detoxifying processes. Firstly, regular exercise increases healthy blood circulation, which in turn increases the rate at which toxins are flushed from the body. Secondly, toxins like pesticides are often stored in our body fat, and regular exercise is a natural way to break up fat cells and eliminate the stored contaminants.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is conducive to digestive health. In short, it helps things move more quickly through your system—and that includes chemical contaminants such as pesticides and herbicides. For a list of fiber rich foods, click here.
Eat More Citrus
Eating more citrus is an easy way to encourage your body to flush insecticides and herbicides out of your system. Pectin, a fiber naturally abundant in citrus fruits, has a long history of medicinal uses. From helping prevent colon and prostate cancers, to diabetes and acid reflux relief, pectin offers countless health benefits. But above all, pectin is known as one of nature’s most gentle yet effective detoxifiers, heavy metals and pesticides included.
Dog parks are the playgrounds of the canine world—they’re fun, full of cute dogs, and the easiest way for your pup to socialize. Like actual playgrounds, without proper supervision and common sense, your animal child could get hurt. Read the following dog park tips & tricks to make the most of you and your dog’s precious play time.
At the minimum, bring the following items when visiting a dog park.
- Cell phone for emergencies (and documenting cuteness, too, of course!)
- Animal deterrent spray or air horn to protect both you and your pup from attacks
- Poop bags
- Cool, filtered water
- Your dog’s collar and leash
Leave the Treats and Toys at Home
While some dogs know how to share toys and treats successfully, others don’t. Introducing desirable objects like stuffed animals and snacks into a dog park is a powder keg waiting to blow. Aggressive defensiveness and fights over toys is almost a guarantee, and you or your dog could get hurt in the process.
Consider the Size of Your Dog
Some dog parks divide small dogs and large dogs to avoid potential confrontations. Others just throw every age, breed, and size all into one space. If your local park is of this last type, there’s a few things to watch out for. First, if you’re a large dog owner, never let your pooch scare or play too rough with smaller dogs—in fact, be cautious about any interaction with dogs much smaller than your own. If you’re a small dog owner, it’s probably best you find a small-breed-specific park, or find one where small and large dogs are kept separate.
Leave In-Heat and Pregnant Females at Home
Like with treats and toys, in-heat and pregnant females should never be brought to the park. For obvious reasons, this could lead to aggression, defensiveness and outright fighting.
Don’t Bring Puppies
Dog parks can be a rough environment for inexperienced, non-socialized dogs. That’s why puppies younger than 4 months should never be brought to the dog park. Young dogs are also more susceptible to infectious diseases, something dog parks are often riddled with.
Spay, Neuter, and Vaccinate Your Dog
Never, and we mean never, bring an ill, un-vaccinated, un-spayed or un-neutered dog to the dog park. This is a quick way to ruin the experience for everyone.
Master the “Come Here” Command
Do not take your pup to the dog park until you have consistent vocal control of them. Considering nearly every dog park is leash-less, the “come here” command is essential to ensure the safety of your dog. It’s best to hold off on visiting your local park until your animal friend understands and adheres to this command regularly.
Pick the Right Dog Park
If you have responsible dog owners as friends and relatives, ask them what dog parks they use most often, and which ones they recommend for your type of dog—this is often the best way to find a suitable park. (Pet Friendly Travel’s dog park locator works well, too). On the first visit to your selected dog park, carefully observe the setting before allowing your dog to enter. Are the grounds poorly maintained? Is there dog poop everywhere? Is it overly crowded? If “yes” is the answer to any of the above, keep looking—you haven’t found that perfect dog park yet.
Exercise Your Pup Beforehand
Recently exercised dogs are more relaxed, less aggressive, and overrall in a better state of mind. It might seem counterintuitive, but exercising your pup before visiting the dog park will almost always improve the experience.
Safeguard Your Dog From Fleas, Ticks and Parasites
Dog parks are notorious breeding grounds for fleas, ticks and parasites. In fact, a single, unprotected dog park visit could bring a full blown infestation to your own backyard (and living room!). Before and after dog park visits, be sure to spray both your pup and yourself with a natural, non-toxic insecticide and repellent. After your visit, you’ll need to check for ticks, too.
Size Up The Other Dog Owners
Dog owners—not dogs—determine the quality and safety of a dog park. Before letting your dog into the park, take a look around. Do the people at the park seem responsible? Do they have good control over their pups? If the answers are “no,” we advise you seek out another dog park or return another day.
Be Wary of Children
Bringing kids to the dog park is not ideal. Children’s erratic behavior, sudden movements, and general loudness can scare unfamiliar dogs, causing them to act aggressively. If you encounter children at the dog park, be wary of allowing your dog near them—the risks are simply too great. If for some reason you must bring your own child to the dog park, keep them near, watch them closely, do not allow them to run or scream, and keep them away from the other dogs.
Observe Your Dog’s Body Language
Always keep a close watch on your pup when visiting a dog park, and pay special attention to their body language (Sorry—but that means no excessive cell phone use!). Confrontations can usually be avoided simply by observing your dog’s mood. Signs of nervousness, defensiveness, or fear is the cue to relocate your dog to a safer, quieter space to play.
