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cedarcide blog post image, houseplant pest prevention: 5 Tips

Houseplant Pest Prevention: 5 Tips

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, Houseplant Pest Prevention: 5 Tips

If you’re a plant parent, sooner or later you’re going to come across a creepy-crawly or two—or, more likely, a few dozen. After all, when you bring a piece of nature indoors, usually nature brings a few friends along with her. While there’s no real way to completely prevent this from happening, by taking a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce the number of houseplant bugs you encounter. Chances are, you’ll save a few plant lives, too. 

Here are 5 houseplant pest prevention tips:

 

Not only is this the most obvious tip to prevent houseplant pests, it’s also arguably the most effective. Before taking any new plant babies home, do a careful and thorough inspection. Look closely for webbing, odd leaf discolorations, sickly looking stems, as well as actual insects, too. Take your time and pay close attention, pest symptoms can be subtle and quite small. 

If you happen to notice anything out of the ordinary while plant shopping, let an employee know. This will allow the shop to isolate the plant, treat it for bugs, and will help prevent other shoppers from taking home an infested houseplant.

 

To prevent potential bug problems from spreading, it’s a good rule of thumb to isolate new plants from your current collection for around 30-60 days. This will give you ample time to carefully observe your new plant baby for signs of illness or infestation before introducing it to the rest of your plant family. 

 

Whether it’s a new addition from your local nursery or an old one you’re reusing, planters should always be deep cleaned before each use. This will significantly decrease the likelihood of cross-contamination for not only pests but also fungi and harmful bacteria. 

To clean pots, fill your kitchen sink with a mixture of water, natural dish soap, and ¼ cup vinegar. Scrub for several minutes, dry, and you’re ready to re-pot!

 

It might seem obvious: but always use fresh, sterile soil. Using soil that’s been left outside unsealed or previously used soil is just asking for trouble. Eggs, bacteria, fungi, and various harmful insects are all known pitfalls.

 

While doing your weekly waterings, make a habit of also closely inspecting each of your plant babies and giving them a quick clean. Large-leaved plants like Alocasias and Monsteras will especially benefit from weekly washes, as dust and other debris can quickly accumulate on their big leaves, which can interfere with photosynthesis. 

Take this time to look for signs of houseplant bugs, such as sickly leaves and stems, webbing, or sticky residues. If you spot anything, immediately isolate the plant and consider lightly spraying it 1-2 a week with a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide.

To clean your houseplant’s leaves, simply spritz it with water and wipe it dry with a microfiber cloth. 

 

 


How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants

Houseplants are so, so cool—houseplant bugs so aren’t. Whether you currently have houseplants or planning to beautify your home with some soon, you’re going to face bugs at some point or another. It’s just part of being a plant parent. In fact, there’s a good chance bugs are slowly killing one or more of your plants at this very moment, and you just simply haven’t noticed yet.

Because there are no natural predators indoors, houseplant pests multiply very quickly. One day your plant’s thriving, the next it’s wilting under the weight of a dozen hungry insects. Before you lose a loved one—like the stunning Monstera lighting up your living room, or that new Alocasia your friends can’t stop talking about—school yourself on the common houseplant bugs below. Here is How to Get Rid of Bugs in Houseplants:

 

Usually green but sometimes white, yellow or even black, aphids are soft bodied insects that reproduce at an alarming rate. A few individuals can become a colony that overwhelms your plant seemingly overnight. As they feed on your houseplant’s sap, robbing it of vital nutrients, aphids weaken both stems and leaves, causing stunted growth and eventually the death of your plant.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Aphids can often be spotted in clusters on stems and the underside of leaves. If you’re dealing with green aphids, they’re not always the easiest to see, so take notice if your plant’s leaves suddenly become sticky with an unknown residue. This substance, called honeydew, is essentially just aphid poo. Gross, right!?

WHAT TO DO:
A few strong blasts of water is usually enough to remove aphids from your houseplant, though it can take several rounds to get rid of them all. Repeat as needed if you notice they’ve returned. And of course, exercise caution to not damage your precious plant in the process. Non-toxic, plant-safe pesticides and insecticidal soap also work great against aphids.

