From the termites that live in your siding to the squirrels that nest in your attic, there are many unwanted animal interactions that happen in your garden and around your home. However, you also want to keep your home safe from pesticides. How can you manage animal interactions if you choose not to use pesticides? Fortunately, there are many nontoxic pest control options for your garden.
Reducing Mosquitoes Naturally
You don’t want to have mosquitoes in your garden. What can you do to get rid of them? If you live near an area with many mosquitoes, consider adding a habitat for their predators. Many bat species eat mosquitoes, and by adding bat boxes to your garden or areas around it, you will increase the habitat for these predators.
You can also add garden elements that reduce the likelihood that mosquitoes will visit. This includes citronella candles and also plants such as “feverfew, citronella, catnip and lavender,” according to Natural Living.
Mosquitoes like to breed in standing water. To reduce the likelihood of mosquitoes breeding in your garden, look at all of the sources of potential standing water that exist in your yard. If you have plant pots, old tires or tire swings, and buckets that are standing in your garden, these could be the perfect mosquito breeding grounds when they fill up with water in the spring. One invisible but important area where mosquitoes can breed is in a clogged gutter. Make sure that your gutters are not clogged and you will reduce the number of available mosquito habitats.
Ouch! Get Rid of Those Wasps
Wasps can cause many problems in your garden, particularly if you have children or pets who are not aware of the dangers of wasps. You can spray to get rid of wasps, but some proactive work also goes a long way:
- Paper wasps build their nests out of organic material such as leaves and wood. Avoid accumulating piles of leaves and sticks in your gutters, and you’ll reduce their nest-building materials.
- Avoid attracting wasps with your food. Sweet food and meats are both wasp attractants. If you have a fruit tree, make sure that you pick your fruit before it is overripe.
- According to Best Plants, “plants such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint and citronella are natural wasp deterrents.” Add these plants to your garden to reduce problems with unwanted insects.
Avoiding Termite Problems
Termites love wet wood. To avoid termite problems, you need to check your building regularly to make sure that it is not soft and damp. Look in typical problem areas, such as underneath windows. Ensure that water drains away from your foundation. Avoid adding thick mulch, particularly in areas around the building. If your gutters are leaking, warped, sagging, or clogged, this leads to leaks, and your siding can become rotten over time. Termites love this damp, soft wood. Help avoid termite problems altogether by cleaning your gutters regularly or installing gutter covers.
No More Nesting Squirrels
In the spring, squirrels and other animals look for the best place to make a nest. Unfortunately for your home, sometimes the best place is in your gutter or your attic. Squirrels that nest in your attic or gutter can cause problems with their chewing and their droppings. You want to evict them, but how can you do this naturally?
If you already have a squirrel or bird nest, the kindest thing to do is to wait until the animal has finished nesting and the babies have left the nest. At that time, you can block the hole or remove the nest. However, it is better to be proactive so that you can avoid problems with nesting squirrels and birds in the first place. Create an environment that is not friendly to nesting animals, and you will not have as many. For example, if you notice that squirrels and birds are nesting in or gathering materials from your gutters, you can keep your gutters clean or add gutter covers to reduce their supply of nesting materials.
What About Woodpeckers?
In the spring, woodpeckers, like other birds, look for a place to make a nest. Unlike most birds, woodpeckers are attracted to soft wood. Sometimes, the closest piece of rotting wood is the siding on your home. Woodpeckers may hammer away at your home as they look for food or as they seek out a nesting location.
Clean gutters that do not overflow are key to preventing the rotting of wood siding. Over time, siding becomes rotten when water leaks down on it, making the perfect buffet for woodpeckers. Since woodpeckers target soft wood, you can avoid having woodpeckers peck at your home by ensuring that your siding is not soft.