Know How to Break Up A Fight
It’s not fun and no one wants to think about it, but sometimes fights break out at dog parks. Knowing how to handle such a situation could save yourself an injury and maybe even your dog’s life. First, you must understand and be able to recognize the difference between playfulness and aggression: Dogs at play wag their tails, bounce on their paws, and otherwise look loose and relaxed; aggressive individuals look stiff, raise their hackles (those hairs running down their back), and appear intensely alert.
If the worst happens and your pup gets tangled in a fight with another dog, attempt to remain calm, and firmly command them to come back to you. Do not attempt to break up the fight yourself, you could be seriously injured. Instead, use the aforementioned air horn or animal deterrent spray—after all, you packed them for this exact situation. Afterwards, move your pet to another area or simply leave the park and return another day.
Remove The Leash
If your chosen park is leash-free, do not leave your dog on the leash. Dogs on leashes tend to feel less safe when surrounded by other leash-free pups, which can potentially cause aggressive defensive behavior. Plus, in a fast-paced, playful environment with dogs running around everywhere, leashes represent a serious safety hazard for both humans and other dogs.
Loudness and anxiety are things your pup and surrounding dogs will pick up on. Yelling commands at your dog, or generally acting distressed, can cause unwanted excitement among the dogs in the park, which can in turn lead to aggressive behavior. Just chill out, remain relatively quiet and relaxed, and everyone will have a much better time.
Spiders are everywhere. A recent study found that on average each square meter on our planet contains approximately 130 spiders. Which means if you’re reading this in a cubicle or kitchen nook roughly the size of a mattress, you’re being watched by about 1,040 beady, spider eyes! Their vast numbers are shocking, but nothing compares to spiders’ appetites. New research found that spiders consume upwards of 880 million tons of prey each year; by comparison all 7 billion humans on earth consume just 400 million tons of meat and fish combined. In fact, the amount of meat spiders consume each year outweighs the total biomass of all humans on our planet—in other words, spiders could, theoretically, consume every human on earth in just one year.
The numbers are shocking, but in truth, spiders are all but harmless to humans. Without question, our lives would be overrun with insects were it not for the spider, nature’s ruthlessly efficient exterminator. It’s for this reason that spiders are considered beneficial. And unless you’re absolutely terrified by them—or commonly seeing venomous individuals like black widows or brown recluses—we encourage you to leave them at their work. If you fall into the above category, though, we’ve got you covered. Here’s 10 all natural ways to get rid of spiders.
Clean & Remove Clutter From Your Home
Clutter and disorganization are a spider’s best friend, giving them ample space to hide and hunt. Consistently vacuuming, dusting, wiping down countertops, and de-cluttering your house will deter both spiders and their natural insect prey. When organizing your home, use sealable plastic containers instead of items like cardboard boxes, which do not adequately seal, providing spiders with yet another place to set up camp.
Clean & Remove Clutter From Your Yard
Brush, stacked wood, unused flowerpots, gardening equipment—spiders will make a home out of any outdoor clutter. Unkempt shrubbery, trees, and overgrown gardens also make ideal homes. Removing unnecessary clutter and keeping the lawn trim will reduce your spider population.
Seal Your Home
Even the smallest openings are a welcome mat to spiders. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, chimneys, vents—all are potential spider 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, vents, chimneys, and doorways always remain firmly shut.
Turn Off The Lights
Traditional outdoor lights are irresistible to most insects, which makes them a dinner bell for spiders. Switching off these lights at night can do wonders for reducing spider populations. Indoor lights whose glow reaches outside are also a liability. For the former, consider trading your bulbs for yellow sodium vapor lights (which do not attract insects). For the latter, plan on installing additional window dressing to limit indoor lights from bleeding outdoors.
Get Rid of ALL the Bugs—Including Spiders
The most effective method for deterring spiders is to remove their food source—this entails adopting a general pest and insect control regimen, both inside and outside your home.
Traditional pesticides endanger your family, your pets and the environment. We recommend using only natural pesticides instead. For outside: Using a non-toxic, plant-safe pesticide, thoroughly spray your entire yard, including all shrubbery, gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else insects and spiders might be hiding. We advise spraying front, back and side yards all in one session. To prevent pests from re-entering your yard, carefully spray along fence lines and foundations to create a repellent perimeter around your home and lawn. Repeat this process weekly—or as needed—until you no longer see spider activity.
For indoors: Using a non-toxic, non-staining natural pesticide/repellent, treat doorways, windowsills, baseboards and other suspected spider entry points. Continue treating these areas until your spider problems are resolved.
DIY Vinegar Spray
Spiders can’t stand vinegar—in fact, a direct spray is often fatal. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a safe, all natural spider repellent. Using a spray bottle, apply this solution to doorways, window sills, known spider hangouts, and other possible entry points once a week until your spider problem’s resolved.
DIY Mint-Based Repellent
Spiders actively avoid the strong smell of peppermint, making it an effective solution for spider control. 5-10 drops of peppermint oil in 16 ounces of water will give you a handy spider repellent you can use throughout the home. As with the aforementioned vinegar, spray this solution in and around possible entry points and spider problem areas.
