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Monday - June 29, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Pests
Title: Keeping bugs out of a Texas home
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I'm slowly growing my gardens into natural habitats for birds, bees, butterflies and other little critters but would like to keep them outside of my house. Being in central Texas it is difficult to control cockroaches and their friends without using a pesticide. Is there anything that you can recommend that would be affective in keeping the bugs outside but wouldn't be harmful for the ecosystem in my gardens? Any suggestions, experiences, websites or literature are greatly appreciated!

ANSWER:

There are numerous websites of one type or another that offer tips on keeping bugs out of the house.  I try to use these when I can.  But over the years my feeling about insects has mellowed.  When my wife and I built a house in the hills just west of Austin 47 years ago we had many learning experiences.  Some critters, like scorpions and brown recluse spiders, tried to reenter the space that we had appropriated from their habitat.  My English wife would run screaming from the house upon spying a cockroach.  As we have grown older we have to some extent come to coexist with many of our insect neighbors.  We know where they hang out, and we leave them be as long as they don't harm us.

Because you obviously appreciate nature I propose that you educate yourself and your family about your six-legged visitors.  I have learned a great deal about bugs from the Texas Bug Book.  Some bugs I viewed as enemies I now realize are friends.  And others are on my protected list just because of their fascinating life histories.

I often see my wife lifting some bug onto a piece of paper and carefully releasing it outside.  She no longer runs screaming out of the house when she sees a cockroach.  Now she only runs screaming into the next room, but then she counterattacts.  This is the one bug that is still hard to like. Her advice to you is to wear sturdy shoes --and stonp on it.

 

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