10 Tips for Preventing and Maintaining Insects

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Home Improvement

Although colorful, the presence of insects can be a major problem.
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With its rich and fertile soil, the United States provides a perfect habitat for crops, as well as for around 91,000 species of insects that dwell in the earth, air, plants, and every nook and cranny of the house. While some of these insects can be beneficial, others can be creepy and destructive, causing damage to your yard or home. These insects are everywhere, particularly in wooded areas, but even urban dwellers are not immune to bedbugs, giant cockroaches and other pests. In this article, we have compiled a list of 10 tips for preventing and maintaining insects.

10: Identify Your Insect Enemies

Before you start battling insects on your property or in your home, it is important to know which species you are dealing with, and how to get rid of them. For example, aphids suck nutrients from leaves and stems, causing disease along the way. Different types of beetles can attack various crops such as asparagus and potatoes, while slugs can wreak havoc on your lettuce. Once you have identified the insects, take appropriate action to exterminate them.

City Bugs

Although city residents may not be plagued by garden pests, they have to deal with insects that are commonly attracted to trash, such as cockroaches, gnats, flies, bees, and ants.

9: Identify Your Insect Friends


Ladybugs are considered to be beneficial insects and are also considered good luck.
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While some insects are considered pests, others can be quite beneficial. Research the local insect population and determine which insects to protect and encourage. Beneficial insects like bees feed off plants and attack other pests. To encourage their presence, plant a variety of native plants and flowers. This will attract a variety of beneficial insects, such as bees, beetles, wasps, spiders, earthworms, and ladybugs.

8: Live and Let Die

Your insect friends can eliminate your insect enemies as long as they are present in sufficient numbers, so it is up to you to cultivate the right insect army by planting the plants that attract them. Wasps feed on earwigs, bad beetles, whiteflies, mites, and aphids, among others. Ground beetles eat slugs and caterpillars. Spiders are natural predators and will eliminate anything that crosses their path. Once you have identified your targets, find out which plants will attract the right insect allies to the job.

Bring On the Bees

Flowering plants such as daisies, mints, buckwheat, and cilantro attract bees with their abundant nectar and pollen.

7: Natural Solutions


Avoid introducing chemicals into your garden if you don’t want them in your body.
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Chemical pesticides and insecticides are an effective way to eliminate pests. However, if you have pets or small children or prefer a chemical-free lifestyle, you may want to consider natural alternatives. The previous tip suggests using beneficial insects as your army to combat pests. Additionally, there are many homemade remedies to try, such as placing aluminum foil around the plant base (pests on the underside of leaves do not like it) or creating your own natural pesticide mixture with powdered charcoal and calcium dust. You can even crush some aphids and scatter them around your plants to release a chemical that repels other aphids.

6: Professional Assistance

If you are dealing with a severe pest problem, it may be best to call an exterminator. They will know how to handle your specific situation. You can also work with them to determine which areas of your home and property you want to treat. If you are concerned about the chemicals used, ask about their methods and products.

Price Comparison

Before hiring an exterminator, compare prices. The cost can range from a light treatment for around $50 to hundreds of dollars to battle an infestation.

5: Insect Traps


Whatever works!
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Trapping insects is one way to get rid of them. There are chemical traps, such as roach motels, and natural traps that use pheromones or colors to attract and trap insects on sticky surfaces. Old-school traps can be made from wire mesh and bait to lure insects in and prevent their escape.

4: Prevention

Prevention is the best way to avoid a pest problem. Keep a clean home to discourage insects that thrive on filth, grime, and food. Use the plant-based method to attract beneficial insects and keep them around. Quarterly maintenance plans with an exterminator can help prevent pest infestations, especially for ticks and fleas. Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so be sure to empty containers after rainstorms.

3: In Your Kitchen

Dealing with pests in your kitchen is not the same as dealing with pests in the rest of your home. This is because it is where you store and prepare your food and utensils. To avoid using harmful flea bombs on your kitchen counter, the best way to keep your kitchen pest-free is to prevent infestations from happening. Empty the trash can regularly and clean up spills immediately to avoid long-term food spoilage. Insect traps placed under the cabinets can also be helpful.

2: In Your Basement

Pest control in your basement can be a bit challenging because of the variety of insects that can be found there. Spiders are common in basements and although they might seem scary, they are actually beneficial because they kill other insects. Therefore, instead of killing them, consider relocating them to your yard. In case of an unfinished basement, it is wise to keep an eye out for black widows and other venomous spiders. You should also be aware of destructive termites, fleas, and ticks that usually come in through rodents.