 

Fungus gnats are tiny black flies that can inhabit houseplants. While annoying, the adults aren’t much to worry about, but the larvae can do serious damage as they feed on root systems in addition to other organic matter in plant soil. Fungus gnats are mostly a threat to younger plants, but if a population gets large enough, they can certainly harm your mature houseplants, too.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Fungus gnats aren’t hard to identify: if you see small black flying bugs surrounding your houseplant, you almost certainly have fungus gnats.

WHAT TO DO:
First thing: avoid overwatering. Overly moist soil is a huge attractant for fungus gnats. Placing dryer sheets around affected plants, can also help considerably. Similarly, installing flypaper around the plant can do wonders for shrinking a fungus gnat population. To kill eggs and larvae in your soil, lightly spray it weekly with a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide.

 

These white, fluffy insects are among the most difficult houseplant pests to get rid of. As they suck the sap from your plant’s stems, they slowly but inevitably cause fatal dehydration to your plant baby.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Mealybug infestations are quite easy to spot. These durable bugs are usually found bunched up on stem joints and look almost exactly like tiny cotton balls. Plants infested with mealybugs will appear somewhat dehydrated, no matter how often you water them.

WHAT TO DO:
If you catch them early, mealybugs can often be controlled with plant-safe insecticides, by removing infested stems, or by rubbing individuals with cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol. They can also sometimes be removed by a strong jet of water in the shower. However, more developed mealybug problems are, sadly, usually terminal, requiring you to toss infested plants in order to save your other plant babies from infestation.

 

Like mealybugs, scales are small insects that suck sap from your plant’s stems, slowly killing them via dehydration. Also like mealybugs, they can be extremely difficult to treat, in large part due to their hard shell which effectively shields them against predators and traditional pesticides.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Small oval-shaped insects, ranging from tan to brown, typically found on the underside of leaves and around stem joints.

WHAT TO DO:
While they can be prevented by regularly applying non-toxic, plant-safe insecticides to your houseplant, once a scale issue has taken hold, it’s usually too late for pesticides to do much good. At that point, your best bet is to try removing them with a soft brush or something with a fine edge like a credit card.

 

Bordering on microscopic, spider mites are red arachnids that get their name from the telltale webbing they leave on the plants they inhabit.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Apart from their webbing and the damage they cause, spider mites can be all but impossible to notice. If your houseplant has spider mites, you’ll probably notice a loss of leaf color, as well as yellow or brown markings throughout.

WHAT TO DO:
Especially early on, spider mites can be somewhat easily controlled simply by keeping your plant’s leaves and stems moist. A daily spritz with a spray bottle filled with water should be sufficient. For larger problems, spraying more often and applying a non-toxic, plant-safe miticide will do the trick. It’s also a good idea to isolate plants suspected of mite infestation from your other houseplants.

 

Small, white and almost always seen in clouds as opposed to individually, whiteflies occupy houseplants and gradually leach them of their moisture, resulting in sickly, distorted-looking leaves. They usually won’t outright kill your houseplant, but they’ll definitely make it look far less attractive.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Are there dozens of small, white flies on or around your houseplant? If so, it looks like you picked up a whitefly problem. Plants infested with whiteflies often have leaves covered in waxy or sticky residues, and sometimes even darkish mold.

WHAT TO DO:
Getting rid of whiteflies is similar to getting rid of fungus gnats. Placing dryer sheets and flypaper immediately adjacent to infested plants will significantly reduce your whitefly population. To kill the rest, we suggest reaching for a non-toxic, plant-safe insecticide. Because adult whiteflies can leave a plant once it’s sprayed, it’s important to keep spraying the plant every few days or so until the issue is completely resolved.

 

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Cedarcide Blog Post Image, Australia's Bushfires: How You Can Help

Australia’s Bushfires: How You Can Help

Australia’s ongoing bushfires have been nothing short of devastating. 

