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Kick the Pesticide Habit!
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by Lisa Muehlstein

Households spray thousands of times the amount of pesticides per acre of property than commercial farmers spray on crops.

Did you know that insects outweigh humans twelve to one? No wonder we are pesticide happy in our society. About one-third of all pesticides in the United States are used in households. Households spray thousands of times the amount of pesticides per acre of property than commercial farmers spray on crops.

While most would agree that perhaps the more dangerous pests (wasps for example) might need some special attention, do you really need to douse your house with pesticides because of some pesky ants or annoying roaches? There are plenty of safe and effective alternatives for greener pest control.

Boric acid and Borax, a formulation of boric acid, are available in grocery and/or drug stores. Boric acid will not harm people or pets unless you eat an awful lot of it. But boric acid will poison roaches.

Try a thin coating of boric acid along roach-friendly cracks and crevices. You can also try a simple formulation of 1/2 cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Put the mixture in roach areas (but not in child or pet areas). This magic formula supposedly makes the roaches explode – and although the thought of exploding roaches is rather disgusting, it is an environmentally safe way to kill them.

There are two excellent books that I have recently come across in the public library. While I know there are lots of great books on greener living, I found these two books to be particularly appealing. Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan not only gives lots of suggestions for pesticide free pest control, but also has excellent information about alternatives for effective, green house cleaning. Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles by Ellen Sandbeck is not only amusing to read but also full of great pesticide-free alternatives for gardening and housekeeping. Consider alternatives next time you reach for the can of pesticide!

Logan, K. Clean House, Clean Planet. First Pocket Books. 1997.
Sandbeck, E. Slug Bread & Beheaded Thistles. Broadway Books. 2000.


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