My guest Annie B. Bond has been researching and writing about safe DIY alternatives to toxic products for more that twenty years. On this show, Annie will bring her vast knowledge of how to control pests, including ticks, mosquitoes and other summertime bugs, and I’ll share my experience too. Annie and I have been kindred spirits since her publisher asked me to write the forward to her first book Clean and Green (Ceres Press, 1990) . She is the best-selling author of five books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment (Rodale Books, 2008), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010), and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World. She was named “the foremost expert on green living” by “Body & Soul” magazine (February, 2009). She has been the editor of a number of publications, including “The Green Guide.” Currently Annie is the Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief of The Wellness Wire and leads the selection of toxic-free products for A True Find. www.anniebbond.com
LISTEN TO OTHER SHOWS WITH ANNIE B. BOND
- Toxics Then and Now: Debra Celebrates Thirty Years in Print
- Eight Steps to Improving Your Food Choices
- Toxic Free Valentines
- Great Toxic-Free Holiday Gifts
- Cleaning for Your Holiday Party – Before and After
- Toxic Free Cleaning Basics
- Healthy Halloween
- Tips for a Toxic Free Home
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Natural Solutions for Bugs
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Annie B. Bond
Date of Broadcast: July 10, 2013
DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world because even though there are toxic chemicals all around us—in the air we breathe, in our consumer products—there are many things that we can do in order to remove toxic chemicals from our homes, remove toxic chemicals from our bodies, and live a toxic-free, happy, healthy, organic, natural, wonderful, happy life without toxic chemicals that can affect us in so many ways.
It’s July 10th 2003. I’m here in Clearwater, Florida. And the thunderstorm report today is it’s starting to cloud up. So we may have a thunderstorm coming on, but I am just intending that we’ll have no thunderstorm and we will have power for the entire show.
My guest today is Annie Berthold Bond who I’ve known almost since we’ve been doing our respective work for almost the same period of time. Anyway, I would say that we’re kindred spirits in that we both have had our own story of how toxic chemicals have affected our health. We’ve both recovered. And we’ve both gone on to figure out the non-toxic alternatives in a different way.
Our work is very complementary where I’m mostly focused on what consumer products we can buy. Annie has been very focused on how we can make things ourselves that are less toxic alternatives—including cleaning products, pest controls and all kinds of do-it-yourself things around the house.
So, welcome, Annie. I’m very happy to have you on again.
ANNIE BOND: Well, thanks, Debra. Thanks so much for having me. I’m in upstate New York. And we have a massive thunderstorm coming soon.
DEBRA: [cross-talking 02:04]
Well, I guess it’s summer on the East Coast. And for those of you who don’t live on the East Coast, they’re not like working around thunderstorms every day.
But we had an absolutely stunning thunderstorm last night, Annie. I was driving west, and there was a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico just offshore. And so I was just driving right in that direction. So I was watching it develop. It went right through the windshield in the direction that I was going. And it was at sunset too. So I had this big thunderhead with the colors of the sunset shining behind it. And then, there were these bright lightning bolts.
And by the time it got home, it had turned into such a thunderstorm just all churned up. There were flashes of lightning like every second.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, my gosh!
DEBRA: It was just flash, flash, flash and roaring thunder, thunder, thunder. And it was just absolutely gorgeous.
ANNIE BOND: Well, I’m glad you were all snug. Did you like race from your car to the house? How did you get in?
DEBRA: Well, it was still off in the distance. I could hear it, but it wasn’t raining right where I was. And so I didn’t have the rain, but I had the beautiful light show. And then I could continue to watch it through my windows at home. Nature can be so stunningly beautiful.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, absolutely. Awesome! That sounds really great.
DEBRA: Sometimes, nature and the color, it’s just absolutely gorgeous. No artist could paint something that looks like that.
And it was just one of those moments where I just felt saturated with the colors. It needed to go into my memory. I just needed to remember what this looked like because there was no way you could take a photograph, there was no way you could paint it. It was just…
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, exactly. It’s one of those “you can’t make this stuff up” kind of thing. So sometimes, the colors of nature is so spectacular.