Since September, over 20 million acres have burned, an area of land larger than last year’s Amazon rainforest fires, and over 80 times bigger than the infamous 2019 California wildfires. Every state in the country has been affected, including national parks and protected nature preserves. And there’s no end in sight. 

27 people have lost their lives, including volunteer firefighters. And an estimated 1 billion animals have died, a figure many experts consider conservative. The Australian ecosystem may never fully recover, especially not without our help. 

Below you’ll find 3 ways you can help the people and animals of Australia during this unprecedented disaster.

 

Donate to Support Those in Need

Donations to support those most severely affected can be made to the Australian Red Cross or American Red Cross, Salvation Army Australia, the St. Vincent de Paul Society Australia, and more.

To directly support firefighters and firefighting efforts, donations can be made to Victorian Country Fire Authority and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has also set up a donation page for the families of firefighters who have lost their lives this bushfire season.

 

Donate to Support Australian Wildlife

Donations to support wildlife can be given to WIRES (The New South Wales-based Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service), the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, Wildlife Victoria , RSPCA Australia, Zoos Victoria, and the World Wildlife Fund Australia 


Raise Awareness

It’s simple: the more people that understand and care about the ongoing crisis, the more help those in need will receive.

How can you help raise awareness?  Spread the word by simply sharing this article and info with friends, family, or over social media to show others how they can help Australia, too. 

 

How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree: 5 Tips

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, How o recycle Your Christmas Tree: 5 Tips

Trashed Christmas trees end up in landfills where they can take decades to decompose, and once they finally do, they release noxious methane, a greenhouse gas that’s worse for the environment than carbon dioxide 

Here are 5 tips for recycling or reusing your Christmas tree instead:

But Before Your Recycle…

Make sure you remove ALL decorations from the tree, as well as the plastic bag you use to drag it to the curb. Items like Christmas lights and ornaments not only damage the chippers they use to recycle trees, but can also cause serious harm to the individuals operating the machinery. 

Note: Unfortunately, if you have an artificial tree or a flocked tree—the ones sprayed in that fake snow—you’re not going to be able to recycle it.

Support Your Community

Often to benefit local parks and animal habitats, many cities collect Christmas trees and repurpose or recycle them to support the local community. 

Search online or contact your city directly to learn how to take advantage of their recycling program. 

Recycle it Yourself

Several local organizations—such as the Boy Scouts, game & fishery depts., even zoos and animal sanctuaries—accept trees from those looking to recycle them on their own. 

Visit Earth911.com to find a recycling option near you.

Compost It

If you have access to a wood chipper, your unwanted Christmas tree can be easily transformed into excellent compost.

For those without a compost pile, your Christmas tree’s branches are perfect for starting one. A 5-inch stack of thin evergreen branches makes for a great compost base, allowing plenty of airflow for a productive bin or pile. Then, add your compostable items like kitchen scraps on top and you’re good to go.

Return it to Nature

For those in rural areas, returning your tree to nature by simply placing it somewhere on your land is also an option. Not only will this provide food and housing for wildlife, but the tree’s needles can be harvested for an effective, slow-to-decompose mulch.

 

cedarcide blog post image, how to protect clothing from insect damage

How to Protect Clothing from Insect Damage

Carpet Beetles

Emerging from eggs laid on clothing, furniture, and carpet, carpet beetle larvae can ruin a closetful of clothes in no time, especially natural items like wool, fur, mohair and more. 

What to look for: Small beetles for adults (most commonly black or brown, sometimes multicolored), and small caterpillar-like larvae (usually brownish red, covered in fine hairs).

Moths


Infamous for leaving holes in clothing, moth larvae feed on wool, flannel, fur, and almost any other textile that’s dirty or recently used (sweat, food, skin oils, etc are all appetizing to these destructive pests).

What to look for: Whitish worm-like larvae with a hard outer shell, and very small white or gold-colored moths for adults.

Silverfish and Firebrats

These close relatives are both expert clothing destroyers, preferring starched items, natural fibers like rayon, silk, and cotton, and those stained with sugary food and drink. 

