31 Natural Pest Control Methods . . . For Those Little Things That Really BUG You!

natural pest control


I have had SO many people asking me through email and Facebook lately about how to keep pesky pests at bay this summer….I decided it was time for a full on ATTACK!

First of all…..the BEST best way to control pests is to not invite them inside in the first place. Most bugs are attracted to food and water, so keeping your kitchen clean, taking out the garbage regularly, and storing food and drinks in tight containers will deter most insects, and other pests. Removing water sources will also go a long way towards solving your bug problem, as will sealing off their point of entry.

If these methods don’t take care of the problem though…here are 31 MORE all-natural remedies for those critters that are really BUGGING you!

natural pest control

The PEST I have had the most questions/concerns raised about is ANTS!  For being such a TINY little thing…ants sure can be a nuisance!!!  Here are some tips to keep them out of your house and away from your picnics!



Keep your kitchen counters free of crumbs and sticky spots, cover the sugar and honey jar. Wiping down surfaces can go a long way toward keeping your home pest free!

natural pest control


Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants’ point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to cucumber.


Leave a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active.


Trace the ant column back to their point of entry. Set any of the following items at the entry area in a small line, which ants will not cross: cayenne pepper, citrus oil (can be soaked into a piece of string), lemon juice, cinnamon or coffee grounds.


Leave a small, night light on for a few nights in the area of most ant activity. The change in light can disrupt and discourage their foraging patterns.


If ants are attacking your pets’ food bowls, clean the floor thoroughly with hot, soapy water to eliminate the ants’ trail, then keep them from finding the food dish again by placing the food bowl into a shallow pan of soapy water.

natural pest control


Diatomacious Earth (often referred to as “DE”) is a talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on a bug the fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate.


Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it ‘home,’ can’t digest it, and expire. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains, but it works and you don’t have the worry about pets or small children being harmed!

natural pest control


Dissolve 1 teaspoon of boric acid and 6 tablespoons of sugar in 2 cups of water. Soak cotton balls in this bait solution. (Boric acid is a low-toxicity mineral, but do keep it away from children and pets because it can cause skin, mouth, stomach, and eye irritation.)

Place one or two cotton balls on an inverted jar lid and saturate with the mixture.

Place the jar lids along ant trails or where ants have been seen.

Replenish the liquid as it dries until the ants are gone.

Be patient! The key is to get worker ants to continually carry low doses of boric acid back to feed the ants in their nest.


natural pest control




Mosquitos are most active in the early morning and early evening. They seek areas of still air because they are hampered by breezes. Close windows and doors on the side of your house which are opposite the breeze.


The most important measure you can take is to remove standing water sources. Change birdbaths, wading pools and pet’s water bowl twice a week. Keep your house gutters clean and well-draining. Remove yard items that collect water.


Ants leave a scented trail so other ants can find their way to food. Routinely wash away these invisible trails with a vinegar-based cleanser made from 1⁄4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water and 10 to 15 drops of peppermint, clove, eucalyptus or melaleuca essential oil.

natural pest control


If you’re using the barbeque, throw a bit of sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitos.


An effective natural bug repellent, mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 – 6 hours. Strips of cotton cloth can also be dipped in this mixture and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent.

natural pest control


Some bat species can eat up to 1,000 mosquitoes in an hour! You can attract these beneficial bug eaters by installing a bat house in your yard.


Neem oil is a natural vegetable oil extracted from the Neem tree in India. The leaves, seeds and seed oil of the Neem tree contain sallanin, a compound which has effective mosquito repelling properties. Neem oil is a natural product and is safe to use. Just add a few drops of oil to your favorite lotion and apply the mixture to your body.

natural pest control


Plant some catnip (Nepeta cataria) in your garden; not only will it repel mosquitoes, but you’ll get some pretty flowers, too. Other mosquito-repelling plants include rosemary, marigolds, citronella grass, and lemon balm.


Make your own mosquito-repelling candles using a mixture of essential oils and melted wax. A good rule of thumb is to use about 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of essential oil per pound of wax.

