Cut up a lemon and squeeze out the juice where the ants are coming into the house or are building mounds on your land. Outside, change their route by pouring a line of cayenne pepper, dried peppermint or damp coffee grounds across the ants path.
Boric Acid and Corn Syrup
: Combine one part boric acid to nine parts corn syrup. Microwave the mixture until the powder dissolves, about one minute. Poke four holes (one for each compass direction) along the bottom edge of an empty margarine tub and place a quarter-size drop of the mixture in the center before replacing the lid. The ants eat the syrup and share it with their colony, poisoning them all.
: Add a few drops to your laundry or stored clothing/bedding for dust mite prevention.
Marigolds and Chrysanthemums
: Marigolds, like chrysanthemums, contain chemicals that repel bugs. If you plant them around vegetables that are prone to insect damage (tomatoes are a classic example), the flying critters often dont bother trying to make their way through the flowers to find the vegetables. A bonus: Insects do not develop a resistance to this method of pest control.
Peppermint Oil or Citronella
: Fend off a rodent invasion by placing cotton balls soaked in oil of peppermint or citronella around your homes foundation, at the spot where you suspect mice are getting in.
Peanut Butter and Humane Traps
: To give critters the boot, use snap traps that capture but dont kill (try Tomcats, $5, pestdetour.com
). Bait the traps with peanut butter and place them perpendicular to any wall that serves as an entry point, then deposit trapped rodents outside. Block every entrance into your house with silicon sealer or cement, and stuff steel wool in any gaps around your pipes.
Up until recently, the governments Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deemed only products containing one chemical the potentially toxic DEET effective at preventing mosquitoes from biting you.
But in 2005, the CDC gave a nod to products containing less risky ingredients: oil of lemon eucalyptus, as well as a lab-made chemical called Picardin, which has long been used in insect repellents in Europe and is considerably less irritating to the skin than DEET.
Other plant oils that may repel mosquitoes include citronella, cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, pine and cinnamon. If you want to mix your own repellent, dilute 1 oz. essential oil of pennyroyal in 16 oz. vegetable oil, then apply to your body with your hands, suggests herbalist Andrea Candee, author of Gentle Healing for Baby and Child.
Next page: Goodbye moths, roaches and ticks!