Kill all your nasty household pests with boric acid and diatomaceous earth

If you have never heard of the terms ‘boric acid’ or ‘diatomaceous earth’, then the terminology may seem a little daunting, particularly if you are one of those who are (rightfully, I might add) concerned about the overuse of chemical pesticides in our daily life. With our fruits and vegetables already being laced with so many of these chemicals, the last thing we need is more chemicals sprayed around our home to get rid of pests such as roaches, ants, and fleas. And yet, without using chemicals, the question arises: how do we get rid of these pests? Sure, slapping them down with a flyswatter, slipper, or rolled up newspaper most definitely kills them and is also oddly satisfying, but other than emotional catharsis, it won’t really do much to alleviate your problem, especially if your infestation is moderate to severe in scale.

Enter boric acid and diatomaceous earth. Before we go into how we can use these substances to rid ourselves of annoying household pests, let’s delve deeper into what exactly they are and the mechanism of action they use to kill these pests.

boric-acid-roach-killer-with-lureBoric Acid – Boric acid is a pesticide, albeit a weak one that is mostly harmless to humans. You might have seen it called ‘Borax’ in your local hardware store. It is a weak, monobasic acid, and while you might think of acids as liquids, boric acid is actually found in the form of crystals or a white to off-white colored powder. To show just how harmless boric acid is, it is commonly used in eye wash products to treat bacterial infections and soothe inflamed eyes. That said, avoid using boric acid in areas where food is prepared (common sense, really).

How does boric acid work to kill pests? Boric acid is slow-acting poison to insects that affects both their stomach and nervous system. The powder itself can also cause abrasive damage upon contact with the insect’s exoskeleton.

CockroachBecause it is slow-acting, the affected insect will usually be able to make it back to their nest before dying. In the case of cannibalistic insects such as roaches, the dead insect now serves as its own poison as any other insects that eat its body will also become poisoned, creating a powerful chain reaction. This is one of the better ways on how to kill roaches, since it can completely wipe out the roach infestation in your house if you do it properly.

diatomaceous-earth-by-diatom-pestDiatomaceous Earth – Unlike boric acid, diatomaceous earth is a hundred percent natural and also completely non-toxic. Many millions of years ago, there existed single-celled organisms known as diatoms which had a silica transparent outer shell. Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of these diatoms, and while it has many uses, its primary use is as a natural pesticide. You can easily find it at your local hardware store (it’s sometimes marketed as ‘insect dust’); make sure you buy the food-grade kind.

If diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, how does it kill pests such as roaches, ants, termites or other small insects then? Well, it does so via two methods. The first is simply by physical damage; while it looks like fine dust to the human eye, each molecule actually has razor sharp edges that can damage the insect’s exoskeleton. They’re basically little insect knives. The second mechanism of action is dehydration, the microscopic particles of the earth enter the cuticles of the insect’s exoskeleton and begin to absorb the oils and fats from within the insect, drying them out and killing them in the process. Honestly, it sounds like something out of a horror movie; sharp particles that slash you and drain your fluids at the same time, but hey it works!

Methods of Application – Since both diatomaceous earth and boric acid come in a fine powder, their method of application is fairly similar. What you want to do is spread them in a fine layer around typical pest entry points such as cracks and crevices, underneath your fridge or washer, in the void space under your cabinet (you may need to drill small holes into the backs and floors of your cabinets to do this) etc.

The most important thing to note when applying these substances is that less is more; often people make the mistake of applying to much and the result looks more like a clump rather than a fine layer. Put yourself in the perspective of an insect; if you saw a layer of small stones on the road you would probably just walk over it but if you saw a huge pile of stones you would just go around it. Same idea applies here. And lastly, diatomaceous earth is fairly sensitive to moisture, which reduces its effectiveness. Hence, if you apply it in a damp place you may need to reapply it more frequently. Another solution is to use boric acid in the damp places and diatomaceous earth in the dry ones.

Harry Burke | Harry Burke
These novelty bedroom pillows are both creative and innovative | Harry Burke

These novelty bedroom pillows are both creative and innovative

In today’s day and age, individualism is what sells; everybody wants to be different and stand out, and who can blame them? After all, individual differences what makes the world such a great and unique place to live in. Unfortunately, when it comes to the simple bedroom pillow, it’s usually pretty standard.

standard-cotton-pillow-by-organic-textiles

While certainly there are many kinds of pillows, polyester, cotton, wool, feathers, down, latex, memory foam etc. they still serve a rather utilitarian purpose: providing comfort as well as neck and spinal support. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not discounting their importance, without my own neck pain pillow I would probably be walking around more stiffly than a zombie in a George A. Romero movie. If you’re suffering from similar problems, you should certainly take a look at this pillow guide for neck pain users. It’s certainly helped me a lot and I have to say, I haven’t been having any neck pain issues since I bought myself a new pillow.

That said, for the hip and savvy consumer who wants to emblazon his or her individual style in all aspects of their home, including the basic pillow, then check out this list of novelty pillows below for some designs and concepts that is sure to inspire you!