Here are some good mosquito-repelling essential oil blends to add to your candles from from About.com:

Recipe #1 – Simple and Spicy
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Clove

Recipe #2 – Bright and Energetic
5 parts Citronella
5 parts Lavender
5 parts Peppermint

Recipe #3 – Deep and Green
10 parts Citronella
10 parts Cedarwood
5 parts Eucalyptus
5 parts Rosemary


For a DIY mosquito repellent, you’ll need essential oil and something to mix it with, like vodka, olive oil, or witch hazel. For best results, combine a few different essential oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, citronella, cinnamon, cedarwood, and juniper berry.

natural pest control


Common sense is as good a guide as any. To avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, a hat or scarf. Use window and door screens and put mosquito netting over infant carriages or strollers


Nutritionally, you can drink a tablespoon or two of organic apple cider vinegar and eat lots of garlic. Vitamin B1 taken daily is also supposed to help repel insects.

natural pest control




Place sachets made from small squares of cheesecloth and filled with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus around the house to repel flies.


Mix 1⁄4 cup corn syrup, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut strips of brown kraft paper and soak in the sugar mixture. Let dry overnight. To hang, poke a small hole at the top of each strip and hang with string. Click here for my post: Get Rid Of Flies Natural With Homemade Flypaper.

natural pest control


Plant sweet basil next to the doors, or plant in containers. The flies will stay far away.
Cut a nice size bunch of it to take with you when you go on picnics. As an added bonus, mosquitoes don’t like it either.


For creating a fly-free area, apply eucalyptus essential oil to a small cloth or rag and leave it in an area plagued by flies.

natural pest control



Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil into a spray bottle. Add a squirt of liquid detergent and fill the bottle with water. Spray the mixture on cobwebs, around doors and windows, around the lawn and garden and on any surfaces where spiders lurk. In addition to having a pleasant aroma, this mixture is nontoxic and safe to use around children and pets.


The combination of coconut oil and white vinegar also makes an effective spray for repelling spiders. As oils may stain or cause spots, test the mixture on a small, hidden area of carpets, curtains or upholstered furniture.

natural pest control


Spiders taste through their feet, and in addition to peppermint…..they do not like the taste of citrus which includes lemonlime, tangerine, and wild orange. Although it will not kill them, it will make them avoid places where they can “taste” them. Always purchase real essential oils and not synthetic versions.


Spiders thrive in dark, cluttered places, so keep stacks of debris, woodpiles and thick plant growth away from the sides of the house. The fewer places spiders can easily inhabit, the more effectively they can be repelled.


Seal cracks in the foundation and close gaps in windows or beneath doorways to deny spiders access to the premises.


And last but not least….an all natural homemade insect repellent that should help out with all of the above!


natural pest control

Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe

Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and apply liberally. Store in the fridge when not in use. Should last 2-3 months.


What are your most effective pest control practices??


Use coupon code JILLEE for an additional 10% off any Spark Naturals order!



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  1. says

    Such useful information and at the right time of year when we’re noticing all the little critters around the house! Cucumber is a new one to me, will try that out for the ants today. Thanks! And have a good weekend :)

  2. Danielle says

    In MD, we are struggling with stink bugs!! They are every where! Any ideas……

  3. says

    Just an FYI-ants are attracted to water and the oils in the soaps we use. That is why you can have an extremely clean kitchen or bathroom and still get ants.

  4. Marianne says

    Hi! I like to use ground cinnamon or clove against ants. Just sprinkle in the cracks atthedoor and they will not cross. Also great to mix in with sand in the sandbox, keeps bugs out of there too!

  5. Alisa says

    Those darned stinkbugs are constantly finding their way into my house. Screens don’t seem to stop them. I have even had an exterminator out to spray. Not happy about having done that, but I was desperate! Did not help. Any suggestions?

  6. Jeanne says

    I am not sure how well this works, but I have always heard that if you put a dryer fabric softener sheet like Bounce, it will keep mosquitoes at bay. Just put one in your pants pocket and let it hang out a bit. It can’t hurt! ;-D

    Thanks for your great blog, Jillee!

    • mschavi says

      Dryer sheets DO work . . . I shove one in a pocket or inside my shorts when I work i the yard . . . no bug bites or flying critters bugging me.

