How to Safely Kill Insects and Pests - Colliers Hill
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How to Safely Kill Insects and Pests

Summer makes flowers bloom, plants grow and insects multiply! And when it comes to applying pesticides, insecticides and repellents, safety is the first and most important consideration. Here are safe, organic and homemade potions to kill those annoying critters, without worrying about harsh and dangerous compounds that could hurt you and your family.

Safely Kill Bugs and Insects on Plants

According to Tree Hugger you can protect your garden from destructive critters without risk to you and your family with some natural and homemade insecticides like neem oil. The oil extracted from the seeds of neem trees interrupts the life cycle of insects at all life stages (egg, larvae, adult) making it a great all-purpose tool for the organic gardener. It’s also non-toxic to pets, birds and other wildlife and is also a natural fungicide for powder mildew and other fungal infections on plants.

Neem oil can be used as a treatment or preventative by spraying the leaves, before they’re actually ravaged by pests.

Some pesticides are really harmful to humans and pets, especially pregnant ones! The National Pesticide Information Center recommends eliminating or minimizing your exposure to any pesticide during pregnancy. Even the use of some non-toxic weed and insect killers can be potentially hazardous, and the safest course of action is to avoid any contact with not just the pesticide but also, any treated areas, or clothes / gloves that may have been exposed.

Oil, Soap, Chile and Garlic

You can also make an oil spray with castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) and vegetable oil. Mix 1 cup of oil with 1 tablespoon of soap and when you’re ready to spray mix 2 teaspoons with 1 quart of water. The oil coats the little munching pests and effectively suffocates them. This should work on insects like aphids, mites, thrips, etc. 

Among the other options from Tree Hugger are chile pepper spray, garlic spray or the garlic, onion and cayenne pepper spray.

Garlic makes a powerful natural insect repellent and can be used to deter a variety of crawling and flying insects, including mosquitoes according SavATree Plant Health. Garlic bulbs contain an amino acid that converts to a substance called allicin when crushed, blended or chopped. When garlic extract is absorbed by a plant, biochemical changes take place in its foliage which cause it to actively repel insects. 

One treatment with garlic is effective for two weeks and can repel insects for up to one month. Plus, garlic is a natural extract and does not injure insects that are beneficial to your garden. We’ve heard it’s also effective in a zombie apocalypse. 

“Safe” Insect Repellents – With Warnings

There are plenty of other non-toxic options that claim to repel insects like mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, fleas and chiggers, but not all of them are effective.

Consumer Reports rates bug repellents, and while it includes DEET-based products for effectiveness, it does issue warnings about possible side effects like rashes, disorientation and seizures (!) and obviously should never be used on babies. For a product just as effective as DEET but using a safe compound that occurs naturally in the black pepper plant, CR recommends a picaridin repellent. The editors suggest a 20 percent concentration which while safe on skin can irritate eyes.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is a naturally-occurring compound derived from the gum eucalyptus tree and performed well at 30 percent concentration in the CR tests. It appears to be relatively safe, but the FDA cautions against using it on young children. 

Consumer Reports cautions consumers that natural insect repellents which typically contain essential plant oils like cedar, citronella, lemongrass and rosemary can claim to be effective against insects like mosquitoes, including ones that carry the Zika virus, but the CR tests produced contrary results. 

Further, all products and concentrations are not created equal, so be sure to check the ratings before you buy even a purportedly safe picaridin-based repellent. And no matter which ones you use, follow the instructions on the labels and wash them off your skin and clothes at the end of the day.

Colorado Options in Colliers Hill

Living in Colorado means we have fewer bugs – as any transplant from the Southeast to the Centennial State knows! And we relish the relatively pest-free living made possible by both geography and good luck! If Erie is a contender for your next new home, check out the amenities in the master-planned community of Colliers Hill, and tour the beautiful model homes from Richmond American Homes and Century Communities. It’s a great time to buy a pristine, clean and never lived-in brand new home with low interest rates – and lots of possibilities – starting from the high $300s.