Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Keeping Pesky Insect Pests out of Bookcases Naturally
I've dealt with more than a few types of insects over years of apartment living and discovered creative and affordable nontoxic solutions to keeping them at bay. I've found patience is a pest's worst enemy and these remedies do work, though roaches are tougher and sometimes need to be exterminated.
Please Note: I won't provide images because of copyright law, but I am including links to pictures of the bugs under each section.
1) Silverfish -- You can find images here:
These pesky critters eat your book binding glue and paper. They love starchy vegetable matter and damp conditions.
The best way to keep them away is to fix your dampness issues. This works as a temporary solution, though. First, vacuum up any food particles and eggs you find. Then create your own traps out of recycled glass jars with tape wrapped around the entire outside. They can climb up the jar, but once inside, cannot climb back out because they can't climb smooth surfaces. Set the traps on your bookshelves.
There are also a variety of nontoxic commercial silverfish traps available as well.
2) Earwigs -- You can find images here:
Earwigs eat organic matter, which includes paper. They live in paper and other organic matter and love damp conditions.
You can leave a wet newspaper, towel, or rag on the floor in front of your bookcases. In the morning, you will find them gathered inside. Just dispose of them outdoors or as you wish and repeat until they are gone.
You can also fill a small shallow pan with vegetable oil, which attracts earwigs. Set the pan near your bookcase. Remove the earwigs daily and you can reuse the same oil.
3) Cockroaches -- You can find images here:
Cockroaches do not like catnip, but love your books because they are full of dark places to hide and are also a yummy snack. If you don't have catnip, you can use another member of the mint family. The catnip solution only works if you do not have cats. You put dried catnip into homemade sachets tucked into your bookcases or brew a catnip tea to spray along the baseboards beside your bookcases. Personally, I don't want to risk spraying my books, so I would choose the dry method.
They do not like cayenne pepper either. However, this is messier and will need to be applied in a continuous barrier across the point of entry. You can also try dried bay leaves or fresh basil, which are cleaner to work with. Mothballs and cedar shavings or other products work also work. I would line each shelf, the entire base, and the top of the case as well.
You can also use vinegar to spray the baseboards.
Roaches may also be sprayed with soapy water, which kills them.
You can even create your own roach trap out of a coffee can to set on your bookcases. Put some bread soaked in beer in the coffee can. This kills roaches.
If you are brave or child and pet-free, you can use boric acid, but again, this would have to be placed on your bookcases.
There are also a variety of nontoxic commercial roach traps available as well.
4) Ants -- You can find images here:
Some ants do eat cellulose, which is a component of paper.
Ants do not like cinnamon, but this is messy. You need to make a continuous line at the point of entry. Clove oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, coffee grounds, and citrus oil also repel the insects and can be applied to points of entry. Cucumber peelings work too. Make sure you don't have any other food crumbs or sugary substances in reach for them to eat.
You can also make your own solution of boric acid mixed with sugar and place soaked cotton balls in a covered yogurt container with holes poked to allow ants entry.
They do not like scented dryer sheets either. Simply tuck the sheets into the point of entry.
Soapy water kills ants on contact.
There are also a variety of nontoxic commercial ant traps available as well.
I hope some of these solutions work for you and your bookcases are pest-free.
As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!