Insects serve a purpose in nature, but that does not mean they are welcome in the home. Getting rid of bugs and keeping them away is a multi-step process, but it can be done without resorting to toxic pesticides. Here are ways to control bugs naturally without harming your home environment.
1. Use Natural Pesticides
Several natural, non-toxic substances kill bugs. You can make your own insecticidal soap for use indoors or outdoors by combining natural liquid soap with water in a spray bottle at a ratio of at least 5 tablespoons of soap per gallon of water. This works well on insects such as aphids, ants and mealy bugs.
Diatomaceous earth is a powdered substance made from a certain kind of fossil. It has a dehydrating effect on insects, and its abrasive structure can penetrate even the hard exoskeletons of pests such as bed bugs and fleas. It is non-toxic and so you can safely spread it around baseboards, the inner walls of cupboards and other out-of-the-way areas. Just make sure you wear a dust mask when using it to avoid inhaling the particles. Also, use caution around pets so they do not accidentally inhale it either.
Borax is another natural agent that dehydrates bugs, but it also poisons them. It does possess some toxicity, and it should be used with more caution than diatomaceous earth. If you do use borax, use it only in areas inaccessible to animals and humans.
2. Use Natural Scents to Deter Pests
Peppermint, lavender and cedar are among the essential oils known for deterring bugs. Just add a few drops of your preferred oil to a spray bottle filled with water. Give it a good shaking and then spray areas the bugs might like to hide or areas of possible entrance into the home, such as window frames. You can also try hanging sachets of lavender or cedar chips in the pantry, closets and other spaces where you have had insect activity.
3. Create a Natural Bug Trap
Many bugs, including fleas and ants, are attracted to sugar water. Placing a bowl of sugar water in your home will bring them out of their hiding places. However, don’t just stop there or you will just have a lot of bugs with happy bellies. To make sure they get trapped in the solution, add some dish soap.
4. Keep Food in Sealed Containers
Some people keep foods such as cereals, beans, nuts, pasta and rice stored in plastic or paper bags in the cupboard. This invites pests such as roaches, ants and kitchen moths as they can smell the food and chew or crawl into small openings. Store all pantry items in tightly lidded reusable containers.
5. Keep Debris Away from the House
Yard debris such as fallen leaves, sticks, dead plants provide an inviting home for bugs. When this material is left next to the house, this also means more bugs will find access into the home. The same thing goes for stacks of firewood or even lawn furniture. Keep the area around the home clear of anything that can provide shelter for insects or act as a climbing surface for them to gain easy entry.
6. Control Moisture
Many bugs besides silverfish are attracted to moisture. By keeping your home free of excessive dampness, you will make your home less hospitable to these unwanted guests. To reduce moisture, have your basement sealed and waterproofed, use exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen, and use dehumidifiers during humid weather. In addition, dry clothing in a clothes dryer or outdoors instead of hanging them indoors to dry.
7. Seal the Gaps
Bugs can crawl through tiny holes and gaps. Check your home and seal window frames, doorframes, foundation cracks, and place pest-proof covers over external dryer outlets. The more effort you spend in sealing all potential sources of entry, the less chance you will have of encountering creepy crawlers in your home.
8. Compost Correctly
Composting keeps your garden healthier and recycles much kitchen waste. However, your compost bin can attract insects if it is too close to the house or if you are discarding the wrong kinds of items. Do not put meat or animal fats in your compost pile.
9. Keep the Home Clean
Bugs are attracted to even the smallest food crumbs. Make sure you keep your home clean and clear of food crumbs. This means cleaning the floors beneath furniture and trash cans because, for insects, out of sight does not really mean out of mind.
10. Plant an Herbal Barrier
Use plants that deter pests all around the perimeter of your home. These plants include mint, lavender and basil. Plant them in pots around the outside and the inside of the home. When placed on windowsills, they can help deter common invaders, such as ants.
If your bug infestation is a bad one, getting rid of all of them might take some time. Organic methods do work and they spare you from the terrible toxins most chemical pesticides contain. It’s important to seek out professional pest control services If pests keep coming back after trying these methods.