End the romance with chemicals: Live in a chemical free home

By: Bob and Ruth Haag

You know that chemicals might be bad for you, but how do you live without them?

First, you have to remember that people used to live with the same pests that we fight today, before chemicals existed. When you use chemicals, the natural balance of predator and prey is upset in your house and yard.

Allowing your yard and house to come back into balance will take about three years.  Since you have been artificially killing the bugs that you don’t want, you have also been inadvertently removing the food for the bug’s predators.  Once you stop using chemicals, the “bad” bugs will temporarily explode in growth.  You can control them through non-chemical methods; vacuuming often, using cedar chips, etc.  Then, over the course of the next three years, their natural predators will return, and the predators will take care of them for you.  During the temporary explosion, here are some things that have always worked for us, to discourage bugs and rodents:

· Robin egg blue porch roofs are unappealing to mud wasps, so they do not nest
· Removing bushes from around the foundation of your house will remove the private access for mice and rats
· Bees like the color yellow; don’t wear yellow when bees are around
· Ants do not like pepper; sprinkle it on your windowsill and they will not come into your house that way
· Native types of wood are normally resistant to your native pests; use these when building
· Rats come when there is animal residue;  be sure that your compost pile gets only vegetable matter

About the authors: The principals of HaagEnviro, Ruth and Bob Haag, have been cleaning up hazardous waste sites for 17 years.  They know where to look for wastes, and what to worry about.  Bob is a hydrogeologist, and Ruth is a natural resources scientist.  Their monthly newspaper, A Sandusky Bay Journal, often carries articles related to their environmental experiences. Visit them at www.haagenviro.com.

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