DEBRA: It’s like the most gorgeous art there is, is of nature. Anyway, you know what I’m talking about.
ANNIE BOND: Yes! That sounds so fantastic. I mean I’m glad you look at it that way instead of in fear. You were like, “Oh, my gosh! This is gorgeous.”
DEBRA: Well, you know, when I was a little girl, my father, we lived in California where we don’t have—I didn’t grow up in thunderstorms like we have here in the East Coast in California. And usually, they would happen at night. It would be a big light show and lots of noise. And my father would come get me out of my bed and put me in front of the window. He’ll hold me on his lap so it was safe. He’ll have me look at the thunder and lightning.
And because he did that, I was never afraid of it. Whenever there was a thunderstorm, I was always in a safe place.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, that’s awesome. What a wonderful thing for him to do. That’s great.
DEBRA: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, we’re here to talk about toxic chemicals. So I’ll just introduce Annie for a minute and say that she’s the author of Clean & Green which was full of—still, it’s still I would say a classic toxics alternatives book that belongs on everybody’s shelf. It’s still on my bookshelf.
ANNIE BOND: Thank you.
DEBRA: You’re welcome. Then there was Better Basics for the Home, Home Enlightenment. And most recently, her most recent book was True Food. And that was the winner of the Gourmand Awards’ Health & Nutrition Cookbook in the World.
What an honor!
ANNIE BOND: That was a great honor.
DEBRA: So, Annie has been around a long time. She’s got a lot of information. And I consult her books all the time.
So Annie, before we go on and actually start talking about our subject which is going to be natural solutions for bugs, especially summertime bugs (mosquitos and ticks and all those kinds of things), just tell us for a few minutes—you’ve been on the show before, and we’ve discussed your story. But just tell us in a few minutes how you came to be interested in the subject. What is your personal motivation?
ANNIE BOND: Well, I was sort of whacked over the head. I was leading a perfectly fine, normal life. Then back to back, I had a very powerful poisoning experience. I worked at a restaurant that had a gas leak. It sent 80 people to the hospital. And I got what the doctor said permanent central nervous system damage at that time.
And then, our apartment building—I didn’t yet know about the permanent central nervous system damage. Our apartment building was exterminated with a pesticide that’s been taken off the market because it was so neurotoxic.
So, that back to back exposure for me was very devastating. I was in the hospital for three months. It took about eight years to find a place to live. I finally got properly diagnosed, thank goodness, because this was 1981 by then, and there were very few environmental medicine doctors around. And just by the grace of whatever, I ended up with one in New Haven, Connecticut.
I learned bit by bit. I had to learn how to live without chemicals. And so I became a bit of a nomad. I’m very sensitive to pesticides. And where we move in upstate New York, there were a lot of pesticide drip from farms.
So, I became a nomad. We moved 10 times in four years. But in the process, I really learned how to live without chemicals.
And I finally got into a healthy home. And I was like a wilted plant that hadn’t been given water. Clean air was my water. And I just popped back so fast, it was unbelievable.
I got well enough. My doctor said I could have a baby. I had her in ’88. And after she was born, my concern sort of broadened from my own personal tragedy, really, and crisis in my life to wanting a better place for her and her world. And so, I started researching alternatives.
I stumbled upon your books, Non-Toxic & Natural. I was a complete, devoted fan. I’m from Northern New England. I just got interested in sort of the formula side of things. I just tapped into down-to-earth, down-home kind of instinct I had from my growing up. And so I just jumped right in and never looked back.
It’s been one of those greatest payments/the greatest gift kind of stories.
DEBRA: Yes. You know, I would like to also say that about my experience. People look at chemical poisoning as being a tragedy. But it was the greatest blessing in my life because it gave me an opportunity to take a look at things going on in my life and make my own choices.
