This summer I wrote about the safe use of pesticides in the yard and garden. But with Fall here, I though I’d share my tips for natural pest control inside your home!
Living in a rural area, we have more than our share of house flies. Since they usually fail to wipe their feet before coming inside and crawling all over my counter tops, I would prefer that they not come in at all. Two ways to keep the flies outside include the trap and the baggie of water.
Available at your local hardware or feed store is the disposable fly trap. It is a plastic bag with a funnel-like top. You put an attractant in the bottom of the bag and hang it up out in the yard. If you have animals, it is a good idea to hang it somewhere close to the barnyard. The flies, attracted by the liquid inside, go into the funnel but cannot fly out. When the bag is full, you throw it away and hang a new one.
In our neck of the woods, you often see zip-shut bags full of water hanging on folk’s doorways. These baggies of water repel flies from coming into the house by refracting the light that shines through them—confusing the fly and causing it to go in another direction.
Despite our best efforts, though, flies do end up inside. Then how do you get rid of them? We use fly strips. These strips are covered with a very sticky attractant. Once the fly lands on it, it is stuck. You hang them in areas where flies congregate, like in the kitchen or mud room. When the strip is full, you throw it away and hang a new one.
During the canning season, we often have trouble with fruit flies. The tiny pests hover around the compost bucket or the bushel of apples waiting to be turned into applesauce. A few hovering about is not too annoying, but when you put up bushels of food each week, with scraps and peelings collecting, the fruit flies can get out of hand. You can buy a fruit fly trap for around $8 at the hardware store. It works similar to the house fly trap but on a smaller scale. I found a way to save myself $8, though, and designed my own fruit fly trap.
Place some apple or tomato peels in the bottom of a canning jar. Whatever attracts the fruit flies will work. Next, roll a piece of copy paper into a funnel with a tiny hole at the bottom. Tape it to keep it rolled and insert into the jar so that the mouth of the jar is sealed and that the funnel tip does not touch the scraps. Just keep it on the counter. By the next morning it will be full of fruit flies. You can read detailed instructions for making your own trap here.
When we lived in Florida we had a palmetto tree right at the corner of the garage. These trees are the favorite habitat of the palmetto bug, also known as the American cockroach. Invariably, we would have these pests coming into our garage. One season the rubber seal at the bottom of the door had torn and given the bugs easier access. Not having the money to replace the strip, we had to devise a way to keep the bugs out of our belongings. Using just a few household items, my husband made a fool-proof roach trap.
Taking a wide-mouthed jar, he wiped the inside with vegetable oil. Then he put a blob of peanut butter in the bottom of the jar. He made several of these jars and set them inside the garage door. The bugs would go into the jar to get to the peanut butter but couldn’t get out because the sides were slicked with oil. The next morning he would go outside, cap the jars, and throw them into our dumpster.
Nothing is more annoying than a trail of ants running through the kitchen or bath. But there are several ways to destroy or repel those unwanted armies.
Keep a spray bottle of half white vinegar/half water in the kitchen. Several times a day spray the counter tops and wipe with this solution. Ants do not like the smell and it will eliminate the scent trails that they leave, thereby confusing those to follow.
Mix borax with something sweet like jelly or honey and put in a bottle cap in a corner where the ants travel. They will eat the borax and die. Do not use this method, however, if you have small children or pets that would find the bottle cap.
Sprinkle baby powder or cinnamon along the trail. Both substances are natural ant repellents and will discourage the ants from coming that way.
Do you have any other non-toxic ways to deal with bugs in the house? Please share in the comments.