About Natural Pest Control

Everyone wants their home or business to be safe for family, pets and employees. That’s why more and more people are turning to natural pest control methods to get rid of unwanted bugs, rats and mice.

 

What is natural pest control?

Natural pest control is a way to eliminate pests without reaching immediately for a chemical bug spray or a toxic rat or mouse poison. Natural pest control eliminates the source of the pest problem. It also prevents future pest problems by making your home or business less attractive and less accessible to pests. As a result, bugs and rodents go elsewhere to find the food, water and shelter they need to survive.

 

At Pest HQ, we consider natural pest control to be smart pest control. Not only is it less toxic for indoor and outdoor environments, but it’s a way to get rid of pests permanently. A chemical fix, by comparison, is temporary and eventually the pests will return, bringing with them another round of stress, disruption and exposure to potentially life-threatening diseases. Natural pest control resolves the pest problem for good and delivers peace of mind.  

 

Natural pest control methods can be used to control ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, pantry and clothes moths, spiders, wasps and hornets, rats and mice, flies, mosquitoes, stink bugs and insects that overwinter indoors, and even nuisance wildlife, like squirrels and raccoons.

 

Other names used for natural pest control are green pest control, organic pest control and non-toxic pest control.

 

What does natural pest control involve?

Natural pest control is a process. It involves learning about the pest, and then using this knowledge to get rid of it and to prevent future invasions.

Follow these 8 steps to get rid of pests naturally:

 

  1. Identify – The first step of natural pest control is to properly identify the bug or animal species causing the problem. Why is this important? Different species have different life cycles, habits, behaviours, and preferred living conditions. The more you know about the pest, the more effective you’ll be at completing the following steps.

 

  1. Monitor - Are you dealing with one pest or a few thousand? To determine the extent of the infestation (and to help identify the pest, as well), place monitoring devices, such as glue boards, pitfall traps, snap traps, and game cameras where you have seen pest activity. Cats often notice pest activity before humans. If your cat is staring intently at the gap between the wall and the stove, put out a monitoring device. 

 

Evidence provided by monitors will help you develop an effective control strategy. For instance, if a glue trap catches 200 hundred cockroaches overnight, you’ll need to undertake aggressive control measures in multiple rooms because the cockroach population is large. If the glue trap catches two cockroaches, you probably can focus control efforts in the area where the monitor was set.

 

Ongoing monitoring will tell you if your control strategy is working. For example, after following Steps 3 through 8, are you catching fewer cockroaches, then zero cockroaches, in glue traps? If not, revisit these steps because you missed something.

 

  1. Inspect Conduct a thorough inspection of the home, yard or business. This means asking and answering a lot of questions, such as: How is the pest entering the building? Why is the pest in the yard? What are its sources of food and water? Where is it sheltering and what conditions exist that make this site particularly appealing to the pest? (e.g., water damage to wood; windfall fruit under the fruit tree). Be patient and thorough in your investigation because what you do next relies on information gleaned during the inspection.

 

  1. Clean up – Once you have identified sources of potential food, water and outdoor shelter, eliminate them. Depending on the pest, this may involve deep cleaning kitchen floors, surfaces and appliances; storing food and pet food in sealed containers; fixing leaks and replacing water-damaged wood. Outdoors, you may need to remove the birdfeeder, address standing water issues, and get rid of leaf debris and brush piles. If food and water become scarce, pests will seek them elsewhere.

 

  1. Seal the gaps – During the inspection, you’ve found where pests are likely getting into the structure. Now it is possible to seal those gaps, cracks and holes to prevent more pests from gaining entry the same way. You’ll want to use exclusion materials that stand up to the pest at hand. While regular caulk will keep out ants, for instance, rodents will chew right through it. To keep rats and mice out, you need to use rodent-proof exclusion materials and door sweeps.

 

It's also important to remove the aerial ‘bridges’ that give pests access to your home or building. While you can’t remove electrical wires connected to the structure, you can trim tree branches hanging over the roof and vegetation that touches the structure.

 

  1. Physically remove pests The least-toxic way to eliminate pests is to physically remove them. A professional HEPA vacuum is ideal for removing occasional invaders like stink bugs and lady bugs, as well as spiders. A vacuum can also reduce populations of ants, cockroaches and bed bugs.

    Traps are another way to physically remove pests. These include snap traps (rat traps or mouse traps), glue traps for cockroaches, ants and spiders, pheromone traps for pantry and clothes moths, flying insect bag traps for wasps and hornets, and live traps for rodents and wildlife. Learn more about mechanical control devices and how to use them.

 

  1. Apply a natural insecticide dust  Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural desiccant made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic plant life called diatoms. When bugs crawl on a surface treated with DE, they are exposed to the microscopic, razor-sharp edges of individual diatom skeletons. These sharp edges scratch the waxy cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton, causing moisture to escape the bug’s body. As a result, the bug dries out and dies. Learn about DE and how and where to apply it.

 

  1. Apply a natural insect repellent – Natural bug sprays contain insect-killing oils and extracts derived from plants. They kill bugs on contact, and some create a defensive barrier to repel and prevent bugs from entering the structure. Some of the best natural insecticide sprays in Canada contain:

 

  • d-limonene, made from citrus peel. This non-toxic indoor/outdoor bug killer controls a long list of insect pests.
  • garlic oil, an effective, non-toxic way to control mosquitoes. (Just don’t apply it moments before guests arrive to your outdoor wedding. The odour does linger for a wee bit!)
  • pyrethrin, made from the extract of chrysanthemum flowers but improved by science. Sprays and aerosols containing pyrethrin are labeled to control a wide range list of insects and spiders.

 

Always follow the label directions

Although made with natural ingredients, natural insecticides and dusts are regulated by Heath Canada. When using natural insect control products, always read the label for application directions and safety precautions. For more insights, read our guide: How to Choose the Best Insecticide in Canada for My Bug Problem.

  

 Also read: 

Best Methods To Control Pests

Steps to Prevent Pests

Mechanical Pest Control

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