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  • Top 15 Pest Control Methods that are Natural and Effective

    For some time now, many people have sent me messages through email and Facebook asking how to stay pest free during summer. So I decided it was high time that I gave those people some answers.

    First off, a simple way to keep pests away is not to invite them to your living space. Most of these annoying pests need food and water for survival. So, maintain a clean kitchen, clear out the garbage frequently, and store food and drinks in airtight containers. These are a few tips on how to keep out troublesome insects and pests. Another way to avoid bug problems is by draining stagnated water and sealing off small cracks and holes. Also, NYCity Pest Control has a guide that has many homemade remedies to stay pest free.

    If the pests find their way in even after keeping the area clean, here are 15 natural remedies that you can follow to destroy the pests that trouble you.


    1. Ants


    The pest that I’ve had the most trouble dealing with was ANTS! For such tiny creatures……boy they cause a lot of problems! Here are some tips that will help you to keep them away from your home as well as from picnic spots.



    The kitchen counters must be free of crumbs and sticky spots at all time. Always close the sugar and honey jar after using it. Wiping the surfaces will save your home from pest attacks.


    • Cucumber

    Place cucumber slices around the kitchen or at the ant’s entry points. Many ants dislike the smell of cucumber.


    • Mint

    Mint Leaves

    Place a few mint tea bags in the areas where the ants are active.


    • Stop their entry

    Completely search the area and find out where these ants are coming. Cayenne pepper, citrus oil (it can also be soaked in a string piece), lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds– place any one of the items in a small line near the entry points so that ants cannot cross.


    It is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton which is in talc-like format. If you sprinkle this powder on the ants, it will absorb the lipids from their exoskeleton (outer layer) and cause severe dehydration.


    1. Mosquitoes


    • Block them

    Early morning and evening are the time when mosquitoes are the most active. They seek areas of still air as they are held back by the breeze. So always close the windows and doors that are opposite to the breeze.


    • Eliminate water

    By removing the standing water around your home, you can cut the breeding sources of the mosquitoes. Make sure to change birdbaths, wading pools and pet’s bowls twice a week. Clean the gutters in your house and keep them well-drained.


    • Candle


    By mixing essential oils and melted wax you can make your candle to repel flies. Always remember to use ½-1 ounce of essential oils for 1 pound of wax. You can make the candles with any one of the following mixes.


    Mix 1-(Spicy)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Clove


    Mix 2-(Bright)

    5 parts Citronella

    5 parts Lavender

    5 parts Peppermint



    10 parts Citronella

    10 parts Cedarwood

    5 parts Eucalyptus

    5 parts Rosemary


    1. Flies


    Make small sachets out of cheesecloth and fill them with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus. Place these sachets around the house to repel flies.


    • Basil

    Plant basil in containers and keep them near doorways. Flies will stay far away from the area. While going for picnics, you can take a bunch of these leaves with you. You can also keep away mosquitoes by using these leaves.


    • Eucalyptus oil



    To make a fly-free zone, dip some eucalyptus oil in a small cloth or rag and place it in the areas that are plagued by flies.


    1. Spiders
    • Peppermint

    Peppermint Plant

    Add a few drops of peppermint oil and a squirt of liquid nitrogen into a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with water. Spray the mixture around doors, windows, lawns, cobwebs and in any other place where spiders lurk around. Peppermint gives a pleasant aroma, and it is not harmful to children and pets.


    In addition to peppermint oil, they don’t like the taste of citrus oil that contains lemon, lime, tangerine and wild orange in it. This oil will not kill the spiders, but they will avoid the places that taste of citrus. Purchase real essential oils and not the synthetic version.


    • Eliminate hiding places

    Spiders are mostly seen in dark and messy places. So keep away debris, wood piles, and lush plants away from the sides of the house. They can be repelled if they have fewer places to hide.


    An all-purpose homemade bug spray

    • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
    • 45 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
    • 15 drops Lemon or Wild Orange Essential Oil

    Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle and apply it generously. It will last 2-3 months if it is stored in the fridge.


    What are the pest control practices that you follow?



  • Skills Grandpa Knew (And You Should, Too)

    Being a city slicker has its advantages. Basically, we can get anything we need thanks to convenient shops and local utility companies. Food, clothes, car parts - and let's not forget electricity and natural gas - all come to us without very much work on our part. But what would happen if the world decided to bug out on us, and we were left to our own natural instincts? Would you still be able to provide for yourself – and your family – if the grid went down, an EMP went off, or something of the like?

    Back in the day, people weren’t as reliant on the corporate world to get them what they needed. People had skills, and their skills were necessary to their livelihood. In an article from Off Grid Quest, the author suggests that “if we were to have a breakdown in society, those skills which we never bothered to learn would become essential.”

    So what are those essential skills? I thought you’d never ask. Here are five skills that would do us all well to know, whether we have a societal breakdown or not.


    1. Gardening

    You need food. That’s going to be one of the realizations you have if all the store shelves are empty with no sign of extra stock arriving. That’s where a vegetable garden comes in handy.

