Sunday, July 23, 2017

How to get rid of roaches
The cockroach. Those apocalyptic survivors that we fear may be, at this very moment, plotting an invasion of our homes. Highly adaptable and scientifically proven to be fairly intelligent, roaches can be embarrassing, difficult to remove and unhealthy. But there are a few simple steps you can take to protect your home against them.
How to keep roaches out of your house
1. Keep your kitchen clean. Always start with preventative measures to ensure a clean and cockroach-free home, with special attention to areas where food is prepared and eaten. Wipe down countertops after every use and make sure you sweep and mop or vacuum every few days. Food in cupboards should be securely sealed and packaged, and any leftover food should be promptly disposed of in a covered trash can.
Even a half-eaten granola bar in an old gym bag can attract roaches. Keep a particular eye out for warm, moist, dark places, where roaches love to make their homes. Laundry rooms, under beds and piles of cardboard boxes are particular areas of concern. 
2. Move the appliances. Pay particular attention to areas that are warm, such as under your fridge or stove. Areas that offer more warmth are extremely desirable and provide a good shelter for roaches to hide in, so they should be cleaned regularly.
3. Don’t slack on regular household maintenance. The answer to how to get rid of cockroaches is to never let them get in to begin with. Simultaneously improve your home’s comfort and value by fixing leaky faucets, cracks and gaps in the foundation and covering vents. Routinely inspect your home in areas that are moisture-prone such as the bathroom or the laundry room. Cockroaches aren’t the only pests that are attracted to moisture and by maintaining these areas you’re likely to prevent pests such as ants, centipedes and a myriad of others bugs while you are at it. Cockroaches also make their way in via poorly sealed windows and doors. 
4. Create a barrier around your home using Diatomaceous Earth. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural rock that has been ground into a fine powder resembling baby powder. It effectively dehydrates the exoskeleton of any insects that move through it, thus killing them. Sprinkling the powder and forming a boundary all around the foundation of your house will significantly reduce unwanted pests from entering your home.
How to get roaches out of your house
Prevention is always best, but let’s say that you’ve noticed roach activity already. How do you get cockroaches out of your home?
•  You can still use the Diatomaceous Earth to curtail rising populations. Also, there are several products on the market that can be used to bait and trap roaches, including pheromone traps and baits that have an enticing smell to attract the roach and subsequently poison it. There are also sticky traps that will literally stop a roach in its tracks.
•  If you’re interested in a do-it-yourself trap, all you need is a fairly large jar, some petroleum jelly, juice and water. First, fully coat the inside of the jar with the jelly, then fill it about a quarter of the way up with a juice and water mixture. Cockroaches are attracted to the sweetness of the juice. They can easily climb up the uncoated side of the jar, drop down into the juice-water and then won’t be able to climb back up.
Cockroaches aren’t easy to kick out
Unfortunately, if an infestation has already established itself in your home, chances are these quick-fix ideas will be ineffective and, worse, exacerbate the problem.
You might think everything is under control because there are traps and baits out, but if they don’t work and you get complacent, populations will continue to skyrocket.