      • Christine Baker says

        Try Therma Cell sold in the sporting goods stores. They have been tested by sports people who have to sit still on long hunts. The Canadian Lodges tried it and were so successful and sold out the first season that they double and tripled their orders the following season because hunters were asking for them. So we tried it. We do not go in the woods without them. That why Off came up with a small similar smaller version I don’t find working at all except killing batteries. Therma cell has to be lit properly like a lighter so the smell comes (like a faint smoke comes out). Very effective.

  7. Lori Sue Johnson says

    My main problem is those stupid pantry moths. I think I just about have everything under control and then a new hatch of the flying nightmare appear. I have sealed containers with added bay leaves to the flours, sugar, cornmeal, etc. I don’t use store bought mixes, and my homemade mixes (like SOS) are in sealed mason jars. Any help would be gratefully received.

    • Diane says

      Make sure you freeze the goods right as soon as you bring them home. 1-3 days in the freezer will kill off the bug eggs.

    • Cindy says

      I had a major invasion of pantry moths a few years ago from a plant next to my garage and from there into my house!! I used a Pantry Moth Trap (Lowes) and my vacuum cleaner to suck them up. Also got rid of boxes are they were laying their eggs in the corrugated edges. Found the eggs and caterpillars in the popcorn of my ceilings and had to manually remove. It took me a month or more to get them all AND I removed the plant housing these little buggars!! I agree with the freezing method and containers. Good luck!

      • Kristi says

        I just heard that you can put a stick of spearmint gum in your perishable (flour, etc.) and the eggs won’t even hatch out.

        I always freeze any mixes or pasta to kill anything that might reside there. Be careful, however, if you then take them out and put them in sealed containers. I did that with rice and lost about 5 pounds as it had condensation from the temperature change, then it molded while in the Tupperware. You have to first let it get to room temperature so any condensation can evaporate, then seal it.

        Hope this helps.

    • Lori says

      I too get them but in my bird food for my inside parrots. I keep it in well sealed containers but still see them occasionally flying around. I’d love to know if there is an herb or EO to deter them too.

      I live in PA and we have “stink bugs” ALL YEAR! They are the grey ones that look like little rhinos. Luckily, when they land it’s easy to get them in a tissue and toss them in the toilet but when they fly around you can’t swat them or the whole house will stink. Ugh. Any thoughts would be MUCH appreciated!

      I agree with Michelle. It’s uncanny how you post subjects that I am just now looking for ideas for! The only other blog I subscribe to is Proverbs 31 besides yours. I figure advice for my spiritual life and physical life will supply me with just the right “ingredients” for me!

  8. says

    OMG…this came at the PERFECT time. I just moved to Hawaii from the desert and there are bugs EVERYWHERE! I have 2 cats and don’t like toxins in my house anyway, so I’ve been going crazy trying to find natural repellents. Have already tried DE, but will be looking into all the others. Thank you!!!

    • lori says

      essential oils can be deadly for cats. Please do your research before using them. Even using oils on your skin can come into contact with a cat licking you or laving on you and your cat can get sick and even die.

  9. Michelle says

    Jill, You must be reading my mind! I am such a huge fan of your blog, pinterest, twitter!! I’m 44 years old and have been trying to “Green” my family for a few years now and your blog has been the greatest influence, and the most helpful of anything on the net or in the libraries!!! Yesterday I was thinking about my wiper fluid, I open my email at work, and that’s your post for the day! Tonight I’m looking for “bug be gone” remedies, and WOW look at todays post. I just want you to know you are the best thing I have read and followed ever. I’m so excited by your ideas that I have even started a group of friends at work that I forward your daily email to and we talk it about it at break!! Soon the whole company will be Jillee fans. I live in Modesto, CA. Cali girl my whole life. Can’t believe we let a good one like you get away.

    Respectfully yours,

    • Debbie says

      Jillee, I agree with Michelle. I have been trying to “green up” our lives, too, and your blog has been great. I am teaching a summer math class at our local community college and have shared the liquid laundry detergent recipe and the windshield washer fluid recipe with my students. Several seem excited to try them. Isn’t saving money all about math? Thank you so much . You make saving money so much fun!

      • CTY says

        Go “greener” by making Jillee’s powdered laundry detergent. You’ll save water & save the fuel to heat the water & the hot water needed to clean the pot & less fumes from it “cooking”
        It also takes up less space, is easier to measure & saves you time.

