I am fond of all creatures, great and small, but there are definitely many that I DON’T want in my home.
Please don’t kill critters. Each of them is a valuable part of our ecosystem, and there’s no reason to kill an animal when you can simply relocate it or prevent its intrusion altogether.
I compiled a list of no-kill ways to rid your home of unwanted creepy crawlies.
Ants. Cucumbers, mint, citrus, and garlic all repel ants effectively. Leave them out in your home or grow them in the garden. Lines of cornstarch, cream of tartar, chili powder, paprika, and crushed mint will keep ants from entering your home. Fence yourself in with a line of one of these while outdoors. Mix lemon, mint, and tea tree essential oil and water and spray it on your body and in the corners of your home to repel ants.
Aphids. Mist your plants with a few drops of peppermint essential oil diluted in water. Ladybugs are also effective aphid killers.
Bees. Due to widespread colony collapse, please do NOT kill bees. If you have a huge infestation, a humane bee removal service can come to your home and relocate the bees without killing them. Ask your local beekeeper for information on a humane removal service—some services destroy bees rather than relocating them. Mix orange essential oil with a little water and mist your porch with it. Use 1 part orange oil mixed with 10 parts carrier oil (grapeseed or olive oil) on your body. Bees also do not like the smell of fabric softener, so carry some sheets with you.
Flies. Use a spray made from mint, bay leaf, clove, sweet basil, eucalyptus essential oil diluted in water to keep flies off your body and out of your home. Make sachets of these herbs and hang them by open windows or doors to keep flies at bay.
Fleas. Use cedar shampoos and cedar essential oil on yourself and your pet to repel fleas. Cornstarch and baking soda can be sprinkled on pets and brushed through the fur to repel fleas. Catch fleas overnight in a small dish greased with petroleum jelly. In the morning, take the dish outside and add dirt so the fleas can escape to freedom.
Lizards. Please gently catch lizards and take them outside. They eat tons of insects, including spiders! Sprinkle humanely sourced crushed egg shells or humanely sourced feathers around your home to deter lizards. Lizards see the shells and associate them with larger predators.
Moths. Use cedar chips, cedar essential oil, or dried lemon peel in your home to effectively repel moths.
Mosquitos. Citronella, tea tree, lavender, catnip, and other plants and oils all repel mosquitos. (More here.) Mosquitos also hate the smell of fabric softener, so keep some sheets handy.
Roaches. Bay leaf, cucumbers, catnip, and garlic all repel cockroaches. Make a tea from catnip leaves to and spray it around your home to ward off roaches. Crush bay leaves and sprinkle them in corners of your home.
Scorpions. Scorpions hate lavender, cedar, and citrus. Use lavender sachets near windows and doors, or spray a dilluted mix of water and essential oil. Please don’t kill these guys– they eat other insects, including black widow spiders!
Spiders. Spiders also hate peppermint oil. Use 2 tsp of peppermint oil to one cup of water and spray in the corners of your home. Gently catch spiders and take them outside. They eat other pests! Body sprays made from citrus, tea tree, lavender, cinnamon, peppermint, and citronella essential oils also repel spiders. Plant lavender and mint to keep spiders away from your home.
Snakes. While snakes creep some people out, they are a valuable part of our ecosystem. They keep rodent populations under control, and also keep lizards and frogs from becoming too numerous. If you see a venomous snake (usually characterized by color or the shape of the head), leave it alone. Please do not kill it. Trap it if possible and call animal control to safely relocate the animal. Never handle a snake, especially if you don’t know if it’s venomous or not, because all reptiles carry salmonella, and all of them can bite! Rosemary, lemongrass, marigolds, and wild garlic plants all repel snakes. More info here.
Turtles. Some folks with stock ponds complain of turtles (of all species) eating their fish populations. Please consider the impact of turtles on the ecosystem before using them as target practice. Turtles keep your ponds from becoming OVERstocked with fish. Use a humane turtle trap and relocate the animal, or contact a relocation service. The Turtle Tunnel Trap is an effective and humane means of removing these guys.
Wasps. Wasps hate the smell of cucumber, so keep some slices on hand, or spray cucumber water on yourself or around your home. Crumple a brown paper bag and hang it from a string on your porch. Wasps will think this is another wasp nest, and since they’re territorial animals, they’ll find a different place to nest.
Mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats. Trap these critters with Hav-A-Heart traps, Catchmaster Repeater Humane Mouse Trap, or other humane traps and release them far from your home. If you have livestock, fence the bottom of the enclosure with chicken wire and check daily for coyote and bobcat digs. Place a donkey with your herd if you can’t fence the area. Donkeys have been shown to kick the everloving crap out of coyotes and bobcats and prevent them from attacking other animals.
How to keep spiders, mosquitos, and other bugs out of your yard using tobacco:
o Boil 1 gallon (4 l) of water.
o Add 1 package of pipe or chewing tobacco to the water and let the tobacco soak until the water cools to room temperature.
o Strain this mixture into a clean container.
o Put 1 cup (225 ml) of the tobacco juice and 1/2 cup (118 ml) of lemon dish soap into a hose-end sprayer.
o Attach the hose sprayer to your garden hose and spray your garden and yard. This mixture will also repel mosquitoes and other pests.