(Health Secrets) Want to keep your home pest free naturally? Nobody wants bugs running around their home but preventing or getting rid of them with conventional methods comes at a very high cost. Nearly every day new information is released about the toxicity of insecticides commonly used around the home. Highlights from these releases include children having lower IQ’s, behavioral problems, and the development of cancer.
The insecticides you buy at the store for do-it-yourself pest extermination are the same or very similar chemicals as those applied by professional exterminators. These products claim that if you read the label and follow directions scrupulously, there is no danger, but can you really believe them? There’s a reason that exterminators wear protective clothing and respirators!
Chemical insecticides kill bugs by:
- Attacking their nervous system
- Disrupting their endocrine system (hormonal).
- Attacking their heart and lungs
- Interfering with some stage of their life cycle
In the US, GMO foods, drugs and chemicals are being dumped on an unsuspecting public with little or no safety testing, and are only recalled after unquestionable damage and death have occurred. Until 2000, the most common insecticides for household use were a group of organophosphate compounds, closely related to nerve gas. The EPA began phasing these out in 2000 because of an indisputable risk of damage to child brain development, but they are still used in the home in certain circumstances and extensively used in agriculture. These insecticides persist in the environment even years after the last use. Recent studies have shown a strong link between exposure to organophosphates and ADHD. In the home, these compounds have largely been replaced with pyrethroid compounds, derived from the pyrethrin found in the seed cases of the chrysanthemum plant. Pyrethroids are also neurotoxins, but they break down quickly when exposed to light and oxygen. At lower doses, they exert a repellant effect.
Insecticide companies have taken the somewhat safe pyrethroids and added a chemical called piperonyl butoxide (PBO) to it to increase efficacy. Studies have shown that prenatal exposure to PBO leads to delayed neurological development in children, similar to the effects of lead exposure on a child’s brain.
Other commonly used pesticides such as bendiocarb, propoxurand permethrin have been found in 51 to 73% of cord blood samples from newborn babies tested. This was 3 to 4 years after its manufacturer took bendiocarb off the market rather than perform the safety studies demanded by the EPA!
How to keep pests away naturally
The safest methods of controlling insects and pests are mechanical.
- Seal all cracks in the foundation, around windows, floors and walls.
- Keep the kitchen scrupulously clean, and never leave exposed food out.
- Eliminate clutter and sources of water (attracts roaches)
- Use diatomaceous earth (DE), rather than chemical insecticides. This must be food grade and can be purchased fairly cheaply at feed stores as it is often added to animal feed to kill/prevent intestinal parasites. Don’t use the DE used in pool filters because it is heat treated and contains toxic impurities. Food grade DE works by microscopically slitting the exoskeleton of a hard-shelled insect causing it to dehydrate and die. It is very effective in eliminating fleas, ticks, roaches, ants, silverfish and even bedbugs. Use a face mask when applying DE as it can irritate the lungs. Once down, it is perfectly safe for children and pets. It may take a few weeks to totally eliminate the pests.
If you choose to use chemical insecticides, there are some more natural and safer alternatives to the usual highly toxic chemicals, but some of these are still fairly toxic to humans, animals and fish. The ones discussed here are for use inside and around the home. Make sure you read labels carefully.
- Natural Pyrethrum: This is the pure compound found in the seed case of the chrysanthemum It is not a synthetic derivative as is pyrethroid. Pyrethrums rapidly destroy the nervous system of the insect. These can be neurotoxic if not used properly or if ingested, but they do break down rapidly. Pyrethrum is allowed in organic gardening.
- Boric Acid: Can be used in various ways for roaches, ants and even termites.
- Plant oils: Oils from the neem tree and even rosemary, thyme and peppermint have the ability to kill or repel insects. There are products you can purchase containing these ingredients or you can find various recipes to make your own. Orange oil is another good, natural insecticide that works much the same way as diatomaceous earth.
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Photo by Zanastardust