Your own chemical-free zappers can be just as effective against certain pests as toxic pesticides.
Crushed cucumber skins and bay leaves are particularly effective against roaches, according to experiments performed at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. The researchers put them in a tank with some sixty cockroaches, and it turned out that, in the laboratory at least, the cucumber skins and bay leaves drove the roaches away.
During the course of the experiments, the researchers isolated the most active roach-repellent compounds cineole in the bay leaves and cis-6-trans-2-noneal in the cucumber skins. Try spreading that combination around daily where you have a roach problem. Or try boric acid, also an effective cockroach repellent poison.
You can also make some homemade sprays to fight plant bugs. One of the most effective of both indoor and outdoor plants is an onion-and-garlic mixture. In the blender mix four cloves of garlic with one large onion and two teaspoons of red pepper (cayenne or chili) or two finely chopped fresh hot peppers. Blend the mixture with two cups of water for one minute in the blender. Let it steep overnight. The next morning strain it through a worn pair of pantyhose or some cheesecloth; add a tablespoon of detergent, which will help it stay on the plants, and dilute with five cups of water. Then use the mixture once a week until the bugs are gone.
An effective home remedy for spider mites is a spray made of two tablespoons of buttermilk mixed with one cup of flour and diluted with one gallon of water. This too, you should use once a week until the mites disappear.Soap and water mixed together have proved a scourge for aphids, mites, meal bugs, lace bugs, and scales, when theyre young and their shells havent yet toughened. As soon as you see any, mix one tablespoon of mild soap flakes per gallon of water and use once a week until the problem is solved.Many home pesticide recipes are based on the theory that a plant that is susceptible to, or already afflicted with, bugs can be successfully rid of the pests if sprayed with concoctions made from plants that are immune.Chives are the most famous of these. To make chive tea, chop up chive leaves and combine with boiling water, in the ratio of one teaspoon of chopped leaves to one cup of water. Let steep for fifteen minutes, strain and then spray.Its always better to attempt to treat bug infections with natural remedies first and avoid the toxicity of chemical compounds. You might not always be successful, but its best to make it your first line of attack.Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Ten Days to Detox: How to look and Feel a Decade Younger.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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