Don't Let Springtime Bugs 'Bug' You

PETA says don't reach for the can of RAID or call the bugman.

(Editor's Note: A recent sighting of a termite and pest control truck driving around Laguna Niguel touting the words, "1-888-KILL-A-Bug," prompted this blog from PETA.)

While the unusually warm weather that much of the country is experiencing is a welcome relief from winter, springtime can also bring out some unwelcome visitors—ants, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and other insects. But instead of reaching for the Raid, or calling the local bugman, why not show a little kindness to a cockroach?

A study by scientists at Queen Mary, University of London, found that cockroaches are social beings who "talk" to one another about food and prefer to dine in groups. In an earlier study, Queen Mary, University of London, and Cambridge University researchers used computer simulations to show that even with their tiny brains, insects have enough neural circuits to possess consciousness, and they may even be able to count.

If you're not ready to roll out the welcome mat, though, here are a few simple steps to help keep unwanted bugs at bay:

  •          Don't provide insects with a food supply—wash dishes promptly, sweep up crumbs, and store food in tightly sealed containers. And be sure to remove insects' hiding places, such as piles of old newspapers.
  •          Prevent insects from entering your home by sealing up holes and cracks. Baby roaches can squeeze into a space as thin as a dime.
  •         Scatter whole bay leaves or catnip throughout your house. Iowa State University scientists found that catnip is 100 times more effective at repelling roaches than DEET is.
  •          If you have ants in yours pants (or, more likely, in your kitchen or bathroom), pour a line of paprika, red chili powder, or cream of tartar at the place where ants enter the house—they won't cross it.
  •          You can also keep ants away by washing countertops, cabinets, and floors with equal parts vinegar and water.
  •          Mosquitoes have few friends when the weather heats up, but you can keep them from getting too close for comfort by eating brewer's yeast daily or taking it in tablet form during warm weather months.
  •         Mosquitoes also hate the smell of fresh basil, so consider placing a few basil plants around your house.
  •          Hang clusters of cloves in a room or leave a fresh orange peel out to repel flies.
  •          Avid gardeners are all too familiar with aphids, those little insects who like roses as much as we do. Planting chives near your rosebushes will help keep them from the area.


For more tips on peacefully coexisting with insects, visit PETA.org.


Paula Moore is a senior writer for the PETA Foundation, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.


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