Pesky Potions

The space underneath my desk is infested with insects.  As I am off pesticides (these are more harmful to us that the pests), I scouted around to look for natural, non-toxic ways to control household pests.  VIOLA!  If I knew warding off pests was this simple, I would have saved tons of money AND kept my sanity.


oPut cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or the ants’ point of entry.

oTrace the ant column back to their point of entry. Set either cayenne pepper or coffee at the entry area in a small line, which ants will not cross.


oDid you know that cockroaches like high places?  Just put boric acid on TOP of your kitchen cabinets (not inside), if space allows between ceiling and cabinets, the roaches will take the boric acid to their nests, killing all of them. Do note that Boric acid is toxic by mouth, so keep away from children and pets.

oKeep a spray bottle of soapy water on hand. Spraying roaches directly with soapy water will kill them.

oIn an empty can, place 1 or 2 pieces of bread, which have been soaked thoroughly with beer. Place in areas known to have roach infestations.  (Who would have known, they hate beer?)

oThis one is my favorite: Leave bay leaves, cucumber slices or garlic in the affected area as deterrents.  It’s that simple!


oCitrus is a natural flea deterrent. Pour a cup of boiling water over sliced calamansi or lemon. Include the skin, scored to release more citrus oil. Let this mixture soak overnight, and sponge on your dog to kill fleas instantly.

oTrap fleas in your home using a wide, shallow pan half-filled with soapy water. Place it on the floor and shine a lamp over the water. Fleas will jump to the heat of the lamp and land in the water. The detergent breaks the surface tension, preventing the flea from bouncing out.


The first line of defense against mosquitoes is to seal their point of entry. Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and early evening. They seek areas of still air because breezes hamper them. Close windows and doors on the side of your house, which are opposite the breeze. Then try:

oThe most important measure you can take is to remove standing water sources.

oIf you’re barbeque-ing and can’t get the mosquitoes off, throw a bit of sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitoes

oFor a NATURAL BUG REPELLANT, an effective natural bug repellent, is Tanglad or Lemon Grass. It contains the natural oil, citronella, which is safe and effective.  In fact, lemon grass citronella is considered more effective than true citronella as an insect repellent.

To use as a mosquito repellent, break a stalk off from the clump, peel off the outer leaves, until you find the scallion-like stem at the base. Bend the stem between your fingers, loosening it, and then rub it vigorously between your palms – it will soon become a pulpy, juicy mass. Rub this over all exposed skin, covering thoroughly at least once.

If you are too lazy to make your homemade repellants, Essence, which I get from Dra. Palanca-Chen is only P130 for a good-sized bottle (for Kids too).  You can also get Insect Repellants from Ilog Maria (, Messy Bessy, Oasis and Indigo ( has Shoo Fly Don’t Bother Me.  There are a lot of repellants now in the market but these are the ones I have tried.  I would lean towards Essence because of the smell and effectiveness.  It is also not sticky or greasy. Healthy Options also carries brands that are DEET free.

A note about DEET (the active ingredient in most chemical-based mosquito repellents): This powerful chemical is absorbed readily into the skin, and should be used with caution.  Common side effects to DEET-based products include rash, swelling, itching and eye-irritation. Other research points to toxic encephalopathy associated with use of DEET insect repellents. Experts warn that DEET shouldn’t be used in combination with sunscreen because DEET shouldn’t be reapplied often.


oUse mint as a fly repellent. Small sachets of crushed mint can be placed around the home to discourage flies.

oBay leaves, cloves and eucalyptus wrapped in small cheesecloth squares can be hung by open windows or doors.

oPlace a small, open container of sweet basil and clover near pet food or any open food in the house.

oA few drops of eucalyptus oil on a scrap of absorbent cloth will deter flies. Leave in areas where flies are a problem.

oYou can make your own flypaper with this simple recipe: Mix 1/4 cup syrup, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut strips of brown paper and soak in this mixture. Let dry overnight. To hang, poke a small hole at the top of each strip and hang with string or thread.

MY LITTLE SECRET: If you are too lazy to make these concoctions, I know a really good pest control guy who does wonders to my unfriendly neighbors.  He uses food grade, non-toxic materials for pest control.  I have used him for a year and we no longer have any cockroaches, bugs or harmful insects in the house.  His name is Manny Abejero, 862-2985 or 0928-720-9437.

In a NUTSHELL:  Leave cucumber slices or bay leaf around to ward off ants, cockroaches, or flies.  The old and reliable Lemon grass (Tanglad) may be all you need to keep mosquitoes OFF.

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