We love horses here at Cedarcide. So much so, in fact, we’ve rescued 7 of them from kill pens as part of the Cedarcide Horse Rescue. The strength, grace and kindness of these majestic animals is a source of inspiration for us every day!
Occasionally we’re asked: “Is Cedarwood oil toxic to horses?” The short answer is No—when properly formulated and properly used, cedarwood oil is not toxic to horses. But there’s more to be said on the topic. Let us explain.
Cedarwood Oil And Horses
It’s important to note that you should never use full-strength essential oils directly on your horse’s coat—that includes cedarwood oil. Undiluted essential oils can be irritating to horses’ skin, and “hot” essential oils—which includes cassia, cinnamon bark, clove, hyssop, lemongrass, ocotea, oregano, and thyme—can actually cause mild burns and rashes at high doses. When it comes to cedarwood oil specifically, some species of cedar—like Western red cedar and white cedar for example—are naturally toxic and irritating, and should never be used in topical horse products.
Full a full list of plants toxic to horses, click here.
How is Cedarcide Cedarwood Oil Different?
Firstly, Cedarcide products never contain toxic species of cedar. Secondly, because we only use the highest quality cedarwood oil sourced from pet-safe cedar trees (Juniperus ashei, to be specific), our products are always non-toxic, naturally sourced, and safe for horses. Using a multi-step filtration process, our cedarwood oil is purified of all unnecessary contaminants and other potentially harmful ingredients. However, as with any topical product, we suggest testing your horse for possible sensitivity or allergy to cedarwood oil with a light initial application.
How to Use Cedarcide For Horses
We offer four products for horses and horse owners: Our naturally sourced insect spray, Cedarcide Original, our extra strength insect spray, Tickshield, our concentrated pest control bathing solution, Vet’s Choice, and a ready-to-use formula called Domestic Animal Spray, D.A.S.
Tips for Using Cedarcide Original and Tickshield on Horses
We’ve found that some horses dislike being sprayed. For whatever reason, the spraying or spritzing action can occasionally frighten some horses. For this reason we recommend approaching your first application of Cedarcide Original or Tickshield with caution. If you find your horse dislikes being sprayed, simply apply your chosen solution by misting your hands and massaging the spray into their coat.
If the spraying action does not bother your horse, apply Cedarcide Original or its extra strength counterpart, Tickshield, by misting your horse all over—including armpits, underbelly, and around the ears and tail. Do not spray your horse’s face. Instead, spray the solution into your palms, and apply it to the face using your hands. Regularly treating your horses with Cedarcide Original or Tickshield will kill and provide protection against additional ticks, mosquitoes, flies, mites, gnats, ear mites and other biting insects.
Tips for Using Vet’s Choice on Horses
Vet’s Choice is an extra strength and highly versatile concentrate designed to control insects and parasites commonly found on pets and livestock. Vet’s Choice kill and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, mites and other biting insects. Vet’s Choice can be mixed with water for use as a bath, spray or dip. It can also be used in stables and barns to reduce flying insects, or used as a treatment for mange and several other common skin disorders.
If you plan to spray your horse directly, use 4 oz. of Vet’s Choice per each gallon of water. For a bath, we suggest mixing 2 oz. of Vet’s Choice per each gallon of water. For a dip, use a 1:200 ratio of Vet’s Choice to water.
Tips for Using D.A.S. for Horses
D.A.S. (Domestic Animal Spray) is a ready-to-use and highly versatile solution designed to control insects and parasites commonly found on pets and livestock (think of it as a pre-diluted version of Vet’s Choice.) Like Vet’s Choice, D.A.S. can be used as a bath, spray or dip, but with D.A.S. there’s no need to dilute beforehand. D.A.S. can be used in stable misting systems to reduce flying insects. It can also be used to treat mange and other common skin disorders.
Tip: D.A.S. works best when animals are thoroughly wetted with the product and allowed to air dry.
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!
What Are Chiggers and What Do They Look Like?
Red bugs, mower’s mites, berry bugs, harvest bugs, chiggers—the arachnids scientifically known as trombiculidae mites go by many names. Ranging in size from 0.3mm to 0.4mm (1/60 of an inch), chiggers are nearly microscopic organisms known for their extremely itchy “bites.” Most active during spring, summer and fall, chiggers have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. But only the larval stage individuals—in other words, the babies—are parasitic.
