Pest Control

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   NON-VIOLENT MEANS OF PEST CONTROL, AN OVERVIEW==============================================Note: The names of all plants mentioned in this text are followed by theirbotanical names as an aid for translation. Some plants have varieties thatcarry the same name in other languages, but are definitely different.Botanical names are international and consulting a good herbalencyclopedia in case of doubt is therefore the best way out.---------------------------General vermin repellants---------------------------* Most undesired insects are repelled by any of the following varieties of Marigolds: Mexican Marigold (Tagetes minuta), French Marigold (Tagetespatula), African Marigold (Tagetes erecta) and Pot Marigold (Calendulaofficinalis). But be careful with planting them in gardens. They areheavy characters that do not only repel insects, but also simply killthe plants they don't like by poisoning them. In non-commercial andsmall-scale farming they are therefore used as highly effective means inweed and pest controll, opposed to the ever-popular chemical warfare.The Marigolds mentioned are not all of the same caliber. They produceslightly different aetheric oils and other substances with differentcharacteristics. Some will work better on repelling certain insects thanothers, so some experimenting is required. Detailed information on theiranti-weed properties can be found in some of the books mentioned at theend of this text.* Natural camphor, the colorless and crystalline substance begotten bysublimation from the aetheric oils of the Camphor Tree (Cinnamomum  camphora). You would not want to use it in a battle against insects,though, since the price is not worth it. In Sweden, for instance, itcosts more than $300 per kg, and I have heard that it is expensive evenin India. On top of that it takes some knowledge and a good nose todistinguish Natural Camphor from the hugh variety of chemical Camphoron the market, so one is easily cheated.Better keep the natural Camphor for the Deities and use chemicalCamphor or one of the other general repellents instead. Some of themeven contain small amounts of Camphor.Another alternative is Naphtalene, the substitute for Camphor modernmothballs are made of. They are easy to get, relatively cheap andactually meant for insect repelling.* Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). A weed that grows in wild throughout theU.S.A. and most European countries. One can find it in any book on herbsand is very easy to grow yourself. It looks ugly and has a veryunpleasant smell, but is one of the best insect repellents around.Besides that it is of medical value since its tea is a good remedyfor intestinal worms and parasites.* Sage (Salvia officinalis). A strong smelling, ancient European medicaland kitchen herb. Easy to grow yourself with a minimum of maintenance.The smell is actually pleasant, and its medical and digestive propertiesare such that one really wonders why it is absent from our kitchens.* Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Formerly used to spice different typesof liquers, specifically the French Absinth, until they found out thatit makes you plain nuts. Since then it is forbidden in many countries asan additive. Better not use it medically if there are doubts about theproper dosage. As an insect repellent it works splendid, though, and iteven looks quite attractive.   * Many insects cannot stand the smell of tar. Heating it up directly orpooring it over with boiling water increases that smell far beyond thetolerance level of most of them. Good if your tolerance level is hightoo. Best is to use small earthenware pots since they keep the heat fora long time, but tar paper in places where insects are unwanted alsohelps.* Quite some very aromatic oils are on the black list of many undesiredinsects. Oils of Cedar (Cedrus species), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulis), Peppermint(Mentha piperita) and Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) are allexcellent. Some of these oils are maybe not so easy to get (Corianderoil) or relatively expensive (Anise and Lavender oil), but they arecertainly worth it. They contribute to a good atmosphere with theirnice and especially refreshing smell and many of them have antisepticproperties. Peppermint oil will even repel most rodents, like mice andrats. Really recommended.* Aromatic hydrocarbons, like Creosote, Denatured Alcohol, Thinner,Turpentine, etc. have an even stronger effect in repelling insects thanaromatic oils, but of course, they repel a lot more than only insects.They are more useful in the short and effective commando-like actionsused with heavy infestations.Be aware that on contact these substances are down and out killersfor any species of insects. Therefore avoid touching them with it.Recommended is the use of shallow dishes, with or without wire screensover them, put at strategic places. Mixing the hydrocarbons with a verylittle Camphor increases the effects (test if you use Naphtalene orchemical Camphor!).   ----------------------------Specific pests, a close-up----------------------------* ANTS - In gardens okay, in houses a real nuisance. Black ants arerepelled by Pennyroyal leaves (Mentha pulegium or Hedeoma pulegioides).Avoid Pennyroyal oil, though, since it is highly toxic to animals andhumans. Tansy leaves, Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum), Mint and thechemical Borax do a good job too. They also don't like oily surfaces,especially if it concerns Lavender oil or Peppermint oil.These are, however, all stop-gap measures. Ants are very perseverant,and completely getting rid of them in this way is simply illusion.Someone once suggested me to just give the ants what they want: whitesugar. White sugar is said to make the queen sterile, and thus at onepoint the colony more or less ceases to exist. I have tried this out inthe ashrama in Korsnas with no more than a table spoon of sugar water.After a few days there were *practically* no ants anymore for the restof the year. It works, but I've done this method only once, becauseI wasn't really sure whether it is actually bona fide. Some may objectthat it is a kind of forced contraception. So that has to be checkedout from local authorities first.Red ants can be driven away by Sweet Fern (Comptonia asplenifolia),Tar or little cotton bags with the chemical Sulphur. Any ant hatesMarigolds.* FLEAS - Cedar oil, Pennyroyal leaves, dried Tansy leaves, Oxe-eye Daisy(Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis and Matricariachamomilla) and dried Wormwood are said to repel fleas.Very effective is a mixture of 90 ml Lavender oil and 3 liters of Rock Salt spread under furniture and rugs. Eucalyptus leaves can also be
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