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how to get rid of pests with natural remedies

Hiding away in the dark corners of your home are unseen pests. They thrive indoors during the winter and during the summer they make their way inside when your windows and doors are left open. While most of these pests are often no more than a nuisance, insects like mosquitoes can carry diseases and flies are known to be less than clean.

Most of the time these pests are dealt with using harsh, potent chemicals. But this doesn’t have to be the case. With a few natural alternatives, you can clear your home of these pesky visitors without exposing yourself to harmful pesticides.

We have a few tips on how to deal with common household pests, naturally, so you can rest easy knowing you’re keeping yourself, your family, and your pets safe.

Ants

Ants use their keen sense of smell to make their way inside your home in search of food and water. They are most often found in the kitchen and where there’s one, there are probably many. After discovering a source of food they will continue to return - unless you do something to stop their pantry pillaging.

Spray them with Soapy Water

Your first line of defense is a simple mixture of soap and water. You can use dish soap and combine it in a spray bottle. With a spritz of this mixture, you can kill the ants you see and the soap will help wash away the chemical trail they leave behind. This will prevent other ants from the colony returning as their path is now gone.

Cucumber Peels

To an ant, cucumber means danger. They have a natural aversion to the vegetable that you can take advantage of by placing cucumber peels in areas that are ant prone. They will stay away, and the cucumbers contain a compound that is harmful to the ants. This compound, called trans-2-nonenal, is used in insecticide foams, but you can reap the benefits of it with a simple peel.

Diatomaceous Earth

DE is naturally occuring sedimentary rock that is crumbled into a fine powder and can be used as an ant repellent. Not only do ants not like things sticking to their feet, like powder, but the diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating insects with exoskeletons. After coming across DE they’ll dry out and you can clean them up after. DE is also non-toxic to people and pets so you can safely use it around your home.

Flies

Flies of all types can be a major nuisance and are quite hard to kill, considering their agility and ability to see your fly swatter coming from any angle. They also carry germs and can transfer these germs to your fruits and vegetables when they land on them.

The best way to take care of flies is to prevent them from being in your home in the first place. Keep doors and windows closed when possible so they can’t get inside to lay eggs. If they do make it in, be fastidious in cleaning any surfaces where they might be laying those eggs to prevent more flies from joining you in your home.

DIY Fly Paper

If prevention doesn’t work, you can create your own fly paper. To start, you’ll need the following: ¼ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Put these ingredients into a bowl and cut strips of brown kraft paper to soak in this mixture. Let these strips dry overnight, then hang them throughout your home to catch flies. They’ll be attracted to the sweet smells, but their feet will stick, keeping them from flying around your home.  

Fruit Fly Traps

While most flies can be caught with fly paper, fruit flies are a little more elusive. They are much smaller and the smaller surface area of their feet means it is harder for them to stick. To capture them, you can create a simple mix of apple cider vinegar and soap. Mix both of these in a glass cup (a squirt of dish soap will do it) and mix together. The apple cider vinegar will attract the flies and the soap will break the surface tension of the water so when they land on it, they’ll sink straight to the bottom.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos may be more common in some states than others, but that doesn’t make them any less of a problem. Notorious for buzzing in your ear, mosquitos are also known carriers of viruses like West Nile and Zika. This means you absolutely do not want them around.

To help with mosquito prevention, the first step is to make sure there is no standing water around your home. Old pots left outside and puddles in lower areas are breeding grounds for mosquitoes as they can lay their eggs in as little as a capful of water. Be sure to check your home’s drainage systems as well - any water left undrained is the perfect place for them to breed.

Citronella Oil for Repellent

Beyond removing any areas of standing water, you can use citronella to keep mosquitos away. Citronella is an oil, but is used in the manufacture of candles that can be placed around outdoor spaces. It is also available on wristbands or collars you and your pets can wear when outside.

The oil works to repel mosquitos by masking the scents they love, like carbon dioxide and lactic acid, both produced by humans.

DIY Sprays

If you want to try something different, you can make your own repellants with natural materials like rosemary and even garlic. Mixing garlic juice with water in a spray bottle (in a 1:5 ratio) gives you a natural repellent you can spray on yourself that will last up to six hours.  

Using rosemary, you can keep mosquitoes away indoors and out. The herb contains an essential oil that naturally repels mosquitos so keep them in a small pot inside your home or plant them outside.

Dealing with those Pests

The best way to deal with pests is to prevent them from coming into your home in the first place, but this isn’t always possible. On beautiful summer days you want to keep the windows open, unfortunately giving them easy access. With our tips you can get rid of these pests naturally or step up your prevention with DIY fly paper and plants that repel them. Don’t forget to also clean your home and get into all the nooks and crannies where they like to hide.

Have your own tips for dealing with pests? Share them in the comments below!

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