We’re going to take a break right now. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. And my guest today is Annie Bond. We’re going to be talking about how you can protect yourself from all those summertime bugs without toxic chemicals. We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And you’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. My guest is Annie Bond who has been developing and collecting all kinds of natural do-it-yourself kinds of things to live a less toxic life for many, many years—decades in fact. I don’t want it to sound like an old lady.
ANNIE BOND: I just turned 60. I’m not proud.
DEBRA: Well, happy birthday!
ANNIE BOND: Thank you.
DEBRA: A wise woman… one of our people that we should be listening to.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, that’s a graceful way to put it, thank you.
DEBRA: And just before the break, we were talking about how, for each of us, our experiences of being poisoned by toxic chemicals was a blessing in disguise because we each came out of it looking at our lives and the world in a different way and wanting to do something to make the world a better place.
Annie, for me, it put me in a position of choice. And I think that you’ve probably had that experience too, wouldn’t you say, where instead of just taking the world as it was, we started decided how we wanted our small world to be.
ANNIE BOND: Well, that’s a really interesting way of looking at it because, in a way, for me, it took me a long time to see that or learn that particular lesson. For me, that choice was taken away for a very long time, like, “I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t do that.” And would I like to live any way differently than I live now? Not at all. I’m thrilled. And it’s been a wonderful thing to be able to provide such an incredible sanctuary to my family. What a gift that is to them!
And so, that’s a nice way of looking at it, Debra. Thank you.
DEBRA: You’re welcome. Well, I think that we’re always at this point where we’re saying, “Well, what can I do? And what can’t I do?” And we can look at it as saying, “I can’t do this… I can’t do that.” I remember, in the beginning, I would say, “Well, I don’t want to give up my favorite lipstick. I’m just not going to do it.” But when I did, it actually made a huge difference in my life, just that one product. I’ve done everything except give up that one shade of red lipstick that it took me so long to find.
But there are so many choices that we have. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today, the natural things that we can do, the safe things that we can do. And these are things that we can do. And once we do more and more of them, our lives become safer and safer.
So, what would you like to talk about first, Annie, in terms of some solutions for what to do about bugs?
ANNIE BOND: I think that something that I would love to talk about are ticks actually.
ANNIE BOND: When you’re saying you got rid of your favorite lipstick, I have a new challenge. I mean I live in a non-toxic world as you know. I have dogs. And I don’t put Frontline and other chemicals on them—for their health as well as mine (I couldn’t have them in the house if I did that). I’ve suffered a number of cases of Lyme Disease. And I have a relatively new puppy.
I decided that I wouldn’t even care—I mean I care about not getting Lyme disease. But I really mostly care about being able to let her sleep on my bed. So I’m really waffling on that one—same for the lipstick—where I need to just say, “Okay, you can’t even be in my bedroom” because the dogs get ticks (of course, because they go in the woods where I live).
But I’ve spent a lot of time doing a lot of research about ticks and what to do about them, repellant for ticks. As I said, I won’t use Frontline. Actually, if you read the fine print on a lot of those kinds of chemicals, they’re incredible central nervous system depressants. Your dogs can get very depressed. And having had a pesticide exposure myself, I just can’t bring myself to give that to my dogs.
ANNIE BOND: When I was writing Better Basics for the Home, I really dug deep in herbalist books. I came across rose geranium as something that has been called—it used to be even called tick weed. It’s an essential oil that you can find in most health food stores. They have at least geranium. It’s a very, very powerful repellant for ticks.
So, what I’ll do is I’ll take a drop of it. And I’ll put a drop of it in my dog’s collars—a couple of drops. Dogs are incredibly sensitive to smell, so you can’t put too much on. But I found that to be very, very successful for repelling ticks (and probably, my number one go-to thing for repelling ticks).
But many of us don’t live in the cities. Most of us facing ticks don’t live in the cities anyway. We have lawns and strawberry and that sort of thing.
I’ve been reading. I don’t know how I missed this until more recently. But I’ve been reading a lot about sulfur and how the reason we have so many ticks maybe because of a sulfur imbalance in the environment. And the ticks hate sulfur. They’re really repelled by it.
