Homemade Remedies For Your Pest Control Problems

cockroach on wallMany people pride themselves on their ability to fix their own things within the house. Leaky pipes? No problem, get me my wrench. Leaky roof?  No problem, get me my ladder and some sealant. Broken door? No problem, get me my toolbox. Roach, ant, or flea infestation? Ummm, get me my bug spray and flyswatter? My heavy work boot for stomping?

The fact is that while many of us have the knowledge and know-how to tackle many of the usual house maintenance and upkeep problems, we are often at a loss when it comes to dealing with unexpected pest infestations which are not only a major nuisance, but can be a major health hazard as well, particularly if left untreated or if you or your family members have allergies or weakened immune systems. Have no fear, because after reading this article, you too will have the necessary knowledge to tackle your pest infestation problem by yourself, or at least leave you equipped to deal with any potential infestations in the future. And trust us, it’s much simpler compared to plumbing, carpentry, or roofing!


Homemade Insect Repellents

There are several types of homemade insect repellents, and we will be categorizing them according to their primary active ingredient.

Essential Oils Homemade Insect Repellent – For some unknown reason, most insects are naturally repelled by the scent of essential oils. For this repellent, we will be using the most effective ones: peppermint essential oil as well as wild orange (or lemon) essential oil. You want to mix 45 drops of the former with 15 drops of the latter together with 1 cup of either witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, or even vodka (especially if you’re Russian). Put it in a spray bottle and spray liberally around affected areas or suspected entry points. Store in the fridge when not in use.

Cucumber – In yet another of nature’s strange mysteries, insects such as roaches and ants don’t like cucumbers. It won’t kill them, but like garlic to vampires, place them at entry points to keep them from crossing the threshold of your home.

Coffee Grounds – While the modern city dweller cannot live without his or her daily dose of coffee, pests can’t stand it; its acidic smell is simply too strong for them. You can use used coffee grounds in the same way as the above, at entry points to keep pests out. A side effect is that your house will not permanently smell of coffee, which you may or may not enjoy.


Homemade Insect Killers

Time for the fun part, you don’t want to just keep these pests out, don’t you? You want to exact your vengeance as well for all the trouble they have caused you. We feel you; here are some easy solutions to turn these bugs upside down.

Soapy Bug Spray – Death by drowning and suffocation. Mix equal parts dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle and keep it handy. Rules of engagement? Spray to kill.

Borax – The generic brand name for boric acid, it is a fine powder that when ingested by insects kills them slowly by destroying their stomachs and metabolisms. Incidental contact is also abrasive to their exoskeletons. Mostly harmless to humans, but keep out of reach of pets and small children. There are two ways to use Borax, as a simple powder trail or as a trap. In the former, simply spread the Borax out in a thin layer in affected areas and points of entry (a great tip if you have roaches is to sprinkle it on top of your cabinets as roaches love high places). This is a popular way to get rid of roaches effectively as explained in The Bugs Killer. In the latter, just simply add some sugar to your Borax sprinkle mix. The ideal ratio is 1 part of sugar to 3 parts of Borax. As it is a poison, it also comes with a force multiplier effect and is the most effective against roaches, which spread the poison amongst themselves by eating their own dead.

Diatomaceous Earth – When dinosaurs roamed the earth, single celled organisms called diatoms leaved in the ocean, much like plankton. They had a silicon shell and these fossilized shells became diatomaceous earth. The small silica particles are non-toxic and harmless to humans, even small children and pets, but they are deadly to insects as they cut the waxy layer of the insect’s exoskeleton which then causes it to dry out and die (a process that may take up to 48 hours). The method of application is similar to Borax, but unlike Borax, it is also a good option for outdoor pest control; sprinkle them over your garden to kill ants and fleas.

My Very Own Guide To Building Functional Chicken Coops

my chickensSo you’ve decided to take the plunge into the whole urban farming movement and raise your own backyard chickens. You may have started out with a simple vegetable garden and now you’ve decided that you like your protein to be 100% organic, antibiotic, and hormone free as well. That is a good choice, and we applaud you for it: we don’t exaggerate when we say that the world would probably be a much better place if everybody got up close and intimate with their food sources.

