Year round there are several types of bugs that really “bug” us with harmful and hurtful bites. How can we protect our family and homes from these creepy crawly blood sucking bugs using natural and environmentally friendly methods and treatments?
“Sleep tight don’t let the bedbugs bite,” for years parents have been saying this in jest when they tuck their children in at night. But with the current infestation of bedbugs in homes, hotels, colleges and public places it is no joking matter. Bedbugs come out at night while we are sleeping. It only takes about 10 minutes for a bedbug to full up and it won’t need to eat again for days. Female bed bugs lay 3-4 eggs every day near where we sleep, since human blood is their favorite treat. Bedbugs are flat, oval and reddish brown in color and are about .2 inches long, wingless and flat.
Find out how to how to tell if bedbugs are living in your home.
Mosquito “bites” aren’t really bites at all. It is actually a “poke”. Female mosquitoes need a good hearty meal before they lay their eggs and they can live up to eight weeks. Men are a less hearty specimen and only live about a week.
So why do some people get bit by mosquitoes and others don’t? Mosquitoes and many other blood sucking creatures are attracted to the carbon dioxide that a host releases and they are attracted to it like bees to honey. Find out more good, bad and just the facts about mosquitoes.
Horseflies: Regular houseflies hopped up on steroids! While the name is dead on when it comes to size, horseflies actually prefer to dine on cattle. Brown and black rate among their favorite colors in cattle, horses and the occasional person. Female horseflies are real ladies, they only dine on blood when they are about to lay eggs. Don’t think just because you aren’t on a ranch or farm that you are safe from “horse fly” bites, because they can also be found wherever there is standing water like a pond, swamp, stream, or lake. They love to breed under these conditions. Find out more about the dreaded horsefly.
Fleas come in different varieties. Where I live cat fleas are the most common, but they aren’t picky here, they will suck the blood of dogs or people too. Did you know that fleas can jump the length of a cat’s tail? They move easily through their host’s hair because of their flat bodies and while adult fleas eat blood, a baby fleas first meal is grown up flea poop.
Lice; is a word that makes parents all over cringe in disgust. None of us want to admit that our child has lice, but it does happen. Children most often transfer lice through wearing each other’s hats, hair bows or by using each other’s brushes. Lice can’t jump, hop or fly, so the only way they can transfer to another host is by crawling and then “landing” on a nice juicy scalp. Just because you have lice doesn’t mean you have dirty hair, believe it or not they actually prefer clean scalps to dine from.
Ticks, the headless monster that is not only annoying, but in some cases can give its host a harmful disease. No true head, they actually just have a small barbed mouth that they stick into their host. Ticks are particularly hard to get rid of once they are in the skin because they create cement like substance to glue themselves on and aren’t released until their stomachs are full.
To go green when you see red in your home consider these eco-friendly alternatives to pest control:
Bed bugs: Turn the suction on the sucker . . . vacuum! Be sure to get in and around the edges and corners of your mattress and box springs. Heat treatments, done by professionals are yet another way of effectively eradicating bedbugs from the bedroom (and any other room in the house). Professionals come in with high intensity heaters that kill not only live bugs but the eggs that other cleaning methods may leave behind. There are also products by Mother Earth and Kleen Free available in powder and spray form that can be used on beds, bedding, and clothing safely.
Mosquitoes:Naturally Repel Mosquitoes with These 5 Plants suggests specific plants to include in your outdoor garden that naturally repel mosquitoes. Other methods to naturally repel mosquitoes naturally from your environment include using vinegar, or oil of eucalyptus, watching how you dress, and even what you eat.
Horseflies: Of course, nothing beats covering up your skin, but on a hot summer day that is easier said than done. “Dressage Today” magazine offers a homemade fly repellent recipes using 2 cups of apple cider vinegar; 2 cups prepared tea that has gone cold (sage or chamomile is recommended); 20 drops of eucalyptus oil; 20 drops of citronella oil; 10 drops of lavender oil; 10 drops of tea tree oil; 10 drops of cedar oil; and 20 drops of an emulsifier (an example is polysorbate 20).
Fleas: These five steps offer home and pet owners natural ways to fight the small but mighty flea and take you through the
process from carpets to pets. Some important ingredients to have on hand include vinegar, olive oil lemon juice and garlic.Exterminate fleas naturally using Eucalyptus leaves, tansy, cedar chips and even Dawn dishwashing liquid – it’s not just for oily birds.
Lice: School aged children are the ones most likely to be exposed to lice in most households. Use these tips to help you check your child’s head for lice.There is a non-chemical way to treat your family should you have an infestation of lice. Try any one of these natural remedies that include mayonnaise, vinegar, special comb and tweezers or you can try using Vinegar (Dissolves eggs), Olive Oil or Baby Oil and a Knid Comb. Start with an olive or baby oil coating on your hair. Some say to leave it on overnight, others say a couple of hours. Use a shower cap to keep it on your hair and not any place else. Afterwards, wash your hair using vinegar and comb thru your hair small sections at a time using the Knid Comb.
Ticks: Try one of these home remedies for ridding your lawn of ticks. Preventing ticks on your pet or person is the first step towards protecting yourself from bites and the harmful effects of a tick bite. This guide to organic pest control can help you with a number of pest remedies and alternatives from using eucalyptus leaves or lavender.
Why use eco-friendly pest control methods?
In a joint statement, the CDC and EPA said: “Although bed bugs may sometimes be controlled by non-chemical means alone, this approach is often very difficult, potentially less effective, and usually more resource intensive.” Even in the CDC an EPA statement, chemicals are the last item on the list which includes: “using monitoring devices, removing clutter where bed bugs can hide, applying heat treatment, vacuuming, sealing cracks and crevices to remove hiding places, using non-chemical pesticides (such as diatomaceous earth) and judicious use of effective chemical pesticides.” Consider this; what you use to rid yourself of these pests can stay with your home, the air you breathe, and your skin for some time to come.
Find out more about the advantages of natural remedies for your children and home.
While most of these pests really bug us, in most cases (certainly not all) the effects of being “bit” but one of these are nothing more than an irritation. However, the long term effects of using harmful chemicals and toxins can last a great deal longer, both to the environment and to your health.
Dressage Today Magazine