Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Organic Bug Killer

Today's post is the result of my finding a scorpion... In my closet! 
And then two more in the hall, one in our school room closet, one in the kitchen, one more on the front door, and another in the garage. NOT. COOL. And did I mention that we had multiple run-ins with brown recluse and black widow spiders as well? NO MORE! 

Day ONE after finding the first scorpion I did some online research and concluded that I needed two things: diatomaceous earth (which I'd never heard of before) and lavender (which apparently spiders and scorpions hate). 

Day two I had no less than 14 new lavender plants in my garden, 10 lbs of DE (diatomaceous earth) on its way, along with this book telling me how to use it. 

Fast forward ONE YEAR...  We are scorpion free! *knock on wood* And we've only seen a few house spiders when we're long over-due for a re-application outside.

If you're wondering what in the world DE is, check out this website. The quick answer is that it's an organic, non-toxic powder (it looks and feels a lot like white flour) that's made from the skeletal remains of marine phytoplankton. But the important thing is it KILLS BUGS! And it's perfectly safe to have around your house. In fact, you can even ingest it. (Many people do, but that's not the point of this post.)  

When ever any bug crawls through the DE, it gets some stuck on its exoskeleton. As the insect moves, the DE acts like little razors and cuts it up til it dies. Since it kills them physically rather than chemically, bugs can't build up resistance to it! So get this- wherever you apply DE, as long as it sits there dry, it works indefinitely! So it's GREAT to put anywhere and everywhere bugs may like to hang out that you don't see.

We applied DE:
  • Under and behind all furniture (couches, entertainment center, beds, dressers, book shelves, cabinets, toy box)
  • In the crack between trim and floor all around the house
  • Underneath the refrigerator, dishwasher, washer, dryer
  • Above the kitchen cabinets, under the kitchen sink
  • In a thin line at the back of each shelf on our bookshelf (behind the books where you can't see it)
  • Underneath our living room rug
  • Under our garage shelves and all around the edges of our garage
  • Inside trashcans and dumpster (besides killing bugs, it deodorizes!) plus under and behind them
  • ALL around the attic
  • Around all doors and windows, inside and out
  • Around the house foundation, particularly in any cracks and crevices 

It's recommended to re-apply the DE outside your home 3-4 times per year since it will eventually wash away with the weather around the outside of a house. (This is the case with regular pesticides too, but they cost a lot more!) But everywhere inside a house where the dust is undisturbed and dry, it works indefinitely. You can even take off outlet covers and puff some in there, though we didn't get to that yet. If you're in the process of building a home, it's great to put it in the voids of the walls!

Since we were having a scorpion problem we left the powder visible around every door/window and all trim inside the house, just as an initial treatment, for about a week or two before cleaning that part up. But everywhere else we put it, the DE is there to stay, and it's not visible.  After puffing this stuff all over our house the big question is... did it help?

YES.

After we finished applying it, we didn't see any more live scorpions. The ONLY ones I've seen since then (over the last YEAR) were two dead ones, and that was three and a half months after application. Interestingly, both scorpions died with their tails frozen in a straight position. (Does this have something to do with how the DE kills them?! I wonder.) So it would seem that we killed what ever scorpions were living here, and no new ones have made it in alive. 

I'm a fan of the DE. It's organic. It's safe. It's inexpensive. It works. (I bought mine here, on Amazon. Just read the reviews and you'll probably be ready to try some too!)

If you're thinking you may want to try some organic pest control of your own, I highly recommend this book , which I found super-useful. It gives lots of application tips and even specific instructions if you have a particular pest you are having a problem with. Uses include ants, bed bugs, carpet beetles, cockroaches, fleas (inside, outside, and ON your animal!), flies, grain weevils, lice, mealy bugs, mites, moths, silverfish, slugs, snails, pill bugs, spider mites, termites, wasps.

Remember the other important measures for repelling spiders and scorpions:
  • Plant fresh Lavender around the foundation of the house. 
  • Keep house clean and clutter-free. This includes inside the house and garage and outside around the foundation. (Junk piles are a great place for them to live.)
  • Seal up any entrances to the house. This includes caulking and replacing weather-stripping where needed.
Yes, we did all of the above. Yes, it was a pain. But now all we do is an easy outside re-application three times a year. We are pest-free AND poison-free. We aren't paying professionals to treat our house, and more importantly I don't have to worry about my almost-crawling-baby being around toxic pest products OR scorpions. It is a win-win!

3 comments:

  1. The DE is the greatest stuff, we have used it for years. It does take a while to kill everything, but will stop the life cycle of many critters and fleas which is a problem in our area. We applied it outside using it in water to make it easier to apply with a garden watering can, it dries out and then you can see a fine film of it and then after a while you can't. We only had to do it every 3 years outside, it really did the job for that long. My daughter used it in her house that was full of fleas, took about 3 weeks and now she is flea free as well as spiders, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The DE is the greatest stuff, we have used it for years. It does take a while to kill everything, but will stop the life cycle of many critters and fleas which is a problem in our area. We applied it outside using it in water to make it easier to apply with a garden watering can, it dries out and then you can see a fine film of it and then after a while you can't. We only had to do it every 3 years outside, it really did the job for that long. My daughter used it in her house that was full of fleas, took about 3 weeks and now she is flea free as well as spiders, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Find Residential & Commercial Pest Control Services in Abu Dhabi UAE to get relieve of Pests, Rodents, Cockroach, Termites

    ReplyDelete