Citrus oils and peels are a highly effective method for repelling spiders. With a lemon oil spray or actual citrus fruit peels, you can deter spiders from entering your home. Place fresh peels skin-side-down along window sills and other spider problem areas, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and shelving. (Tip: citrus peels can also be used in your garden to limit spider activity).
Much like citrus, peppermint, and vinegar, cedar is a natural spider deterrent. Cedar chips/shavings can be broadcast throughout your lawn and garden to repel outdoor spiders. For indoor issues, apply cedar chips along common spider problem areas such as windowsills, near doorways, shelving, and closets.
For spider control, this chalky natural pesticide does double duty—killing and repelling not only spiders, but also spider-attracting insects. DE is highly abrasive, containing nearly microscopic edges which injure bugs that come in contact with it. Placing DE along spider problem areas and potential entry points will keep spiders at a distance.
Of all the pests people hate to see in their homes, cockroaches are right at the very top—and for good reason. While they don’t regularly bite or sting like other household pests—such as bed bugs, ants or fleas—roaches can be extremely bad for your health. In addition to worsening symptoms in asthma sufferers, roaches are known to carry over 50 different pathogens, including pneumonia, meningitis, salmonella, staphylococcus (staph infection) and streptococcus (strep throat). In other words, if you have roaches, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible.
Roaches, however, can be very difficult to eliminate. It’s no accident they’ve existed for over 300 million years, predating even dinosaurs. Their unique ability to hide and to live off nearly any food source—from feces to glue to other dead roaches—has made roaches one of our planet’s most durable organisms. If you have a roach infestation, don’t worry, there’s no reason to panic. With patience, consistent effort and a little know-how, you can send these disgusting insects packing. Here’s 10 ways to get rid of roaches naturally
Starve Them With Cleanliness
The smallest crumbs and spills can feed a roach for weeks, even months. Cleanliness needs to be a top priority. Floors, counter tops, flooring, appliances, cabinetry, sinks, dishes, back splashes—your entire house needs to be clean and free of food debris at all times (don’t forget to clean behind appliances!). We find natural disinfecting wipes help speed up the cleaning process.
Remove Clutter—Both Inside and Outside
Roaches use clutter—especially stacks of paper—to both hide and breed. Every instance of clutter is a roach nest just waiting to happen. If you’re experiencing a roach infestation, you need to keep your home as clean and free of clutter as possible. As far as outside, wood piles, brush, yard clippings, moist mulch, lawn equipment and furniture are all possible roach homes, and should also be removed.
Seal Up Your Food
Leaving unsealed food out in the open is an easy way to invite roaches over for a meal. From leftovers to dry items like cereal, all the food in your home needs to be sealed. If you have an active roach infestation, this includes unexpected things like pet food and fruit bowls, too. Ziplock bags work, but hard plastic Tupperware-like containers are even better. Make sure the outside of your sealed containers are free of sticky residues and food debris, too. And always thoroughly wash and rinse bottles and cans before recycling them—roaches are attracted to any residual sugar, no matter how small the amount.
Remove Their Water Source
While roaches can sometimes go weeks to months without food, they can go only a few days without water. A single drop of water can sustain a roach for several days. So, successfully ridding your home of excess moisture is essential to eliminating a roach infestation. Never let water sit for prolonged periods of time, such as in sinks, potted plants, and pet dishes.
It’s also important to address the following areas of concern: leaking plumbing, sinks, bathtubs, basements, crawl spaces, A/C units, appliance drip trays, and attics. In the case of severe infestations, you might need to wipe down your shower and sinks regularly to avoid even the smallest sources of moisture (damp rags, towels and sponges should not be left out, either).
Take Out The Trash Daily
Trash cans are a buffet for roaches. To prevent and repel these pests, you’ll need to take out the trash daily. Trashcans should also remain firmly sealed at all times, and be cleaned regularly to limit food debris and other residues.
Seal Your Home
While necessary, weatherstripping windows and doors only goes so far. When it comes to roaches, you have to be diligent, and go even further—no crack, crevice or hole can go unsealed. In this regard, caulk is your best friend.
Indoors: fill any cracks/holes in cabinets, pantries, counter tops, piping, walls, ceilings, attics, crawl spaces, basements, under sinks, floorboards, and anywhere else roaches could enter your home. Outside: fill any cracks in foundations, roofing, and the exterior walls of your home. It’s advisable to use plugs or stoppers to seal drains, sinks and bathtubs when not in use, too.
Make a Natural Homemade Repellent
A mixture of 30% peppermint oil to 70% water makes for a natural, non-toxic indoor roach repellent. Spray floors, counter tops, cabinets, window sills, doorways, and other problem areas to deter roaches. Cedar oil works, too.
Have catnip lying around? If so, you’re in luck: catnip is another natural roach repellent. In 1999, Researchers at Iowa State University discovered that catnip—specifically a chemical in catnip called nepetalactone—successfully repels roaches.
