Green Friendly Tips & Info
This is the time of year when those pesky little insects invade our homes and businesses in an orderly, single-file line that somehow turns into a full blown attack. When that happens, we want to get rid of them fast, but we should focus on preventing the ants from getting inside in the first place. However, when that little army does invade, there are safe alternatives to pesticides that would be better to use around our family and pets, and would also be better for our surroundings.
There has been a problem with excessive amounts of pesticides being washed into the Santa Clara River. The river helps replenish the local groundwater, which supplies approximately half of our drinking water. We need to make changes to the way we approach the ant problem, so that we can keep the river pollutant free.
Ways to prevent an ant problem:
- Avoid leaving foods or even dirty dishes out on the counters or in the sink. Clean up crumbs and spills immediately.
- Don’t leave uneaten pet food out for extended periods of time and always store pet food in an airtight container.
- Keep landscaping neat and clear of weeds and debris to prevent ant nesting.
- Place a wall of baby powder around the perimeter of your home to deter the ants from entering.
- Place ant bait stations in and around your home. These can be purchased at home and garden stores and are extremely effective when used properly.
- Fill any holes or cracks, that ants might be coming through, with caulk or stucco cement.
Natural ways to eliminate ants:
- Find the ants nest and pour 2-3 gallons of boiling water onto it.
- Spray ants found in the home with vinegar and clean surrounding area with vinegar. This will not only kill the existing ants but also erase the trail for other ants in the colony to follow.
- Put one teaspoon of liquid dish soap into a spray bottle and fill it the rest of the way with water. Spray any ants you see with this soapy water and it will take care of the ants and prevent the other ants from following their trail.
Last resort, if you must apply chemicals:
- Carefully read and follow the directions.
- Only apply minimal amounts, and only when necessary.
- More is not better. “Spot” apply, rather than drench entire areas.
- Avoid applying chemicals when there is rain predicted in the next couple of days.
- Whether you purchase and apply a pesticide yourself or use a professional pest control company, make sure your sprinkler system is turned off for at least two days following treatment to avoid runoff of polluted water into the storm drain.
You waste money by applying chemicals before it rains or before running your sprinklers because the chemicals wash away without doing their job in the first place. In addition, it causes unnecessary pollution to our water supply because the water that runs off your property goes into the gutter and ends up in the Santa Clara River.
The bottom line…try using natural methods to control the ants in and around your home or business. However, if you must use chemicals, use them sparingly and don’t let it be washed away.
For more details, visit http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html#MANAGEMENT
Tips for a Green Neighborhood
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. It is the biological decomposition of organic debris such as leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable trimmings and other organic material commonly found in the trash. Compost refers to the stable humus or soil-like product of decomposition.
Home composting is another way Santa Clarita residents can reduce their waste, save resources and protect valuable landfill space. Composting is the optimum way to turn organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Soil conditioned with compost drains better, needs less irrigation and resists surface crusting and erosion.
In Santa Clarita, a significant amount of the garbage disposed of annually is organic green waste. To get more information about how you can compost and find out how to attend a free Smart Gardening Workshop, please visit www.smartgardening.com.
The trails are calling for you! Explore more than 60 miles of picturesque trails and paseos in Santa Clarita designed for commuting and recreational use, including walking, running, biking, and skating. Help reduce carbon emissions, traffic, and your gasoline costs by utilizing our local trail system.
For a trail map and more information go to: trails on www.santa-clarita.com
Think Green When You Clean
Take the extra step to go green when you clean by using eco-friendly cleaning products and finding a new life for items you no longer need.
Many common cleaning products are hazardous to the environment when flushed or thrown away and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fumes from household cleansers and other products may make indoor air in the typical home two to five times more polluted than the air outside. Today, many cleaning products have reduced toxins and are made with natural ingredients. And you don’t need to go to a specialty store to get them. Many of these less harmful cleaning products can be found at your local grocery store or retail chain.
Green cleaning products can also be made at home using baking soda or vinegar and lemon juice. Some examples include:
- Baking soda can be used as a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner for kitchen counter tops, sinks, bathtubs, ovens, and fiberglass. It is a useful air freshener and carpet deodorizer. Because it neutralizes or absorbs odor, baking soda can also be added to litter boxes, left open in the refrigerator or freezer, or included with laundry detergent.
- When white vinegar is mixed in equal parts with salt, it removes mildew, and added to water it is a good floor cleaner. Used straight, white vinegar can remove stains from the coffee pot, and is a good fabric softener.
For more information on “green” household cleaners, visit http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/hhw/alternative.cfm.
For more tips, visit the City of Santa Clarita’s Environmental Services Environmental Education webpage.
Don’t Trash It, Donate It!
Before you recycle or trash any unwanted items, see if they can be reused. Whether it’s clothing, sporting goods, furniture or even a car, your discarded items could be the key to brightening someone else’s day.
Check with your favorite charities or local thrift shops to see if they can put your donated items to good use. If you would like suggestions on local donation resources, submit a request through our Resident Service Center under the other trash and recycling category.
Great Guide to Food and Water Use
Most of us don’t think much about how food and water are connected. Click on the link below to view a guide that will walk you through the process to make it all make sense.