No one likes to deal with bugs. No one. I don’t care what your argument is but there’s nothing worse than when fruit flies invade your home.
So, how do we deal with this? Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with five common house pests.
I’m all about being preventative, and cleaning up the house is a great way to prevent infestations. Many pests are attracted to kitchen staples, such as sugar, so you want to make sure that food is stored in tight containers and that any spills are cleaned up immediately and thoroughly.
When it comes to the outdoors, make sure there aren’t any pools of water near your house. After a rainstorm, make sure to empty out any water that has collected in bins or on other surfaces. Keep your indoor surfaces clean and dry, too. Not only will this help with pests but it will keep your home smelling clean and fresh. Which you definitely want, especially in the kitchen.
Repair any exterior holes that lead into the house as well, both for pests and curb appeal purposes.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper into dealing with some specific pests.
One way to get rid of ants is with something you likely already have at home—vinegar.
Add some vinegar to water—you’ll want to make this with equal parts of each component—and spray the area the ants are coming from. It’s a good idea to spray their path and any roaming ants, as well as to repeat the process a few times to ensure the ants are gone and don’t come back.
You can even seal entry points with caulk or petroleum jelly. Nontoxic ant repellants are available for purchase as well. Be sure to follow the instructions on anything you do buy to repel ants or any other pests.
Placing the ends of cucumbers, vanilla beans, or dried pyrethrum daises in cupboards is a natural way to repel cockroaches from your home. You can also use a heat gun (or hair dryer) to drive them out from behind appliances and in/under cupboards.
Keep your home as clean and dry as you can. Fix leaks and keep food sealed up tight. Move around your towels regularly too to ensure no cockroaches are nesting in them.
If you’re going to place traps, do an inspection and determine where the roaches are populating. After doing so, place your glue strips, gel bait, roach hotels, etc. strategically in those locations. Also, be sure to fill any gaps in the walls to keep more roaches from invading your home. It’s also a great idea to hire a professional exterminator to eliminate your cockroach problem.
Keeping things clean can be the key to avoiding and getting rid of flies. Be sure to clean up not only spills but any other garbage that might attract flies. If you’ve done this but are still getting flies in your home, you might want to invest in a screen door or another screen to hang and keep flies from getting into your home. You can also place pots of basil near your doors. Flies hate the smell and in using this herb to deter them you’re gaining some fresh cooking ingredients!
I’m including fruit flies in here, too. There are a lot of great at-home solutions to getting rid of those tiny, pesky flies. Start with a bowl and some cling wrap. Either mash a banana, pour in some red wine, or mix a few drops of dish soap with apple cider vinegar into the bowl, cover it with the cling wrap and poke a few holes in the top.
Set this in the area where you are seeing the flies to capture them. If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, consider pouring bleach solution, mixed with water, into the sink if you are dealing with drain flies. You can also purchase some over-the-counter traps as well.
At one of my old jobs, a nest appeared—seemingly overnight—just outside of the main door of the office. We were located in a small town and someone knew someone who knew someone who was a beekeeper. So, we had her stop by, remove the bees and the nest safely, and we all went on with our lives.
While this is a great option, it’s not available for everyone. If you can avoid killing bees/wasps, definitely do so. You might consider handing a fake hive to discourage others from building a nest nearby (they are believed to be territorial).
That isn’t a 100% guaranteed method though, so be sure to remove any old nests in the fall (when the bees have left it) or call a professional to remove them.
They might be cute (look at that picture!), but mostly from afar. If you’re having a problem with rats or mice, you’re going to want to invest in or make a trap.
Humane traps are a great option here because they trap the rats/mice so that you can relocate them rather than killing them, which can cause them a lot of pain. You can also block gaps in your walls with steel wool, which rats and mice cannot chew through.
To keep from having problems with them, make sure holes inside and outside are sealed up. Always make sure food is sealed tightly in containers and that you clean up those spills!
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.