Cover Image
close this bookIdeas for Action : Save, Recycle and Do Not Pollute (IIRR, 1992, 146 p.)
close this folderPesticides
View the documentPesticide management in the home (In case you need to use these chemicals)
View the documentAlternatives to pesticides
View the documentKeeping chemicals out of your food
View the documentFood safety practices

Alternatives to pesticides

Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides end rodenticides are commonly used in Filipino households. Most of these are commercial brands which are highly toxic, especially when released in enclosed space. They pose a great hazard to health during application and from continued inhalation of residues. There are a lot of ways and means in eliminating the use of these hazardous pesticides.

The following are practices to prevent breeding of household pests:

· Put up a self-closing door and window screens and patch them if holes develop. Cover any holes through which insects may enter.

· Store food properly in safe and appropriate containers. For example, grains and cereals should be kept in air-tight containers. Separate storage of food from pesticides.

· Wash dishes thoroughly as soon as possible and do not leave crumbs lying around.

· Provide two garbage cans with covers at home -- one, for dry garbage, like paper and paper products, plastics which can be reused; the other for wet garbage, like fruit, vegetable peelings, soiled paper wrappers, etc. Clean these garbage cans every day.

· Keep moisture from building up inside the house by patching cracks, fixing leaking pipes and maintaining proper ventillation.

· Remove any standing water around your home. Empty tires, tin cans, bottles and even puddles in the gutter. These can serve as breeding places for mosquitoes.

· Keep your garbage and compost piles covered to avoid attracting rats and other pests.

· Locate and block the pests' points of entry. Remove clutter to eliminate nesting areas.

· Plug any holes through which roaches may enter.

· Keep a cat. This is one of the most effective nontoxic safeguards for rats and mice. Stutf up their entry holes with steel wool.

· To trap flying ants, the kind that come out during rainy days and fly around light bulbs, use 2 x 4 inches of plastic bags. Hang them near light bulbs to traps these flying ants.

· Maintain general cleanliness at home at all times to eliminate the pests' food supplies.

Covered garbage

Keep out

Keep a cat

Solutions to pests control

Avoid chemical pesticides for they are dangerous to you and your environment. Do not overreact; one or two insects are not an invasion. The presence of spiders helps keep other insects under control.

The following are lists of solutions to pest control and a chart of the good guys vs. bad guys in identifying insects and pests in keeping your environment pesticide-free.

For ants

Mint around the house

· Plant mint around the house.

· Sprinkle talcum powder, chalk or boric acid across the ants' trails.

· Sprinkle red chili powder, borax or dried peppermint where you see the ants coming in.

· Pulverize seeds of atis (Anona squamosa), mix with water and soak.

For flies

Leave orange or other citrus peelings

· Leave out some orange, lemon or other citrus fruits peelings in strategic places.

· Hang clusters of cloves around the room.

· Make your own flypaper: Boil sugar and corn syrup in water and paint the mixture on thick paper.

For cockroaches

· A light dusting of borax powder around the refrigerator, stove and in any of their haunts will also keep the roaches away.

· You can make an organic cockroach trap by doing the following:

- Put some stale beer or raw potato inside a bottle, lightly greasing the inside of the neck and then letting it stand. Roaches will enter the bottle but will not be able to come out.

- Prepare 3/4 measure of beer and 1/4 Seven Up or Sprite. Place in a can or bottle with wide mouth and use as a roach trap. Left-over ice cream or left-over pineapple juice with sugar can also be used to trap roaches

· Make cockroach balls as pesticide.

A Recipe for Cockroach Balls

Ingredients for cockroaches


1 pound boric acid powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour one large onion, grated
1 can evaporated milk

Procedure: Mix all ingredients in a bowl until a pasty mixture is formed. (Lessen or increase quantity of milk to achieve desired mixture.) Roll into balls and place in areas frequented by cockroaches. You may also smear the paste on shelf bottoms. The mixture is pinkish and smells of onions. It is effective up to one year.

· Mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar and spread the mixture around the infested area.

· Sprinkle boric acid powder around baseboards, under sinks and in other rinfested areas. Do not use in places accessible to children and pets.

For rats and mice

Mixture of sugar and plaster of Paris for rats

Try a mixture of sugar and plaster of parts. Also provide a container filled with water and place these in areas frequented by them.