And so, you can buy sulfur in a farm store kind of place. And you can get it in flakes and put it around on your lawn. It will significantly repel ticks.
But I also think that garlic is very, very heavy in sulfur. And it may be one reason why garlic has always been talked about as something to give to pets. And I think it may be because it increases the sulfur.
And I’ve been taking a lot of garlic just as a repellent, just eating it, because it helps me with my Lyme disease. I’ve actually been taking allicin. And that’s been extremely helpful too.
And so, I think there’s just a lot of [fronts] where one could work to protect oneself from Lyme disease and one’s pets from Lyme disease. But in terms of going outside, for me, the top thing is always rose geranium. In terms of holistic care, I’m increasingly moving towards and focus on sulfur.
DEBRA: I think there’s also a garlic spray. I think when I was researching mosquitoes—you can go online, I don’t remember the exact website—they have a garlic spray that you can spray around in your yard.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, that’s interesting, absolutely. That sounds very interesting to me. I’ll have to look into that.
ANNIE BOND: I was going to start taking a version of sulfur myself because I thought it might help further repel ticks from ever wanting to bite me to begin with.
DEBRA: Yes, yeah. I actually never had a tick bite. But I think that you live in a more wooded area than I do.
ANNIE BOND: I’m in an epicenter here. So there were no ticks until 1996. And then, they arrived. They’re just devastating.
Tick-borne disease can be devastating. Everybody I know has a family member who has it wherever. So that’s why it’s top of mind.
DEBRA: Yeah. Well, we’ll talk more about some other insects that we might encounter in the summertime and in other times of year after this. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest is Annie Bond. We’ll be back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Annie Bond. We’re talking about insects, how to control them and how to repel them.
I just wanted to mention as long as we’re on this subject that, a few weeks ago, I had a guest on from a company called Greenway Formula 7. And it was a very interesting show because they had developed an insect repellant. And it also kills insects made entirely from essential oils. It’s extremely effective. And it also is unscented.
I mean it’s unscented in the sense that it has no fragrance added. But actually, one of their formulas has an essential oil in it that makes it not even smell like the essential oils that are in the formula.
So, this is a product that I use for insect repellant. You can just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com. And at the top of the right-hand column, there’s a search box. You just type in Greenway Formula 7. And it will take you to my write-up about it. And you can find out all about it.
So, that’s a product you could buy that Annie has all kinds of suggestions about things that you can make at home, which I just love.
So, shall we talk about mosquitoes now?
ANNIE BOND: Well, I cracked open one of my books to mosquitoes because I figured that would be the next on the list.
DEBRA: What do you like for mosquitoes, Debra? One of my main things I just want to say is that it’s so important to remove any stagnant water anywhere near your house—old tires where water is accumulated or old flower pots, anything like that.
That’s just one of the key reasons too. Every time I get mosquitoes near my house even, I’m always like, “Oh, my gosh! Where is the stagnant water.” And so before we go into the specifics of some repellants, I just wanted to say that.
But I’d be curious to know what you—I remember something from somewhere back when where you had some great ideas about mosquitoes. I’d be curious.
DEBRA: I do because mosquitoes have been—that’s probably my single most prevalent pest problem, mosquitoes, because I really don’t like to be bitten. And I would totally agree with you. One of the things that I was just doing this morning—
Well, first of all, as you have all heard, Annie and I both live now in thunderstorm country which means that we’re always getting water every day. And anything that I have that is upright and holds water will hold water every day. And so I go around.
I have two wheelbarrows in my backyard. I have to turn them upside-down. I can’t just leave them there because, overnight—or even during our day—they’ll hold water. And the other containers, I make sure that—I have been known to put holes in the bottoms of things so that the water seeps through, and they don’t collect water. That is the most important thing.
Another thing about mosquitoes, especially indoors, you can have mosquito netting. I used to have mosquito netting over my bed. That works really, really well.
