Residential - Tips &tricks - Ecological control of bugs

Be it in the house or in the garden, there are insects we’d prefer not to have around: aphids, earwigs, flies and any number of other pests. There are many ways to get rid of them. But before using chemical weapons which are often harmful for the environment, here are a few facts that are good to know.

Spiders - Forget whatever horror stories you’ve heard about our eight-legged friends. Along with being food for certain animals, spiders contribute to the ecological equilibrium of your garden. Use a broom or a vacuum to get rid of webs. Keep stacked firewood away from the home as well as accumulations of leaves near the foundation. Seal cracks and crevices. Use a hose to shoo spiders off exterior walls. It is possible for man and spider to live in harmony, each in his own place.

Earwigs - Earwigs do not sting, pinch or bite. Although they can wreak a certain amount of damage in gardens, they do attack some pests such as aphids. If you want to get rid of them ecologically, trap them. A shallow dish or empty tin with the opening placed at soil level will hold them; to kill them, put them in a pail of soapy water.

Asian ladybugs - Let these cute little ladybugs live, because they are great predators. They attack aphids and other tiny bugs that damage your plants. Just think: a single ladybug can eat 500 aphids per day.

Aphids - Vegetable, field crops, shrubs, flowers, decorative trees… aphids feast on many things. Luckily, ladybugs, adult wasps, and spiders enjoy eating aphids. Because they are attracted by the colour yellow, you can drive them to suicide by placing a yellow dish filled with soapy water in the garden. You could also get a yellow adhesive strip that will trap them on contact.

Slugs - While you sleep at night, ravenous slugs are eating your garden. In the morning you can even see where they’ve been, as they leave a trail of slime behind that shines in the sun before drying. First, eliminate their hiding places: organic substances, rotten weeds, fallen leaves, etc. You can also pick them off at night; they’re easy to see with a flashlight. Trapping them is a simple matter; a dish of flat beer will attract them. Or let frogs roam freely in the garden!

Wasps - Bothered by the occasional wasp? Don’t worry about them. They catch a good number of insects, including caterpillars. A wasp’s nest is a different story. To get rid of one, wait for nightfall when the wasps are all inside the nest. Wrap the nest in a plastic bag, tear it down, and seal the bag carefully. Then place it in the freezer. Lastly, throw it away.

Mosquitoes - These pests are attracted by chemical substances released by our skin. The mosquito is attracted by the CO2 we breathe out and by perspiration. The warmer you are, the more bites you’ll get. Yellow and blue colours attract mosquitoes, too, as do bananas. Stagnant water is a breeding ground.

Flies - Because they feed on and reproduce in garbage, rotting matter, and on water, flies are one of the biggest bearers of diseases. Basic hygiene – clearing away garbage promptly – is the best way to control them.

Of course, we know that certain insects are attracted to light. If you turn off outdoor lights during the evening, you’ll see a difference in the bug population. Should you choose to use repellents or insecticides, try to select those that are the least harmful to the environment, such as borax or diatomaceous earth. The latter is an abrasive powder that attacks the insect’s exoskeleton and causes death by dehydration.