I couldn't put a gross bug on this post so here is a beautiful bee. Bees are wonderful and they are totally not pests.
Fire ants in central texas are a very common problem and a painful one to discover while playing in your yard. This is one that has affected my backyard for years and each year we are able to manage them with a couple of simple chores.
- Sprinkle Cayenne pepper near the ants and on the mounds. You might be thinking won't that just make them even fire-ier (you weren't thinking that) but it's a really great way to deter ants without killing them. Using cayenne pepper from the bulk spice section of your favorite grocery store, mix the chili with water in a spray bottle or apply directly to the mounds. This is also a great natural pesticide if you are growing any crops that are suffering from aphids or ants.
- Diatomaceous Earth is another great organic solution. Made of the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton this fine white powder sticks to fire ants and cuts up their exoskeleton. This may sound pretty dangerous but it is perfectly safe to have around pets (not pet ants) and children.
- If you have a mound that has gotten a little out of hand you can begin to quell the ant uprising by (carefully) pouring boiling water on top of a mound. I tend to do this once or twice a week while tending my garden.
Chiggers aren't actually an insect but a type of small red mite that can be found hopping around in your grass. They leave lots of uncomfortable little red spots around your ankles and lower legs.
- Apply a very light dusting of flower of Sulfur (typically available at drugstores) to the area. Make a bag from an old pair of nylon stockings, put in the flower of Sulfur and gently shake it over the yard. Before going into weedy areas, dust pant legs and shoes with the powder.
Roaches in Central Texas are very formidable and can be very difficult to eliminate. You will need to be persistent and be sure that your home is clean and that food scraps are not easy to access. Even still, roaches are survivors here are a couple of natural things you can do to help eliminate them.
- Roaches like high, dark, spaces. You can use Boric Acid (careful, not safe for kids or pets) in those hard to reach areas. To up the effectiveness add a little sugar to the mix as a bait (3 parts boric acid / 1 part sugar).
- Diatomaceous Earth is also effective in eliminating Roaches. It works by wedging itself into a roach's exoskeleton and dehydrating them. When applying Diatomaceous earth you will need to think a bit like a roach. Roach's do not see well and tend to follow a set path throughout your home, after cleaning leave the Diatomaceous earth along those paths and near any bait stations you set up.
- I've tested other home remedies including Bay Leaves, Spraying roaches with soapy water and more but boric acid was the only one that really seemed to work well for me.
Outright eliminating mosquitos with natural methods is very difficult. However, repelling them from your person or eliminating their habitat is pretty easy.
- Remove standing water. Wear long sleeves & Pants if possible while completing this. Mosquitos lay their eggs in puddles, bird baths, kiddie pools, and any other small body of water. Puddles may be cleared up with adding soil or drainage to your yard. Other bodies of water just need to be cleared frequently, a mosquito will hatch from an egg to larvae in only 24-48 hours and will transform into flying blood suckers within a week or so.
- Oil of eucalyptus, Neem Oil, or Bite Blocker will keep Mosquitoes at bay.
- Mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a spray bottle to make a natural mosquito repellant.
Stay safe out there
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you keep your pests at bay. If you have any other helpful tips let us know in the comments.