A DIY Roach Trap
There are several easy but highly effective roach traps you can make at home. They all work on the same basic premise: (1) bait the bottom of a container (like a bottle) with something that will attract roaches (like sugar, fruit or bread), and (2) make sure to build the trap in such a way that roaches can easily enter the container, but not escape. This last feature can be done by lining the walls of the container with something slippery like petroleum jelly, or by creating a funnel at the top of the container. Place these traps in high traffic roach areas and leave them overnight. Continue this approach until you no longer capture additional roaches.
Natural, non-toxic pesticides are the easiest and most effective solution for eliminating and preventing roach infestations. Because roaches often enter your home from your yard, it’s important to treat both inside and outside your house. We recommend using Cedarcide Original for indoor use—as both a spot killer and a repellent—and PCO Choice concentrate or ready-to-use Yardsafe for outdoor use.
Watch this video to learn how to properly treat your lawn with PCO Choice
DIY Roach Bait
Many experts advocate using a boric acid mixture to bait and kill roaches. While this approach is effective, it also poses health risks to pets and children. To avoid these risks, we advise using a 50/50 natural mixture of baking soda and sugar. Thoroughly mix the two ingredients and sprinkle the bait around roach problem areas and suspected entrance points—like windowsills, baseboards and doorways. Continue using this method until your roach infestation disappears.
At Cedarcide, we offer several pest-control solutions for both indoor and outdoor use. From concentrates to ready-to-use formulas, from personal & pet use to lawn & garden care, we have what you need to keep your home and yard free of pests.
But which products are right for you? To make your shopping experience easier, we’re launching a series of blog posts to help you better understand the differences between our most popular formulas. Today we’re talking about our two all-natural outdoor pesticides: PCO Choice and Yardsafe.
PCO Choice is an all natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly concentrate designed for outdoor pest control. PCO is engineered to devastate unwanted insect populations without adversely impacting soil or the environment—it kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, grubs, mites, chiggers, ants flies, moths and many other pests. PCO contains 85% cedar oil.
Dilute PCO Choice With Water For Use On:
- Lawns & Gardens
- Trees & Shrubbery
- Pet Spaces
- Sports Fields
- Agricultural Land
- Trash Cans
- Foundation Barriers
- Fence Lines
- Dilute PCO with warm/hot water; shake to mix until milky white
- For Hose End Sprayers: Add 4 oz. of PCO per 20 gallons of sprayed water (treats up to 5,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space).
- For Tank Sprayers: Add 2 oz. per 1 gallon of water
- PCO can be diluted down to 1:1000 for larger, agricultural use
Yardsafe is an all natural, nontoxic and ready-to-use solution for outdoor pest control—think of it as a ready-to-use version of PCO Choice. Yardsafe eliminates unwanted insects without adversely impacting the soil or the environment. Yardsafe’s applications are the same as PCO Choice: lawns, gardens, pet spaces, sports fields, barns, agricultural land, foundation barriers and countless other outdoor spaces. Yardsafe also kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, chiggers, ants, flies, moths and many other pests. Yardsafe contains 15% cedar oil.
To use: Simply hook up the Hose End Sprayer directly to the bottle, then attach it to the hose and begin spraying. Avoid applications during peak sun hours, early morning or late evening is best.
How Are They Different?
Who Should Buy PCO Choice?
Generally those with larger yards or agricultural land choose PCO Choice because it’s concentrated, meaning it will treat considerably more outdoor space than the same amount of Yardsafe (1 quart of PCO covers approximately 1 acre of 40,000 sq. ft.). PCO is also customizable, allowing customers to dilute the solution to whatever concentration they prefer.
Who Should Buy Yardsafe?
Those looking for a convenient and quick solution to outdoor pest control. While PCO Choice will cover more ground because it’s a concentrate, Yardsafe is easier to use, with no need to dilute (1 quart of Yardsafe covers approximately 1/8 acre or 5,000 sq. ft.).
At Cedarcide, we offer several pest-control solutions for both indoor and outdoor use. From concentrates to ready-to-use formulas, from personal & pet use to lawn & garden care, we have what you need to keep your home and yard free of pests.
But which products are right for you? To make your shopping experience easier, we’re launching a series of blog posts to help you better understand the differences between our most popular formulas. Today we’re talking about our two all-natural insecticides/repellents: Cedarcide Original and Tickshield.
What is Cedarcide Original?
Our most popular solution, Cedarcide Original is an all natural, non-toxic insecticide & repellent for personal, pet and home use. Quick-drying and non-staining, Cedarcide Original’s formula contains 10% cedar oil is fast and effective on everything from general insect control to major infestations. It’s safe for people and pets of all ages, and can be applied directly to human skin or pet fur. Cedarcide Original kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, chiggers, ants, flies, moths and more. (Cedarcide Original is not a lawn & garden product—Do NOT use it on grass or other plant life). For more tips on how to use Cedarcide Original, check out the instruction sheet on the Cedarcide Original product page.
Tips for Using Cedarcide Original On Cats: While Cedarcide Original is non-toxic and cat-safe, on rare occasions smaller cats and kittens have found the natural cedar scent of Cedarcide Original too strong for their liking. For this reason, we recommend testing for sensitivity with a light initial application. For more info on cedar oil and cats, click here.