What to look for: Silver wingless insects with carrot-shaped bodies about ¼ inch long.

Roaches


While they don’t usually eat clothing on purpose, roaches are attracted to the sweat, and food spills that end up on our clothing. When consuming these items, they often create holes and stain fabrics with excrement.


Crickets


Like roaches, crickets eat clothing stains not clothing itself. Small holes and tears, not to mention cricket poop, can easily lead to hundreds of dollars in damage in only a few weeks.

 

Store Items Correctly

That means freshly cleaned, starch-free, and in a cool, dry place in tightly sealed containers or nylon bags (leather and fur items require breathable bags, such as cotton).

Vacuum

Regularly cleaning and vacuuming rugs, carpets, draperies, baseboards, furniture, and storage closets substantially lowers your risk of clothes-eating pests by removing eggs, larvae, and the debris they need to survive. Dispose of the bag when finished.

Naturally Kill & Repel 

Hang freshly dried lavender or Cedar Granules inside of a stocking in your chosen storage area to protect against damaging bugs. A cedar-based spray like Cedarcide Original can also be used throughout the space to kill and repel.

For already infested items: try washing & drying them, freezing them for 48 hours, or treating them with a fabric-safe insecticide like Cedarcide Original.

 


Cedarcide Blog Post Image, How to Grow a Successful Movember 'Stache

How to Grow a Successful Movember ‘Stache

Each November, men across the world participate in Movember, a charity campaign where participants grow mustaches to raise awareness for serious men’s health concerns, including testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and suicide. 

Whether this is your first Movember or you’re a seasoned veteran, the following 6 tips will help you grow the best ‘stache possible for the cause of supporting men’s health!


Start with a Beard

In those first embarrassing days when your mustache would be a sad, spindly little thing, having a full beard can help salvage your reputation. For whatever reason, a thin in-progress beard just looks way less creepy than a thin, in-progress mustache on its own.

Try growing a beard and then trimming it into a mustache later to avoid weirding out your friends, family, and coworkers. Just remember to trim it fairly quick, Movember is all about sparking conversations with your mustache, goofy looking or not.


Reach for Biotin

While reviews and studies are mixed on the subject, many believe Biotin, the vitamin responsible for nail and scalp health, can stimulate additional hair growth—and that includes your ‘stache. 

Chances are it won’t make much of a difference, but if you’re desperate, it’s worth a shot.


Grab a Mustache Brush

Not only can they make your ‘stache look more full and luxuriant (especially for those of us with puny, patchy facial hair 😢), mustache combs and brushes are essential for styling, too.

Say, for instance, your mustache always grows downward, but you really need it to grow out to the side instead. Daily combing or brushing can help train the hairs to grow the direction you want, making styling much easier in the long run.


Avoid Harsh Face Washes

Harsher face washes—like the types that combat acne, for example—can wreak havoc on your mustache game. From stripping the hair of color to impeding growth, it’s best to avoid chemical-based cleansers if your aim is a healthy-looking cookie duster.


Convert the Haters

Haters gonna’ hate. Thankfully, this month, hating on ‘staches is much, much harder. You’re growing it to support men’s health and combat cancer after all. You’re basically a superhero. 

But seriously, these types of interactions are what Movember is all about. Each joke and awkward stare (they’re just jealous!) is an incredible opportunity to start a conversation about the ongoing male health crisis and the countless men who die prematurely from suicide, testicular cancer, and prostate cancer worldwide. This is your time to shine—make it count!


Wax On

Attention patchy facial hair sufferers: mustache wax is your new best friend! In addition to moisturizing facial hair and helping loads with styling, wax can do wonders for hiding bald spots above your lip. And don’t worry, it won’t look like a combover. 