So, the first step is always prevention. But once you see signs of unwelcome guests crawling through your home, be sure to act quickly. If you feel overwhelmed, never be afraid to call in some professional pest control.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Say goodbye to fruit flies and gnats for good!
Fruit flies and their close cousins gnats, are both species of flies that seem to make an appearance especially during the warmer months. Fruit flies which are attracted to fruits and vegetables, and gnats which are attracted to indoor plants and moist soil, are not just a nuisance in the home, but also dramatically reduce the life of the foods and plants they prey on.
Given the quickness with which they proliferate and the general annoyance of seeing them take over the house, people often rush to the store to purchase the first toxic insecticide they see.
Thankfully, there are quicker and just as effective home remedies that are also much safer than the store bought stuff!
Most of these solutions use pantry items and follow a simple method of creating a trap that the fruit flies and gnats can't escape. Quick steps to building such a trap include taking a cup or jar, filling it with one of the solutions listed below, then covering tightly with plastic wrap and poking multiple holes.
Alternately, you can also create a paper funnel trap by folding a piece of paper into a cone shape and snuggly fitting it in the mouth of a glass jar. The bottom of the funnel should have an opening that is about an inch wide and the tip should be about 2-inches away from the bottom of the jar. Place your bait of choice in the jar and watch as the bugs funnel in, but can't funnel out.
Red Wine
Much like us humans, fruit flies and gnats love red wine, or at least the smell of it. Combine 1/2 cup of red wine with 1 and a 1/2 cups of water and pour in the trap described above.
Put the jar where you see most of these critters and then simply watch as they fly into the trap and drown in the liquid. Change the solution once it is filled with too many dead bugs.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This is perhaps one of the more common home remedies since apple cider vinegar is cheap and easy to find. Heat about 1/2 cup or more of apple cider vinegar to make it more potent. Add a few drops of liquid soap and mix well.  Pour the solution in the trap jar and walk away.
The sweet smell of the vinegar will attract the flies and gnats, while the liquid soap essentially acts as the bug killer. Once the jar is filled with dead bugs, rinse and repeat.
Overripe/Rotten Food
Another simple way to build a trap is to actually use the items that attracted the pests in the first place. Substituting the liquid with an overripe fruit or vegetable in the trap jar, also works just as well.
Just remember to take the jar with the trapped bugs and submerge it under water to kill them before setting up another trap.
Milk, Pepper, And Sugar
If you have some dairy to use up or don't necessarily have the equipment to prepare a jar trap, you can heat 2 cups of milk with 8 tablespoons of sugar and 4 tablespoons of ground pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes and then leave the solution in the problem-area in a shallow dish.
The gnats and flies will be attracted to the sweet smell and then essentially drown as they get in the solution. Rinse and repeat as needed
Lemon Scented Sprays
In addition to making traps, you can also spray the effected area with a spray that has a strong lemon scent to deter the insects from spreading. Mix 2 cups of hot water and 10-15 drops of lemongrass oil in a clean spray bottle and spray your kitchen surfaces or where the problem persists.
Similarly, mix 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of lemon scented liquid dish soap and spray your plants that are infested with gnats.

Keep in mind that given the short life cycles of these insects, it will take about a week to thoroughly get rid of all the fruit flies and gnats. So be patient! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Did you know that baking soda kills weeds?
Bring beauty back to your sidewalks. Simply pour baking soda into cracks where weeds appear. The baking soda alone should kill any small weeds and prevent new ones from sprouting back up. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Keep your HVAC unit clear of debris
Shrubbery, branches or debris on or near the system can hinder its overall performance. However, an awning or tree over the unit provides shade, which cuts energy consumption. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Mosquito-repellent plants to keep pests away
Summer means it’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends over for a barbecue, but it seems like unexpected guests always crash the party. No, not your in-laws — we’re talking about pesky bugs. There are ways to keep mosquitoes and other insects away besides drowning yourself in bug spray. For a more green approach, try installing some of these insect-repelling plants around your yard:
1. Marigolds
Not only do they make your landscape more attractive, but marigolds also have a distinct smell that repels mosquitoes.
Plant from seed or get a starter plant from a nursery or floral department.
Place potted marigolds near mosquito entry-points, such as doors and windows, or on a deck or balcony where you spend a lot of time outdoors. They also deter insects that prey on tomato plants — an added bonus for gardeners.
2. Citronella
Citronella is one of the most common ingredients in insect repellents, due to its strong smell, which masks mosquito attractants.
The perennial clumping grass grows 5 to 6 feet, and can be planted in the ground or kept in large pots.
Citronella plants thrive best in full sun and areas with good drainage.
3. Lavender
In addition to smelling lovely, aiding in relaxation and promoting restful sleep, lavender dissuades mosquitoes and gnats from invading your outdoor dinner party when planted in the garden or in pots placed by windows, doors and entertainment areas.
The dried flowers can also be placed in wardrobes to repel moths.
4. Basil
Enjoy delicious pesto dishes, and keep mosquitoes at bay, with this insect-repelling herb. Basil is one of the few herbs in which you don’t have to crush the leaves to reap its benefits.
Lemon basil and cinnamon basil are the best varieties to prevent unwanted pests.
5. Lemon balm
Also known as horsemint, lemon balm’s aroma wards off mosquitoes, but attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

It’s fast growing, drought resistant and reseeds itself, so consider planting in a pot rather than in your yard to avoid a lemon balm takeover.