What is Tickshield?
Tickshield is an all natural, extra strength insecticide and repellent—think of it as a double strength version of Cedarcide Original (it contain 20% cedar oil). Tickshield is our strongest and longest-lasting formula, making it an ideal choice for hikers, campers and other outdoorsman. Like Cedarcide Original, Tickshield dries quickly and will not stain. It’s safe for people of all ages and larger animals (20+ lbs.). (We do NOT recommend using Tickshield on cats or smaller dogs). Tickshield kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, bed bugs, mites, ants, chiggers, flies, moths and more. (Tickshield is not a lawn & garden product—Do NOT use it on grass or other plant life).
How Are They Different?
Tickshield is simply an extra strength version of all natural Cedarcide Original insecticide & repellent.
Who Should Buy Tickshield?
For those who require extra strength insect protection—think hikers, campers, fishermen, and other outdoorsman. Tickshield is also an ideal insect repellent for larger pets, such as large dogs (20+ lbs.) and horses.
Healthier, fresher, more eco-friendly—organic produce has become popular for a reason. The growing fear of toxic pesticides—which have been linked to cancer, behavioral disorders, and birth & developmental effects—is a factor, too, making more people question how their food is grown and where it comes from. Because washing/rinsing only reduces but does not eliminate pesticide residue from produce, it’s time to seriously consider going organic.
By U.S. regulations, “organic” produce must be grown without synthetic pesticides (natural pesticides are OK!), chemical-based fertilizers, artificial preservatives, and without GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). The resulting produce is of a much higher quality, but it’s often much more expensive. But don’t let that prevent you from choosing safer, more nutritional food for you and your family. In truth, You don’t have to go entirely organic to reap the benefits of organic produce. Just as some produce should always be purchased organic due to its high toxicity, some conventionally-grown produce can still be eaten without fear of pesticides or other ill effects. Here’s 12 items you should always buy organic (and 15 you really don’t have to).
(Don’t forget: Organic or not, you should always thoroughly wash & rinse all produce!)
The Envrionmental Working Group (EWG) evaluates pesticide usage and its efects on produce each year. For their latest findings, visit their website.
Always Buy These Organic:
The Environmental Working Group’s latest findings indicate that Strawberries are the absolute worst fruit or vegetable in terms of pesticide toxicity. The EWG’s stats show that on average over 300 lbs. of pesticides are used on each acre of non-organic strawberry fields. To make matters worse, strawberries are the most difficult fruit or veggie to adequately rinse, since all those little pits double as pesticide-trapping reservoirs.
Spinach is a highly nutritional alternative to lettuce or cabbage. However, unless you’re buying organic, spinach can also be harmful to your health. The EWG ranks this vegetable as the second most pesticide-covered fruit or veggie for 2017. Furthermore, according to the EWG, Spinach has on average twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
They might be a sweet, tart and refreshing summer snack, but non-organic Nectarines contain several of the most dangerous pesticides in the world. Nectarines are #3 on the EWG’s most pesticide-ridden produce list for 2017.
Apples are the fourth most pesticide-contaminated fruit or vegetable in 2017 according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that monitors pesticide usage in the U.S. The average non-organic apple contains up to 48 different pesticides. According to information collected from the USDA, even after thorough washing, 98% of all apples still contain at least one toxic pesticide.
Peaches clock in at #5 on the EWG’s most pesticide-laden fruit and veggies list. Like strawberries, apples and spinach, 98% of all peaches—even after washing—contain at least 1 harmful pesticide.
On average, non-organically grown pears contain at least 40 known pesticides—8 are probable carcinogens, 7 are neurotoxins, 11 are suspected hormone disruptors, and 5 are thought to cause reproductive or developmental complications in women and children.
Even after washing, nearly 100% of all cherries contain detectable levels of toxic pesticides. Of all the food you should buy organic, this is right near the top of the list.
On average, a batch of grapes contains upwards of 60 different pesticides. From known carcinogens to neurotoxins and hormone disruptors, non-organic grapes are littered with frightening chemicals.
Celery is something of a gateway vegetable, with many parents introducing their children to vegetables by slathering these fibrous green stalks with ranch dressing and other dips. But if you plan to feed these to your children, you better buy organic—celery contains at least 64 different pesticides!
Starting in 2017, cherry tomatoes are no longer considered a risky pesticide crop. However, your standard tomato still ranks as one of the worst. With over 35 pesticides on your average tomato, you should definitely go organic when shopping for these fruits/vegetables.
Sweet Bell Peppers
Sweet bell peppers are quickly becoming one of America’s favorite snacks. Sadly, they also rank as of the most pesticide-riddled vegetables available. Sweet Bell Peppers come in at #11 on the EWG’s most pesticide-contaminated fruits and veggies rankings.
Non-organic sweet potatoes remain a relatively safe choice as far as pesticides go. The same, however, cannot be said of its starchier cousin, which is known to commonly carry upwards of 35 different pesticides!
Fruits & Vegetables You Don’t Have To Buy Organic
Due to their low pesticide toxicity and lack of GMOs & preservatives, the following fruits and vegetables do not need to be purchased organic:
- Sweet Corn
- Frozen Sweet Peas
- Honey Dew Melon
Growing Your Own Produce?
