Eco-friendly methods of pest control
Certain pesticides can be detrimental to the environment. The chemical compounds found in them can infiltrate different systems, causing unintended damage to water life, plants, animals, and even humans. Although these pesticides are effective in eliminating the intended pest, their use can cause a significant amount of collateral damage. With increasing awareness around environmental issues, pesticides have come under scrutiny, and more eco-friendly alternatives have been promoted. Alongside pest-repellent plants, here are some pest control methods that have less impact on the environment.
Heat treatment involves heating up a room to 56ºC or above for a period of time to kill off a range of pests, including bed bugs, fleas, moths, and cockroaches. Insects and their larvae can’t survive the high temperatures for longer than a minute, so this method is effective at preventing a re-infestation. Heat treatment exterminates virtually all insects in an infected room – it isn’t targeted, it’s a catch-all approach. Pesticides aren’t used though, meaning that there’s no chance of causing longer-lasting unintended damage to other insects, plants, and animals once the treatment is complete.
For larger pests such as mice and rats, the most eco-friendly method of pest control is to prevent them from entering your property. Drainpipes, air-vents, and attic spaces can all be modified with mesh and other materials to bar them from coming in. If you notice signs of a mouse infestation, it’s best to get in contact with a professional pest controller and request the proofing of your property.
As already mentioned, one of the main criticisms of traditional pesticides is that it can cause unintended collateral damage to a wide range of insect and animal species. Microbial insecticides address this problem. Consisting of microorganisms, they target specific insects, causing them to fall ill and die. One of the most common is called ‘Bt’ (Bacillus thuringiensis). This insecticide is particularly effective against moths, paralyzing their digestive systems and making them unable to eat – they usually die within a couple of days.
Another non-toxic way of dealing with common insect pests is the use of insecticidal soaps. These are simply mixtures of soap and oil which are lethal to various insects, including aphids, whiteflies, and earwigs. Although it is less targeted than microbial insecticide, it still carries less overall damage than traditional pesticide. The soapy mixture is corrosive to the outer shell of many insects – the cell membranes break down and the insects ultimately die from dehydration. Always remember to test the soap mixture out on a small area as it can be damaging to some plants too.
This is a powder made up of the crushed shells of fossilised algae. Apart from being used as a natural remedy for various ailments, it can be applied as a non-toxic pest control method. The powder is abrasive with tiny jagged edges running along the grains, which can be used to eliminate and deter various soft-bodied insects – aphids, caterpillars, maggots, slugs, and snails. Be aware that diatomaceous earth can cause harm to all soft-bodied insects, so it may damage species that you don’t want to target.
Baking soda is an incredibly useful substance, seen in everything from household cleaning products to toothpaste. One of its many uses is as a non-toxic pesticide. Once ingested by a pest, the baking soda combines with fluids in the stomach to produce gas – the amount of gas produced is enough to kill within hours. It can be used to eliminate rats, cockroaches, and aphids but be aware – baking soda can also be extremely dangerous to your pets if eaten, so make sure they have no access to the infected area and if you’re ever in doubt, contact a professional pest controller for advice.
As awareness grows around the consequences of using pesticides, more people are seeking eco-friendly ways to control pests. Using some of the methods outlined above, you’ll be able to keep pests in check whilst minimising the impact on the wider ecosystem. As ever though, contact a professional pest controller to discuss the most suitable way to make your home pest-free.
Inoculand operates in the London area and is dedicated to clearing all manner of pests from residential and commercial properties. If you have a problem, drop our expert pest controllers a message or call us on 0203 405 5000 to see how we can help you.