Unless you’re an entomologist, it’s quite likely that you don’t like bugs — especially if your apartment is infested with them! Even scientists don’t want potentially deadly spiders around their pets and children.
The good news is, most apartment buildings take full responsibility for eradicating bugs when infestations occur. Unfortunately, the pesticides they tend to use to kill those insects are quite hazardous to any living organism they touch — not just the creepy crawly ones. According to one website, “Although DEET is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is a known eye irritant and can cause rashes, soreness, or blistering when applied to the skin. Additionally, DEET has been linked to neurological problems; according to the EPA, at least 18 different cases of children suffering adverse neurological effects, as well as the deaths of two adults, have been associated with DEET. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have found that DEET causes diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes in rats.”
If you have any pets or children, the use of toxic chemicals in your apartment can be especially concerning. But fear not — there are many ways to safely and effectively eradicate even the worst bug infestations.
Every pet owner knows how easy it is for one of their furry friends to bring home fleas. A single trip to the dog park is more than enough, and even just a single pregnant flea can multiply by the thousands, quickly turning a practically microscopic problem into a massive infestation.
But over-the-counter flea treatments and topical ointments simply don’t work. This is because if your dog has fleas, your entire apartment has fleas. Any place your animal lies is an area for potential flea transfer. The carpet, the bed, that laundry pile in the corner of the room Fido likes to nap on — all of these places are likely covered with either fleas or their eggs. So even if a topical ointment kills the fleas on your pet, he or she will likely re-catch them within a matter of hours.
What’s even more alarming is that flea medications are often heavily laden with harmful chemicals. According to CBC News, “CBC Marketplace has discovered that more than 2,000 animals are reported to have died in North America since 2008 as a result of exposure to flea and tick treatment products, which can contain dangerous chemicals that kill fleas but can also harm pets. Some researchers are also concerned that pesticide exposures from flea treatments could have consequences for humans, especially small children.”
To help get around the toxicity issue, and to ensure that all the fleas are dead and won’t come back, get yourself some borax powder. Borax is a safe and natural substance derived from boron that quickly kills fleas by causing them to become severely dehydrated. The powder is completely safe around dogs, small children, the elderly, and even babies.
To tackle even the worst flea infestations, sprinkle borax powder liberally on any fabric-heavy area (think carpets, bedding, the inside of clothes drawers, closets, etc). You should also dust the borax around any floor boards in your apartment, and make sure to apply it every single room. Let it sit for at least 24 hours. It might look like it snowed in your apartment, but you won’t care when you realize how well it works! Simply vacuum all the powder up afterward and VOILA! No more fleas.
Please keep in mind that borax is not safe for use around cats, as it can cause them serious breathing problems. Borax powder is also quite effective at killing other insects like cockroaches, water bugs, ants, and more.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice
Vinegar’s acidity and natural anti-bacterial properties make it an excellent tool for getting rid of pests. Mix apple cider vinegar with water in a spray bottle, and spritz the solution around your baseboards, windows, doors, and any other place bugs or ants seem to be congregating. Acidic solutions made with vinegar, lemon, and lime juice can also destabilize the internal tracking systems that bugs use to communicate with each other, preventing any stragglers from finding their way inside.
Herbs and Oils
As laid out by Krissy Schwab in her article “5 DIY Natural Insect Repellents to Protect Your Home,” “You can pick up a couple of bottles of garlic, cinnamon, and pepper powder at the dollar store or get some huge bottles from a warehouse store for a few bucks. Sprinkle heavily around the foundation of your home every month to create a bug-proof barrier around your home.”
There are also many essential oils out there that are excellent at repelling insects. Some of the most effective varieties are peppermint oil, tea tree, eucalyptus, cedar wood, lavender, mint, lemongrass, geranium, cajeput, rosemary, and clove. Simply mix 10 or more drops into water and spray the solution around your apartment, paying special attention to the places you think bugs be entering from.
Citranella, catnip, lavender, basil, rosemary, and thyme are all great houseplants for keeping insects at bay.