“Shoe Fly! Don’t Bother Me!” Organic Pest Control Options

BY: - 21 Jun '13 | Parenting

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Baby C celebrated her first birthday with her first trip to the lake. I packed everything except the kitchen sink and headed to Deep Creek, Maryland. In addition to her bathing suits, cover ups, sunglasses and sunscreen, I remembered to toss insect repellant into the bag. But with her history of eczema and her young age, I researched what to rub on her sensitive skin. Before I spray DEET, I wanted to see if there were any organic alternatives available to prevent pest problems.

ANTS

Garlic wards off more than vampires away! The strong smell keeps ants at bay as well. Cut up cloves and place them around your deck or patio. If you don’t want to hold your nose, use cucumber rinds or cinnamon sticks. If you’re at home, you can plant mint near your doors. My grandma Hopson did this, and we used the mint leaves at our teddy bear tea parties. You can control ants versus killing them. Although the itsy bitsy bugs are a pest, they control termite populations and aerate the soil. They’re also a food source for birds.

MOSQUITOES

Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, so make sure you dump, not only buckets, but baby pools as well. After fun in the sun, drain your blow up pool or invest in a cover. You can always use the water to water your flowers and plants. If you need to get rid of the blood sucking bugs by the barbecue grill, sprinkle sage or rosemary on the coals. And if you’re like me””a mosquito magnet””eat more garlic or drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Vitamin B1 is also said to repel insects. Avoid floral or fruity fragrances.

Dress baby in cool, cotton clothes, since mosquitoes are attracted to perspiration, which contains chemicals. California Baby sells an insect repellant made specifically for your little one. Also, cover up at night. Dress your baby in long sleeves, pants and closed-toed shoes if the temperatures cool down. If there is a fan, stay close by, because mosquitoes aren’t the best fliers. My mother also picked up stroller netting, in case Baby C and I are out after dark.

FLIES

Tired of swatting flies away from your food at barbecues? Put a clean cloth or dish sponge in a tin. Saturate it with an essential oil (lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, pennyroyal, peppermint or lemongrass). Replenish the oil after each use.

TICKS

If you are taking your other “baby” out and about, make sure you spray your pet with tick repellant. Ticks hate citrus, so you can make a repellant for your dog by boiling water and any combination of two sliced fruits (lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits) for about a minute. Let the mixture simmer for an hour, then remove the fruit with a strainer. Once it cools, spray on your dog’s fur, your skin or your lawn. You can also add a drop of rose geranium to your dog or cat’s collar, especially since your cat may take cover when you pull out the spray bottle.

HOMEMADE INSECT REPELLENT

Want to make your own insect repellant? Rub on essential oils like lemon balm (citronella), pennyroyal, lavender, peppermint or rose geranium. Check with your pediatrician before applying the mix to your baby’s sensitive skin. Natural isn’t equivalent to safe. Some people are allergic to plant oils.

And remember, natural repellents often require more frequent reapplication.

REPELLENT RECIPE #1:

  • 10-25 drops essential oil. Try lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and citronella
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)
  • Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing.

REPELLENT RECIPE #2:

  • 25 drops essential oil (see above)?1/4 cup water or organic apple cider vinegar
  • (Recipes from The Daily Green, Good Housekeeping’s consumer guide to going green.)

Hey BMWK family, What repellents do you use on your little ones?

About the author

Heather Hopson wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.

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Ohio School Bans Afro Puffs

BY: - 24 Jun '13 | Natural Hair

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Natural_Hair_Girl_Jaime Duplass

The internet rumor mill has been buzzing for the second week in a row regarding an Ohio school’s alleged ban on wearing Afro Puff hair styles as will as Twisted Braid styles.  Apparently, the administrators of Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio sent out a memo last week outlining the schools new dress code.  The new rules state that “Afro puffs and small twisted braids with or without rubber bands are NOT permitted.”  Yet in another rules it states that “hair must look natural”.  We have not been able to confirm exactly what this means or if this is specific to little black girls AND boys, but we do know this…  Parents everywhere are outraged. A copy of this letter can be found here on Black Girl Long Hair.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, an Afro puff style is a natural hairstyle where Afro textured hair is worn in it’s natural state which creates a “puff-like” shape once the hair is gathered together.  I am unsure what is meant by twisted braid styles.  My daughter sports both of these hair styles very frequently and I guess she would be kicked out if she went to this school.

Horizon Science Academy is a public charter school and is operated under Concept Schools Charter Management Company.  The school itself, as well as, the Charter Management Company’s Facebook Page both have the following letter of apology posted as of today.

The letter explains that they have,

…no intention of creating bias towards any of our students…

and that they,

…are currently taking the necessary steps to prevent this from ever happening again.

As an advocate of natural hair and natural hair, health, styling and maintenance for kids, I am appalled that something like this could have been sent out to parents.  I am tired of the “oops excuses” and apologies that are immediately issued once something like this happens.  It’s 2013, things like this should not still be happening.  Where is the progress?  Where is the diversity training?  I can’t imagine being required to alter my child’s hair based on a school policy.  We will be watching Horizon Science Academy and we will keep you posted with any other updates on this story.

BMWK, what would your reaction be if you received a letter like this from your child’s school?

About the author

Stacey Taylor wrote 51 articles on this blog.

Stacey Taylor aka "The SistahChick" is the 40+ SuperChick behind TheSistahCafe.com, Sistah Buttah, and OurNaturalKids.ning.com. She is a writer, blogger and Social Media Maven with a passion for natural hair and her community. Through her online presence she promotes generational self acceptance for women & children alike. Since 2009 Stacey has used her blog to share her love for Atlanta's thriving social scene, natural hair and her successful life as a wife, mother & entrepreneur. Stacey is an Indiana native currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and kids.

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