Found in moist vegetation worldwide (like grassy lawns, bushes and forests), these red-orange mites attach themselves to a host—a reptile, rabbit, insect, or human for example—in order to feed on their skin. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not bite or burrow into their hosts; instead, they inject digestive enzymes into their host’s skin in order to create a hole from which they can feed. After sucking up this liquified skin meal, the baby chigger drops to the ground, where it matures into its next life stage.
What Do Chigger “Bites” Look Like?
Appearing 6-48 hours after the chigger has fed, chigger “bites” consist of red bumps infamous for their intense itchiness. These irritating lesions usually occur in clusters in or around areas where skin and clothing are in close proximity—like the waist, ankles, armpits, crotch-area and back. While the first several days are the worst, these bumps can persist for weeks, even months in a milder form.
How Do You Prevent Chigger “Bites?”
Like with mosquitos and ticks, you need to use a repellent when venturing into chigger territory. Because of the toxicity of traditional bug sprays, we recommend using only non-toxic pesticides & repellents. For the sake of your pet’s well-being, treat them to repel chiggers, too. For additional protection, we recommend wearing long clothing when walking in suspected chigger areas, being sure to tuck pants into socks, and shirt into pants. After returning from these areas, bathe immediately in warm, soapy water. All possibly infested clothing should be promptly washed in warm/hot water, too.
How Do You Get Chiggers?
This a two part question: (1) How does one get bitten by chiggers? And (2) How do chiggers get into our lawns. Walking through a wooded area, tall grass or weeds, or on lawns not treated with pesticides, is how most people pick up their first chigger “bites”. This is also a common way chigger populations are introduced into our yards, as chiggers readily hitch a ride on our clothing only to be dropped somewhere near our homes. Other common hosts such as rodents, turtles, small birds, and more also contribute to the spread of chiggers—which is why a regular outdoor pest-control regimen is encouraged during the warmer seasons.
What To Do If You Have Chiggers
If you fear chiggers have invaded your lawn & garden, or if you want to prevent them from doing so in the first place, you’ll need to treat your lawn with an naturally sourced outdoor pest control solution. In the heavy chigger months between spring and fall, we recommend treating your entire yard at least once per month to help keep your home and lawn chigger-free.
Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!
It’s well documented that gardening is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Which is great news for those with ample lawn space, but not so great news for those living in cramped urban landscapes. Urban Gardening—essentially, just gardening in urban spaces like apartments—is a way for those without yard space to enjoy the rewarding and therapeutic qualities of gardening. Because of the decreased sunlight and limited square footage associated with urban environments, an urban garden can be an intimidating and difficult project to start. But with a little know-how, some careful planning, and several visits to your local garden center, you can have a flourishing urban garden in no time. Here’s some tips to get you started.
Survey Your Space
How much space do you have—just room for containers like pots, or enough sq. footage for a garden bed or box? How much sunlight does your growing space receive each day? Do you want flowers, or something you’ll actually eat, like vegetables and herbs? These are the questions that will determine what type of garden you can grow, and how best to do it. Taking careful notes on sun exposure, physical space, and the types of plants you’re hoping to grow are important initial steps to planning your first urban garden. If you decide to consult a gardening professional (which we recommend), these notes will be essential in helping you both determine what growing methods are right for you and your space.
Pick A Growing Method
There are three main approaches to urban gardening: raised bed gardening, square foot gardening, and container gardening. Sunlight availability and the physical limitations of your growing space will determine which method is best for you. Here’s a short outline of each approach:
Raised Bed Gardening—If you have adequate space, this method affords the closest experience to traditional gardening. Raised bed gardening consists of isolating your plants using a large, raised container made from wood or brick. This approach offers additional protection from pests and elements like wind due to its elevated exterior. Raised bed gardening also allows for dense planting, and is a great choice for heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers.