Even those with thick hair can benefit from mustache wax, especially when it comes to taming those stubborn rogue hairs that always seem to stick out in the wrong direction, or back into your mouth when you’re trying to eat

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 6 Natural Bug Bite Remedies

6 Natural Bug Bite Remedies

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 6 Natural Bug Bite Remedies

Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are with pest control and applying repellents, bug bites are still going to happen. That's just the world we live in. Thankfully, just as there are natural approaches for preventing bites, there are natural options for soothing them once they occur. The next time a bug leaves you with a red, itchy bump, try one of these 6 natural bug bite remedies.

 

Oatmeal

Not only is oatmeal moisturizing and soothing, but research shows it’s also an anti inflammatory capable of relieving skin irritation caused by bug bites.

To use: Make a paste by mixing equal parts oatmeal and water and apply it directly to the bite site. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes, then simply wipe it off with a wet cloth.

 

Aloe vera

Bug bites and stings cause your immune system to release compounds called histamines, which typically leads to an itchy reaction. Aloe vera has antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, which can do wonders to relieve this irritation.

For this approach: Cut open an aloe vera leaf and apply the plant’s gel to the irritated skin. Reapply as needed.

 

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, an herb in the mint family, has natural antihistamine properties, which makes it awesome for alleviating bug bites and stings.

To use: Finely crush fresh lemon balm leaves and spread liberally on affected areas.

 

Lavender Oil

It smells incredible, improves mood, and to top it off, it also helps soothe bug bites.

Take advantage of lavender oil’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities by diluting it with a carrier like coconut oil and spreading in on bug bites or stings.

 

Ice or Ice Packs

Ice works to calm the itching of bug bites in two ways. Firstly, the cold constricts blood vessels, decreasing inflammation and the body’s natural histamine response. Secondly, the ice will numb the site, reducing the urge to scratch.

Using a cloth or similar barrier, apply the ice or ice pack to the bite area. Remove after 5-10 minutes.

Chamomile 

When applied topically, Chamomile has restorative, anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, one study found that it both reduces pain and helps lesions heal more quickly.

To use: Steep a chamomile tea bag in a glass of water in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out the water, and apply the tea bag directly to the affected area. Remove after 10 minutes.

 

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

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 5 Scary Deets about DEET

5 Scary Deets About DEET

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 5 Scary Deets about DEET

DEET is arguably the most popular bug repellent in the U.S. Each year, millions of Americans spray it directly on their skin before camping, hiking, and cookouts to repel biting insects like mosquitoes. While DEET has one of the safer reputations among synthetic insecticides, it’s still an artificial chemical, and therefore something you should think about seriously before using around yourself, your family and pets. Here are 7 scary details to consider before you reach for another bottle of DEET-based bug spray.


Mosquitoes Are Adapting to It

While some types of mosquitoes are known to have a genetic resistance to DEET-based repellents, it seems now other mosquitoes are developing an immunity, too.

A study examining the host-seeking behavior of mosquitoes found that three hours after an initial exposure some mosquitoes displayed insensitivity to the repellent. Researchers believe this decreased response to DEET after previous exposure indicates that individual mosquitoes can adapt an immunity against the repellent that’s based on something similar to a learned behavior rather than solely genetics.


It’s Been Linked to Seizures

Although infrequent, potentially fatal seizures have been linked with DEET use. In 1998, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pointed to up to 46 cases of possible DEET-related seizures, including, sadly, 4 deaths.

The agency noted “it does appear that some cases are likely related to DEET toxicity,” and also suggested that more seizure cases are probably linked to the repellent but that “physicians may fail to check for history of DEET use or fail to report cases of seizure subsequent to DEET use.”


It Can Increase the Toxicity of Other Insecticides

Did you know DEET can actually strengthen the toxicity of other common synthetic pesticides?

Carbamates, a toxic family of insecticides often used in conjunction with DEET, is one such example. One of the studies that looked at DEET’s toxic interaction with carbamate insecticides concluded, "These findings question the safety of DEET, particularly in combination with other chemicals, and they highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the development of safer insect repellents for use in public health."


It’s Neurotoxic to Mammals

It was long believed that DEET simply had an olfactory effect on biting insects like mosquitoes, meaning it repelled them simply by smell. More recent studies have discovered that while DEET does repel by scent, it also deters pests through neurological means.

