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Even if they didn’t carry disease, ticks just aren’t something you want to share your summer with. But if you’d like to keep them in place without adding pesticides to your person, there are a number of natural and homemade tick repellents that can do the job, as well as a host of plants that are easy to add to your local landscape and garden. To make your life less inviting to ticks, let’s take a look at these natural approaches, all backed by solid science.Homemade Tick Repellents
Essential oils don’t just smell nice; research shows they can be an effective way of controlling ticks. Just a few of the essential oils that have been demonstrated to be effective against ticks are oregano, rosemary, geranium, cedar, and juniper. In fact, a review of the scientific literature on the subject concluded that essential oils “have the potential to provide efficient, and safer repellents for humans and the environment.”
To put these powerful oils to work for you, mix up a batch of homemade tick repellents and spray using some of your favorite scents. Here’s what you’ll need:Ingredients 2 oz. witch hazel or vodka 1 oz. water 20 drops EACH of any of three of the following essential oils: geranium, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, Virginia cedarwood, and Alaskan cypress Instructions
Pour witch hazel or vodka into a small spray bottle. Carefully add 60 drops of the essential oils. Pour in the ounce of water. Shake well before each use. Some of the essential oils can be irritating to skin, so test in a small area first. If irritation occurs, use only on clothes and shoes. Because essential oils dissipate quickly, reapply every 4 hours.Plants for Tick Control
Just as ticks aren’t fond of certain essential oils, they don’t care for the plants they come from either. There are several attractive tick repelling plants to add to your yard, in garden beds or patio pots. Here are a few favorites:Lavender Photo Credit: pixel2013 / Pixabay
Is there anything the soft blue-purple spikes of this plant can’t do? Besides being beautiful, it’s also touted for its relaxing scent, and it not only repels ticks, but also fleas, mosquitoes, and moths. Lavender likes full sun and well-drained soil. It makes a beautiful sweep of color in a border.Alliums
These relatives of the onion come in many sizes. Chives grow as tidy little bundles, while ornamental alliums can grow flower stalks as tall as 6 feet. What they have in common are puffball blooms, generally purple or pink, that look like something out of Dr. Seuss. The flowers have a faint onion scent that ticks and other bugs avoid.Rosemary
This woody member of the mint family can be grown as a perennial in cold areas if it’s in a protected part of your yard. It also can be grown in a pot, then taken indoors in the fall. Rosemary’s needle-like leaves give off a distinctive fragrance at the slightest brush, and ticks are not a fan.Marigold
These perky ruffled flowers have a scent that lots of bugs don’t like. Ticks avoid them, as well as mosquitoes, flies, aphids, and tomato hornworms. Marigolds are easy-to-grow annuals that make great fillers in flower beds or pots. They don’t do well in soggy soil, so be sure to let it dry out between waterings.Chamomile
Are you noticing a trend here? Lots of fragrant herbs are unappealing to ticks and other bugs. Chamomile is a perennial herb with feathery foliage topped with small daisy-like flowers that are white with a yellow center. The flowers can be dried to make a soothing tea. Chamomile likes partial shade and moderate amounts of water.Sage
Another perennial herb, sage has soft, wide green leaves. It produces spikes of edible purple flowers during the summer. Once it’s established, sage is very easy to grow and can get up to three feet tall. Make sure it has steady amounts of water until it’s growing well. Sage is available in a tricolor variety that makes it a lovely addition to a flower bed.Mint
This perennial herb is best grown in a container. Its vigorous growing habit means it will take over garden beds. If you plan to harvest its serrated leaves for tea or cooking, you’ll find that they are a little less flavorful after it flowers. Don’t be shy about cutting mint back; it will only grow back stronger.
As you can see, there is plenty of help in the plant kingdom to keep ticks at bay. If you’re struggling to stay free of the parasites, combining tick repelling plants with natural homemade tick repellents and get their pesticide-free powers to work for you. You’ve got nothing to lose except troublesome ticks!
The post Natural Ways to Keep Ticks at Bay with Homemade Tick Repellents appeared first on The Money Pit.
