Environmentally Friendly Pest Control
Safe solutions for common pests
If you've got small children or pets, or you're just concerned about the chemicals you use in and around your home, non-chemical pest solutions may be best for you. Most non-chemical pest control focuses on frightening the pests away, but some are meant to kill the pest.
Not all methods of non-chemical pest control are gentle to the pest. Choose which of the solutions best matches your situation and be diligent in your use of the method:
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- Bug zappers - These electric contraptions have long been a favorite of cottagers. The zapper emits a light that attracts flying insects like moths and mosquitoes. As the insect flies closer, the zapper uses static electricity to draw it in. When the bug passes between the electrified grid, it completes the circuit and is electrocuted. Because the bug zapper attracts bugs, it should be used slightly away from where you're sitting.
- Pest barriers - A smart way to protect produce and flowers in your garden, pest barriers are any materials that prevent animals from reaching your plants. Crushed eggshells, coarse sand and copper mesh around plant stalks discourage slugs and snails. Netting keeps birds from picking at fruit trees and tomatoes, and fine mosquito netting can be used as a flying insect barrier. Fences can keep deer and rabbits from chewing on saplings.
- Visual deterrents - The classic scarecrow can be just as effective today as he was centuries ago. Visual deterrents mimic the appearance of the predators that prey on your garden's pests. Plastic and vinyl owls and cats are great for scaring away most rodents.
- Ultrasonic devices - Emitting sounds at pitches the human ear can't hear, ultrasonic devices use high frequencies that are extremely irritating to pests like squirrels, fleas, mosquitoes, rats, cockroaches and spiders. The pests will avoid areas with such an unpleasant sound.
You may also want to use live traps for other insects, or small animals such as rats or mice. These devices basically lure the creatures in with a bait (usually some form of food). Once the animal takes the bait, the trap is triggered and there is no escape. Most traps kill the animal, but if you want to try a more humane way of trapping them, you can use cage-style traps. These traps usually work on the same principle, but instead of killing the animal, it becomes trapped in a cage. You can then let the animal free in some other area, away from your garden. You should never trap a pet or intentionally harm an animal for no reason. There may be bylaws regulating the types of traps you may use in your area, so be sure to check the laws.