Camelback crickets, also known as cave crickets, are harmless despite their crazy jumping. You can relocate them instead of killing them.

1: On Your Vegetables

Insect pests can cause a lot of damage to your vegetable garden. However, since you are growing food that you will eat, it is important to control them naturally. Planting items that encourage beneficial insects and plants that release odors that pests find unpleasant, such as catnip, basil, mint, and chives, can be helpful. Spraying your veggies with bio-degradable soap and warm water is another natural way to keep pests away. Water used to boil plants like ginger, garlic, horseradish, and cayenne can also be an effective all-natural solution. You want to avoid using anything on your veggies that you wouldn’t want to ingest.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Is it possible to completely get rid of dust mites?
  • Can you wash bed bugs out of clothes?
  • How to Prevent Garden Pests and Diseases

Sources

  • “8 Bugs Worth Keeping Around: A List Of Beneficial Insects.” Gardenmandy.com. July 1, 2012. http://www.gardenmandy.com/8-bugs-worth-keeping-around-a-list-of-beneficial-insects/
  • “Attracting Beneficial Insects to your Garden.” Oureventualhomestead.com. July 1, 2012. http://oureventualhomestead.com/2012/04/attracting-beneficial-insects-to-your-garden/
  • “Insect Traps and Lures.” Arbico-organics.com. July 1, 2012. http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/insect-traps-lures
  • “Natural Insect Control.” Ghoranics.com. July 1, 2012. http://www.ghorganics.com/page9.html#Aphids:
  • “Natural Methods for Deterring Garden Pests.” Sparkpeople.com. July 1, 2012. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1324
  • “Numbers of Insects.” Si.edu. July 1, 2012. http://www.si.edu/encyclopedia_si/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm

FAQ

1. What are some natural ways to repel insects?

There are many natural remedies that can help keep insects away. Essential oils such as citronella, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus can be used as insect repellents. You can also make a DIY insect spray by mixing water and a few drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Other natural remedies include planting insect-repelling herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary, and using garlic and onion sprays to repel insects.

2. How can I prevent ants from entering my home?

To prevent ants from entering your home, seal any cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and foundation. Keep your kitchen clean and free of crumbs and spills, as ants are attracted to food sources. You can also use natural ant repellents like cinnamon, vinegar, and peppermint oil to deter them from entering your home.

3. What is the best way to prevent mosquito bites?

The best way to prevent mosquito bites is to wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors, especially during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active. Use insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin, and make sure to apply it to exposed skin. Remove any standing water around your home, as mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.

4. How can I prevent bed bugs?

To prevent bed bugs, inspect hotel rooms and rental properties before staying. Look for signs of bed bugs such as small blood stains on bedding and furniture. Use a protective cover on your mattress and box spring, and vacuum your home regularly. When traveling, keep your luggage on a luggage rack or in the bathroom away from the bed.

5. What can I do to prevent cockroaches?

To prevent cockroaches, keep your home clean and free of clutter. Cockroaches are attracted to food sources, so keep your kitchen clean and store food in airtight containers. Seal any cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and foundation. Use boric acid or diatomaceous earth to kill and prevent cockroaches.

6. How can I prevent flea infestations?

To prevent flea infestations, vacuum your home regularly and wash your pet’s bedding and toys. Use flea preventive treatments on your pets, and bathe them regularly. Keep your lawn mowed and remove any debris, as fleas thrive in tall grass and leaf litter.

7. What is the best way to prevent spider bites?

The best way to prevent spider bites is to wear protective clothing like long sleeves and pants when working outdoors. Use insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin, and make sure to apply it to exposed skin. Keep your home clean and free of clutter, as spiders like to hide in dark and cluttered areas.

8. How can I prevent termites from damaging my home?

To prevent termites from damaging your home, remove any wood debris from around your home and keep firewood away from the house. Repair any leaks or moisture problems, as termites are attracted to damp areas. Use termite-resistant materials when building or renovating your home, and have regular termite inspections.

9. What can I do to prevent wasp nests in my yard?

To prevent wasp nests in your yard, remove any standing water and food sources like fallen fruit. Seal any cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and foundation. Use natural wasp repellents like peppermint oil or plant mint and eucalyptus around your yard. If you find a wasp nest, hire a professional to remove it safely.

10. How can I prevent a flea infestation in my home?

To prevent a flea infestation in your home, vacuum your home regularly and wash your pet’s bedding and toys. Use flea preventive treatments on your pets, and bathe them regularly. Seal any cracks and gaps around doors, windows, and foundation to prevent fleas from entering your home. Use a flea bomb or hire a professional pest control company if you have a severe infestation.

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