NON-VIOLENT MEANS OF PEST CONTROL

By editor - 2.11 2017

Note: The names of all plants mentioned in this text are followed by their
botanical names as an aid for translation. Some plants have varieties that
carry the same name in other languages, but are definitely different.
Botanical names are international and consulting a good herbal
encyclopedia in case of doubt is therefore the best way out.

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  General vermin repellants
 ---------------------------

* Most undesired insects are repelled by any of the following varieties of
  Marigolds: Mexican Marigold (Tagetes minuta), French Marigold (Tagetes
  patula), African Marigold (Tagetes erecta) and Pot Marigold (Calendula
  officinalis). But be careful with planting them in gardens. They are
  heavy characters that do not only repel insects, but also simply kill
  the plants they don't like by poisoning them. In non-commercial and
  small-scale farming they are therefore used as highly effective means in
  weed and pest controll, opposed to the ever-popular chemical warfare.
     The Marigolds mentioned are not all of the same caliber. They produce
  slightly different aetheric oils and other substances with different
  characteristics. Some will work better on repelling certain insects than
  others, so some experimenting is required. Detailed information on their
  anti-weed properties can be found in some of the books mentioned at the
  end of this text.

* Natural camphor, the colorless and crystalline substance begotten by
  sublimation 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, it
  costs more than $300 per kg, and I have heard that it is expensive even
  in India. On top of that it takes some knowledge and a good nose to
  distinguish Natural Camphor from the hugh variety of chemical Camphor
  on the market, so one is easily cheated.
     Better keep the natural Camphor for the Deities and use chemical
  Camphor or one of the other general repellents instead. Some of them
  even contain small amounts of Camphor.
     Another alternative is Naphtalene, the substitute for Camphor modern
  mothballs are made of. They are easy to get, relatively cheap and
  actually meant for insect repelling.

* Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). A weed that grows in wild throughout the
  U.S.A. and most European countries. One can find it in any book on herbs
  and is very easy to grow yourself. It looks ugly and has a very
  unpleasant smell, but is one of the best insect repellents around.
  Besides that it is of medical value since its tea is a good remedy
  for intestinal worms and parasites.

* Sage (Salvia officinalis). A strong smelling, ancient European medical
  and kitchen herb. Easy to grow yourself with a minimum of maintenance.
  The smell is actually pleasant, and its medical and digestive properties
  are such that one really wonders why it is absent from our kitchens.

* Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Formerly used to spice different types
  of liquers, specifically the French Absinth, until they found out that
  it makes you plain nuts. Since then it is forbidden in many countries as
  an additive. Better not use it medically if there are doubts about the
  proper dosage. As an insect repellent it works splendid, though, and it
  even looks quite attractive.

* Many insects cannot stand the smell of tar. Heating it up directly or
  pooring it over with boiling water increases that smell far beyond the
  tolerance level of most of them. Good if your tolerance level is high
  too. Best is to use small earthenware pots since they keep the heat for
  a long time, but tar paper in places where insects are unwanted also
  helps.

* Quite some very aromatic oils are on the black list of many undesired
  insects. Oils of Cedar (Cedrus species), Coriander (Coriandrum sativum),
  Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulis), Peppermint
  (Mentha piperita) and Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) are all
  excellent. Some of these oils are maybe not so easy to get (Coriander
  oil) or relatively expensive (Anise and Lavender oil), but they are
  certainly worth it. They contribute to a good atmosphere with their
  nice and especially refreshing smell and many of them have antiseptic
  properties. Peppermint oil will even repel most rodents, like mice and
  rats. Really recommended.

* Aromatic hydrocarbons, like Creosote, Denatured Alcohol, Thinner,
  Turpentine, etc. have an even stronger effect in repelling insects than
  aromatic oils, but of course, they repel a lot more than only insects.
  They are more useful in the short and effective commando-like actions
  used with heavy infestations.
     Be aware that on contact these substances are down and out killers
  for any species of insects. Therefore avoid touching them with it.
  Recommended is the use of shallow dishes, with or without wire screens
  over them, put at strategic places. Mixing the hydrocarbons with a very
  little Camphor increases the effects (test if you use Naphtalene or
  chemical Camphor!).