Raising backyard chickens means you’re going to need to build them some shelter and a kennel simply won’t do. You’re going to need to build a chicken coop, and if you have no idea where to start, well this article on building a coop for my chickens is a good place! Today, we will show you the four main functions of a chicken coop as well as the basic design of a chicken coop. Let’s begin with the four functions.

Function #1: Shelter

Your chicken coop will need to provide your chickens with shelter from all the elements: rain, sun, snow, and wind. You need to make sure that your chicken coop will be able to provide adequate shelter for all your chickens to be protected from rain and snow. Additionally, if you know which way the wind blows in your area, you want to close off the coop on the cold and windy side. Since chicken feathers provide good insulation, you want to focus more on providing shade from the sun. Further, if you live in a US Hardiness Zone 3 or above, then supplemental heat or insulation isn’t necessary, especially if you decide to rear a winter hardy breed. You don’t want too much heat; remember that heat means moisture and moisture is a host for mold and disease.

Function #2: Adequate Sunlight

To do this, make sure the opening of your chicken coop faces east for maximum sun exposure. Depending on the climate in your area, up to 25% of your roof can be left open as long as the remaining covered area is sufficient to accommodate all of your chickens during rain or snow. Of course, this also means that your coop will be more vulnerable to flying predators as well, so keep this in mind. Also, consider keeping the entrance side of your coop, which is facing the sun, as open as possible. There are many chicken coop designs that are completely open in the front, with nothing but hardware cloth or chicken wire on that side.

Function #3: Proper Ventilation

Ventilation should be positioned directly above the chickens’ roosting perches. Also make sure to install ventilation panels on each wall; there’s no such thing as too much ventilation! Even during winter months, the cold moving air is good because it helps draw moisture out and prevent frostbite. Do not however that cold moving air is very different from high speed winds.

Function #4: Predator Protection

Remember, you’re not the only want that finds chickens delicious! Foxes, coyotes, weasels, minks, skunks, dogs, and raptors are common predators of backyard chickens. The rule when it comes to protection is that all gaps must be less than one inch. Chicken wire or chicken mesh are the most common choice however we prefer hardware cloth instead as determined predators can tear through the former. Don’t forget to bury the chicken wire or hardware cloth to prevent those burrowing predators. Also, keep your coop door closed at night unless you have a reliable fencing system that can keep predators out.

Now that we’ve covered the main functions of a chicken coop, let’s look at some basic design principles to keep in mind:

  • 2 to 4 square feet of coop space and 8 to 12 square feet of outdoor space per chicken.
  • Start with a small flock but start with a large coop so that you are prepared for future growth.
  • The door should be a minimum of nine inches tall and nine inches wide.
  • Use at least 8 inches of deep bedding; common choices are straw and leaves but we prefer pine chips or pine shavings for absorbing moisture as well. It’s also cleaner.
  • If you live in a warm climate, place the coop in the shade or shadow of your house, if possible.
  • Convenience is also important, make sure that your coop design is not just coop-friendly but human-friendly as well; chickens aren’t going to clean up after themselves nor will they just walk over to you and hand over their eggs.
  • Food storage is important; use airtight metal bins to ensure rats and mice don’t get their paws in them.

How I Ended Up Being A Farmer

my cowHey guys!

Welcome to my blog! It’ll be all about my journey into becoming a modern farmer. If you did not know, I used to be a high flying corporate lawyer working in the city. However, after years of slogging at my desk answering to crazy clients all the time, I’ve had enough! I spent most of my childhood growing up on a farm and I realized that those were the happiest years of my life. So why not move back to my family farm right?

Well, that’s what I did and I’m now a modern farmer! Or at least I’d like to think that I am one. I don’t have many animals on my farm, just a few of your common farm animals to keep me and my family fed and happy. Right now we have 5 cows, a dozen chickens, 2 goats and a dog. I love them and they love me. Just attending to my precious animals is enough to keep me occupied and contented.

I’ll be posting more on my day-to-day life as a farmer and I hope you will follow me on this journey. I’ll also post up things that I learn along the way, hopefully they’ll be able to help you to! I’m very proud of my first project where I built my very own chicken coop. I’ll be sharing more on that  in my next post. Stay tuned!