    Old Timey Skills - GardeningGardening is a skill that may be a lot more difficult than most people think. It took the author of the aforementioned article “three years to get more than just herbs and a smattering of produce out of [the garden].” You could be in for some very hungry seasons if you put off learning how to garden until you absolutely need it. Fortunately, the Internet knows everything, so if you need help, you’re sure to find loads of information at your fingertips (such as this article by gardeners.com). And, if you need seeds that will store for a number of years, check out our garden and heirloom seeds here.


    1. Raising Animals For Food

    Old Timey Skills - Raising AnimalsJust like growing a garden, raising animals involves more than you may even realize. Cats and dogs are one thing, but cows, rabbits, chickens, and other delicious animals require the ability to take care of their illnesses yourself. Vets may not always be an option, so knowing how to care for your creatures is imperative. Other factors can include learning how to butcher and prepare the food that your animals sacrificed for you. Butchers might not be a readily available resource, so knowing how to properly prepare your critters could very well be a good skill to have.


    1. Hunting

    Speaking of preparing animals to eat, hunting is another useful skill that could help find food for your family when all else fails. Be it through your bow hunting skills or rifle abilities, know the tricks of the trade, including tracking and the nature of the animal you’re after.


    1. Basic Carpentry and Mechanics

    Old Timey Skills - MechanicsKnowing how to fix your car when it breaks down when there’s nobody else around is a good thing to know not only in a fallen society, but on long stretches of road where the next town is many miles away and traffic is few and far in between.

    Carpentry is the same way. Knowing how to go about repairing and making good, solid furniture and other things can really make a difference to your family when everything else has been taken from them.


    1. Canning and Food Storage

    Remember that vegetable garden you have? Knowing how to prepare and store that excess food for long-term storage will give you that extra buffer when times are tough. But don’t worry, even if you don’t have the resources to grow a garden or can your own food, we can help by providing you with delicious food that is packaged to store for up to 25 years. Check out our emergency food storage products for what will suit you and your family best.


    Of course, this is in the event of something extreme happening to our society that makes having these skills an essential part of our repertoire. Hopefully we won’t have to go that far. But then again, disasters are only as bad as we’re prepared for. Better to be safe than hungry, in my opinion.


    What are some other essential skills to know? Tell us in the comments below!

  • How to Grow Herbs and Veggies on your Fire Escape

    Got a green thumb, but no space to build a garden?

    If you live in an urban setting, this just might be the case. With little to no yard space to build a garden plot, you may think your dreams of growing your own fresh herbs and veggies are lost. However, you may have some unconsidered real estate perfect for a garden: your fire escape.

    How to Grow Herbs and Veggies on your Fire Escape

    You can easily grow your own vegetables and herbs on your fire escape. However, you’ll want to research the fire codes and laws in your city to make sure it’s legal to make a fire escape garden before you start. But even if your fire escape is off limits (or you don’t have a fire escape at all), these tips apply to window box gardens as well, so read on!

    Here are 6 easy steps to creating your own fire escape, container, or window box garden.

    1.  Assess your sunlight and select plants accordingly. Most veggies need at least six hours in the sun to grow well, although many herbs can make do with less. As the position of the sun changes over the summer, you may need to move some of the plants around to make sure they are catching the sun.

    2. Select your plants. Pick veggies and herbs that you actually know you’ll eat. But keep in mind that some plants, like peppers and tomatoes, start small but end up really big. If you don’t have a way to stake them up or contain them a bit, consider planting something else. Herbs are great plants for beginners, as are lettuces. You may wish to buy them already started from a nursery to increase your harvest time.  Also, it can be tempting to get a little too much stuff at the nursery where everything looks so perfect and lovely. Keep your space in mind, and know that each plant will need adequate space within a container to grow well. Over-crowded plants don’t grow as well.

    3. Get your gear. Pick a container that will drain well and be big enough for the plants you want to grow. Regular pots will work, or empty two liter bottles. I also love this idea of growing things in a repurposed shoe organizer:

     How to Grow Herbs and Veggies on your Fire Escape

    You will also want to get enough potting soil for your containers. Make sure you get potting soil, not garden soil. Potting soil is specially blended to help retain the correct amount of moisture needed for plant growth in a container. If you use garden soil in a potted plant, the soil may retain more moisture than the plant needs.  You’ll also want a trowel, a water can (though a pitcher will do), and fertilizer (organic or non-organic, according to your preference).

    4. Plant once it’s warm enough in your region. Wait until after the last frost to begin your outdoor container garden. A good source to check is the farmer’s almanac, or the local cooperative extension office. And even though we are at the beginning of the summer, it’s not too late to start planting most veggies and herbs.  In fact, some plants do well later in the summer, like kale and chard, which continue to grow even when cool weather returns.

    5. Water your plants consistently. Potted plants tend to dry out more rapidly, especially on hot fire escapes. Each day, check if your plants need to be watered by putting your finger about an inch into the soil. If it’s not damp, it’s time to water. You also don’t want to overdo it. Water until soil is damp all the way through, but not soaked.

    6. Add fertilizer every few weeks to keep your soil healthy. Watering the plants can flush most of the nutrients out of the soil, especially in small containers. Fertilizing will ensure a better crop.

    So go beautify your fire escape with some edible greens and enjoy!

    To learn more about fire escape and container gardening, check out these articles:

    Veggies on the Fire Escape: Small-Space Gardening

    Thinking Outside the Planter Box


    What are your tips for starting a container or fire escape garden?






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