But the simplest thing, and something that I think works just so well, is vinegar. You can use any kind of vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar, the natural kind. And I just put it—you know those little shaker bottles they have in Italian restaurants for the oil and the vinegar? I bought a set of those, and I filled them with vinegar. And I have one sitting next to my bed and one sitting on the kitchen. And if I’m going outside, or if a mosquito gets in the house, I just shake the vinegar on my body, and it doesn’t bite me. And this is actually a surefire, inexpensive way to just not get bit.
And it occurs that you could even make garlic vinegar. And that would probably be even more effective. But you would smell like garlic.
ANNIE BOND: I know! Well, that’s the problem with taking all my garlic pills. I have to stop before important meetings or something. I can’t walk in there and be reeking of it.
Wow! What a great idea. That makes a lot of sense. So it’s like the incredible acid, mosquitoes don’t like that acid.
DEBRA: They don’t. And they also don’t like dark colors. So if you wear black, you’re less likely to be bit by a mosquito than if you wear white, certain colors. I actually wrote up this whole long list. I have to find it. I should find it and put it up on my website again because I have a list of all these things to do to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
So, you really do not need Deet or any other toxic pesticide.
ANNIE BOND: You totally don’t need Deet, I agree.
It’s interesting. I went to Southeast Asia out of a great generosity of a really great friend of mine. She took me and her daughter, her daughter’s best friend. We traveled, and there was a malaria outbreak in Cambodia when we were there. And I was very concerned because I’m so sensitive to chemical pesticides, I know that I would not be able to be near her or her friend—her daughter or her daughter’s friend—if they were using toxic pest killer on themselves. I knew that I certainly couldn’t.
This is a lot of responsibility, to ask people not to use a Deet-based spray because I didn’t want anybody to get malaria of course.
And so, I did a lot of research online. And I found a company that had done all the tests. And it was equally, if not more effective, than Deet. So I felt very confident in buying it and giving these bottles. I bought bottles for each one of the four of us.
And I just felt great about it. It was a very strong essential oil.
I think it was Buzzz Off. But it was a number of years, I can’t quite remember, I’m sorry. But I usually don’t need something so powerful around the house. So I haven’t bought it again.
DEBRA: Yeah. Here in Florida, we really have a lot of mosquitoes. It’s so hard to go out in the summertime and not get bit. So I do a combination of vinegar and also—I mean one or the other. I’ll use vinegar or I’ll use the Greenway Formula 7. I find it to be very effective. And also, it just smells like cloves. There’s no citronella or any of those kinds of things in it. So those are the two that I use, and I’m pretty mosquito-free.
ANNIE BOND: Well, that’s really great. You know, the list of herbs that I’ve researched have worked really well for mosquito repellants. They were essential oils. You could make your own or whatever.
One thing you want to do when you’re using essential oils, when you put them on yourself—as you know, Debra—you don’t want to put the essential oil straight on your skin because they can burn. So put about a tablespoon of whatever household oil you have, like olive oil, and then add like 10 drops or something to a tablespoon of the oil. And then you could dab the essential oil mixture onto your skin. And that’s a good way to do it.
But eucalyptus oil is a really good repellant, as is cloves actually. Did you say cloves?
DEBRA: Cloves, that’s the major one in Greenway Formula 7.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s definitely on my list. Geranium also works for mosquitoes. Peppermint, rosemary, lemon balm, or citronella, they’re good ones.
DEBRA: Great! So we need to take another break. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m here with Annie Bond. And we’re talking about how to protect ourselves from summertime bugs. We’ll be back in a moment.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is Annie Bond. She’s the author of Clean & Green, Better Basics for the Home, Home Enlightenment. And her most recent book is True Food.
All of Annie’s books, Clean & Green, Better Basics for the Home, Home Enlightenment, those are three great books to have on your bookshelf. Each one of them is full of do-it-yourself things that you can make at home that are natural alternatives to products that contain toxic chemicals. Her website is AnnieBBond.com.
So Annie, what else do you want to tell us about controlling or repelling pests?
ANNIE BOND: Well, what do you think? We’ve got ideas for mice, for ants, for head lice, whatever. What would you suggest?