One such study states “We've found that DEET is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical but also inhibits the activity of a key central nervous system enzyme, acetycholinesterase, in both insects and mammals". Commenting on similar findings, researchers of another study concluded, “These findings indicate that DEET has neurological effects on insects in addition to known olfactory effects, and that its toxicity is strengthened in combination with other insecticides.”

 

It Can Melt Plastic

If you knew your bug spray could melt plastic, would you still put it on your skin?

In addition to repelling bugs, you might be surprised to learn DEET is a rather powerful solvent, especially when it comes to synthetic materials like plastic. This is especially relevant to outdoor enthusiasts like hikers and campers, as DEET is known to destroy items like camping gear, plastic bottles, sportswear, and more.

 

It’s Toxic to Pets

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center states that pets exposed to DEET products can experience “significant clinical” side effects. These health complications include skin irritation, eye damage, and respiratory issues, including airway inflammation and difficulty breathing. Gastrointestinal distress and nervous system problems are also linked to DEET exposure, such as ataxia, disorientation, and seizures.  


It’s Said to Alter Mood and Impair Cognitive Function

The Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University reports that in the late ‘80s Everglades National Park employees were studied to help determine the possible health consequences associated with prolonged DEET exposure.

It was discovered that those who used DEET more frequently were more likely to suffer negative side effects, including but not limited to insomnia, mood disturbances, impaired cognitive function, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and more.

 

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

Cedarcide blog post image, 5 Ways to Reduce Your Pet's Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

5 Ways to Reduce Your Pet’s Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

Cedarcide blog post image, 5 Ways to Reduce Your Pet's Exposure to Harmful Chemicals


As responsible pet parents, we try to give our animals the best lives possible. We feed them awesome food, we entertain them with outdoor activities, treats and toys, and we protect them from harmful annoyances like fleas and ticks. But, there’s one arena that many pet parents don’t consider when it comes to their pet care routine and it’s arguably the most impactful: Household chemicals.

Many common items we consider safe—from air fresheners to plastic pet toys—actually contain toxins that can poison our cats and dogs, resulting in illness, sometimes even death. Thankfully, by being just a little more conscious, we can help make our pet’s environments safer and much less toxic. Here are 5 ways to reduce your pet’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

 

Say No to Artificial Fragrances

Artificial fragrances—air fresheners, candles and other synthetically scented products—often contain chemicals that are unsafe for your pets, including heavy metals, phthalates, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like ethanol and formaldehyde.

Devastating health effects associated with consistent and long term exposure to these chemicals include heart disease, respiratory problems, birth defects, reproductive complications, even cancer.

But how common are these chemicals? Sadly, very. In a first-of-its-kind study, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) published the Polluted Pets report in 2008 to give the public a better understanding of the chemicals affecting our pets’ health. Their research found that American pets are riddled with phthalates, among other toxic chemicals found in artificial fragrances. Specifically, they discovered that dogs were contaminated with traces of phthalates at levels up to 4.5 times higher than humans; cats were contaminated at levels higher than in any of the over 5,500 people tested by the CDC.

Thankfully, from essential oils to natural air fresheners, there are numerous non-toxic and naturally sourced alternatives to artificial deodorizers and synthetic air fresheners.

 

Switch Out Your Household Cleaners

Indoor air pollution affects more than just our homes’ air quality, it impacts our pets’ health and lifespans, too. Many traditional household cleaners contain bleach, formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine and other toxic ingredients and synthetic fragrances that fill our home with noxious contaminants. Through inhalation, incidental ingestion, and absorption from the floor, our pets are commonly exposed to these chemicals, and the risks can be dire: Cancer, anemia, organ damage and more have all been linked to these toxins.

To protect your pets from potentially harmful exposure, carefully read cleaner labels and consider switching to non-toxic alternatives the next time you go shopping.