Square Foot Gardening—If you’re looking togrow as many plants/vegetables as possible in your small space, square foot gardening might be the option for you. While not entirely different from raised bed gardening, this popular approach uses strict guidelines, specific soil mixtures, and a carefully measured spacing grid to make the most efficient use of your limited growing space. For specifics, visit squarefootgardening.com.
Container Gardening—If space is your biggest concern, container gardening—which requires the least effort, space, and setup—is likely your best bet. Using containers like small pots, this method allows you to grow various sorts of low maintenance plants within a limited amount of physical space. However, because you’re planting in a pot and not the earth, this approach will require that you water and fertilize your plants more often. For more info on these growing methods, click here.
Choose the Right Soil
Because urban soils are typically filled with debris like rocks and sand, and tend to lack the required nutrients, organic potting mix is generally your best option. As far as fertilizer, organic is also the way to go. In addition to the known health risks associated with chemical-based growing practices, synthetic blends like Miracle Grow tend to overfill your garden with nitrogen, which can in turn attract more pests and reduce fruit and vegetable output. We recommend consulting your local garden center or nursery to determine exactly which organic growing mediums and fertilizers are right for you.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
The unique combination of your growing space’s size and exposure to sunlight will determine what plants can flourish in your urban garden. While choosing the exact right plants is best left to you and your local garden center, the following are low-maintenance plants that tend to do well in urban conditions, where sunlight and space are in short supply:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
For more info on growing vegetables in your urban garden, click here.
Go Natural With Your Pest Control
Synthetic, chemical-based pesticides are dangerous to pets, people and the environment. Choosing natural methods for killing and repelling insects is not only more environmentally sustainable, but healthier for your garden, too. Healthier plants are more resistant to disease and the effects of garden pests, so consistent watering and organic fertilizers are the first step to safeguarding your urban garden against damaging bugs like mites and moths.
While there are many effective approaches to natural pest control, an eco-friendly, outdoor pesticide is the easiest and most hassle-free option. (Tip: when choosing a ready-to-use all natural pesticide, be sure that it’s both plant-safe and water-soluble).
Looking for an outdoor pest control solution?
We offer two: PCO Choice and Yardsafe. Click here to learn the difference.
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.
Summer’s here, which means so are the bugs. Vacationing visitors, BBQs, and late nights spent on the patio all make this season one of our favorite times of the year. However, bites, stings and bug infestations have a way of ruining the fun. Don’t worry—we’re not letting that happen to you. Follow these 5 tips to bug-proof your home naturally.
Maintain Your Home
Ants, fleas, flies, termites, roaches, mosquitoes and other common household bugs can all be deterred by taking the proper precautions—prevention is always the best form of pest control. Follow these simple preventative measures to keep bugs away from your home:
- Keep your home clean and free of clutter—particularly the kitchen, flooring, window sills and counter tops. Without a source of food, bugs will have no reason to enter your home.
- Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and food residues (Tip: wipe off all jam, sauce and honey containers, too).
- Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
- Take out the trash regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
- Most bugs are prone to moisture loss, and enter our homes to seek water and cool down. It’s important to remove any standing water and other sources of moisture, such as leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces and A/C units (do this outside, too!).
- To prevent smaller bugs like mites, be sure to also treat newly purchased indoor plants with an all natural, plant-safe pesticide.
- To prevent bed bugs, be cautious about bringing any used furniture, luggage, linens and clothing into your home. Treat all such items with a natural repellent to kill possible stowaways.
- Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home. Doing so attracts various types of bugs, including termites
Seal Your Home
Most insects require only the smallest of openings to gain entrance into your home. Checking both inside and outside, use caulk or other appropriate materials to fill all cracks and holes in baseboards, windows seals, doorways, light switches, outlets, fixtures, basements, roofing, utility lines, piping, attics, walls, foundations and the like. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly closed as well.
Wild animals like birds, squirrels, possums and mice carry bugs such as mites, fleas, and ticks. Properly sealing your home will prevent these creatures from carrying additional pests into your home
Use Natural (Indoor) Bug Sprays
In the spring and summer months when bugs are particularly active, a regular indoor pest control regimen is recommended. Non-toxic, all natural indoor pesticides are your best option, as they are both highly effective and safe for use around family and pets.