DEBRA: Oh, I like ants.
ANNIE BOND: Okay!
DEBRA: I want to tell what I do for ants. You can tell me what you do for ants.
ANNIE BOND: Fabulous! So, why don’t you go first?
DEBRA: My tried and true thing is that I just—you know, ants come in in a line in looking for food. And so I just look for that line of ants. And in one hand, I have a damp sponge. And on the other hand, I have a bottle of Elmer’s white glue. And I just keep wiping them up with the sponge, and then you find a point where they’re coming in the house, and you just put some
Elmer’s white glue, and it fills up the hole.
And then, the next day, they’ll find another way to come in. And you do exactly the same thing.
And I find it doesn’t take more than three or four days in doing the same thing over and over—either I’ve gotten all the holes, or they just decided not to come in anymore. And this has solved every ant problem in every place I’ve ever lived.
And of course then it’s done. You never have ants again in your house because you filled up the holes.
ANNIE BOND: Well, that sounds great. That’s a very good overlay for mice too. I mean I’ve done everything under the sun for mice. And yes, I can repel them. But it’s not until you fill up the holes that you don’t get them back.
So that’s a really great solution, Debra, for ants. I like that.
I have a solution that is very fun if you’ve got kids around. And that is making a sugar ant hotel. This is one of my daughter’s main events in the spring.
DEBRA: Oh, that sounds like fun. Tell us about that.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, we would have fun. We’d bring a big bowl out on the counter, and I would mix half and half borax and sugar and mix it up—or we would. And then, meanwhile, all year, we accumulate the little—or marinated artichoke heart jars.
So they’re just about the right height for making your own sugar ant hotel. You’d get a hammer and a nail, and you punch holes on the top of the lid for that.
And so, you just scrunch up some toilet paper or use cotton balls and stick them in the bottom halfway up or so in the jars. And then, you fill it up about halfway with the borax and sugar mixture. Fill it with water up to about a quarter of an inch or half an inch to the top. Screw in the top. And then, put them around where you would normally put those ant hotels. And the ants just line up to get in. They just love it so much. It kills the ants, but it’s a great way to keep the sugar ants out.
This won’t get the queen. And so you do need to put borax around in some places that are safe from kids and pets. The worker ants will take the borax back to the queen.
Otherwise, it’s a great little project for a family to use, to make the sugar ant hotel.
DEBRA: That sounds like fun. When you say borax, are you talking about borax like 20 Mule Team Borax or boric acid?
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, exactly, the kind that you buy in the laundry section of the supermarket.
DEBRA: I didn’t know that that would work [unclear 30:58]
ANNIE BOND: Well, it probably wouldn’t, but I just am super duper cautious, just to be able to say that. I can’t imagine any pet trying to lick it up.
DEBRA: No, no, no… I meant pests, not pets. I’m looking it up. I was wondering about using it to kill insects.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, I see. Yes! It’s definitely strong enough.
DEBRA: Okay, good. That’s what I wanted to know.
ANNIE BOND: What happens is the sugar attracts it, and then the borax kills. That’s the thing.
DEBRA: Oh, that’s something that works. Okay, good. It wasn’t that I had never heard of it before. It’s just I always thought when you think of controlling pests, you think of boric acid. So I wanted to make sure that our listeners are not confusing the two.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, exactly. That’s right. People always recommend boric acid for cockroaches. And not living in the city and not having cockroaches where I live, it’s not that easy to find. Because of that, I always use borax, and it works wonderfully. So
I never looked further. And it’s certainly easy to do. So that’s great.
You know, one of the other things…
DEBRA: Well, what about people who are living in the city and they need to control cockroaches?
ANNIE BOND: Well, I don’t know that there’s something much better than boric acid. I think that’s really what I understand.
That’s really the tried and true ingredient, right?
DEBRA: It is! So, we have here in Florida something called palmetto bugs which is like a giant cockroach. And they’re actually pretty scary. The first time I saw one, I thought, “Oh, my God! What’s this?” And everybody has them in their house.