 

Choose Non-Toxic Flea & Tick Control

Pills, collars, sprays—in whatever form, traditional flea and tick solutions can pose a significant health risk to not only your pets, but also you and your family. Common ingredients in these products, such as organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroids, have been linked with countless health complications in both animals and humans. Organ damage, seizures, cancer, nervous system damage, and death in pets have all been associated with toxic flea and tick repellents.

Frighteningly, it’s been shown that synthetic flea and tick products can persist on our pets’ fur for weeks after initial application. Research has revealed that concentrations of these remaining pesticide residues pose a risk of cancer and neurological damage to children “up to 1,000 times higher than the EPA’s acceptable levels.”

To limit your pet and family’s exposure to these potentially life altering ingredients, consider switching from conventional flea and tick prevention products to non-toxic solutions without harsh chemicals.

 

Ditch the Plastic Toys

We mentioned above that a family of toxic chemicals called phthalates are typically present in artificial fragrances. Another common use for Phthalates is to help make plastic products more flexible. Unfortunately, this includes our pets’ toys.

Given that these items all but live in our pet’s mouths, the idea that they contain possibly life changing chemicals is just a little more than unsettling. (If you recall, the aforementioned Polluted Pets Report study found that dogs were contaminated with phthalates at levels up to 4.5 times higher than humans, and cats were contaminated at levels higher than in any of the humans the CDC tested.)

In addition to limiting household fragrances to natural sources, avoiding plastic pet toys is essential to protecting your cat or dog from the effects of phthalate poisoning.  

 

Avoid Synthetic Lawn Products

Traditional, chemical-based lawn care products present a unique danger to your pet’s overall health. Think about it: They spend considerable time outside, playing and lying in your lawn, and sometimes even eating its grass. Given the harmful chemicals hidden in many fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, sometimes a simple paw-lick is all it takes to negatively impact their health.

To start, conventional fertilizers often contain a noxious mix of phosphorus, nitrogen and other chemicals that at the right dose can be outfight fatal to pets, especially if ingested. The more pressing threat, however, is traditional outdoor pesticides. Alarmingly, several types of pet cancers are strongly linked with these products. One study, for example, found that dogs exposed to pesticides commonly used by lawn care services had a 70% higher risk of fatal canine malignant lymphoma.

Research published in the journal Science of the Total Environment discovered that “exposure to herbicide-treated lawns has been associated with significantly higher bladder cancer risk in dogs.” Another scary chemical to look out for is allethrin. This pesticide is found in many outdoor products used to treat flying pests like mosquitoes, and it’s been linked with increased risk of liver cancer in dogs. Considering cats absorb more chemicals than dogs due to their grooming habits and more delicate digestive systems, cat parents need to be extra careful around allethrin as well.

 

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

Cedarcide blog post image, Essential Oils: 6 FAQs

Essential Oils: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

Cedarcide blog post image, Essential Oils: 6 FAQs

From social media to blogs to your local supermarket, it seems like essential oils are everywhere these days. Like many you might be wondering: What even are essential oils, and how can I use them? As natural lifestyle advocates and big fans of these organic oils, we'd like to help clear up the confusion. Below you'll find 5 of the most frequently asked questions regarding essential oils. Enjoy!

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are simply highly concentrated organic compounds extracted from the seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, roots or fruits of plants and trees. Essential oils are usually distilled via a steaming process which helps separate the desired botanical oils from the rest of the plant material. Essential oils can be over 75 times more potent than their source material (for example, it takes roughly 16 pounds of peppermint leaves to make a single ounce of peppermint essential oil!)

 

What Are they Used For?

The internet is full of misinformation and countless unsubstantiated health claims when it comes to essential oils. While they’ve been used for centuries to help relief health issues and support wellness, scientists have only somewhat recently started researching their potential health benefits, including:


Pain Relief
From minor to major, essential oils have been shown to help alleviate various forms of pain. A study from Pain Research and Treatment looking into a variety of potential applications ranging from postoperative pain and chronic neck and back pain to cancer and labor-related pain “found a significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain,” especially when combined with traditional pain management approaches.