 ----------------------------
  Specific pests, a close-up
 ----------------------------

* ANTS - In gardens okay, in houses a real nuisance. Black ants are
  repelled by Pennyroyal leaves (Mentha pulegium or Hedeoma pulegioides).
  Avoid Pennyroyal oil, though, since it is highly toxic to animals and
  humans. Tansy leaves, Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum), Mint and the
  chemical 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: white
  sugar. White sugar is said to make the queen sterile, and thus at one
  point the colony more or less ceases to exist. I have tried this out in
  the 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 rest
  of the year. It works, but I've done this method only once, because
  I wasn't really sure whether it is actually bona fide. Some may object
  that it is a kind of forced contraception. So that has to be checked
  out 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 hates
  Marigolds.

* FLEAS - Cedar oil, Pennyroyal leaves, dried Tansy leaves, Oxe-eye Daisy
  (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis and Matricaria
  chamomilla) 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
  left under furniture and rugs. In gardens you plant Marigolds.

* MOSQUITOES - It is said that Castor Bean plants (Ricinus communis) near
  a door keeps them outside and that Tansy repels them. The same for any
  plant that eminates a citric aroma. The stronger the better. Quite
  effective are Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon
  citratus), Lemon Plant (Lipia citriodora) and Lemon Herb (Artemisia
  abrotanum). The last one is sometimes falsly called Geranium, but it
  really belongs to the Wormwood family. It is a nice plant that grows big
  and blooms with tiny pink flowers. My parents use to have one in the
  public staircase of the flat they lived in and when in full bloom, it
  made the whole place smell like lemons. And no mosquitoes around.
     Outside in summer time one has to mostly leave it up to predator
  insects, like the Dragonfly (also called Mosquito Hawk, and in most
  European countries known as Libelle), and many birds. They eat their own
  weight in mosquitoes. Also keep small water reservoir covered if you
  don't want mosquitoes to use them as breeding places. Furthermore you
  can either be tolerant or try out the zillions of different mosquito
  repellants available on the market and see whether they have some that
  do not slowly poison yourself as well.

* COCKROACHES - Do not like Camphor, Tansy, Wormwood, Hydrocarbons and
  Tar. Cleaning the place often with a Chlore solution also does a good
  job. Best, however, is to prevent them from coming in the first place by
  keeping the place as clean as possible. Cockroaches mainly thrive in
  filthy places where there is food available. They are the rats among the
  insects, and their presence indicates that there is something not okay.
     The presence of cockroaches is not necessarily due to uncleanliness
  of the inhabitants, though. Some old buildings have double walls and
  ceilings and other hollow spaces where rodents live and die. Their
  excreta and dead bodies supply ample food for roaches. So that is a
  fight on two fronts.
     I do not think that the widely sold glue traps, in which roaches get
  stuck and die from hunger, can be considered non-violent since it
  involves unnecessary suffering.

* MICE - Absolutely don't like the strong smell of any variety of Mint
  (Mentha species), Sassafras bark (Sassafras albidum), Camphor gum,
  Spurge (Euphorbia species), Dog Fennel (Anthemis cotula) or cats. Nut
  tree leaves are said to protect fruits from mice. Catnip (Nepeta
  cataria) is also said to repel them. Maybe because it attracts cats.
     A very friendly and highly effective trap, used all over Paris for
  instance, is a big glass or earthen jug or bottle, bellied out withing
  and with a narrow mouth, big enough for a mouse to fit through but too
  small for rats. It is placed on its side with some facility for the mice
  to crawl up to the opening or sunk in the earth with the opening at
  ground level. If the mouse gets into the jar, it cannot climb out
  anymore due to the particular shape. Some legumes with Anise oil make an
  excellent bait.
     Prevention consists of keeping the place clean and not facilitating
  food or nesting material, meaning that you should protect your food
  storage and try to avoid things like wool, cardboard boxes, paper, wood
  shavings, etc. laying around where they can get at them. Also close any
  holes in walls and fill up useless hollow spaces. Outside of cities mice
  are generally only a nuisance in winter time, when they go in search of
  easy food. No food means that they will go again.

* RATS - A dedicated article in Focus Magazine has proven what everybody
  already knew: Rats are very intelligent and highly adoptable to changing
  environments. On top of that they reproduce like anything and are very
  perseverant. The only way to get rid of rats, besides killing them, is
  keeping the place cleaner than possible, protecting food supplies above
  military standard and using non-violent flap traps, or the bottle trap
  described under MICE with a suitable and large enough bottle. The best
  bait for rats is Anise oil, which they simply cannot resist.
     If a rat is cought, cover the trap with cloth and take it at least 3
  miles away while turning the trap around now and then to confuse the
  animal. Besides their good sense of smell, rats have an extremely
  developed sense of location. Wash the trap thoroughly with water and
  soap before using it again, otherwise the other rats will detect the
  traces of physical agony left behind by the previous cought rat and they
  will not go for the trap anymore.
     Especially do not underestimate the front teeth of rats. They make
  your can opener look insignificant. And no, a few centimeters of
  concrete or solid lead plates are no match at all. It's a question of
  time only. You might try fresh Mint. Some say it helps as good as
  against mice. Cats also help a lot, if the rats are ot too big.

