In late August of 2018, our first week at our new home in Lake Arrowhead was a bit of a fright for me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a germaphobe and cleaning fanatic! That comes naturally for an owner of a 23 year old cleaning business, but as my sweet husband would testify, I am that person on steroids! As much as I cleaned this house and removed any cobwebs, the 8 legged critters reminded me that it was their home first!
Day one…opened back door to patio and Ms. Charlotte with her BIG 8 legged smile was happy to welcome me home face to face. My skin temporarily jumped off in pieces. I gave Ms. Charlotte a big SMACK with my shoe, then… Day two there she was again! She surely met her maker at that moment and never to be seen again, although I did find her relatives along the way. Woman on a mission…to get rid of Charlotte’s family and here is what I recommend to you…
Your first consideration is to not give them a cozy place to live as the previous homeowners here did! Keep boxes, old equipment and other items neatly stored on shelves, particularly in garages and basements. Also, be sure to clean up and dispose of trash, debris, old equipment, etc. Just the other day we realized quickly that we had not properly stored a large tarp over the winter and when we began to move it to fold and store it properly, an angry family of yellow jackets began to swarm that corner of the yard. Mosquitos had also found this wet home to be quite cozy. This would also have been the perfect nest for a lovely snake family. My point…keep things clean and neat.
Repair screens and maintain the weather-stripping around doors and windows. This will also save on energy costs, not to mention preventing the gap that says, “Come on in, kick your shoes off and sit a spell” to all the creepy crawlers that make me cringe.
Apply Tanglefoot Pest Barrier to incoming pipes and door jams to intercept home invaders. This is a non-drying, sticky insect paste that prevents insects from crawling into the cozy destination of your home. This can be purchased at Wal-mart, Home Depot and other hardware stores.
Inside the house, spiders and their webs can be eliminated by using a broom or vacuum cleaner. I prefer a ‘webster’ because I can spin it and collect the entire web, especially in the basement. That’s where my critters like to hide because it is dark. You can also spray the head of your webster with your insect killer like the one mentioned below. That will hopefully kill them on contact or at least make them sick (and their kids.)
Crawling insect traps placed into tight corners will capture many crawling pests. These can be purchased at Home Depot, Wal-mart, etc. It is a sticky pad that traps them and they die. Ours get loaded when we strategically place them at creepy-crawly entrances like the sides of the overhead garage door and in the basement near that doorway. Lizards and small snakes get caught here as well. Better there than in the middle of the night finding their way to your bed! Use caution not to leave your garage doors open for long because sweet birds and other small animals accidentally find these traps as well.
Apply food-grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) for long-lasting protection. Made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms that look like broken glass under the microscope, DE kills by scoring an insect’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. Contains NO toxic poisons! Care must be used not to inhale the dust as it can irritate the lungs. This is also great to use in pet bedding & on your pet and is non-toxic to pets! Click here for more information. Borax is also good for sprinkling around the home and is non-toxic to children and pets.
Spray Orange Guard, made from citrus peel extract, to kill on contact. Approved for organic use, Orange Guard is a broad spectrum insect killer that’s safe to use indoors and out. Repeat applications may be necessary. It also reduces cockroach populations better than Dursban, the toxic ingredient in Raid®! It is also safe for spraying in pet areas to get rid of fleas and ticks, and my pets are wherever deer rest, like my backyard in Lake Arrowhead . It can be purchased at Wal-mart and Ace Hardware. YouTube has a great natural flea & tick recipe treatment for use on your pets.
Least-toxic botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.
For larger areas and crawl spaces consider using Doktor Doom Foggers. Made with natural pyrethrum, they provide fast re-entry times with NO long-lasting odors. When we moved into our home in the mountain lake community of Lake Arrowhead we discovered that insects especially love this moist wooded area. The attic, garages and basement seemed to be an insect haven so the foggers were good choices. My motto ‘die insect, die’ certainly helps me sleep better at night!
I hope these tips were helpful. For more ongoing tips on natural, non-toxic approaches to living life – follow us on our Facebook page !