Reducing Stress and Anxiety
Relieving stress is one of the most popular essential oil uses and science appears to back up this benefit. A 2016 clinical trial involving the effects of rose water aromatherapy on dialysis patients showed anxiety levels were “reduced significantly in the treatment group compared with the control group.”

Another study looking at anxiety and depression in postpartum women discovered “positive findings with minimal risk for the use of aromatherapy as a complementary therapy in both anxiety and depression.” A 2014 study centered on quality of life in the elderly found similar results, concluding “depression, anxiety, and stress levels were significantly reduced...showing that aromatherapy can help to maintain the psychological health of community-dwelling older persons.”

Boosting Energy Levels
It’s long been believed that aromatherapy and other essential oil applications have a naturally uplifting effect on energy levels. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition looked at the effect of peppermint essential oil on young male athletes for this very reason, ultimately finding that the “results of the experiment support the effectiveness of peppermint essential oil on exercise performance...blood pressure and respiratory rate.”


Promoting Healthy Sleep
A 2014 University of Minnesota review evaluated 15 studies on the effects of essential oils on quality of sleep. Their search revealed the majority of these studies “suggested a positive effect of essential oils on sleep,” with lavender being the most frequently studied essential oil. 

A more recent study published by the British Association of Critical Care Nurses investigated the impact of lavender essential oil on the sleep quality and anxiety levels of patients in a coronary intensive care unit. Their research concluded that “lavender essential oil increased quality of sleep and reduced anxiety” in these patients.

 

How Do I Apply Them?

Now that you understand what essential oils are as well as some of their benefits, you might be wondering: But how do I use them? While there are limitless ways to incorporate essential oils into your natural lifestyle, there are 3 main application methods: Aromatherapy, DIY mixtures, and topical.

We suggest starting with the first two and moving onto topical application only after you’ve done more research on essential oils and consulted a professional.

Aromatherapy is the most popular approach, and involves using a diffuser or simple inhalation to harness the beneficial aromas of essential oils.

Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to DIY mixtures like homemade soaps, cleaners, or natural air fresheners is a fun way to enjoy essential oils’ therapeutic qualities.

Because of their small molecule weight, essential oils are readily absorbed into the skin, making topical application an effective way to enjoy these organic oils. After proper dilution with a carrier oil, essential oil mixtures can be applied directly to the skin as a soothing lotion or balm.

 

Should I Consult a Doctor Before Using Essential Oils?

Definitely!
For many reasons—including possible contraindications with medicine, potential allergies, and underlying health issues—we strongly suggest consulting a physician before starting an essential oil regimen, especially with the elderly and children. Essential oils, while natural, are highly concentrated and misuse can cause irritation and other unwanted reactions.

 

Do I Need to Dilute Them?

Absolutely!
Essential oils are much too concentrated to use undiluted. It’s a common misconception that diluting essential oils with a carrier oil or other DIY mixture will reduce their effectiveness, but that’s simply not true. In fact, carrier oils can increase efficacy and the aromatherapeutic effects of your chosen essential oil by preventing evaporation and premature absorption into the body. Failing to dilute essential oils before use can lead to severe skin irritation, rashes, or more serious health complications like respiratory issues.

The exact amounts will vary, but start by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a carrier oil like almond, avocado or coconut oil, or to a mixture like a DIY soap or homemade natural cleaner. Start small and increase the amount of essential oil as needed—generally, aim for somewhere in the 1-4% strength range.

 

Can I Use Them on My Pets?

Yes and no. We suggest always consulting a vet before incorporating essential oils into your natural pet care routine, especially for cats. When used correctly, essential oils can offer a chemical-free alternative to help address inflammation, anxiety, and other health concerns. When used incorrectly, however, they can do more harm than good.

First, always dilute before use and never allow your pet to ingest essential oils. Second, know which ones to avoid, not all essential oils that are safe for people are safe for pets. In general, avoid using the following essential oils on or around your pet:

  • Citrus oils (like lemon and orange)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ylang ylang
  • Tea tree
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Thyme
  • Clove
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic
  • Anise

5 Essential Oil Safety Tips for Dogs

 

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