      • Linda says

        What is the detergent recipe and how do you control airwicks, they are really bad here this year.

    • Sally says

      DE (Diatomacious Earth) will help with fleas and is safe for animals and humans

      • says

        I was just going to say DE — glad someone else mentioned it. I wash my dogs with Miracle II soap and I use DE. I even use DE when I go camping, I put a line of it in a circle all around my tent, so no crawly bugs will get in, although flying insects still can get in…. :) And we take it internally for parasite cleanse, and give it to my dogs and cat twice a year for a week or two at a time. They have never been tested positive for parasites, but chances are if you have pets and they go outside, then not only will they get parasites (even undetected in a stool sample) but YOU will, too. Better safe than sorry, I say! :)

      • Kate says

        If you’re going to use DE, be sure it is FOOD GRADE. Don’t use the stuff for pool filters!!

      • Cynthia says

        Well, yeah…but so does all soap. Doesn’t your soap irritate you when it gets in YOUR eyes? What are you doing putting soap in your dog’s eyes anyway? If soap is getting in their eyes, I don’t think you’re bathing them correctly. Be more careful! Dog’s eyes are delicate (as are ours), and often deteriorate as they get older. My dog is 10, and the vet has only recently pointed out that his eyes are getting cloudier and his sight may be deteriorating. I wouldn’t dream of getting soap in his eyes! I put soap on a wash cloth and GENTLY clean his face. This is what I recommend you do as well.

      • norma says

        A wash cloth, good idea. I usually just used water on the head. Thanks!

        By the way, everyone loves blue dawn, what is so special? Is it different from other dish soaps?

      • rleo says

        Of course that is where our dog got sprayed by the skunk – right in the face where I couldn’t use anything harsh that would hurt his eyes, even just shampoo!

        Smart tip about the baby wash though, I will try…

      • Jennifer says

        I worked as a Dog Groomer for years. We used Douches ( female supplies) for when Dogs were sprayed by a skunk.

      • Anne says

        Can’t speak for others, but it’s the only dish detergent I have found that doesn’t make my hands break out and that’s why I love it! :)

      • Chrys says

        This post was a little rude. I’m sure Normal isn’t shoving shampoo/soap in her/his dog’s eyes. It was a precautionary question. Hate online trolls!

      • Rita M. says

        I use Dawn to wash my dog and baby shampoo to wash around his face and eyes. Never had a problem. I rinse him with water with a few drops of tea tree oil in it.

      • says

        My vet recommended Dawn as shampoo for our three dogs. I was SO pleased with the results. Just as an FYI “baby shampoo” is more harsh on the eyes according to her. I’ve possibly been fortunate enough not to get the soap in there eyes, but they have not balked at the Dawn baths at all!!!

      • AJ says

        Dawn Dish Soap is used after oil spills on all kinds of marine life, birds and other animals effected by such disasters. I don’t know if it would be ok for everyday or regular use, but it sure is great for removing heaving stains and grease. I personally use it to remove clothing stains accompanied by a toothbrush. It works better than laundry detergent, stain sticks, sprays, etc.
        As far as sensitivity to the eyes I would just add some of the soap to a soft dish cloth (perhaps microfiber) just like you would for a baby. Then carefully clean around your pets face and eye area. When it comes time to rinse, your pet will probably automatically close its eyes as a reflex just like a human baby would. If not just shield the animals eyes with your hands or fingers or a small clean cloth (lightly place your hand or fingers over the animals eyelids using a cloth or bare hands). I still cover my eyes with a small clean cloth when my mom washes my hair in the sink, and I’m in my late 30s. :-) You may want to call your vet and/or the phone number for Dawn Dish Soap and ask them if the product would be safe for everyday or regular use on an animal. Dawn does advertise/brag about their product for use on animals during animal spills so I think they should be able to answer this question. It’s most likely fine for occasional use, as we have seen it used on wild animals during disasters.

    • Cindy says

      Diamataceous Earth – on lawn, on pet, on pet’s bed, on carpets and cement patios.

    • Strawbery says

      There are lots of remedies concerning tea tree oil to rid fleas… fleas are a hard one to get rid of and keep at bay though… good luck!

