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 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.
Related: How to Get Rid of Silverfish, Quick!
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!
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 IT CLEAN FOLKS! 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!
CUCUMBER Set out cucumber peels or slices in the kitchen or at the ants’ point of entry. Many ants have a natural aversion to cucumber.
MINT Leave a few tea bags of mint tea near areas where the ants seem most active.
BLOCK THE ENTRY 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.
LIGHT IT UP 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.
BUILD A MOAT 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.
DE Diatomaceous 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.
CORNMEAL 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!
HOMEMADE ANT BAIT 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.
Related: Three Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
BLOCK THEM 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.
REMOVE WATER 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.
COVER THEIR TRAIL 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 tea tree essential oil.
BBQ HELPER If you’re using the barbecue, throw a bit of sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitos.
GARLIC 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.
BUILD A BAT HOUSE 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 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.
PLANT MORE FLOWERS! 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.
Here are a good mosquito-repelling essential oil blend to add to your candles:
DIY MOSQUITO REPELLENT MIXTURE 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.
COVER UP 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
HERBAL SACHETS Place sachets made from small squares of cheesecloth and filled with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus around the house to repel flies.
DIY FLYPAPER 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.
SWEET BASIL 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.
EUCALYPTUS OIL 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.
SPIDERS HATE PEPPERMINT! 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.
COCONUT OIL & VINEGAR 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.
CITRUS ESSENTIAL OILS Spiders taste through their feet, and in addition to peppermint…..they do not like the taste of citrus which includes lemon, lime, 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.
ELIMINATE HIDING PLACES 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 IT UP 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!
ALL PURPOSE, ALL NATURAL BUG SPRAY
Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe
- 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
- 45 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and apply liberally. Store in the fridge when not in use. Should last 2-3 months.
Looking for more ideas about dealing with household pests? Find all my household pest posts here!
What are your most effective pest control practices??