Environmental pollution levels, both air and water, are vastly affected by household chemical pesticides.
By using natural alternatives such as herbs or essential oils to deter common household pests, you can make a difference to the environment.
Citronella oil is the most commonly used essential oil in natural insect repellents. It is distilled from citronella grass, indigenous to Southern Asia. The lemony fragrance is bearable to most people but pungent to insects, especially mosquitoes. Other insect-repelling essential oils include cedarwood, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, pennyroyal, lavender, and bergamot.
Mosquitoes:Vaporize a few drops of lemongrass oil or citronella oil in a burner. Citronella candles work well too. Place five drops of lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil or citronella oil on a ribbon and hang it from window or doorways.
Cockroaches:Place a few drops of citronella oil (peppermint oil or lemongrass oil can also be added) on cottonwool balls and place them in cupboards or anywhere that cockroaches are active. Make a spray of water (half a cup) mixed with 5 drops of cypress oil and 10 drops of peppermint oil. Spray anywhere that cockroaches frequent.
Aphids:Mix 10 drops each of rosemary and lavender essential oil in 1 litre (4 cups) of salt water. Spray affected plants. Neem oil acts as a repellent and aphid reproduction regulator. Neem oil has a bitter taste, so aphids and any pests in general will not attack the leaves treated with it. Calcium powder is another natural aphid repellent. Sprinkle calcium around the base of plants.
Mice:Place a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or spearmint oil on some cotton wool balls and position in the ceiling or where you suspect mice are entering the house. This is said to deter mice but it may not work effectively if you have a serious infestation.
Ants:Vinegar is a natural ant repellent, so spray where ants show up. Cayenne pepper or black pepper can be sprinkled where ants come into the house. Drops of peppermint oil can be sprinkled along counters and walls to deter ants.
Silverfish:A few drops of cederwood oil on cotton wool balls can be placed in wardrobes, drawers and cupboards. Cederwood oil is safe for humans but noxious to silverfish.
20 drops citronella oil
10 drops lavender oil
4 drops pennyroyal oil
4 drops tea tree oil
4 drops jojoba oil
Dilute this base mix with 4 ounces / 100ml of almond oil and use on the body as a bug repellent. For a bug spray, mix with 100 ml / 4 ounces of vodka.
(Certain essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy – consult with a qualified aromatherapist.)
1.Valerie Ann Wormwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, New World Library; 1st edition (1991)
2. Reader`s Digest. The Healing Power Of Vitamins and Herbs. Heritage Publishers (Pty) Limited