The topic of pests can be a difficult one for people who have committed to living a lifestyle that is as cruelty free as possible by becoming vegan. While it can be quite easy to show compassion towards animals in some ways, for instance by adopting a cat or dog or by avoiding meat, dairy and other animal products to eat, and choosing clothes that don’t use leather, fur or wool, it can be harder when it comes to animals that are causing a problem in your home.
This can cause something of a moral dilemma for someone who is vegan, as they can feel that they are being forced to be choosy about which animals they respect the lives of, and which they do not. Of course, a sheep is more loveable than a cockroach, and less problematic to a human than a wasp or mosquito, but they are all living creatures that you feel sympathy for.
Unfortunately, there are some cases where there is little option other than extermination for pests that are infesting your home and which can’t be removed by gentler means. If you have bedbugs, for example, they will continue to multiply and spread if you do not get rid of them. In these types of cases, the best thing to do whether you are vegan or not is call a good pest control firm like Go-Forth Pest Control of Winston-Salem to help you, and then take extra care not to bring bedbugs into your home again by being careful to fully clean any secondhand goods you buy.
For some other types of pests, you do have some options other than going straight for extermination, and these can be worth trying if you want to keep your home pest free without cruelty. The first thing to do, however, is to keep your home as clean as possible to avoid attracting the types of pests who are drawn by food waste like cockroaches, ants and mice.
Wasps can be very dangerous, and people who are allergic to their stings can go into a dangerous shock condition from even a single sting. If you have a wasp nest in your home or very close to your home, it can therefore be safest to exterminate the wasps. However, if the wasps are not causing you any serious concern, for instance the nest is in a corner of your garden you can avoid going into, you can just leave them be and they will move on after a while. Wasps build new nests each year so leaving the nest alone does not mean you will be stuck with a permanent wasp problem.
Mice and Rats
Mice and rats, being mammals, can be two of the pests vegans are most against harming when they come into their homes. Luckily, there are humane mousetraps that trap the animal unharmed in a box ready to be safely released outdoors. This can be the best way to deal with mice and rats without having to resort to poison or deadly traps. However, if you do find you need to use a less humane method to address your rodent problem, animal welfare organizations like PETA advise against the use of glue traps, as these cause a slow and painful death for the mouse.
Of course, there is also the natural, though not cruelty free option, which is to let your cat deal with rodents. This is of course not as kind to the mice as using a humane trap and freeing them, but will at least normally discourage further infestation, as mice tend to stay away when they know a cat is present.
Spiders – providing they are not venomous – can really just be left alone. They can catch other pests like flies for you and can actually help in your efforts to keep your home pest free. However, if you are scared of or disgusted by spiders you may not be comfortable with knowing there are living spiders in the house, and in this case, you should look to trap and release them (or have someone do it for you if you are unable to do it yourself). Of course, if the problem is more serious than the odd house spider, for instance you find dangerous spiders or have a spider infestation, you should contact a pest control professional. It is never worth putting yourself and your family at risk.
You can do a lot to avoid ants invading your home, such as being careful to clean up spills immediately and to keep counter surfaces and floors clean at all times. You can even try washing down surfaces with diluted vinegar, which ants find repelling. However, if you do find ants coming into your home and want a cruelty free way to get rid of them, the important thing to do is find where they are coming in. When you know the point of entry for the ants, simply put a thin line of chili powder there. Ants hate this, and will not cross the line.
As with ants, the key thing to bear in mind with cockroaches is that they generally are more likely to appear if there is food waste or other dirt, and so by being careful about hygiene in your home you can often avoid having to deal with a pest problem at all. However, if you do find cockroaches, put fresh bay leaves around the rooms where you have seen them, and in places like your kitchen cupboards and pantry. While these smell pleasant to humans, cockroaches absolutely loathe the smell and it may well be enough to send them on their way. You can also consider packing some fresh bay when you are traveling, to use to repel roaches if you are staying in a less than salubrious place!
Use meshes over windows in hot weather to help stop flies from getting inside your home, and be sure to avoid leaving food out, which will attract them. If you find you still get flies inside however, try leaving the peel of an orange out. The citrusy smell is one thing that flies don’t like. Hanging bags with cloves in around your house can also work, and can look a bit neater than having random orange peel strewn around!
Moths are a problem mainly because they feed on the fibers in your clothes and other fabrics, so if you end up with moths in your closet you can find a lot of your garments ruined. If you don’t want to use products that kill the moths, then instead make sachets to keep with your clothes that contain things that repel moths, such as cedar chips, lavender, rosemary or mint. These all smell pleasant and will give your clothes a fresh, nice smell while also protecting them from moths humanely. Larger moths that invade your home can usually be lured out by turning off all the lights and guiding them out of an open window with a torch or by switching on an outside light. Moths, like some other flying insects, are attracted to light sources.
Mosquitos can be terribly annoying thanks to the itchy bites that they leave behind, as well as of course the sound they make. Using nets over your bed and meshes on windows can be a good way to avoid them biting you inside the home, but as with other insect pests there are also some ways to repel them. They seem to be driven away by fresh basil, so buying some basil plants and keeping them in a few rooms will not only help avoid mosquitos but also give you fresh herbs to use in your recipes. You can also plant it in outside areas where you like to sit to help stop mosquitos from bothering you. Other natural things that repel mosquitos are peppermint oil and citronella. You can buy products like scented candles that you can use to deter mosquitos, or you can make your own natural repellents to use on yourself and your home by mixing peppermint oil or oil of citronella with vegetable oil to dilute it.
Bedbugs, Termites and Other Harder to Remove Pests
Some pests you really have to get rid of when there is an infestation. Termites can damage your home and cause very expensive repairs to be needed, and bedbugs can breed prolifically and infest your home, as well as the homes of people who visit you. While pest control is really the only option in these cases, you can aim to do your best to prevent infestations from happening by keeping all the wood in your house well maintained, and cleaning anything new you bring home that may have bugs or other pests inside it.
Preventing infestation and repelling household pests is often the best approach, however with some pests there are still humane ways to deal with the problem.