BYE-BYE BED BUGS

imagesBed bugs are big enough to be seen with their flat body and reddish brown bodies, but these little suckers create havoc by feeding on their hosts’ blood at night, and hiding in the cracks or crevices surrounding the host’s sleeping area during the day.

Known to outlive temperatures reaching 100 degrees for a short period of time, bed bugs can survive being placed in the freezer, and can live without eating for up to a year. But no need to make a desperate call to your local pest guy (that’s a whole lot of money and chemicals) you can combat these nail head sized vampires in just a few easy steps – naturally!

Come out; come out – wherever you are!
Bed bugs usually hide within 15 feet of their food (i.e. you), and tend to be found in dwellings that are frequently used such as dorms, apartments, motels, hotels, and used furniture departments. These little blood suckers are generally found in boxes, mattresses, pillows, suitcases and other fibrous belongings (bed bugs like to nest in natural fibers including real wood). In multi-unit dwellings, such as condominiums and apartment buildings, bed bugs can sometimes find their way throughout the premises by moving about the walls, cracks, pipes, and wires.

In a severe infestation bed bugs can be found behind anything wall or ceiling mounted: base boards, window and door casings, pictures and picture frames, in sofas and furniture, ripped wallpaper & cracks in drywall, lighting, ceiling fans, and light switch plates.

Many folks tend to point to neighbors (etc.) with less than par hygiene for being a source of infestation. The truth is that while lack of home maintenance is conducive to these little vampires, travel is usually the culprit. Hotels tend to be a hot spot for these little conniving blood suckers with so much suitcase traffic, especially when bed bugs build a immunity to cleaning chemicals and pesticide treatments. When guests settle in for the night, bed bugs may climb into their luggage, where they hang out and then hitch a ride are then transported to a new environment.

Kindly Kill Them
Save money while lowering the air pollutant level in your home by eliminating those pesky little vampires yourself – naturally. The key to approaching any genre of pest is patience – and a little elbow grease. The following steps are a sure-fire way to rid of bed bugs, but you will need to repeat all of the steps until they’re gone. Don’t worry, this is easy – not hard!

  • Use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to kill bed bugs on contact. Find the surfaces bed bugs inhabit, including crevices and harborages. Mix the isopropyl alcohol at a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle with water. Liberally spray the surfaces and crevices and allow air dry, and spray directly on the bugs. Less water is recommended for smaller areas or areas sensitive to water.
  • Wash and dry clothing, linens, textiles, and toys at high temperature — temperatures over 113 degrees are said to kill bed bugs. Leave items in the dryer for more than 20 minutes, then move them immediately into a plastic bag and seal them for 24 hours. This will ensure that you kill all of the bed bugs. Similarly, toys, shoes, backpacks, and other items that can be put in the dryer should be heated. Even wool and silk can usually be put in the machine for this amount of time (not wet, of course). Hot desert climates are also conducive to destroying lingering bed bugs when bedding and clothes are hung in the beaming sun.
  • Steam the seams of all fixed home textiles (i.e. furniture, drapes). Using a high-pressure steamer – a garment steamer or a quality iron will do –  hold the steamer over the seam (pulled taut) for 30 seconds to a minute. This will kill most of the eggs hiding deep in the crevice. If you have carpeting, rent a steam cleaner to steam eggs using a natural cleaner. Be sure to prep first by shaking baking soda on the carpeting 15 minutes prior to a detailed vacuum cleaning.

Aim to Maintain
Even if your first round of detoxing rids all visible bed bugs and eggs, you will most likely need to do one or two more rounds before you have entirely eliminated the adults and eggs. To avoid future invasions it is best to maintaina toxin-free home – which is the best remedy to controlling pests in general. The home is an ecosystem that can be open to invasion once the balance is tipped (crumbs and skin debris are inviting food sources to recon pests), not to mention they are an R Species that become immune to toxic chemicals within just a few generations. Bed bug control is much more difficult in cluttered homes – piles of clothing, scattered belongings, and stacks of magazines are all potential hiding places for bed bugs – so upgrading to a “clean freak” status will definitely help control the bed bug situation before it even gets started.

