Resorting to the use of toxic chemicals to keep creepy crawlies out of the house during the summer is definitely not a good idea as, inevitably, humans and pets breathe in the fumes too, which is why it makes sense to deploy the deterrents so wonderfully provided by nature.
A few drops of pure eucalyptus oil added to a bowl of water and placed on windowsills and by doorways is all it takes to stop those potentially lethal – remember dengue fever– mosquitoes from zooming into the house. The eucalyptus oil floats on the water and so prevents mosquitoes from laying their eggs in it, but do keep the bowl topped up with the oil on a regular basis.
The same mix, in a much smaller quantity, can be used in a small oil burner placed at strategic locations inside rooms and the only side effects are that your home will smell wonderful and everyone’s sinuses will be soothed and cleared. In the absence of eucalyptus, basil, citronella, lemon and menthol oils can be used, but candles containing these oils should be for outdoor use only.
Hanging bunches of strongly aromatic mint and basil by doorways and at various points around the house is yet another natural way to keep insects, flying and crawling, at bay. Placing bowls of fresh or dried crushed mint or basil inside cupboards helps to keep those all so persistent ants away.
Standing plant pots of lemon grass by the door is yet another organic method of deterring the nasties from invading the sanctity of your home. Of course, there is the traditional neem – berries as well as leaves – to be used in so many different ways including all of the above if, you can track down pure neem oil.
Note: None of the above will work fully if doors and unscreened windows are left open a second longer than absolutely necessary.
– B Khan
First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 18, 2014.