For some time now, people have sent me messages through email and Facebook asking how to stay pest free. As a person who really doesn’t like bugs, it’s a question I’ve actually put a lot of thought into.
For years I paid pest control professionals to treat my home and yard, and sure enough, it cleared the property of pests.
But the more I learned, the more I worried about what all those toxins might be doing to my family. There’s no denying that certain cancers, for example, are connected to too much pesticide exposure.
As we prepare our homes and properties for fall (and eventually winter), you might consider trying some of these 15 natural remedies to kill the bugs that trouble you. They can be great alternatives to more traditional methods of pest control.
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE
It's worth starting by stating that a simple way to keep insects out is not to invite them in in the first place. Most of these annoying pests need food and water for survival. So, maintain a clean kitchen, clear out the garbage frequently, and store food and drinks in airtight containers. Another way to avoid bug problems is by draining stagnated water and sealing off small cracks and holes.
The pest that I’ve had the most trouble dealing with are ANTS! For such tiny creature…boy they cause a lot of problems! Here are some tips that will help you to keep them away from your home as well as from picnic spots.
1. STOP THEM AT THE DOOR
Completely search the area and figure out where the ants are coming from. Cayenne pepper, citrus oil (it can also be soaked in a string piece), lemon juice, or cinnamon– place any one of these items in a small line near the entry points so that ants cannot cross.
2. COFFEE GROUNDS
Spread grounds around or on any hills and after a while you might notice a decrease in ant population. There are plenty of testimonials as to how well this works, and a variety of theories as to why. Some claim it’s the nitrogen in the grounds, burning the ants’ legs. Others say that ants are susceptible to caffeine.
3. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH (DE)
Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton which is in talc-like format. If you sprinkle the powder on the ants, it will absorb the lipids from their exoskeleton (outer layer) and cause severe dehydration.
4. BLOCK THEM
Early morning and evening are the time when mosquitoes are the most active. They seek areas of still air as they are held back by the breeze. So always close the windows and doors that are opposite the breeze.
5. ELIMINATE WATER
By removing the standing water around your home, you can cut the breeding sources of mosquitoes. Make sure to change birdbaths, wading pools, and pet’s bowls twice a week. Clean the gutters in your house and keep them well-drained.
6. OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS
Studies have shown the effectiveness of oil of lemon eucalyptus as natural mosquito and tick repellent. Dr. Dana C. Price of Rutgers, the State University, says that “some studies have even found [oil of lemon eucalyptus] comparable to lower concentrations of DEET.” Just remember that it’s not recommended for children under three.
This well-loved essential oil extracted from Cymbopogon has a whole host of uses, and it’s well known for turning away mosquitoes. It’s an EPA-registered insect repellent, but it doesn’t work well in open areas like yards.
8. ESSENTIAL OILS
Certain flavors of essential oils can keep mosquitoes at bay. A 2019 report in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that cinnamon, peppermint, lemongrass, spearmint, and garlic essential oils are effective, but there’s a catch: because they evaporate quickly, a single dose won’t work for very long.
Many people swear by Basil as a way to ward off flies. Plant it in containers and keep it near doorways. People claim that flies will stay far away from the area. While going for picnics, you can take a bunch of these leaves with you. You can also keep away mosquitoes by using these leaves.
10. HERBAL SACHETS
Here’s a great way to use basil: make small sachets out of cheesecloth and fill them with crushed basil as well as mint, bay leaf, clove, or eucalyptus. Place these sachets around the house to repel flies.
Again, seek out catnip as an essential oil. A study out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found it had a 79 percent repellent rate against houseflies.
12. EUCALYPTUS OIL
To make a fly-free zone, dip some eucalyptus oil in a small cloth or rag and place it in the areas that are plagued by flies.
13. ELIMINATE HIDING PLACES
Spiders are mostly seen in dark and messy places, so keep away debris, wood piles, and lush plants from the sides of the house. Spiders can be repelled if they have fewer places to hide.
A 2018 study published by the Entomological Society of America found that certain spider varieties were “strongly repelled” by mint oil. Below is an all-purpose homemade bug spray with a touch of citrus, Spray the mixture around doors, windows, lawns, cobwebs and in any other place where spiders lurk around. Peppermint gives a pleasant aroma, and it is not harmful to children and pets.
- 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka
- 45 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
- 15 drops Lemon or Wild Orange Essential Oil
- Mix all these ingredients in a spray bottle and apply it generously. It will last two to three months if it is stored in the fridge.
The same research that found mint oil to be effective also found that “chestnuts fruits” repelled certain spiders. Simply place the fresh nuts against your baseboards, windowsills, and near doors.
I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments about natural insect repellents I might have missed that are working for you!