Cockroaches, lizards, slugs, etc. are a part of a healthy urban ecosystem, but having them around isn’t exactly conducive to maintaining a hygienic home. To get rid of them, we often spray even more harmful chemicals. Well, no more.
The Better India spoke to several proponents of sustainable living across India for eco-friendly ways to keep pests out of homes, and we have compiled some ideas for you here.
Remember, these remedies are not permanent. You need to use them regularly for the best effect.
Getting rid of cockroaches:
Small, big, flying—cockroaches come in many different forms and they are irksome in all. But you need not gas them with a spray that is also harmful to you. Here are some easy solutions to keep them away:
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- Sujatha Rajanandam shares a remedy that she claims works very well for her. She mixes boric powder with powdered sugar and flour and sprinkles them along walls and corners of her kitchen to get rid of cockroaches.
- Saritha Sanath shares how you can keep cockroaches from entering your cupboards and shelves. “Mix equal parts atta, sugar and boric acid. Add oil and make a dough, and then roll out small balls and keep them in cupboards. Change the balls once in three weeks or if you spot any cockroaches. You can also keep them on kitchen slabs or corners,” she tells The Better India (TBI).
- Bengaluru-based Saraswathi Prasanna, tells TBI that spraying bio-enzyme on big inlets—like open windows, doors and drainage outlets has worked for her, and is an economical solution as well. “Spray regularly and leave it overnight if possible,” she tells us.
Ants that invade the kitchen
Leave some food unattended for a few hours and you will soon see a long line of ants attacking it. While ants are usually not unhygienic, they can be harmful and can also enter packets of food that you intend to eat later. Here are some quick fixes to keep them away.
- Delhi’s Richa Malik, a zero-waster and founder of eco-brand, Happy Turtle tells TBI that a line of turmeric works like a charm in driving away ants. Mark this line on shelves and slabs that may have some exposed food. The heat in the turmeric is ant-repellent and the solution, completely natural and cost-friendly!
- Neem cake—a mixture of manure and neem leaves—works as a fertiliser AND an ant-repellent. Use them in your garden so you never have to worry about stepping on or getting bitten by ants!
- Mix one part lemon juice with three parts water and spray this mixture on wide entry points. The strong smell of lemon overpowers scent trails of the ants and drives them away. If the surface becomes too sticky, wipe it with water.
Slugs that eat your plants
Come monsoon season and slugs start entering your home, multiplying at the speed of light and destroying plants. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep them away.
- Sprinkle coffee grounds around your plants. Not only are they excellent fertilisers, but also help keep slugs away.
- Crush eggshells and sprinkle them in pots and in your garden. They too are fertilisers and their pungent smell keeps the creepy crawlies away. Please note that if the eggshells do not decompose, you may need to pick them out after a week or so.
- If you have noticed any slugs coming inside your home, try applying petroleum jelly or sticking a brown sellotape on entry points. The slippery surfaces make it difficult for the slugs to climb up the sills and they will avoid this route.
Mosquitoes because what is more annoying than them?
‘Tis the season when mosquitoes breed, and count yourself very lucky if you have still not been bitten by one or heard them humming near your face. Their bites are not just prickly, they can also carry deadly diseases. Here’s how you can keep safe from them naturally:
- Mix one part neem oil and one part lavender oil. Spray this mixture near entry points as well as resting areas for mosquitoes—like under tables, behind doors, in bookshelves etc. The strong smell drives mosquitoes away and if you follow this regularly, they will reduce in number.
- Shut all the windows and doors and light some camphor in the rooms. Let it work for half an hour after which your home will be completely mosquito-free!
- Grow mosquito-repelling plants such as holy basil (tulsi), rosemary, marigold etc around your house and especially near windows and balconies. They will keep the buzzers away while also making your home greener!
Lizard: the spiderman of reptiles
While I personally don’t vouch for driving away lizards (they eat mosquitoes and other insects), some people do find them creepy. So next time, instead of spraying them with a fatal chemical, try these natural remedies instead:
- Jeune Lobo from Mangaluru vouches for a mixture of coffee grounds and tobacco leaves to drive away lizards. Tear tobacco leaves into small pieces and roll them with coffee grounds to make small balls (use a little water to keep their shape intact). Leave them in every corner of your home and on window sills.
- Eggshells also work in keeping lizards from entering homes, says Biswajit Bisu Debnath. Keep eggshell halves on window sills for best results. Make sure you clean them out every week and replace to avoid decomposition.
- Cut some slices of onion and dip them in water. Keep this on your windows and balconies as a remedy against lizards. The pungent smell and sulfur content of the onion repels the reptiles. You can also infuse onions in water and spray this mixture in your home but that may spread the strong smell of onions all over your home.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)