For mosquitoes

· Burn dried twigs of kamarya (Artemisia vulgaris) and use like a mosquito coil.

· Burn dried lanzones (Lansium domesticum) peelings to produce smoke to drive away mosquitoes.

· Gather dried coconut fiber, place in a deep can and burn. This produces smoke to drive away mosquitoes in picnic areas.

· Burn citronella rings to produce smoke.

· For a nontoxic mosquito repellent, rub some white vinegar on your skin with a cotton ball.

Dried Lanzones peeling for mosquitoes

For fleas and ticks

· Routinely rub your pet's coat with brewer's yeast. Feed your pet brewer's yeast, 25 ma. per 10 pounds of the animal's weight or mix it with the pet's food.

· Spray repellents made from a mixture of water, cedar wood shavings, eucalyptus and bay leaves.

· Sprinkle two ounces of lavender oil extract over two or three quarts of rock salt. Let sit until oil is absorbed. Sprinkle salt under dressers, chairs or rugs.

· Extract juice from the leaves and stems of linga (Sesamum orientale) plant, mix with water and apply on pet's skin.

For moths

· Make sachets of crushed peppercorns, dried tobacco leaves or strong-smelling spices and hang inside closets or place inside drawers. Be sure to hang clothes outside the closets before using them.

· Make sachets of cotton cloth, fill them with cedar shavings, dried lavender or equal parts of dried rosemary and mint.

For silverfish

Make a trap using an empty lid-less cold cream jar. Put 1/2 cup flour inside for bait. Make a little bridge for the insects with an adhesive tape running from the floor of the shelf to the lip of the jar.

Other insect repellents

· Put bay leaves (laurel) in infested areas. Use this also to protect cereals or grains inside bins.

· Soak the midribs and stems of tobacco/tabako (Nicotina tabacum) in water for hours or days and use liquid extract as an all-purpose insecticide spray.

· Mix flakes of laundry or bath soap in water and spray against aphids, mealy bugs and thrips.

· Pulverize seeds of atis (Anona squamosa), mix with water and soak. Spray on plants affected by aphids or other insects.

· Blend two or three very hot peppers, 1/20nion and garlic clove in water. Boil. Steep for two days end drain through a cloth. Can be frozen for future use. Thaw and put in a spray bottle. Spray on affected plants.

· Mix two tablespoons of liquid soap with one quart of water. Use as insect repellent spray.

· Wash plant leaves with lukewarm soapy water to control spider mites, white flies, scale and mealy bugs or wipe the pests off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

For an environment-friendly method of controlling pests in fields and gardens, try using helpful insects and spiders. The list below provides examples of nature's pesticides.

The good guys

The bad guys

black wasps


eggs of stem borers

blue-green wasps


eggs of leafhoppers and planthoppers, eggs of yellow and white stem borers



Ieafhoppers, eggs of stripped and dark-headed stem borers, leaf-folders, army worms and whorl maggots



Ieafhopper nymphs, flying insects

dwarf spiders


young leafhoppers/plan/hoppers

fire ants


wide variety of insects and small animals

ground beetle


Ieaf-folder larvae, planthoppers

jumping spiders


green leafhoppers

lady beetle


small planthoppers

lady bugs and praying mantis


aphids, mites, white flies, worm and caterpillars

long-jawed spiders


Ieafhoppers and moths

lynx spiders



meadow grasshoppers


eggs of rice bugs and stem borers, nymph planthopper and leafhopper

orb spiders


flies, leafhoppers and planthoppers

water bugs


leafhoppers, stem borer larvae

wolf spiders


stem borer moths, planthoppers and leafhoppers


Adapted from the Study of Dr. Jose Zerrudo of the University of the Philippines, Los Ba(UPLB).

How Green is Your Home? A Filipino Primer on Home Ecology.

Recipe for Cockroach Balls. Courtesy of MARIA F. MANGAHAS, EARTH STATION Writers and Artists Collective, Inc.

Design for a Liveable Plant. John Naar, 1990.

Friends of the Rice Farmer (Helpful Insects, Spiders and Pathogens). International Rice Research Institute pamphlet.

Ideas for Action:

A Technology Information Kit, November 23 - 28, 1992