by: Michael Finn
From an early age, most of us are taught to avoid bugs at all costs. For this reason, overcoming the fear of them is often very difficult. Socially, we consider insects as “pests” who are expendable in every sense of the word. But while insects can sometimes be “creepy”, or can cause potential problems around the house, they are living creatures who deserve respect and compassion. Bugs don’t want to be squished, stomped on, sprayed, or crushed. So before you go running for a shoe or a can of Raid, consider these tips!
Eliminate sources of food and shelter
One of the most important things you can do to decrease the presence of insects around your house is eliminate clutter. Outside the perimeter of your home, remove anything that may serve as shelter for bugs, such as weeds, leaves, and other debris that promotes moisture buildup.
Vacuum regularly, dust, and clean up crumbs, dirty laundry, and other clutter inside as well. Predatory insects, such as spiders & centipedes, will go where their food is, so when you keep your home tidy, their food source will diminish. Eventually, if you follow the same routine, the bugs will have no reason to hang around your place.
Catch and release
If you find an insect inside your home, don’t freak out and try to kill it. Usually, if you’re calm and gentle, you can safely capture it and take it back outside – where it wants to be.
For spiders and centipedes, you can take a jar or wad of soft tissue paper and quickly catch them. Make sure not to squeeze or injure them, however. If the insect you’re catching has wings, be extra careful not to rip or break them in any way. To ensure the insect won’t return, release it far from your house. Try not to drop it near anything that could harm it, such as ant hills, puddles, or webs.
In the event of problems with ants or fruit flies, immediately remove all sources of food. Watch to see where the bugs are coming in from. Once you’ve determined their route(s), seal the cracks/holes with caulk or silicone.
Although unorthodox, it’s possible to humanely remove colonies of ants from your home by placing a hard piece of candy in a jar. When the ants swarm to the candy, you can seal them inside and take them somewhere that is safe and far from your house. A humane fruit-fly trap is similar. Click here for information on how to make one.
Try natural repellents
You can use plenty of everyday household items to repel insects around your home. A ½ ammonia ½ water mixture can be used to spray the perimeter of your house to keep spiders away. Essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint are also useful for this purpose as well. Cinnamon, ground coffee, citrus peel, and chili powder can be a useful ant repellents. Spray your yard with a garlic/water mixture to deter mosquitoes from massing around windows and doors.
Never buy products that test on animals
If natural repellents simply won’t work, and you’re desperate to rid yourself of an infestation, don’t purchase products that brutally test on animals, such as Raid. If you’ve absolutely tried everything to no avail, consider brands like EcoSMART. While this product will kill/repel insects, it’s easy on the environment and doesn’t involve animal testing in its production. While I’m not condoning the eradication of insects, if such a means must be used, it’s best to cause the least amount of harm!
Don’t be intimidated
I understand how daunting it can be to pick up insects (especially spiders) and carry them outdoors. With experience and patience, however, it can be done. If you find insects intimidating, try to see them in a different perspective. Really, the majority of them cannot harm you in any way. Most of them aren’t even interested in you, so you shouldn’t be afraid or threatened. The more you face your fear of insects, the less prominent it will become inside your mind. Eventually, you’ll wonder how anyone could kill them at all, despite how “ugly” or “gross” they may be.