Monday, July 10, 2017

Stop Bugging Me - Living With Bugs

(Written by Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

Living With Bugs

If you have not already read the previous month's column, Stop Bugging Me, take a look at it because it fits in with this month's column.

I have been writing a lot about homeopathic remedies, but as I mentioned in a previous article, there are many other natural plant or food based remedies, as well as solutions for the home. I will be writing what I have learned about many different approaches in future posts.

Let’s talk more about bugs. I know that bugs are necessary for life, they are part of the food chain, nature needs bugs, and we need bugs to live. Yes, we really do.

Bugs are nature’s clean-up crew, food producer, pollinator, little soldiers. 

They can be ugly and frightening, but they are also downright beautiful and mysterious, like butterflies and fireflies.

We humans find “balance” to be a very challenging thing. We think if something is good, more of it is better. We like quick fixes and instant cures. We work too much, or play too hard. It is not much different when it comes to bugs and nature.

When we moved to Florida, I was aware of the challenge we would face, but unfortunately not as prepared as I would have hoped. Florida is a challenging place to live with bugs, as I mentioned in the last blog on bites and stings

Nature has its own way of managing life:  checks and balances…until we humans get in the way and think we know better!  Bugs eat other bugs, and are food for many animals and other insects. Naturally, most bugs and animals are kept in balance and control by eating or being eaten.

When some of the balance of nature is messed with, like trying to produce something unnatural (GMO’s), or killing everything without careful thought, we get ourselves into more trouble. I have always been aware of this due to my experience in school and college in biology. Don’t fool with mother nature!

I try to keep in touch and in balance with nature as much as I can. That does not mean that I want dangerous bugs living in my space or hurting me, or those I love. So, I have found some wonderful, as natural as possible, solutions that I will share with you today. I am always open to learning more so these may change in the future, and if they do, I will continue to share what I learn.

Fire Ants

Fire ants are nasty and bites are painful.  After trying many approaches with our 2+ acres of land, I gave up on the pesticides I was told to use, as the ants were quickly becoming immune to it. I found the best solution so far is Medina orange oil.

To rid myself of these nasty critters, I use a gallon jug of water, add approximately an “inch” or so of the orange oil and a squirt of natural, liquid dish soap.

(Tip: When it is cooler outside, the ants are closer to the surface, and this is the ideal time to treat. During the heat of the day they retreat deeper into the earth to stay cool.)

Shake the gallon jug, pour a circle close to the outside perimeter of the fire ant mound, and then drown the rest of it with the mixture. A large pile will take a gallon or more, smaller ones a half gallon or less.

The soap and water alone will drown them, because they cannot climb or swim out of the soapy water. The orange oil melts their exoskeletons. You may find a smaller pile may come up a few feet away. If you treat the new one, it will be gone. We treat ant mounds this way, pile by pile, and although certain times of year I will find more, like directly after a rain, I have been able to manage them really well with this method! Often we see very few or none at all for quite a while. It will not kill them all, but it diminishes the population and keeps them fleeing from your property.


Fleas are easy to control; I use water soluble boric acid. Mix about a cupful to a gallon of warm water to dissolve, then use a good pump sprayer and apply a very light mist onto all porous furniture and curtains up to three feet off the ground.

(Tip: TEST a small area of your furniture first!)

Spray dog beds, couches, carpet, and a light spray around the baseboards and indoor perimeter of your home. It should dry in ten minutes. Don’t spray too heavily.

If you have fleas, you will see many more emerge as they are trying to leave the treated area.

It will kill newly hatched larvae and the fleas eat it and dehydrate, as if eating a whole container of salt. In a week they will be gone, and it will control fleas for up to six months unless you wash it off the surface.

This will also kill other insects with a similar life cycle as the flea.

Ticks And Wasps

Cedarcide is another wonderful indoor spray for ticks, wasps and other nasties that enter your home unwanted. It's made of red cedar and does not have much of a residual, but kills on contact.

See next month’s post for solutions to keeping bugs off our skin!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

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Please note that this blog post and these remedies are for information purposes only.  Please consult with your own medical providers should you have medical questions and see the Medical Disclaimer here.

Also make sure that you read and follow any label directions for products listed in these blog posts.  This is the opinion and practice of Marie, but make sure you are being safe in how you use the products.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Marie

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