  1. colorful-thermosensitive-pillowColorful Thermosensitive Pillow – Remember the movie Predator where the Predator would see humans in thermal vision? Remember how cool that was? Well, this thermosensitive pillow aims to replicate that effect; the pillow reacts to your body heat and changes color accordingly, allowing you to leave a literal imprint of your head, palm, or whatever body part (I imagine many will decide to sit on it) on the pillow. Depending on your body warmth, the pillow changes from black to blue/green, red to violet, and burgundy to purple. These imprints will only last for a minute or so. So if you want to get a cushion for your couch that guests are sure to have fun with, this colorful thermosensitive pillow is a great choice. The drawback? It’ll set you back about $150.
  1. Weapon Shaped Pillows – For when pillow fights get real nasty! These pillows are literally shaped like weapons (sabers, battleaxes, lightsabers, nunchakus, throwing stars, and even grenades), with an image of the weapon screen printed on the front of course. This will be a great addition for the overactive kid in your life (boy or girl, I don’t judge!) and is sure to make your kid’s slumber party pillow fights way more entertaining. Hippies concerned about glorifying violence stay away.
  1. Post-it Notes Pillows – Known as Note-Me Pillows, these pillows come with a special casing as well as a special marker. Measuring 13.7 inches square, these pillows make a great accessory for your office or study; simply use the marker to write down to-do list items and reminders on this pillow, you’re much less likely to accidentally throw this one into your wastepaper basket. They’re also much harder to ignore. Any markings can easily be removed by rinsing the case under cold water. And if you’re in one of those cool hip offices? Simply send a staff member a reminder by literally throwing it at his or her head. SMACK! That’s one memo they won’t soon forget.
  1. dnd-dice-pillowsD20 Dice Pillow – Listen up you Dungeons & Dragons nerds! Despite what you may think, D&D is not considered to be a respectable hobby in your adulthood by much of society, and if you are the kind who openly advertises his (or her, but most likely his) love of D&D, there is no doubt that you may be stunting your ability to climb that social ladder. But who cares, right? America is all about individualism after all and what better way to show off what a hardcore D&D fanatic you are than this oversized pillow shaped like a 20-sided D&D dice? Nerdy and proud!
  1. iPhone Icon Pillows – While D&D nerds may be shunned by the hip crowd, fortunately (or unfortunately perhaps?), Apple nerds are very much in. It’s totally cool nowadays to be an Apple hipster with as many of your electronic gadgets as possible bearing the iconic Apple logo. And what better way to show your love for the company (and give them free advertising too of course) outside the consumer electronics space than by buying these novelty iPhone Icon pillows? Measuring 12 inches square each, they come in a wide variety of designs including but not limited to the SMS icon, the Mail icon, the iPod icon and the iPhone homescreen iPhone icon. By the way, some of these icons also come with the little red notification at the top right hand corner for maximum realness.

Folks, it’s time to turn the pillow from boring and basic to fashionable and fabulous. Whether you’re an Apple hipster or pocket protector wearing D&D nerd, there’s a novelty pillow out there for you.

Two easy ways to change the look of your home | Harry Burke

Two easy ways to change the look of your home

If you have a new home which is vacant, you get a chance to make each part of the home into a special space that you absolutely adore. Decorating your new home can be a very daunting task but if you wish for your home to be your private and much loved sanctuary, it would be unwise not to follow these few basic steps.

Painting the walls

One of the many arts of freshening up your home is to paint your walls with different colors. This might seem like a really crazy thing to do because re-painting your walls is no small task. However, do not let the smell of fresh paint which may last for weeks after you have re-painted your walls scare you away. In fact, you can be as daring as you want to and just go with any paint color you think may be suitable to your walls.

Why do we say so? This is because if you do not like any of the paint colors, you can always re-paint it with a different color. Feel free to choose any color or shades of color you feel that you may like. Bright colors more often than not make a space look larger and brings a very fresh look to the space. One thing to note though is that you should always avoid bright colors for rooms. This is due to the fact that bright colors tend to keep you awake for a little longer during the night and might just cause you to be lacking the beauty sleep you have been longing for. Do not blindly follow those photographs of model homes which will usually have different kinds of paint on different walls! After all, the purpose of model homes is to attract your attention and only serves to enhance the look of the homes.

accent-wall

You could also try what people call accent wall – which really means painting just one wall in a room or space. You would be surprised what accent wall can actually do to change the whole theme of a space, apart from spicing up the look of the space. It can transform the dull look of the space to a bright and fresh look. This is especially so if you use a bright color or a contrasting color.

On the other hand, if paint is not for you, you could try putting up wallpaper as well. However, please take note that wallpaper is a bit more permanent than paint. If you happen to not like that wallpaper you have put up and you decide to remove it, it may cause some quite significant wear and tear to your wall. Fixing the damage done to your wall can be really expensive and so please do bear this in mind you decide to put wallpaper on any of your walls!

Add in new furniture, fittings or fixtures

If you prefer to take a different and safer approach, you can always try adding a new furniture, some new fittings or more permanent fixtures. This goes without saying but please do not just buy those things which are on huge discounts. Things which go for cheap are usually less wanted by people and there is usually a reason behind this, although sometimes the reason may not be glaring. You should always consider buying those things which make your room or space nicer.

dark-wood-furniture

However, if you are on a budget, you can consider getting used furniture which may be a good match to your current ones at home. The tip here is to pick warm or darker colors because they are always much easier to match with your other furniture or your space. If you are unable to get hold of warm or dark color furniture, you could also disregard the color of the used furniture when you purchase it. Getting them re-painted is quite an easy task and you will not need to break the bank for this. Carpenters will usually be able to assist you on this for a reasonable price. Alternatively, contractors may also be able to do a similar job.

Apart from furniture, if you have some experience in doing some carpentry works or if you know how to do some drilling or sawing, you could also consider dismantling some of your very old and dusty furniture which you have wanted to get rid of for the longest time and make simple wooden shelves or open concept cupboard which you can use for displaying some of the items which you have bought during some of your overseas travels.