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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

From Pests to Perks

Jun 30, 2023 09:31AM ● By Shannon Mc Kenzie

This month’s eco tip, Natural Ant Control for the Home speaks to me, as we are currently being visited by a variety of pests in our old house. Not just ants, but also either cockroaches or “water bugs”—evidently there is a difference, but I have no desire to figure that out—as well as spiders and my ongoing nemesis, mice. Apparently these critters could be getting into our home a number of ways, and I’m tired of trying to solve the mystery. 

The other day I saw a spider on my desk, and I wondered what beneficial things that critter did. All of us offer positives and negatives, after all, and I decided to try focusing on the positives, since that wasn’t how I’d viewed the situation up to that point. What I learned was good news: spiders eat roaches (and, presumably, “water bugs”). Roaches are natural composters, so they really should be outside. If they can’t figure that out, I guess they’ll learn the hard way when they run into a spider. Both ants and mice aerate the soil with their tunnels, which benefit plants. Ants also help disperse the seeds of native plants. Those critters, too, need to be outside. 

My goal isn’t to kill these do-gooders but to keep them where they belong. I’ve been using some of the suggestions in the eco tip to repel ants (vinegar and water, coffee grounds), and they’ve worked well. I’m happy to have better options. Mice continue to be the bane of my existence, but I’m open to learning more about their positive qualities, and maybe I’ll have a bit more patience with the process of transitioning them outside.

Wishing you a happy Fourth of July and patience throughout the month,


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