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Keep pests at bay the nontoxic way

Terri Bennett
Terri Bennett has been providing weather forecasts in the Charlotte area for more than 16 years. In September 2007, she launched to serve as the single source of Terri's knowledge and expertise. She is also promoting green technology in her 'Do Your Part' campaign.

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, you can Do Your Part to battle these pests with safer solutions.

• 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 several 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.

• 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.

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