But the way I ended up controlling them was the first thing that I did was, again, I looked for all the ways that they could possibly be getting in. And that reduced them greatly, just simply filling up the holes.
And that’s one of the basic ideas behind natural pest control, to fill up holes, put up screens. You want to put up barriers between…
ANNIE BOND: Actually, it’s just commonsense. That’s the heart of integrative pest management, using commonsense and thinking about it and not just saying, “Oh, I’m going to get something and spray.” Think a little bit, and then you solve it. I mean it’s an amazing thing.
DEBRA: Yeah! Well, I think that’s true for anything that you’re looking for a solution for. Instead of just having a spray or taking a pill or something, there’s something that you can actually do. There’s a reason that the problem is there. And if you take care of the reason, you won’t have a problem anymore.
So, we filled up all the holes where they were coming in.
And then, what else do we do? Oh, then you need to be looking and seeing do you have things like food sitting out or crumbs on the floor or dripping water because pests are looking for food, water and shelter. If you provide those, like papers stacked up—and it’s fine to stack them up to take them to recycling, but then take them to recycling. Don’t just leave them sitting there because they attract pests.
But what we finally ended up doing was—now, I didn’t actually do this, Larry did it. But he mixed boric acid and something into a little bowl (and I forgot what it was that he mixed it with). And then he just put it down in the bottom of the cabinets, so that they were inside and the cats wouldn’t find them. And I haven’t seen a palmetto bug since.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, that’s really great. Yeah, that’s really great.
DEBRA: Oh, I think it was cornstarch—cornstarch and [unclear 34:57] and water, yeah.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, that would make sense. It’s also unbelievably dehydrating for the bug.
ANNIE BOND: I also read here—in Better Basics, I didn’t remember. I’d put this in here—that chickens and geckos love to eat cockroaches. So there’s another option for you.
DEBRA: They do, they do. You know, for a while, I had chickens in my backyards. And we also have geckos. And we would collect the palmetto bugs and feed them to the chickens.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah! Yeah, totally. Well, guinea hens love to eat ticks. I think my dogs will eat the guinea hens, and so they wouldn’t last very long. But that’s another thing. A lot f people I know where I live have a lot of guinea hens around to just eat up the ticks.
There again, that’s one of those commonsense reaction to things.
You know, another thing that we might want to talk about would be fleas. Especially as we’re getting these heat spells, there tends to be a huge flea hatchings…
DEBRA: Well, I would love to talk about fleas, except that we’re almost out of time.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, we are, okay.
DEBRA: Time goes by really fast. So we’ve got about a minute and a half left. Do you have any final words you’d like to say about living non-toxic or about non-toxic pest control […]?
ANNIE BOND: I would just like to say to do it, just to do it. I mean that was the thing. I haven’t drycleaned my clothes for 30 years. I just had to learn how to do without, do it differently. And that’s my suggestion, especially with pesticides. It’s just simply to say, “Okay, turn the page, new chapter. I’m never going to use a synthetic pest control in my life again and search for alternatives.”
They work. They’re wonderful. And you’re not poisoning yourself, and the family, and the neighborhood and the pets and everything at the same time.
DEBRA: Yes, I completely agree. And that’s what Annie and I have been doing for all these many years, finding those alternatives, figuring out how to do it, and writing about how to do it, and talking about how to do it—and doing it ourselves.
So, all these answers are there. It’s just about you all learning how to do it. And together, we can make a tremendous difference in the world to make our own lives safer and the world a safer place for everybody to live.
Thank you so much for being with me, Annie, today.
ANNIE BOND: Oh, thanks for having me.
DEBRA: I’m sure we’ll have you on again.
ANNIE BOND: Yeah, thank you so much. Great to be here, Debra. Thank you.
DEBRA: Thanks, thanks. So for more information about how you can live a non-toxic free way, go to my website, ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com. Across the top, there’s a lot of links to go to the different parts of my website. And listen again tomorrow!
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio.