Critter Karma


During your spring cleaning, you may find visitors. Before calling the exterminator, try gentler methods of pest control.

For ants, eliminate the food source, gently sweep critters away (use a sheet of paper delicately), then clean and mop the invisible ant trail to eliminate pheromones that lead the colony inside. Near entrances, spray a mixture of vinegar and water or tea tree oil and water.

Roaches are more challenging. Place bay leaves, garlic, or catnip around your home to repel them. If they still visit, trap and release them humanely. Put food (fruits, bread, or vegetables) inside a glass jar. Tape newspaper to the outside of the jar, so they can climb in, and smear Vaseline inside the jar's lip. Roaches that climb in won't be able to climb back out through the sticky goo. Release them outside.

If you have small mammalian visitors, use a toxin-free-catch-and-release-trap like the Smart Mouse Trap or the Humane Squirrel/Rat Trap from Or drive away rodents with ultrasonic pest repellents, like the Mouse Mover from The Sharper Image.