San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

More natural bug solutions for the home, garden

Picking up from my last article, here are some more useful ways of controlling insects naturally in the home (TT, Oct. 28). 

Ed Bernhardt

Ed Bernhardt

First, I think we need to adjust our attitudes and learn how to get along with bugs as much as possible. The old mind-set we were raised with stems from a military approach – a war on bugs. These strategies of genocide often backfire by slowly poisoning us and our environment in the process. 

I highly recommend the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees” (, which explores the global crisis bees face from the use of pesticides. Without bees, we would lose up to 40 percent of our food supply due to lack of pollination. 

One of the most important things we can do for the bees is to practice natural gardening. This provides them with nectar and pollen from an insecticide-free source of flowers, fruits and vegetables. We can grow our own food without dangerous chemicals and vote with our forks, so to speak, by consuming pesticide-free produce. 

And when it comes to dealing with bugs at home, try some of the following methods of bug control, instead of reaching for that aerosol can of poison. 

Cockroaches, ants and scorpions can easily be controlled by using bait traps of boric acid or borax. These products are generally considered safe to use in the household and can be found in pharmacies around the country. Both affect insects’ metabolism, disrupting their reproductive cycles, and act as abrasives to their exoskeletons. 

Cockroaches and scorpions seem to be attracted more to a mix of one part tortilla flour and three parts boric acid or borax. Old recycled lids from plastic containers work well to hold the mixture. Place them in the corners of shelves and cupboards, out of the reach of children and animals. 

Ants are attracted to a mix of one part wheat flour mixed with some sweetener and three parts boric acid or borax. Slightly moisten the mixes for better results. By the way, the sweetener sucralose is said to act as an ant killer. It’s a chlorocarbon, like many pesticides.

Here are two more recipes: 50 percent baking soda and 50 percent powdered sugar, or 50 percent cornmeal flour and 50 percent aspartame. Remember that this baiting method doesn’t give instant results like the aerosol bomb, but in the long term they work better by sterilizing the bugs and preventing new populations. Also, they leave no harmful toxic residues in the kitchen. 

Fire ants can also become a nuisance around the home. My favorite method of controlling them is simply to pour very hot water into the ground nest. 

May these recipes help you to reduce your use of pesticides, save you cash and help the planet recuperate.

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