There’s nothing worse than having to work in an office with an infestation of ants, roaches or other pests — well, other than walking into an office that reeks of chemical pest control. If your office gets infested, what can you do to get rid of them without chasing your employees or co-workers out of the office? Here are some eco-friendly pest control tips to help you do just that.
Put Down the Doughnut
Most pests, like ants and roaches, are looking for easy food sources when they infest a building. Keep food out of the office as much as possible to prevent them from finding an easy-to-access food source. If you have a break area where people eat lunch, keep all food there, and clean it frequently. Spring-loaded trash cans can be a great option to keep pests out as well, both indoors and outdoors.
Fix Those Leaks
Pests aren’t just looking for food — they’re looking for water, too. Any leaky pipes can provide a haven for pests. Don’t just look inside, though — leaky outdoor taps or clogged gutters or drainage can provide water for pests or breeding grounds for things like mosquitoes.
Roaches are tricky to get rid of, especially once they’ve started breeding. They are a common problem, though, especially in offices where people tend to eat at their desk. However, there are a few good eco-friendly pest control options, including:
- Diatomaceous earth — The fossilized remains of phytoplankton, this harmless-to-humans powder can damage and dehydrate the roaches that crawl through it. Get food-grade DE if you’re planning on using it in the kitchen or break room where people eat.
- Boric acid — While it’s useful for cleaning, powdered boric acid can kill roaches. When the roaches walk through it and clean themselves, they eat the boric acid, and it kills them.
- Organics — Some organic materials will drive away roaches naturally. They hate the smell of catnip and bay leaves, and leaving out cucumber and garlic can have the same effect.
The best way to keep roaches under control is to keep your office clean. Don’t give them anything to eat, and it will be easier to keep them away.
Bees and Wasps
Now, we don’t consider bees a pest — they’re an essential part of the ecosystem, and many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy every day would die out without them. A bee’s nest inside the walls of your office can be problematic, though. Wasps, on the other hand, can be aggressive, and if you’ve got a nest or an infestation either inside or outside your office, it can be unpleasant or downright dangerous for people who are allergic to insect stings.
If you’ve got a beehive problem, your best bet is to call a local beekeeper. They will be more than happy to come out and relocate the hive for you without harming the bees.
For wasps, your ideal solution is already in your kitchen. Load a hose sprayer with hot water and dish soap, and spray the hive and the wasps from a distance. The hose will knock down the nest, and the soap will help kill the wasps. While it isn’t the greenest option, it’s a lot healthier than spraying the entire nest and the area around it with toxic pesticides.
Ants are another common office pest — they just love the little crumbs of food people inadvertently drop when they’re eating at their desk. Thankfully, ants are relatively easy to get rid of, as long as they’re coming in from outside. They’re a bit trickier if you’ve got an ant colony living in your office, but we’ll address that as well.
The first step is to figure out where the ants are coming into the office. Once you figure out where their scent trail leads, you have a few options. Sprinkle cinnamon powder, cornmeal, cayenne pepper or food-grade diatomaceous earth across their scent trails to throw them off. Cinnamon and cayenne deter the ants because of their strong scents, while diatomaceous earth kills the ants by piercing their exoskeletons. As for cornmeal, ants can’t digest it, so they starve to death after they eat it. It’s not kind, but it is eco-friendly.
For ants that have set up shop in the house, a borax sugar trap is a good option. Mix one part powdered borax with three parts powdered sugar and put it around your house in tiny containers. Yes, it will attract the ants because of the sugar — that’s the point. They can’t differentiate between the sugar and the borax, so they take both the sugar and the borax back to the nest, where eventually the borax will kill the nest.
Pests are annoying, but you don’t have to resort to using harsh chemicals to get rid of them. There are plenty of eco-friendly pest control options — and you may have many of the ingredients at home or in the office already!