From Source Article: moneypit.com
Painting the exterior of your home is one of the most important types of home maintenance. And while many homeowners choose to hire a painting contractor, with a few house painting tips to keep in mind, this is one project you may be able to tackle yourself, especially if you have the time and you’re the least bit handy.
By doing your own painting, you can keep the cost to a minimum and you’ll also enjoy a great sense of accomplishment when your beautiful new exterior paint job is completed.
According to the Paint Quality Institute, there are four keys to successful exterior painting. Follow these expert tips and you’ll get a great-looking exterior paint job that will last for years.Careful Surface Preparation
Inexperienced painters can’t wait to begin applying the paint, but professionals know it’s what you do beforehand that spells success or failure with exterior home painting.
Before starting to paint, make sure the surface is clean and free of dirt and chalk. Scrub with soap and water, then rinse. Next, remove any loose, flaking, or peeling paint by scraping, wire-brushing, and sanding. Or, speed the whole process by renting a pressure washer to prepare the surface for painting.
On wood siding, sand areas with glossy paint so the new paint will adhere better. If you see any bare wood, be sure to spot-prime that area. You can skip this step if you are using an advanced, top-quality paint, since these coatings act as both primer and paint.
Finally, brush off any dust or paint chips that remain. With these house painting tips complete, your home exterior is now ready to paint.Buy Good Quality Paint
One of the most little known but important house painting tips to buy good paint! Even though the highest quality exterior paint costs a little more, you can’t afford to cut corners here: Your paint is the protective coating that keeps the elements at bay. Fortunately, even the best exterior paints are still rather inexpensive. Plus, since most of the work in painting is labor, you exterior paint job will last far longer when you use the best possible paint.
For the best performance, the Paint Quality Institute suggests you purchase quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paint. These paints have superior adhesion, so they’ll “grab” tightly onto a properly prepared surface. They also are very flexible, which permits them to expand and contract with the surface below in extreme cold or heat. Down the road, these qualities help prevent many common exterior paint failures like peeling and flaking.
There are other benefits to the highest quality 100% acrylic latex paints: they typically hide better than ordinary paint, which is especially important when painting over a dark color. They are easier to apply by brush and they typically contain special additives to help keep mildew in check.
Despite their higher cost per gallon, top quality 100% acrylic latex paints actually save you money and time. How? Because the best of these paints function as both primer and paint, so you won’t have to buy and apply two types of coatings to your home exterior. Plus, top quality home exterior paints typically last 10 years or more compared to three or four years for ordinary home exterior paint; so they are actually much cheaper when you consider their cost-per-year-of-service.Use Quality Brushes and Tools
The best quality tools and accessories not only help you apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint to your home exterior, but they’ll also make your work easier.
Choose well-balanced brushes with tightly packed bristles that feel springy when you run an open hand across them. Assuming that you are applying latex exterior paint, you should work with brushes and rollers made of synthetic materials such as polyester.
Of course, you can also rent spray-painting equipment. If you do, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.Paint in the Right Weather Conditions
Exterior painting is not a foul-weather sport. In fact, braving it may actually compromise the quality and long-term performance of your exterior paint job.
As a result, try to paint your home exterior in moderate weather – when temperatures are no higher than about 85 degrees, with little wind. These conditions will permit your paint to form a durable, protective film that will last for years.
When painting on warmer days and in hotter areas, avoid painting in direct sunlight, since surface temperatures can be 10 to 20 degrees higher than the air temperature. Work your way around the house, painting areas that are in the shade.
Weather-wise, latex exterior paints offer a bonus: They can be applied just 30 minutes after it rains as long as the surface isn’t visibly wet.
There’s more to exterior home painting than meets the eye, but the project is well within the skill set of most do-it-yourselfers. By following these exterior painting tips, you can save a bundle by doing the job yourself.
For more information about exterior home painting and more house painting tips, visit the Paint Quality Institute’s website at www.paintquality.com.
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From Source Article: moneypit.com