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Non-violent pest solutions

Posted by Melissa Lam on

I used to attend weekly talks about Buddhism at a temple a few years ago and recently they’ve restarted their sessions (now on video conferencing - yay!) After last night’s session, one of my classmates asked a question about how to deal with pests since the Buddhist approach is to avoid needless killing (“ahimsa” - non harming). I thought about my own response to pests. I realised that my preference over time has been to shift the “pest” or shoo it away rather than whip out a spray.

Here’s my citronella and lemongrass incense stick for repelling mosquitos — I’m giving it a trial run among some friends and hopefully we can share this with you soon! 

In a way, since “pests” appear due to the environmental factors, they have kinda been “invited” into the space - maybe by us (leftover food / dirt), or maybe by happenings in the surroundings area (stagnant water in the neighbourhood).

I remember someone saying to me that humans are not even separate from microorganisms, as many of these live on us and in our bodies. In Buddhist thought, all living creatures are different from humans in their intellect but similarly feel suffering, crave life, and have fear of death.

Here are some suggestions for how to deal with common households "guests" (uninvited)!



Use an orange! Oranges naturally repel mosquitos. Simply rub an orange on your arm, or make a DIY repellent spray using orange juice (squeezed) and distilled or boiled water. 

Orange peels - left to air-dry and then hung up in mesh or cloth bags - would work too!

You can also substitute the orange juice with citronella essential oil.



Try using diluted vinegar to clean hard surfaces (floors, kitchen counter). Ants can smell the vinegar after it dries, but people won't smell it after some time!



Like many taxi drivers do, bundle a few pandan leaves together to ward off cockroaches! It smells wonderful too!


What are your favourite "pest-control" methods?


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