MOORESVILLE – To help address a problem that has been called “disturbing” by insect experts, one business has created a way to keep bugs out of your house without killing them.
EarthKind, whose manufacturing facility is in Mooresville, offers plant-based pest repellents aimed at “all harmony, no harm.”
According to an Oct. 15 Washington Post story, the abundance of invertebrates such as beetles and bees had decreased worldwide by 45 percent.
Climate change is to blame for the declines, said EarthKind founder Kari Warberg Block.
“Climate change definitely effects insects,” Warberg Block said. “Also the use of pesticides. They kill insects besides the pests they’re targeting.”
The EarthKind products that Warberg Block, the daughter of an entomologist, produces change insect and rodent behavior, rather than killing them. There are “Stay Away" options for spiders, cockroaches, moths, rodents and more.
The organic repellent is a mixture of essential oils and plant fibers sourced from family farms such as thyme, lemongrass and rosemary – all in the name of insect conservation.
“We need them to pollinate crops, aerate our soil,” Warberg Block said of the critters. “Ants aerate soil better than earthworms. They clean up animal waste and dead plants.”
Insects like spiders help control the termite population on the perimeter of houses. And on the other side of the food chain, animals like birds and bears are heavy consumers of insects.
“Our products help them coexist better,” Warberg Block said. “Only once a year (do) grizzlies eat meat. For the most part, they’re vegetarians.”
With North Carolina generally having short, mild winters, the climate is attractive to flying and stinging insects such as flies and mosquitos, Warberg Block said. But the near-record rainfall in 2018 led to an influx of another pest known for habituating warmer parts of the country.
“After (Hurricane Florence), I came home and had cockroaches in my house,” Block said. “I had stray ones coming through who got displaced with all the rain. More birds showed up, which was kinda cool.
Roaches are drawn to humidity, Warberg Block noted.
“Roaches can live through anything,” she added. “They’re very difficult to control. They eat anything they need to survive. You can spray poison (but) have to get direct contact. They can even live without their head for a week.”
As far as rodents, the larger the city, the more rodent repellent is needed.
“Where there’s food, there’s rodents,” Warberg Block said.
EarthKind has its home office in Bismark, N.D., though Warberg Block has a residence in Cornelius, which she calls “a lovely place.”
Its Mooresville facility is 400,000 square feet and has been in operation since 2015.