It’s confirmed.  You’re sharing your home with pests.  So, how can you eject these little intruders and discourage them from coming back?

Here are some green ideas to do your own pest control:

Ants

  • Mix soap and water, and spray on the ants.  Once the spray residue is gone though, the ants might still come back.
  • Discourage ants from coming back by placing any of the following near their points of access: mint, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chalk, bitter cucumber slices, baking soda
  • Natural pesticides:
    • Borax or boric acid. Take note, though, that Borax is poison, so keep this away from pets and children.  Create an “ant trap” by mixing borax with anything sweet, like sugar.  Soak cotton balls with this solution and place in a small bowl near the ant nest.
    • Diatomaceous earth. Scatter this near the ant’s nest.

Bed bugs

  • Clean and vacuum the entire room, paying special attention to potential hiding places, like cracks and spaces in the bed.
  • Bedding and blankets should be vacuumed and washed in hot water and detergent.
  • Use food-grade non-toxic diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide. Apply on areas in the bed where you saw the bugs.

Cockroaches

  • Keep your homes clean by regularly vacuuming and washing with soap and water, particularly the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Repel cockroaches by placing bay leaves or catnip (only if you don’t have pet cats) around your home.
  • Natural pesticides:
    • Boric acid (remember that this should be out of the reach of kids and pet animals)
    • Soapy spray made of dish detergent and water. Spray directly on roaches.
    • Diatomaceous earth. Scatter some on high places and under or behind large appliances.  Don’t be surprised to see a temporary increase in roach activity after this treatment because the diatomaceous earth will penetrate their exoskeleton and make them search for water.  Expect to most roaches exterminated in around two weeks.

Dust mites

  • Vacuum your bedding, mattresses and pillows.
  • Wash bedding in detergent and hot water.
  • Cover mattresses with plastic.
  • Frequently clean, dust and vacuum your entire room. Choose a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate-arresting (HEPA) filter.
  • Don’t forget the stuffed toys. Vacuum and wash them in detergent and hot water.

Fleas

  • Bathe your pet often, using mild soap.  Run a flea comb through your pet’s fur to remove any fleas and eggs.  When you find a flea or egg on the comb, dip the comb in soapy water.
  • Some fleas may be on your carpet. Mix equal parts baking soda and salt, sprinkle on your carpet, and leave overnight, then vacuum the next day.
  • You can also apply diatomaceous earth on the carpet and in other areas where you saw the fleas.
  • Prevent fleas from entering your home:
    • Make diluted lemon water by pouring boiling water over a lemon slice. Let this soak overnight.  Spray the mixture on your pet but check that this does not irritate your pet’s skin.
    • Use cedar spray outside your home, or scatter cedar chips. Pets should be kept away from the cedar, though, as it is poisonous when swallowed.

Spiders

  • Hang any of these in bags around your home to deter spiders:  lavender oil, lemon oil, a mixture of coconut oil and vinegar
  • Clean your house and keep it clutter-free. Seal cracks and openings that spiders can use to enter your home.

 

The most important advice for keeping pests away is to regularly clean and vacuum your home.  Properly store and seal food, repair dripping faucets and do not make water sources available for the pests (like dishes left in water overnight).

 

Image credits: bettyx1138