This week I would like to offer some least-toxic alternatives for controlling pests. I say least-toxic, not non-toxic because if it can kill a bug, it is slightly toxic. I will mention some brand names. I have no vested interest in recommending them. I do recommend them because they work very well.
Terro Bait is an excellent ant control bait that you can buy in stores. There are several Terro products, but I recommend the box that contains 6 bait stations. Terro is a sweet gel bait made from Borax. You take a bait station out of the box and hold it upright and cut off the colored section. Then place is and the rest of the bait stations in the box label side up near where the ants are active and where they may be coming into your home. Even though the active ingredient is Borax, make sure you don't place the baits where children or pets can come in contact with it. It can make them sick if they eat it. However, this product is much safer than the bait stations most pest control companies use as they contain pesticides as an active ingredient. This bait will work on a number of different species of household ants including the very common odorous house ants (Tapinoma sessile), little black ants (Monomorium minimum) and pavement ants (Tetramorium caespitum). If you have ants that don't take this bait, then you need to get them identified. You can send me some specimens and I will be happy to identify them for you and make a recommendation on a non-toxic control method.
Niban Bait is a granular bait made from Orthoboric acid. It is an excellent bait for controlling cockroaches and is also labeled for controlling silverfish, crickets, slugs, snails, carpenter ants and some other species of ants. It also works on controlling harvester ants, the ones that make the big mounds outside and sting if you bother them. Niban lasts several months, so you don't have to apply it very often. I recommend putting Niban under and behind appliances, under kitchen and bathroom counters, around hot water heaters, in your garage and in areas around your home, such as where the water meter is. If you only have cockroach problems, you will never have to use an exterminator if you use Niban Bait. You can buy Niban online from several sources. One source in New Mexico is pestcontrolsupplies.com.
EcoSmart products are very good and are safe. They are made from plant oils and are EPA exempt. Much better than using synthetic pesticides. EcoSmart products are available in many stores.
There is an excellent fly trap that you can buy in stores. It is called Rescue Fly trap an it is a plastic container that flies will enter but can't get out. There is an attractant that comes with it that you put in the trap and add water. Flies love it. I have caught hundreds of flies in some areas in just a few hours. I would not recommend using indoors as the attractant is not pleasant smelling. The attractants are made with sucrose, putrescent whole egg solids, yeast, trimethylamine and indole. It will catch house flies, blow flies and flesh flies as well as some other species. These traps should be used on ranches where dairy cattle are kept and other livestock facilities but they work around homes when flies are present in large numbers for some reason.
Believe it or not, beer is very effective at controlling some pests. If you soak a rag in beer and put it in the middle of your garage floor at night, it will be covered in drunken cockroaches the next morning waiting for you to dispatch them. If you put some pie pans filled with beer out in your yard you will attract cockroaches who will get drunk and die in the brew. They do not check IDs and, for some reason, do not like Lite beers.
If you have any pest questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 505-385-2820. My website is askthebugman.com.