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Bug Sprays: Kills Bugs or Kills Us?

July 24, 2017

Summer in Wisconsin, in my opinion, has been awesome this year. However, with the great weather that summer can bring, it also hosts those pesty little creatures like ants, flies, bees, and gnats.

I know that I have had my share of these uninvited guests in my home, and I would do anything to get them out.

My first mind led me to grab the old trusty aerosol sprays, until I started to think about how these insect killers could be affecting me and my family. When doing my research, I learned that it is a good idea to consider alternative methods to pesticides to make your house unattractive to pests. For example, historically I would purchase the various sprays for flying insects and ants. Sometimes if I ran out of one or the other, I might use the flying insect spray on the ants, hoping that my futile attempt would do the job. But according to, it is important to “always select pesticides that are designed for the pest you wish to treat.”

Pesticides are in fact poison, and they can affect your health if they potentially get into your body. This can occur through swallowing, if your skin comes in contact with pesticides directly, and if you inhale the vapors, spray, or dust. Also, if you have some of the residue on your hands and you rub your eyes after handling pesticides, this toxin can get into your system.

An important factor to understand as it pertains to keeping your home pest free, is to be more proactive than reactive—the key is to make your house unattractive to pests. Some suggestions that I found include:

  • Flies – Keep a tight lid on outdoor trash bins. Flies don’t like pyrethrum, which is a common ingredient in fly spray. You might want to plant pyrethrum daisies near your front and back doors to repel flies and other insects. Don’t forget about the flytraps or fly paper that can be hung outside where flies tend to gather.
  • Ants – Aromatherapy is a great alternative. Ants release pheromones that guide other ants to the source of food. To prevent other ants from tracking such scent trails into your house, use eucalyptus, peppermint, and clove or tea tree essential oils. Just add a few drops of the oil to a cotton ball and place in areas where you have ants attacking your home. Repeat as needed until the ants are completely gone.
    • A great recipe for making a natural ant-repellent spay using essential oils is by adding a quarter cup of water, a quarter cup of vodka, 15 drops each of peppermint and tea tree essential oils, and seven drops of citrus essential oil to a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on all areas you have seen ants trailing in and out of your home. If you want to use the spray on a food surface, replace the tea tree essential oil with an equal amount of peppermint essential oil (
  • Gnats – These little irritants can drive you crazy, and because they can populate really quickly, I have successfully used a common natural formula of about one fourth cup of apple cider vinegar and about three drops of lemon dish liquid in a cup. The gnats are attracted to this combination, causing them to enter the cup and eventually find their demise in the solution. I have read where it was recommended to add a cover over the cup with holes so the gnats can’t get out of the cup once they enter, but the cover seemed to reduce the amount of gnats that were able to access the mixture. I was able to rid my home of the many gnats with just the solution in the cup, which worked great!

So the next time you are looking to rid your home of unwanted visitors, hopefully you can just deter them from even wanting to stop by.

Zelda Corona is a business and life coach under her company Victory Vision Business Ventures, LLC. She co-authored the books No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged and Mommy Divas on the Move: 16 Successful Secrets for Mompreneurs. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.







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