  • The ClimbUp Insect Interceptor is the best bed bug trap available that can also help with maintenance. You simply place one of these under each of the legs of your bed. The bed bugs get stuck while they die attempt to crawl up the bed legs. This trap will defend your bed, kill bed bugs, and allow you to monitor the progress of your bed bug control methods.
  • Be sure to keep a good eye out for eggs by massaging corners, cracks, and crevices on a near-daily basis with the vacuum suction wand to snag random bed bugs and their debris (HEPA filter required).  Sanatizing all surfaces – using non-toxic, earth-friendly cleaners – will also help detract future infestations.

Sweet dreams, don’t let the bedbugs bite.
Its freaky, we all know it – the nights during infestation. But just keep in mind while holding strong, and surviving the annoying little nuances, that you will make it out alive. The little buggers are creepy, but hey –  it could be worse! Take your mind to another place every night, somewhere comforting, and calm your nerves by only thinking of the good things in your life. Who knows, the infestation might be the greatest therapy session of your life.

ANTS IN UR PANTS – ARE U READY TO DANCE?

Fire_ants Ants. tiny little soldiers occasionally found doing recon around the sinks in your home, and they always seem ready to take over the party!

A little bit of prevention goes a long way with these little busy workers. Following these following earth and toxic-free measures you will save money (and your conscious) with just pennies on the dollar compared to the chemical alternatives.

No Ants in These Plants
Since ants are not too fond of spearmint, pennyroyal, and tansy, you may want to plant these selections close to the home in an effort to ward off ants. To keep red ants out of the way, the planting of sweet fern is recommended. So dig in and create a multi-tasking herb garden to ward off ants, and have bounty for natural remedies around the home.

Vinegar and Water
The next time you wash down your counters, mix equal parts of vinegar and water to detract ants. Toxic-free, and the best disinfectant in the marketplace!

Picnic Preparation
To keep crawling ants away from a picnic table, place each leg in a small pan of water.

Tea Bag It
Using a tea bag filled with mint tea can control ants in their most active spots. Sometimes, the use of dry, crushed mint leaves or cloves will help combat your ant problem.

Soapy Water
A small spray bottle containing soapy water can be used to spray and ward off ants.

Vinegar
Spraying vinegar around the doors and window frames, under appliances, and close to known ant trails will help kill ants.

Cinnamon
Placing a cinnamon stick in the pathway of ants sometimes keeps ants from coming through doors and windows – they do not dare cross it.

Alcohol
A mixture comprised of 40% water, 40% alcohol, and 20% botanical dish soap  is known to treat most species of ant. Some insects die upon contact. The combination also helps to eliminate the chemical trail left behind by ants so others are unable to follow the same path into your home.

REVENGE OF THE URBAN COCKROACH

VectorFree-Cockroach-SplattersCockroaches are one of the most dreaded of household pests. They’ve been around for thousands of years and are silently waiting for their upcoming “come back” in the decaying aftermath of tomorrow.

As elite members of the “R” species, cockroaches prefer the warm environment found inside homes, and easily adapt to their surroundings as they search for food and water. They feed on pet and human edibles, possess the ability to live months without water, and up to three months without food. Quiet and scandalous, cockroaches will be the first unwanted guests to show up after everyone has left [the planet]. Here’s a few tips to keeping these freaky scuttle bugs out of your pad.

Run a Clean Ship
Roaches prefer to dwell in dark, dank places, especially when areas are filled with clutter. Keep your living spaces clean. Cover your garbage cans at all times and store your food in sealed containers and bags.

Baking Soda
Make a mixture consisting of equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar applied to problem areas will control roaches. The sugar will attract the pests, while the baking soda mixes with their stomach acids to cause internal destruction.

Coffee Grounds
Fill a jar halfway with water and coffee grounds. This trap uses the scent of coffee (pleasant to the roach) to lure and trap roaches in the jar. As the pests climb into the jar, they fall inside and drown.

Lemons
Add the juice of four lemons (with the rinds) and 1⁄2 gallon (two liters) of water to a bucket. Using a sponge or mop, wash your floors with it – cockroaches cannot stand the smell.

Garlic/Onion/Pepper Mix
Add one clove of garlic, one onion, and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper to one quart of water. Allow the ingredients to marinade for one hour. Add one tablespoon of liquid soap to the mixture and spray in the places that roaches frequent about your home.

