Ask G

Ask G: Eco-friendly pest control

Natural options can be quite effective in keeping insects and rodents at bay

I'd like to know if there is a way to get rid of rats, termites and ants, which have invaded our home in the past, using environmental methods?

- Andrea Szabo, ACT

Ants

Credit: iStockphoto

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Standard methods of pest control can be quite chemical-intense, but fear not - there's always an eco-option!

Choosing environment-friendly pest control will minimise the negative impacts on your home and the Earth, as well as the critters you are trying to get rid of.

Prevention is the best cure, they say, so first things first, be sure your home is as unappealing to creepy crawlies and rodents as possible.

For rats and ants, this means making sure all your food is stored in sealed containers, that benches and floors are clean, and that scraps and rubbish are removed from the house promptly. Dripping taps can also provide a water supply, so make sure leaks are fixed.

Creating physical barriers by sealing gaps and other entry points can also help stave off an impending invasion.

You can deter ants that have already made it into your home by contaminating their trails with a variety of deterrents, including soapy water, lemon juice, talcum powder, cayenne pepper, crushed spearmint leaves or even coffee grounds.

You can also try leaving drops of eucalyptus essential oil near entry points and trails.

For rats inside the premises, you can try live traps or ask your local pest control company about chemical-free control options, like those that use sound waves to scare the rodents away.

For termite infestations, there are traps available that sit in the garden (which need to be installed and removed by a professional) to clear the insects out. These have less of an eco-impact than fumigating, but are not completely environment-friendly. They may, however, have to be a last resort if prevention fails.

Eco-prevention measures against any termite uprisings include removing all timber from around your home, like old tree stumps, firewood piles and garden borders, keeping the area under your house dry and well-ventilated and using physical barriers in the building of a home, like metal and rock.