To keep your family, pets and the soil safe & healthy, be sure to choose eco-friendly, all natural pesticides for your lawn & garden.
Over 1 billion pounds of synthetic pesticides are used worldwide every year. Over 95% of these end up somewhere other than their target destination—such as oceans, forests, our drinking water, our food, and inside our homes, pets, children, even breast milk. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) conducted a study of 9,282 people throughout the U.S. and found pesticides in 100% of those tested: the average person was found to have 13 out of 23 common pesticides in their bloodstream or urine.
But what can homeowners do to help minimize the impact of these pesticides? It turns out, a lot. The average homeowner uses ten times more pesticides per acre than farmers use on industrial farmland. Of the 30 most common lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer, 13 are linked with birth defects, 26 with liver and kidney damage, 13 with neurological damage, and 11 with disruption of human hormones. Furthermore, 17 of these are commonly found in groundwater, 23 in our drinking water, 24 are toxic to aquatic life such as fish, 11 are fatal to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds. (At this very moment, the makers of Roundup—the most used pesticide in the world—are facing lawsuits from thousands of cancer-sufferers claiming Roundup caused their disease). So, in many ways, it’s in the hands of average homeowners like you to start minimizing the risks associated with pesticide use by searching for safer, all natural alternatives. Not convinced? Here are 8 reasons why you should stop using synthetic pesticides today.
1. They’re Poisoning Your Food
Washing vegetables and fruit removes all those dangerous pesticides, right? Wrong: the USDA reports that even after peeling and rinsing, 60% of all produce still contains at least one harmful pesticide. What can you do? Purchasing only organic produce is one option; growing your own, and using only non-toxic, natural pesticides on your garden, is another.
2. They Could Be Harming Your Child’s Brain
People are “not aware of the hazards that the unthinking use of pesticides poses to their children,” says Philip Landrigan, dean for global health and professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.Because of their size and because they’re in the midst of development, children are especially at risk when it comes to toxic pesticides. When you consider how often children play in the yard, and how often they place their hands into their mouths, it becomes obvious why they’re directly in harm’s way. “They take into their bodies more of the pesticides that are in the food, water and air,” Landrigan continues; their “delicate developmental processes are easily disrupted by very small doses of toxic chemicals that would be virtually harmless for an adult.”
Frighteningly, studies indicate that children with parents who use chemical-based pesticides are at higher risk of several types of childhood cancer, brain damage, lower IQs, and other health effects. Sources have also proven that measurable levels of pesticides are prevalent on household flooring. So, when you note that infants are already at high risk of pesticidal side effects due to their weight, the thought that they’re often found crawling on floors should set off alarms in every parents’ mind.
3. They’re Killing Your Pets
Like children, pets are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticides (which includes exposure via Flea Collars, too). Your pets not only live and play in your yard, they sometimes even eat its grass, insects and rodents too. One study conducted by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides had as much as a 70% higher chance of contracting potentially fatal canine malignant lymphoma. Another study concluded that bladder cancer was also associated with lawns treated with inorganic pesticides, with even indirect exposure from adjacent lawns significantly raising your pet’s risk of getting this extremely painful cancer.
4. They Pollute Your Home
If you think that avoiding your lawn immediately after treatment keeps you out of harm’s way, think again. Gary Ginsberg, a public health toxicologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of Connecticut says, “there’s some inevitable transfer into the home or the neighbor’s home from use on the lawn.” Whether through windows or vents, or transferred via shoes or your pet’s paws, pesticide residues almost always find their way into your home. One study found that a week after treatment, pesticides could still be detected on all indoor surfaces: including kitchen countertops, tabletops and flooring.
5. Pesticides Are A Strain On The Economy
It’s estimated that exposure to chemical pesticides (along w/ other endocrine disruptors found in plastic, makeup, detergents and other packaging) costs the U.S. over 340 billion dollars annually in health care costs and subsequent lost wages. Endocrine disruptors interfere with proper human hormone function, and are linked with health problems ranging from infertility and obesity, to brain development and diabetes. The financial toll of these effects is said to represent at least 2% of our country’s entire gross domestic product, or GDP. The same study discovered that pesticide exposure alone causes more than 1.8 million lost IQ points and 7,500 intellectual disabilities each year—the annual cost of which is roughly $45 billion.
6. They Damage Our Environment
Because of wind, runoff, overspray, and their ability to leach into soil, chemical pesticides regularly pollute the environment, ending up in soil, water and other delicate ecosystems. How extensive is pesticidal pollution? In a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, pesticides were found to contaminate every stream in the United States, and over 90% of all wells tested. These toxins were not limited to groundwater, though, they were also found in rainwater and fog, too.
Another study conducted in Australia—which tested areas directly bordering the Great Barrier Reef—found that pesticides were detected in 90% of all samples the Australian scientists collected. When chemicals from pesticides enter an ecosystem they disrupt normal biological processes and therefore decrease overall biodiversity, greatly limiting the number of surviving species. Unfortunately, this effect can persist for long periods of time, as many pesticides are also soil contaminates—meaning these toxins can stay active in the soil for decades.
