I was planning on finishing up a different post today (DIY convenience mix recipes – look for it soon!), but this morning I was filling my coffee pot and watched the first ant of the season saunter across my countertop. NOOOOOOOOO!
Everything else I had planned for this weekend had to be immediately put on hold so that I could start getting this pest invasion under control before it turns from one ant – quickly – to a whole colony. Last summer, I had a lot of extra undesirable housemates with more than 2 legs, and I don’t want to deal with that again!
What’s a person to do? Before you let anyone try to convince you to break out the big (poisonous) guns….
First off, clean up any attractants – in the kitchen this would be spills, crumbs, etc. In places like the bathroom, empty the garbage can and clean the inside of the sink (ants like toothpaste!)
Check all screens for holes. Sweep/clean up the outer perimeter of your house, where piles of leaves and debris might be making lovely outdoor homes for bugs, which are then finding tiny little entries into your home! Also check for small holes in your baseboards, etc. where they might be coming in and plug them with caulk, etc.
Have you heard of the cutting edge (pun intended) in pest prevention? It’s millions of years old! Diatomaceous Earth is a natural protective powder made up of fossilized skeletons marine and fresh water organisms, particularly diatoms and other algae, whose skeletons are made up of hydrated amorphous silica or opal. The crushed skeleton dust is like extremely tiny pieces of glass which sticks to the hairy bodies of most Insects and scratches through their protective outer layers. This causes the insects to dehydrate and die off.
Diatomaceous earth can be used to keep earwigs, ants, and cockroaches, out of the house, including cupboards and carpets. It is safe to use in areas where children and pets may cross, even in pet beds. Place a small amount of the powder in corners, cracks, crevices. and other areas where insects might hide.
It can take several days for the pests to die off, but after that, the diatomaceous earth should control pest problems as long as it stays in place. If dusting a large area, wear a mask to prevent inhalation. Diatomaceous earth does NOT cause silicosis.
For flea treatment, diatomaceous earth can be used to dust pet beds, litter, and even pets themselves. Some even advise adding a small bit to pet food to prevent internal parasites, etc. I am not a veterinarian or expert and am not advising or disadvising this.
Update: I have been made aware that Diatomaceous Earth sold for use in swimming pool filters is not recommended for pest deterrence, as it is not guaranteed to be safe for pets and humans, and it may also be less effective in pest treatment due to being heat-treated.
Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is recommended, and is available at a good price through Amazon ($23 for 10 lbs and eligible for Super-Saver Shipping if you spend $25 or more.)
Click this link: Diatomaceous Earth-Food Grade-10 Pounds by: Nature’s Wisdom
or find it in the Green Penny Pincher Shoppe
- Inflate ‘em – Many people suggest using dry grits, cream of wheat,cornmeal, etc. to attack an ant problem. The ants nibble the grits, which then expand in their stomachs and send them to the ant hill in the sky.
- deterrent line options - Orange oil, cinnamon, fabric softener sheets, Skin-So-Soft lotion, original Listerine
- mint-apple jelly mixed 1:1 with boric acid
- tansy (herb)
- cucumber peels
- citrus peels
- Instead of killing ants, lure them away from your house. one person put an open jar of honey (that they had already started getting into in her kitchen) outside and it kept the ants busy for 6 months!
- A recipe for safe ant traps using Boric Acid (not the same thing as Borax!)
- Keep lids on trash cans – indoors and outside – and always cover food scraps left in the kitchen.
- repellants – basil & mint(potted or fresh cut),
- Housefly trap I – Place some mango peels at the bottom of an open wine bottle and leave on the counter.
- Housefly trap II – Place an open bowl of wine and dish detergent on the counter (sweeter wine = better)
- homemade flypaper – boiling water, sugar, and corn syrup. Dip strips of brown paper bag and hang, or spread on one side of brown paper and place on sills/entryways.
- Soap & Water! Fill a wide shallow pan halfway with soapy water. Place it in the area most affected by the fleas. Shine a lamp over the water and the fleas will jump towards the heat of the lamp and land in the water. The fleas will not be able to jump back out of the water because the detergent works to break the surface tension of the water.”
- See instructions above to use diatomaceous earth to deter/prevent fleas.
- Leave a Bay (Laurel) leaf in each of your containers of flour, cornmeal or cereal to prevent an infestation of weevils.
- Place mint teabags in your clothing drawers as a natural way to repel moths.
- Cedar is a great alternative to disgusting, toxic mothballs. If you are lucky enough have a cedar closet or trunk, lightly sand the interior cedar to refresh it. Cedar hangers, blocks can be purchased for very little money, or you can check with your local lumberyard for cedar scraps. Cedar closet liner, a thin layer of cedar which can be affixed to the interior of your closet (or trunk) is also available: Giles & Kendall & Co Red Cedar Closet Liner Fl-60-15N Cedar
- Follow recommended instructions for using boric acid for ant control to also control cockroaches. Also see instructions above regarding use of diatomaceous earth.
I can’t comfortably even TALK about bedbugs. Read more here.
- Pest-Free, Naturally: Natural Pest Control at naturalhomeandgarden.com
- Frugal & Natural Pest Control: Fruit Flies & Ants Be Gone! at passionatehomemaking.com
- DIY Mosquito Repellent Spray from positivelysplendid.com