Use these natural pesticides as both a spot killer and as a preventative solution. Regularly spraying window sills, doorways, baseboards, counter tops, attics, basements and other possible entry points will create a repellent barrier against insects and other bugs (we recommend doing this weekly during spring/summer months, or as needed). For serious infestations like fleas and bed bugs, fogging is the easiest, most affordable option.
Treat Yourself and Your Pets
Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our homes. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pet against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy.
Having guests over? Remember bed bugs often enter our homes through visitors’ luggage or clothing. Treating the outside of luggage with a travel size bed bug spray is a smart way to ensure pests don’t hitch a ride into your guestroom. If you and your family are traveling, it’s a good idea to treat your luggage before returning home to prevent accidentally introducing a bug population into your house.
Treat Your Lawn & Garden
Where do most bugs comes from? You guessed it: your yard! Not surprisingly, bug-proofing your yard is one of the most important steps to bug-proofing your home. During the spring and summer months, sticking to an outdoor pest control regimen is essential.
We recommend treating your yard with an all natural outdoor pesticide monthly or as needed. Cedarwood chips can also be used to create a repellent perimeter around your lawn and home. Simply sprinkle the chips along your home’s foundation and fence line, as well as any insect trouble areas. (Tip: Cedarwood chips can also be used inside dog bed coverings to deter biting insects, or hung in stockings and placed within closets to repel damaging bugs like moths).
From mosquitoes and ants to ticks and fleas, bugs can ruin an otherwise peaceful lawn. Pool parties, BBQs and other backyard festivities are much less fun once the biting insects and other creepy crawlies show up. They’re not just nuisances either, bugs like mosquitoes and ticks for instance carry harmful diseases that put both your family and pets’ lives at risk. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these family-safe, pet-safe tips to bug-proof your yard this summer.
Maintain Your Yard
Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward protecting your lawn & garden against pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, chiggers and more. Here’s where to start:
- Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (mosquitoes use stagnant water to breed).
- Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight can be lethal to many bugs, like termites, chiggers, scorpions and more.
- Many bugs need lush vegetation to hide, so regularly mow, edge, weedeat, rake, and trim the hedges.
- When mowing, bag the clippings and dispose of them. Do not disperse them onto your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
- Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or empty them during mosquito season.
- Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water.
- Keep pools well-maintained.
- Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
- Cover all trash cans and dumpsters.
Treat Your Lawn With Naturally Sourced Pesticides
Traditional pesticides threaten not only the health of your yard, but also your family and pets. When treating your lawn, it’s important to go with a naturally sourced alternative. (Tip: The best time to treat is early morning or in the evening—this helps prevent evaporation, and gives the natural repellent/pesticide sufficient time to soak into your yard). Follow these guidelines:
- Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
- When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from re-entering your yard after treatment.
- Spray front, back and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of your yard.
- During the spring and summer months, we advise spraying your yard at least once per month, or more often as needed.
Use A Mulch Barrier
A repellent mulch barrier (like those made from cedar chips) is an easy way to repel bugs from your yard. For this approach: surround your lawn and garden with a thick perimeter of dry mulch (anywhere from 1-3 ft.). Do not use damp mulches, as these can actually attract some types of bugs.
Treat Your Pets (and Yourself)
Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our yards. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy process easy.
Deter Wild Animals
Wild animals are one of the primary ways bugs enter your yard. Treating and keeping your lawn maintained as discussed above is the first step to making your yard inhospitable to wild animals like bug-carrying rodents. From deer to possums to raccoons, here’s what you need to do to keep unwanted animals out of your yard.
- Become a dog owner. Dogs and dog urine deter wild animals, as canines are a natural predator to many animals.
- Consider installing fencing. If you already use fencing, check it thoroughly for holes, cracks and other openings animals might use to enter you yard.
- Consider replacing plants that attract animals to your yard: such as roses, apples, beans, peas, strawberries, corn, chrysanthemums, tulips and more. Or, install chicken wire fencing around your garden.
- Because ticks are especially dangerous, consider installing deer-repelling plants: such as iris, sage, chives, lemon balm, lilac, holly, and more.
- Remove or repair sources of unnecessary moisture—such as standing water, leaking plumbing, drains, gutters, and sprinkler systems.
