Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Get rid of yellow jackets, ants and other pests... naturally

We need all these pesky insects to keep our gardens and yard healthy, but we don't want them in our home or eating next to us at the picnic table. Here are a few ways you can keep yellow jackets, ants and some other pests away from your picnic or outdoor event, and even keep them out of your home. Some will kill, so read carefully.

Yellow jackets

Homemade traps:
- Drill 3/8th inch holes in a plastic two-liter bottle. Add a mixture of roughly 10 percent molasses and water, a little bit of yeast (a pinch) and just a few drops of dish detergent.
- cut the top off a soda bottle. Turn the top upside down and put it into the top of the bottle so that it forms a funnel leading down to the bottom of the bottle. Tape it in place. Fill it halfway with water (to make it easier, add the water before taping the inverted top in place). Add a few drops of dish soap, and about a quarter cup of vinegar. The vinegar will help to repel honeybees. Coat the neck of the funnel with a sticky jelly or jam to attract the yellow jackets. They'll climb down to get to the jam, won't be able to get out and they'll eventually drown. Make sure you empty or change out the trap when you see it has a number of insects trapped inside.

Ants (and roaches)

- sprinkle baby powder around the area they frequent (ants, not sure about roaches on this one)
- some say to sprinkle corn flour around. The ants take it back to their home as food, but can't digest it and will starve.
- CAUTION on this one: make a mixture of roughly three parts peanut butter, two parts jelly and one tablespoon of boric acid per six ounces of mix. Be careful on this one --- while boric acid will kill ants (and roaches), and it's considered to be low on the scale of toxicity, it's definitely not good for pets and kids so please make sure you keep it away from both. We suggest doing a search on boric acid. Boric acid is a white, inorganic powder chemically derived from water and boron and you'll find it in many of your household products.
- 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, ditto on lemon juice and water. Either should kill the ants and if you spray vinegar around plants or areas it will repel ants.
- cucumber parings repel ants and roaches
- put epsom salt onto fire ant nests
- soak a sponge with decent size holes in a sugar and water mix. Leave it out on a plate or flat surface (it doesn't need to be sitting in the solution, just needs to be wet). Rinse it out daily to get rid of the ants caught inside
- catnip is a natural roach repellent

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