      • Christine Baker says

        There are tablets that can be taken orally by pets from vets that last up to 3 months that is usually long enough to get through the summer for fleas, black flies and mosquitoes, and also things that things that harmful thing heartworm and good for cats. Our cat gets it because he likes to lay on cool surfaces, and lay down near us. Check it out last time I got it, it was $17.50 so for three months not bad.

    • AlohaGrama says

      Garlic! Sprinkle garlic powder on your dog’s food every day. The amount depends on the size of your dog.

      • lela clingan says

        I heard somewhere garlic is toxic to dogs, please check with your vets just to be on safe side, would hate to see fur babies dying from garlic

      • Brandette W. says

        Yep, I have also always heard that garlic is NOT safe for pets. Our vet has a list posted in the waiting room and in addition to onions and chocolate is garlic. Please don’t give your pets garlic products!

      • Lori c says

        Garlic is only toxic If given in mass quantities :) I’ve given my dogs garlic tablets for quite awhile and no problems so far. Also , the vet should tell you the same thing.
        I give them all baths in dawn dish liquid and it kills the fleas , living on a farm there is lots of critters also being on a dirt road don’t help matters !
        But yup go to Walmart and they have garlic tablets (softgel ) over by the vitamins for humans . Here they are like 3 dollars for 120 tablets.
        Being friends with animal rescues helps out in the long run . Learn all kinds of tips and tricks :)
        Have a great night

    • Hazel says

      Eliminate fleas on your dog by giving a good soak in a tub with 2 parts water 1 part apple vinagre, to keep them under control add a splash of apple vinagre to your dogs drinking water, in your home sprinkle a mixture of half borax half salt leave it to work for an hour or preferably over night then vacuum it away, you want to do it again in a couple of weeks just in case eggs hatched

    • Beth Sherrill says

      we have awesome luck with Vets Best Home spray for fleas and ticks, I spray it right on the dogs, and furniture bedding and so on, buy at pet store, all natural and premixed essential oil based . doesn’t hurt my dogs and cats skin the way the meds from the vet do.

    • Cherie says

      To initially rid of them, use Adams brand carpet powder, flea shampoo and flea dip. Then use vinegar in their water ( about a quarter cup per bowl) and garlic powder on their food (apply liberally and mix around) . I never had to use flea chemicals.

    • kathy b good says

      sounds like you are going to need to set off bug bombs. If I find a few fleas on my cat, I comb olive oil through the fur & it smothers them.

      I have been in the position you are and I remember how awful & overwhelming, and expensive, it was to address. I’m thinking generic grocery store equivalent of Frontline for dogs, flea bombs for the home, and Raid for the yard, probably every dry day for a week. Hope this helps. I am NOT an expert and would suggest you look into the effects of these treatments on you, children, plants, your pets, etc. with a more knowledgeable person than myself.

      • kathy b good says

        having read other solutions from others here (which I should have done first LOL), I think their solutions are much better than the ones I’ve suggested.

        I used a tube of Vaseline-type product along moldings & entryways where I saw ants galore, and they never came in again. I have no small children to worry about coming into contact with Vaseline, and it wasn’t anywhere my cats would walk through. I didn’t even have to reapply it this year..think the word got around not to bother with my place : )

        thank you all so much for your comments, I found them so helpful!

    • Porsha says

      I need help with fleas also .I have tried vinegar and salt ..Sprays,sevin dust ,,Also Roches I live in Apts and everytime they spray they come to my apt . Please help

      • fs says

        For fleas………….if you have carpeted floors……….try borax powdered soap and iodized salt, mix it 1/2 &1/2………..spinkle on carpet……….after a week no more flees…….they love the soap(don,’t know why) They eat the salt thinking it is the soap…….dehydrate from it and die. Vacuum them up..lol

    • LE says

      wash your dog with some dawn dishsoap, then put some lavender essential oil on the dog. smells good and works! i say this from experience. :)


  1. […] natural products come in a variety of forms, you may discover such common items as cucumber, mint, cornmeal, sweet basil, eucalyptus oil and even vodka can be effective against such pests as ants, spiders, mosquitoes and the like. Because these are […]