7. They Harm Wildlife
Pesticides seem to be especially harmful to marine life and birds. By the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service’s own estimation, more than 72 million birds die in the U.S. each year as a result of pesticide use. But because many pesticides are bioaccumulative—meaning toxic levels can slowly build up within an organism over time—they have the potential to disrupt entire food chains of which birds and fish represent only a small part.
In truth, pesticidal contamination has the potential to affect nearly every living organism, if not directly then indirectly through ecosystem damage. One particularly chilling example can be found in bees, which are one of the most integral organisms to survival on this planet. Largely due to the widespread use of toxic pesticides, the world’s bee populations have been falling drastically in what scientists call colony collapse disorder. And while recent restrictions in pesticide use have helped restore their numbers, pesticides continue to threaten the health of bees worldwide.
If you’re among the millions of people that use synthetic pesticides in and around your home, your health is at risk. The following conditions have all been linked to pesticide exposure.
Termites are one of the most successful and durable organisms on Earth. For every one person on our planet, there’s roughly 1,000 lbs of termites. Termites also work around the clock, never once requiring sleep for their entire lives. More closely related to cockroaches than other social insects like ants, termites have been around for over 250 million years (by comparison, humans have existed for just over four million years). While there’s upwards of 45 different species of termites, three species account for most home infestations: subterranean termites, drywood termites, and dampwood termites. It’s estimated that these termites cause over five billion dollars in damage each year. And with the typical infestation containing anywhere from 1-4 million of these wood-chewing insects, it’s obvious why every homeowner should be prepared to combat a termite infestation.
The good news is that termites are relatively easy to treat once located. However, finding the source of your termite problem can take some time—there’s a chance you’ll have to remove drywall or dig small trenches in your yard to locate the termites’ hive. Sadly, most traditional methods for treating termites involve toxins that endanger not only your family, but also your pets and the environment. Thankfully, you don’t have to resort to these toxic chemicals to get rid of your termite infestation. There are several natural alternatives that are highly effective at reducing termite populations. Here are our favorites.
It’s much easier—and much cheaper—to prevent a termite infestation than it is to treat one. The following precautions will go a long way in keeping these damaging insects away from your home:
- Eliminate any unnecessary moisture around the foundation of your home. Be sure to properly maintain pipes, home fixtures, A/C units, gutters, downspouts and other drainage sites. Fix any leaks immediately.
- Fill any cracks or other openings that would allow termites to enter your home. Pay special attention to utility lines and piping.
- Do not store firewood or other lumber near your home
- Remove tree stumps, branches, and any other wooden debris from your yard.
- Keep shrubs, small trees and bushes well maintained
- Be sure all exterior vents have screens suitable for preventing termites from entering your home.
Termites cannot withstand sunlight, and therefore avoid it. Termites require moist conditions to stay alive, which is why direct sun exposure will ultimately kill them. If you’re seeing termites within certain areas of your home, expose those areas to as much sunlight as possible. If you can locate the termites’ hive outside, clear all brush and clutter to allow as much sun exposure as possible. Even better, dig in and around the hive to expose the colony to the heat of the sun. If you suspect that any furniture or other smaller items have been infested, placing them outdoors in the heat of the day is a natural way to help rid them of termites. While sunlight alone will not likely destroy an entire termite infestation, it’s an effective natural way to reduce population size and help prevent additional termite issues.
Termites are attracted to cellulose, which makes up a large portion of their diet. Cardboard is full of cellulose, and can be easily re-purposed as a handy trap. This is one of the most effective natural methods for helping eliminate termite infestations. Simply take a large, moist sheet of cardboard and roll it into the shape of a tube (stacking several moist sheets atop one another also works). Place these DIY traps in the areas of the home where you’ve witnessed the most termite activity. Within a few days, collect the traps and discard them somewhere far from your house, or treat the collected termites with a natural insecticide. Repeat the process until you no longer see signs of termites.
One of the greener options for termite control involves introducing parasitic roundworms into the termite colony. Also known as beneficial nematodes, these organisms can devastate termite populations. Once they’ve located and entered a host, these nearly microscopic worms release a bacteria that’s deadly to insects such as termites. Once they’ve killed their host they move on to another member of the colony, reproducing in the process. Beneficial nematodes can typically be found at your local home & garden store. Once purchased, release the nematodes into the termite hive and let them do the rest. This approach works best in conjunction with other natural pest control methods.
Orange oil has proven effective at killing termites, particularly drywood termites. Extremely affordable and all natural, orange oil is derived from orange peels and is made mostly of d-limonene—a solvent that’s deadly to termites. When termites come into direct contact with orange oil their exoskeletons begin to dissolve, causing them to lose proteins and moisture, and ultimately die. This method works as a deterrent, too, as termites will avoid traveling in areas saturated with orange oil. Orange oil is also believed to disrupt termites’ pheromones, which they use to communicate. Simply spray full strength or mildly diluted orange oil onto termite problem areas, as close to the hive as possible. If the hive is located behind a wall and you’re not interested in tearing out Sheetrock, many professionals recommend drilling holes in the drywall and dispensing orange oil through the opening. (Always consult a professional before removing drywall or drilling holes for this purpose). Be aware: orange oil can irritate skin and cause complications if ingested, so please exercise caution when using this essential oil.
