If you try some of these suggestions and still have trouble with bugs, give us a call (314-567-2060).
We will gladly help evaluate the situation and offer our services.
While our instincts are to grab a can of the strongest bug spray we can find and saturate everything with it, a better idea would be to stop and think through the situation. Bug spray will kill that one cockroach or line of ants, but just as with other "pests," if you don't know how they got in, you will soon be back to square one. Also, insecticides are potent chemicals, not to be taken lightly simply because you can obtain them easily and cheaply. Try safer alternatives first. Further, these chemicals rarely, if ever, only target one type of insect. Many of the beneficial bugs, our pollinators (butterflies, bees, caterpillars, 'fire-flies' and more) will also die. Spiders, although scary to some, are one of the absolute best natural defenses against bugs in the bug world. Mantis, wasps, ants and other insects also eat other insects and are extremely valuable in our environments.
Many of our back-yard neighbors such as skunks, opossums, bats, mice to name just a few, are also expert insect eaters.
Many plants, herbs, spices, and essential oils work quite well at repelling bugs and insects. Pungent smelling plants and spices, like eucalyptus leaves and cloves are good choices. Ground cloves sprinkled along entryways, for example, can work very well for stopping ants. Numerous essential oils have bug repellent properties. Some of the best are cedarwood (those old cedar chests were built for a reason!), citronella, peppermint, lemon eucalyptus, and cypress. See below for a sampling of recipes.
Outdoor garden bugs-
can often be controlled with repellents, like castor and neem oil. Check out our page on Yard Critters for more advice and recipes.
Obviously, you have to use a little common sense even when handling "safer" substances - Avoid eye contact and prolonged skin contact, because some undiluted essential oils can cause irritation; do not ingest the oils; if you are pregnant or nursing it is always a good idea to ask your healthcare practitioner if you should handle particular materials.
Suggestions for Keeping Bugs at Bay
Where pests are concerned, nothing is a sure thing. You can do everything right – keep your house spotless, store food correctly, de-clutter – and still have a cockroach or two. That said, the following are some steps you can take to minimize the presence of some unwanted visitors to your home.
If you feed the birds, keep your feeders as far away from the house as possible. Do not use window feeders – seed and hummingbird feeders that attach to the window with suction cups. As much fun as it is to watch birds up-close, having food that close to the house is an invitation to bugs and mice. Seed dropping from feeders attracts cockroaches and mice. Nectar dripping from hummingbird feeders attracts ants.
While even the neatest house can experience pests, the cleaner and less cluttered your home is the better. Vacuum regularly; keep kitchen counters crumb-free; don't leave dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter; avoid collecting "junk"; don't allow things like laundry to accumulate on the floor (roaches love to hide under objects left untouched).
If you maintain a compost pile, be sure to keep it and any transport buckets as far away from the house (and your neighbors' houses) as possible. Turn the contents of the pile frequently. Compost, especially when allowed to sit undisturbed, can attract cockroaches, mice, and other bugs and small animals. See also Yard Critters for more information on this topic.
All food should be in airtight containers or in the freezer. Keep on the shelf only the flour and grains you anticipate using regularly. The rest should go in the freezer. Any grain can attract weevils, moths, roaches, and mice. Don't take chances. Flour, meal, rice, and other grains freeze very well and can be used straight from the freezer with no thawing needed. Open pet foods should be stored in airtight bins.
Use plastic bins to store books, Christmas decorations, knick-knacks, and so forth. Do not use cardboard boxes. Cockroaches love cardboard and will often nest in boxes that are not disturbed for long periods of time. Bugs can arrive at your home in cardboard boxes and cartons, so if you have home deliveries, unpack the contents immediately, then dispose of the boxes.
Keep pets and pet areas clean. Dog beds should be covered, and the cover routinely washed. If you have small animals, like rabbits, hamsters, and birds, be sure their pens or cages are kept clean. Rotate food regularly, and watch for spills and thrown food.
These naturally occurring insects are insect hunters. They eat specific insect eggs, larvae and some adult insects. Since these animals are a natural part of the environment, used in conjunction with prevention techniques, these ore potentially the greatest way to safely reduce insect populations, and maintain a healthy environment for all populations of wildlife in your ecosystem (including you!). See web site listed below for more information on this and other nematode solutions.
We DO NOT recommend the use of these and similar products. Insecticides are potent chemicals, not to be taken lightly simply because you can obtain them easily and cheaply. Try safer alternatives first. Further, these chemicals rarely, if ever, only target one type of insect. Many of the beneficial bugs, our pollinators (butterflies, bees, caterpillars, 'fire-flies' and more) will also die. Spiders, although scary to some, are one of the absolute best natural defenses against bugs in the bug world and most are even cannibals. Mantis, wasps, ants and other insects also eat other insects and are extremely valuable in our environments.
No endorsement of specific brands, any product line, or any individual product, or company, or entity
by Humane Wildlife Solutions is implied or intended by inclusion here.
Websites that offer information on insects in more detail.
Missouri Department of Conservation
St. Louis Zoo- insectarium
Recipes for Cockroach Repellent
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that are used in aromatherapy. This can mean cosmetics, household cleaners, healthcare, and the category in which we are most interested here – bug repellent. Use these recipes to make your own repellent. Spray along doorways and open widow sills. (Avoid spraying hardwood or vinyl flooring. Spray the strip between the inside and outside of doorway.)
In a spray bottle mix 1 tbsp. salt with 1 cup water; shake until salt dissolves. Add one of the following essential oil combinations:
20-30 drops peppermint essential oil
20-30 drops oregano essential oil
20-30 drops rosemary essential oil
15 drops cypress essential oil, plus
20 drops peppermint essential oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil, plus
20 drops tea tree essential oil
For tough cases
8 drops peppermint essential oil, plus
8 drops cypress essential oil, plus
8 drops cedarwood essential oil, plus
8 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil, plus
8 drops citronella essential oil