- Firmly secure trash cans and trash can lids, or start storing trash cans in a garage or other outbuilding.
- For more tips on keeping animals out of your lawn & garden click here.
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Scorpions are one of our planet’s great survivors. From scorching temperatures to below-freezing conditions, scorpions can thrive in almost any environment. Having existed for over 400 million years, there are now over 1,700 species of scorpion—these predatory arachnids can be found on every continent in the world except for Antarctica. In the U.S., scorpions are mostly limited to the Southwest, such as Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico. Unfortunately for those living in these areas, scorpions can be difficult to eliminate. In fact, some scorpions can go anywhere from six to twelve months without food, and because they’re nocturnal and active almost exclusively at night, they can be hard to properly control.
The good news, however, is that scorpions are not nearly as dangerous as people think, with most encounters being no more harmful than a bee or wasp sting. The better news is that by taking preventative measures and using various natural methods, a scorpion problem can be prevented or outright solved. Follows these 8 simple guidelines to control scorpions naturally.
Get Rid of ALL the Bugs
The first and most crucial step to controlling scorpions is general pest and insect control. By removing the scorpions’ food source, you can send these venomous arachnids packing.
When it comes to scorpions, we advise creating a repellent barrier around both your house and yard using a naturally sourced outdoor pesticide. Be sure to spray around your home’s foundation and along fence lines (this treatment should be done twice a month until the problem is resolved). Natural indoor pesticides can be used to kill individuals that have found their way into the home, and as a preventative measure to treat doorways, windowsills and baseboards.
Maintain Your Yard
Keeping a clean and well-organized yard will go along way toward safeguarding your home against scorpions. Vulnerable to dehydration—and therefore extreme heat and sun exposure—scorpions require shady, cool places to hide during the daytime before emerging to hunt at night. Make sure to do the following:
- Keep bushes and small trees landscaped. Do not allow them to overgrow and touch the outside walls of your home—scorpions use these as bridges to enter through windows or other small openings.
- Keep grass & other vegetation short and trim.
- De-clutter your yard, removing all unnecessary items: including brush, debris, decorative rocks, woodpiles, lawn equipment, etc.
Maintain Your Home
Just as crucial as de-cluttering your yard is keeping your home clean and organized. Clean—because crumbs attract bugs which in turn attract predators like scorpions. Organized—because scorpions will use everything from shoes to boxes to piles of clothing to hide. Traditionally cluttered spaces like closets and underneath beds will require attention, too.
Seal Your Home
Scorpions require openings no bigger than a credit card to enter your home. Windows, baseboards, doorways, light-switches, outlets, fixtures, wall & foundation cracks, and even ceiling fans are all potential scorpion entrances. Seal your home by remedying these cracks and openings using caulk (don’t forget to check basements and attics, too!). The same process should be repeated outdoors as well, paying close attention to the roof and any foundation/wall cracks & holes. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly shut, too.
Eliminate All Excess Moisture
Scorpions are prone to moisture loss and usually enter homes as a way to find water or cool down. Whether inside or outside your home, it’s important to remove puddles, standing water, and any other sources of moisture. Plumbing, basements and crawl spaces should also be kept dry and free of leaks.
Those sticky traps used to catch mice and small rats can be re-purposed as scorpion traps. Place them along common entryways, near possible water sources, and in other dark, cool spaces like closets and underneath furniture. Caution: some sticky traps contain synthetic pesticides and other toxins; for the safety of your pets and family, be sure to only purchase the non-toxic versions.
DIY Burlap Trap
A moistened burlap sack makes for an effective scorpion trap. Simply wet the sack and place it in scorpion trouble areas like basements, attics or just outside your home. Leave the bag opened and in place overnight and check it in the morning (be extremely careful when checking both inside and underneath the bag—scorpions pack a nasty sting!). Repeat this process until you no longer see scorpions in or around your home & lawn.
Lavender, cinnamon, peppermint and cedar are all essential oils said to deter scorpions. These can be diluted with a carrier oil (or smaller amounts of water) and sprayed along scorpion problem areas and entry points—such as baseboards, windowsills, doorways, and around the perimeter of your home.