Along with its countless other uses, vinegar can also be used to kill termites. Mix half a cup of vinegar with the juice of two freshly squeezed lemons; then simply use the mixture in the same manner as the orange oil above, spraying in or around where the termites congregate—preferably the hive itself. The acidity of the solution is too caustic for termites, killing them on contact. This solution also functions as an effective deterrent. Repeat the process as necessary.
Natural insecticides are usually the best option for treating termite infestations. For best results, you’ll want to treat both inside and outside your home. We recommend using Cedarcide Original for all indoor termite issues, and PCO choice for all outdoor applications. Simply spray Cedarcide Original anywhere you’re experiencing termite activity—this will kill all active termites and deter future individuals from returning to the area. If your termites’ hive is indoors, saturate the colony with Cedarcide Original to eliminate the infestation. To manage all outdoor termite problems, treat your entire yard with PCO Choice. With generous application, this cedar-based outdoor pesticide will seep into the soil, eventually reaching any subterranean termite hives. As an additional precaution, we recommend applying a thick barrier of PCO Choice around your foundation to prevent termites from entering your home. Repeat these processes as needed.
One of the very best ways to prevent an infestation is to make your home’s wood unappetizing to termites. A non-toxic wood treatment that removes moisture from wood is a highly effective method to deter termites from consuming or inhabiting wooden structures. This approach not only preserves wood—making it more structurally stable and resistant to rot—but also transforms it into something termites can no longer eat or destroy. We recommend treating all wood vulnerable to termites with Cedarshield. This can be done either by treating wood before it’s used for construction purposes, or after the fact once termites have become a problem. For more info on how to use Cedarshield watch the video below:
It’s estimated that over 20,000 species of ants exist. Living in colonies whose populations sometimes number in the millions, ants can be found on every continent but Antarctica. Their unmatched success is often attributed to their carefully organized social structure—which includes division of labor and a highly evolved hierarchy. Because of their wide variety and large distribution, ants and humans commonly cross paths. In fact, ants are arguably the most common insect found in the home. The next time you see these intruders in your home, don’t resort to another can of toxic bug spray. Try some of these ten natural alternatives instead.
Please note: The efficacy of these natural treatments can vary from species to species, but for the most part these approaches should work well on the majority of common household ants.
Prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple guidelines to keep ants out of your home.
- Keep your home clean—particularly the kitchen, flooring, windowsills and countertops. Without a source of food, 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 food residues (Tip: wipe off all those jam, sauce and honey containers).
- Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
- Take out the trash 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 another sealant.
Ants use pheromone trails for navigation and communication—it’s also the way 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 an ant-killing spray.
Vinegar is an extremely effective natural ant deterrent. It disrupts ants’ 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, and countertops. Repeat the process daily or as needed to repel ants. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and multi-surface cleaner—so feel free to use this spray liberally.
Sugar and Baking Soda Trap
A simple and natural ant trap 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 traps 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 for ants).
Cinnamon & Cinnamon Oil
Not unlike the previously mentioned essential oils and vinegar, cinnamon and cinnamon oil work to deter ants by interfering with their pheromone trails. Dispense the cinnamon in whatever form throughout ant problem areas. When used around windowsills, baseboards, near doors and alongside countertops, cinnamon helps prevent ants from entering your home.
Like baking soda, cornmeal is a natural ant pesticide (they can eat it but not digest it, which is what ultimately kills them). Broadcast cornmeal near possible ant entrances, as well as windowsills, doorways, and other locations ants commonly frequent. This method can take some time, but it’s quite effective in the long run. Continue to dispense cornmeal until your ant colony dies or moves on to more promising terrain.
This is a natural 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 ants’ mound (this can be dangerous, so please exercise extreme caution). Adding a natural and water-soluble insecticide, essential oils, or soap to the boiled water serve to make this method even more effective. You may have to repeat this process two to three times to completely eliminate the colony.
Soap & Water
A simple mixture of soap and water is toxic to 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.
Non-toxic Insecticides—Both Indoor and Outdoor
All natural, over-the-counter insecticides are often the easiest and most effective option for completely eliminating an ant colony. The best approach is to treat both outside and inside your home. Inside insecticides can be used as both a repellent and a spot killer. Natural 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 ant colonies.
Made from crushed algae fossils, Diatomaceous Earth is a well known natural pesticide. This abrasive material damages the exoskeleton of any ants that come into contact with it, eventually killing them. Spread DE throughout ant problem areas and directly on the colony’s mound if possible. Diatomaceous Earth is also one of the most effective methods for combatting carpenter ants, who will regularly die from consuming it.
Used much like cinnamon, coffee grounds can be spread on problem areas, various perimeters, and on the ant colony directly. Sometimes blanketing an ant mound with coffee grounds is enough to get the entire colony to relocate. This method works best in conjunction with other natural approaches—like the ones mentioned above.