Pest control is often a dilemma for many vegans. As an ethical vegan your compassion for life should not stop for a living being just because they are considered a pest. You may not like spiders and rats but that is not a reason to kill them, especially when there are other options available. I don’t like my neighbors -- they affect my everyday life in a negative manner -- but I do not wish death upon them (I put up a fence).
I take most of the bugs I find in the house outside (spiders, crickets, moths, stink bugs)- if I don't ‘rescue’ the bugs my cats make quite a mess trying to catch them. There are VERY few bugs that I will kill; mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks make that short list. I have, on rare occasion, sprayed forming wasps nests with water to remove them and I usually feel guilty about the causalities.
As a vegan the best thing that you can do to help these ‘pests’ is to not let them become a larger problem. It's all about prevention! These option are not only animal friendly, they are bug and eco-friendly too:
- Keep food in sealed containers and be sure to clean up all crumbs. Also, try to centralize your eating; avoid snacking in rooms other than the kitchen. Don’t forget to clean in places like behind the stove and under the fridge (who knows how food ends up there, but I always find a few crumbs.)
- Try red pepper or hot sauce in areas where you find bugs entering your house, the bugs won't cross through the burning hot area. You can also rub garlic along your windows if you don’t mind the scent.
- Make you own spider repellent for your basement or other spider prone areas to keep them away.
- Use humane traps to catch small rodents.
- Keep your companion animals up to date with their flea treatments. Flea repellents keep a lot more than just fleas from hitching a ride into your home.
- If you have cockroaches place bay leaves in areas where they frequent, roaches can't stand the smell.
- You can also try ultrasonic pest deterrents.
- Avoid keeping ripening fruit on your counters, the smell of sweet fruit attracts fruit-flies and ants.
- Don't forget to check your window screens for holes, and check doors and windows for gaps.
- Make fake wasp nests for areas where wasps frequent. Wasps are territorial, they won't build a nest if they believe other wasps already have inhabited the area.
- Use repellents (deet free) and candles over bug zappers and wasp traps for outdoor activities.
- Plants can be used to deter many bugs. Marigolds help with mosquitoes and garden bugs, and mint planted near cracks in your home prevents ants from entering.
- Use a motion activated porch light. Not having to leave your porch light on for long periods of time cuts down on the amount of moths swarming around it and waiting to fly in your front door.
- If you are in a termite prone area you can add compost to your yard (some termites are believed to move to your house if there isn't enough organic material in the ground to consume.) You can also use strong magnets to prevent termite mounds from growing.
- Ladybugs eat insects that are harmful to your garden. Keep more of them around by creating a ladybug home; fill a long tube with sticks, and place it near your garden.
- Encourage bats to eat your bugs by getting a bat house.
- Trim hedges and trees that are touching your house to prevent bug pathways.
Many of the options above have mediocre results if used at a stand-alone treatment. Mix and match options to find the best results for your home.
If a home becomes infested; That's a whole new dilemma for a vegan. There is no single answer. I don’t know any vegans that would hesitate to call the exterminator if they had termites or bedbugs. But what if there is a rat’s nest or raccoons in your attic? This is when you will have to invest a little time. Call around to find an exterminator who relocates wildlife -- they are out there. You can even find companies who will relocate bee colonies that have taken over your walls. As a vegan you owe it to the ‘pests’ to make an attempt to find a humane removal option.