Caulk Water Pipes
Roaches often congregate in kitchens and bathrooms, using the holes associated with water pipes as a means of travel. Caulking around all water pipes can help eliminate their routes into your living spaces.

Bay Leaves
Create roach-repellant sachets by adding bay leaves to the inside of a pair of pantyhose and placing in dresser drawers, closets, and cupboards.

Borax (not Borat!)
Mix Borax with a little brown sugar and flour and sprinkle behind appliances, under sink, and in corners. Cockroaches carry the mixture back to their nests.

Catnip
Catnip is a natural repellent to cockroaches. The active ingredient is nepetalactone, which is non-toxic to humans and pets. Small sachets of catnip can be left in areas of cockroach activity. Catnip can also be simmered in a small amount of water to make a “catnip tea” which can be used as a spray to apply around baseboards and behind counters, but ironically should only be used in homes without cats.

GIVE MICKEY THE BOOT

how-to-get-rid-of-mice-in-the-houseThey’re super cute as animations, but mice are scampy little freeloading scavengers looking for a good time at your homestead. And in the world of tomorrow, they will be your competition for food resources!

Start learning today how to kindly keep these four-legged pests out of your abode –- and tomorrow you’ll have one less issue to resolve!

Remove the Temptation
Anything that the mice like to eat must be thoroughly removed from your abode. Remove any food sources from the areas which are easily accessible to them, always keep trash boxes tightened and other such measures prevents the mice from infesting, and seal all the cracks and holes.

Baby Powder
Use baby powder (or flour) to check for tracks. Scatter a small patch on the floor along a wall or other frequented places. Some people like to bait a mouse by placing a cracker with a bit of peanut butter in the middle of the patch.

The Essentials
Essential oils such as peppermint or lavender have been known to drive mice away. Soak a cotton ball in the oil of peppermint and place it at a suspected entryway. The smell of onions has helped some individuals solve their mouse problem, as they say the odor is offensive to the pests. Even fox urine has been known to send mice scampering because the fox is a natural predator of mice.

Mashed Potatoes
Place instant mashed potatoes near where you suspect the mice are hiding. They will eat the potatoes, which will swell up in their tiny stomachs before they can be digested, thereby killing the mice.

Mint
Keep new mice from entering your residence by adding mint plants to the foundation of your house. If you are already battling a mouse problem, sprinkle mint leaves in the parts of your home that the mice like to frequent. Mint is known to repel mice in most cases, but you must remember to replace old leaves with fresh ones on a regular basis.

Bay Leaves
Keep mice away by sprinkling bay leaves in the kitchen and around the pantry.

Steel Wool
Mice enter your home in the most creative manner, but once you have pinpointed an access point, use steel wool to block their way. The material is much harder for mice to gnaw through than other options, like wood and newspaper.

Ahoy Salty Mates!

clean-lemon-saltBypass drab and nasty commercial cleaners and get salty! Scrub down sinks, tubs, showers, tile grout, and floors of the bathroom with the abrasive action of salt. Salt also helps remove food stains from pots, pans, and baking dishes.
Simply adding water to salt creates a stellar paste that scrubs down your oven and countertops. And if you don’t believe me, check out this lovely salt [and lemon] post by Green Buffalo Food Company (thanks for the photo!).

Home Salt Scrub

In a16 oz refillable container, mix together:

1⁄2 cup white vinegar

1⁄2 cup salt (1/2 cup each)

Stir with plastic stir stick.  Apply to surface and use our scrub brush and microsuede cloth to scrub and wipe surfaces clean.

Other Salty Tips and Tidbits

  • Soak cast iron pans in water with three tablespoons of salt to remove caked-on food without harming the seasoned finish.
  • Combine baking soda and salt to produce a whitening effect while scrubbing surfaces.
  • Gently use the salt paste to clean painted or paneled walls.
  • Blackened Copper Bottoms: Slice a lemon wedge in quarters, then dip wedges in Kosher salt.  Rub the copper bottom until blackened spots disappear, then keep going until the bottom sparkles.
  • To clean Copper and Brass Add white vinegar to 2 tablespoons of salt until you’ve created a paste. Adding flour will reduce abrasiveness. Apply with a rag and rub clean.