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mosquito_on_flower(MCT)—The flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and pests are starting to appear inside and outside of our homes. Instead of reaching for a toxic cocktail of bug killer, Do Your Part to battle these pests with safer solutions.

Make Mosquitoes Disappear, Naturally
Mosquitoes can make life miserable in just a matter of minutes so prevention is key. Scan your yard for pools of standing water—especially after a good rain. Places like clogged gutters or plant saucers are mosquito magnets so get rid of that standing water quickly. If you have a water feature outside or a rain barrel, you can safely keep mosquitoes from breeding by using mosquito dunks. They are easy to find at any hardware store or garden center and they are safe for humans, pets, and wildlife. As for mosquito repellents, there are a number of natural alternatives. Lemon eucalyptus has been proven to be equally as effective as the controversial chemical DEET, found in so many insect repellents. Citronella oil and Cedar oil are among other natural alternatives that will also keep mosquitoes away.

Fight Fleas without Dangerous Chemicals
It’s tough to watch your dog or cat battle with fleas. The last thing you want to do is to put a toxic collar on them. Those collars usually contain pesticides that can rub off on your pet and people. Prevent fleas by giving your pets regular baths with natural flea fighting shampoos that contain essential oils such as lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary, or thyme. If there’s already evidence of fleas, all natural borax will help kill them on carpets and rugs. Sprinkle some on and let it sit for an hour before vacuuming. Of course, keep your pets and children away from the area during treatment. If you find that you need a stronger solution, ask your vet about oral medications to treat fleas. And, GreenPaws.org also provides a thorough guide where you can type in a flea or tick product to find out just how safe – or unsafe – it really is.

Battle Ants and Roaches Safely
The best way to keep ants and roaches at bay is to make sure they don’t get inside your home in the first place. A natural, safe, and inexpensive solution that I use is something called Diatomaceous Earth (DE). It looks like a powder but is actually made of fossilized microscopic shells. You can buy food grade DE from many home and garden centers. When insects come into contact with it, their outer shell is pierced and they die of dehydration. That’s why it’s a good idea to apply DE around the foundation of your home and in the nooks and crevices where ants and roaches can sneak inside.

This spring, don’t let pests get you down. Do Your Part with a few simple and affordable options to keep them away from your home for good.

Terri Bennett is a national speaker, eco-expert, and author of “Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living” available at DoYourPart.com.

Distributed by MCT Information Services (www.mctdirect.com)

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