Natural ways to deter bugs & mozzies

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04 Feb 2013

The summer months bring sunshine, heat and unfortunately insects. They invade homes faster than you would believe and once they settle in, they can be difficult to get rid of.

Ants communicate primarily through scent, so this can be used against them. Utilising scents like sage, pepper, cinnamon, peppermint and coffee will deter them from your home.

However, there are a few precautions you can take to deter insects from becoming uninvited house guests...

Ants

Ants are a common problem in households as they find their way in despite the best of efforts. However, ants communicate primarily through scent, so this can be used against them.

Placing cinnamon sticks and fresh garlic cloves near their point of entry will confuse them and stop them from coming over the threshold. Another option is to sprinkle black pepper where they climb in. If you do this while the ants are still crawling around, watch where they scurry off to, as this will show you where the nest is.

Pour boiling water into the anthill. This may seem cruel, but it will flush the ants and any eggs out and does far less damage than an ant poison. Also, mix a solution of white vinegar and water and keep it in a spray bottle. Spray down the areas the ants tend to stick around to stop them from coming back.

Tip: Ants can't stand the smell of sage, peppermint, pepper, cinnamon and coffee. You can use these to seal a perimeter round your house to stop ants from wandering in.

Mosquitoes

At night, insects will be attracted to any lights you have on, so only turn on the ones you need.

Nothing kills a summer mood more than the whine of bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The most common time for mosquitoes to come into a house is around dusk, so make sure to keep as many windows and doors closed around that time.

Tip: A natural repellent for mosquitoes is 'Bug-geroff Spray' available from the Wellness Warehouse.

Citronella candles are a sure way to rid any rooms of mozzies and they come in some funky colours so you can make a feature out of them. Place one or two within your immediate area, but be sure to blow them out as soon as you leave the room.

Try wearing long sleeves made from lighter fabrics, such as bamboo or organic cotton. The less skin you show, the less likely you are to be bitten.

Flies

Flies are attracted to rotting meat and organic waste, so keep your garbage in a closed container and regularly wash it out with disinfectant.

Mosquito nets are essential for small children who are targeted by mosquitoes. They also come in a variety of colours to suit any décor.

Flies and other flying insects are not big fans of smoke. Lighting sticks of incense and candles will help deter them from entering your home.

Tip: Invest in an eco-friendly insect screen over your windows. These will let you keep your fresh air wafting through without bringing the bugs with it.

Cockroaches

These little pests are drawn into your house when there is food left out, so make sure to put all leftovers in airtight containers and pack them away into the fridge or cupboard. Wipe down your kitchen cupboards and counters regularly to get rid of crumbs and spills.

Like with flies, cockroaches are attracted to your garbage, so make sure that it is sealed and kept outside. Try to avoid having any damp areas in your house, as they like to breed in dark damp spaces. Also inspect your house and seal up any cracks in the walls or foundations right away, as these can be the way they are getting in.

Make an insect screen

You can make your own insect screens at home using a sheet of fine wire mesh. The finer the mesh the better, as fewer bugs will be able to slip through. Measure your window accurately and head to your local Builders Warehouse.

You can attach Velcro strips to the mesh and to your window frames so that you have the option of taking the screens down when you need to.

If you have metal window frames and don’t want to use Velcro, you can use magnetic strips. Attach the strips to the mesh with epoxy glue.

Remember that at night, insects are attracted to the lights you have on in the house, so only have the lights on in the room you are in. Some of the methods using scent as a deterrent may not work instantly, but with diligence they will make a difference. Victoria Taylor

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