Monday, May 23, 2011

Please Don't Spray Those Insects the Rain Sends You

This post is for those of us in the Eastern States, whose problem is that we're getting all the rain the Central States need right now. Here's what Nancy Czerwinski posted on Associated Content:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8075455/will_we_be_taken_over_by_bugs.html?cat=44

It's not a scientific research document; it's a blog post, which seems to be all AC is paying for these days. For those who can relate to the feelings in Czerwinski's blog post, here's the benefit of the amateur scientific research I've been doing on this very subject for many years.

While some harmless individual bugs and beetles will stray into houses during damp weather and leave as soon as they can, the real insect nuisances rain may drive into your home belong to other families: roaches, ants, termites, crickets, and if the rain lasts long enough you might get fungus gnats. (Palmetto "bugs" belong to the roach family.)

Liquid sprays are expensive, last only a short time, and may cause or aggravate all kinds of symptoms for you and your family (although manufacturers resist admitting that there's any connection between their products and the "allergies" some people have only after exposure to their products). Luckily, there's a cheap, effective, natural product that works on roaches, ants, termites, and crickets like magic...and also helps control the mold fungus gnats live on...and also deodorizes rugs.

The brand name that's available in my part of the world is "20 Mule Team Borax." The generic name is washing soda. This is the active ingredient in the powders professional exterminators spread on baseboards for ants and roaches. If you can't find this naturally caustic mineral dust, you could even use baking soda, which has similar effects on insects and fungi.

Washing soda is caustic rather than toxic to humans. It burns eyes and skin, so apply it along baseboards and under rugs, not where pets or children are likely to roll around in it. If you do feel the burn, wash it off with water--no harm done. (Some birds will eat washing soda and make themselves sick, so keep it away from birds.) The caustic effect will kill insects.

Washing soda will also prevent most plants from growing, so it should not be used outdoors.