* HOUSE FLIES - Are repelled by Anise oil, fresh Tansy, Ragworth (Senecio
  jacobaea) and Marigolds.
     These are preventive measures. If they are all over already, one of
  the easiest ways to get rid of them is the wire screen trap. This a box
  on four little legs (about 5 cm each) with at least an opening in the
  top and bottem. All openings except for the bottem are covered with a
  wire screen. There should also be some kind of lid for emptying out the
  trap. The bottem opening has an inward pointing funnel made of wire
  screen. A good design can be found in the Monograph "Sanitation without
  Water" by Uno Winblad and Wen Kilama (available from Health Division of
  SIDA, Stockholm S-10525 or the World Health Organisation). Under the box
  one puts a small dish with one of the following baits (let's skip the
  decaying intestines, etc.):

  - Stale beer with fermenting apple juice
  - 1 part molasses, 3 parts water and some milk or fruit juice
  - The best and easiest: yeast mixed with a little water (allow mixture
    to stand for about 3 days with a loose lid before using)

  The flies get attracted, and after filling their bellies always fly
  upward, ending up in the funnel that leads them into the trap.


 ---------------------------
  Garden and farmland pests
 ---------------------------

On this topic many, many volumes have been written, and it would be
rediculous to cite even 1% of them. That would still be more Megabytes
than your PC can handle. Therefore I have decided to just supply the most
practical and useful titels. Some are more specific and some more general.
Some deal with pest control directly and some deal with specialized ways
of gardening, such as French Biodynamic Intensive Gardening and Companion
Planting, that minimize the chance of pest infestation.
   Of course, the die-hard can try his luck searching out his own choice
in available agriculture and nature books. For them the following title
may be of some help too:

Appropriate Technology Sourcebook
by Ken Darrow & Others
Volunteers in Asia Production, 1981
ISBN for the set:
0-917704-09-6 (paperback)
0-917704-13-4 (clothbound)

The following are my recommendations. Some of them I have read or
evaluated myself, and some I know because persons I know recommend them:

THE BUG BOOK
Harmless Insect Controls
by Helen and John Philbrick
1974 Garden Way Publishing
Charlotte, Vermont 05445
ISBN 0-88266-027-6
[A very nice book based wholly on experience. No theories or speculations,
and although some of these "harmless" methods do involve killing the
insects, alternatives can easily be found.]

HOW TO GROW MORE VEGETABLES
(French Intensive Biodynamic Farming)
by John Jeavons
Revised and Enlarged
1974, 1979, 1982 Ten Speed Press
P.O. Box 7123
Berkely, California 94707
ISBN 0-89815-073-6 (paperback)
     0-89815-074-4 (clothbound)
[The best book available on French Intensive Biodynamic Farming, which
includes companion planting and natural pest control. If you want to get
the best out of your land in a natural way, this is the way to do it.
Minimum input, maximum output.]

SECRETS OF COMPANION PLANTING
by Louise Riotte
Garden Way Publishing

COMPANION PLANTS AND HOW TO USE THEM
by Helen and Greg Philbrick
Old Greenwich, CT
Devin-Adair, 1966
[The above two books are dedicated to all the good facets of companion
planting, pest control included. They are similar to the book called
CARROTS LOVE TOMATOES, which is up till now the best one I've found on
this topic. Unfortunately I can only remember the title and no details.]

INSECT PESTS
by George S. Fichter
Golden Press
New York, 1966

GARDENING WITHOUT POISONS
Comprehensive Survey of
Insect Control Methods
by Beatrice Trum Hunter
Berkeley Publishing
New York, 1971
[These titles speak for themselves. I didn't have a chance to check them
out, but they are considered a standard in this field.]

ONE STRAW REVOLUTION
Permaculture I
by Masanobu Fukuoka
Rodale, 1978

PERMACULTURE II
by Bill Mollison
International Tree Crops Institute, 1980
Winters, California 95694
[Both based on the natural and most passive way of farming called
Permaculture, developed by Masanobu Fukuoka. Natural pest control from the
most natural point of view.]