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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Klecker

Bug-Off! Keeping Pests Away with All-Natural Solutions

By Amanda Klecker, Healthy House on the Block

I'm going to be really honest with you and tell you that one thing that REALLY grosses me out is mice being in spaces they shouldn’t. Even seeing a mouse run across our porch this winter gives me that creepy feeling. I realize they’re just a part of nature, but they’re a part of nature I’d like to keep IN nature and not in my house. The same is true of bugs, spiders and ants. But you know me, I’m not going to just put anything in my house — so I’ve opted to use a natural bug repellent to keep my family safe.

Living in Minnesota, we live in homes with basements and we have seasons where bugs and animals want to get out of the cold and get inside. We know that in the cold fall months it’s time for us to ramp up security around our house to make sure mice don’t find their way inside.

In the spring when the snow has melted and we’re opening windows and doors for our fresh air, we are then on the lookout for spiders and ants getting in, which is when the natural bug repellent gets used the most.

For years we just used the store-bought sprays and sprayed them around the perimeter of our house. It didn’t click with me JUST how toxic it was to bring these chemicals inside until my first daughter was crawling and playing on the floor. It was from that moment I knew that natural bug repellent was going to be a much safer option for our family.

Why Keep Bugs and Mice Out of Your Home

Other than the obvious reasons for keeping bugs and mice out of your home (because it’s yucky and gross), there are even more health reasons to keep them outside where they belong. First, let’s talk bugs — spiders, moths, ants. These are all things we usually try desperately to keep out of the house — mostly just by instinct, but there’s actually a good reason to keep them out. Besides making your house feel unclean, introducing outside insects and bugs to your home can introduce germs, pesticides from the outside and other chemicals into your home. Not to mention, bugs that end up inside can negatively affect things like your electrical box, furnace or water heater if they decide to make a home inside. Bugs also attract rodents and animals who eat these bugs, which makes your home their new restaurant. If you live in an area where there are more aggressive insects and bugs like carpenter ants or moths that chew through clothing and fabrics, then you’ll really want to keep them out of your house to protect your structure and your stuff. Second, there’s mice. Mice carry disease, bacteria and germs to the inside of your home. They’re extremely unsanitary and kids and pets can get really sick as they tend to spend more time on the floor and have poor hand to mouth habits (CDC info on Disease from Rodents). Some mice also carry antibiotic resistant bacteria, which can negatively affect your body and immune system. (STUDY)

Toxins in Most Bug and Mice Repellants

Before you go and get a can of bug spray to bring inside or stock up on store bought mice repellents, it’s important to know exactly what is in these products. Most bug sprays contain synthetic pesticides. This means the pesticides are man-made using chemicals to kill and repel bugs and mice from your home. Pesticides are a dangerous solution to bring into your home for a number of reasons. Some pesticides can interfere with the natural hormone production in our bodies and can lead to negative effects on the reproductive system. (STUDY). Studies have shown that prenatal exposure of pesticides has been linked to birth defects in infants as well. And the big one for me is this study that links compromised immune systems in infants in children to pesticide exposure. Let’s be completely honest here and recognize that pesticides are basically a poison that you’re bringing into your home. It’s intent is to kill off bugs and insects, and the overspray residue from that can be left on surfaces you’re not even aware of. The same is true of poisons used to kill mice and other rodents. If you have pets, I BEG you not to put these toxins anywhere in your house or garage. When our sweet dog was about 5 she somehow got into an old tray of mouse poison in our garage and we had to rush her to an emergency clinic to be treated. She ended up being fine, but if we hadn’t caught it immediately, she wouldn’t have made it. Rodent poison is extremely toxic and can be deadly to pets and children. And mousetraps? You’re still bringing those diseases, bacteria and germs we talked about before into your house — and now you have to remove a dead mouse. No thanks.

Natural Bug Repellant You Can Count On

Natural bug repellent is really the way to go. It takes the approach of keeping bugs and insects out of the house and in nature where they can really benefit the ecosystem.I love the idea of naturally keeping bugs at bay without introducing chemicals, poison or toxins into my home.

Natural bug repellent is exactly the type of thing I had wanted to find when I was looking to clean up our home. For a while I tried making my own bug spray, but to be honest, I wasn’t comfortable spraying peppermint oil around inside my home with pets and small kids around. When EarthKind contacted me to ask if I’d like to try out their system, I said YES!

After researching their products and the ingredients, I’m even MORE impressed with their system. First, they only use oils, herbs and plants that come from local and small family farms. These farms use traditional and sustainable farming practices, making their ingredients safe for your family to use. Their natural bug repellent for spiders not only repels spiders, but it also repels the insects that spiders feed on. This is the way to go when you’re looking to get rid of spiders as it gets rid of the whole REASON they’re in your home in the first place.

Earthkind uses natural pouches that can last 30 days in an enclosed space (they’re not necessarily recommended for outdoor use). If you want your pouch to last longer, you can get one of their pouch pods — this keeps the pouches fresh for more like 90 days, plus they keep the pouch out of the reach of kiddos. And I didn’t even realize it, but you can buy most of the EarthKind products right at Target or hardware stores.

You can also get them off Amazon or directly from their Earth Kind Stay Away Store online. The natural bug repellent formula they use is made up from natural oils such as Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Citronella for spiders and insects. This is the one I use the most often. I also plan to use their Ant natural bug repellent once this snow starts melting. Every year we combat ants before they get in and we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping our house ant-free. I’m so excited to use the Stay Away Ants pod this year and feel good about having a safe product in my home.

Natural Mice Repellant That Actually Works

We’ve kept natural mice repellent pouches in our garage to prevent any from coming into our home as that seems to be their easiest path. EarthKind has their natural rodent repellent that is made from natural botanical products. It contains natural fragrance oils including balsam fir, which is a natural, botanical pesticide as opposed to synthetic pesticides.

You can use these pouches for 30-60 days, depending on the temperature of where you see them and how big the space is. You can also add these pouches to the EarthKind Pouch Pod to extend the life of the product. I absolutely love these as I feel SO much better knowing if my kids happened to pick one up or be in close proximity with the bag, they are COMPLETELY SAFE. There is no questionable ingredient in these natural rodent repellent pouches. Plus, like I mentioned above, they get all of the ingredients from local, small family farms. This is MY kind of product — I love supporting small businesses whenever I can.

Other Ways You Can Help Your Home

Besides using a natural bug repellent, you can also do some prevention on your own to keep bugs and spiders out of your home.

  • Seal Up Your Home: Go around your home and make sure there aren’t any openings that rodents or bugs can get in. Be sure to check areas near roof lines, around doors and windows and at the foundation of the home.

  • Keep Doors Closed: Easier said than done when you have kids, I know. I feel like I’m constantly asking them to close the door after they go outside or come inside. You can install self-closing hinges on doors to garages if you choose to help the door swing shut after it’s opened.

  • Vacuum & Dust: Keeping your home clean and free from food sources for bugs, insects and rodents will help keep them out of your house altogether. Make sure you’re vacuuming forgotten places where cobwebs can start and really doing a deep clean on a regular basis. Often these pests aren’t out in the open or in areas that are cleaned regularly. They tend to make their way to corners and nooks and crannies that aren’t often visited.

  • Keep the Garage in Check: If you have an attached garage, this can be a great place to prevent mice and bugs by keeping it clean and free of openings as it’s like a gateway to your home. Keep seals on the bottom of your garage doors to prevent mice from coming in all winter long.

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