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Ask Sid

Toxin-Free Ways to Get Rid of Garden and Household Pests

All-natural products you can make yourself

Q. This summer I would like to avoid the toxins that are found in many commercial pesticides. What are some safe, effective alternatives?

See also: Do 'green' cleaners work?

A. Many stores sell "all-natural" products. You can also throw together your own. Here are some tried-and-true methods against common pests. Ants: Spread cinnamon, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, salted cucumber peels or leaves from mint tea bags near their point of entry or along baseboards. Mice: Place cotton dipped in peppermint oil, or used kitty litter, near problem areas. Mosquitoes: When you barbecue, throw some sage or rosemary onto the coals. Carpenter ants: Mix 3 cups hot water, 1 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons boric acid. Soak cotton in the mixture and leave it near places where ants are found.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues. Have a question for Sid Kirchheimer about a new product, a new kind of bank account? Check out the Ask Sid archive. If you don’t find your answer there, send a query.

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