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Get Rid of Pests Naturally

Get Rid of Pests Naturally

Recently I was at a friend’s house when I noticed a giant carpenter ant crawling across the wall. The master of the house promptly squished it under his thumb, to my squeamish protests, followed by his description of a crunch and a squirt. Bleck. When love-all-creatures me groused about the kill, he said, “but it was in my house!” to which I replied, “maybe it thought we were in his house!”

Anyway. I cannot tell a lie. I have killed insects before–but generally only under one condition: if it is in the process of sucking the blood from or lending a disease to one of my daughters. I am lightening quick to defend the innocent creatures on this planet, until one of them threatens my children–at which point Mama Bear kicks in and smashing, squishing and general swatting may occur.

But what about pests that like to ramble on in and make themselves at home? Is using a pesticide or rodent trap the best way to get rid of ants, roaches, flies, fleas, mice and rodents in the house? It seems to me that if we do everything we can to persuade them from entering in the first place, we are taking an important first step in alleviating the need for pesticides–both sparing the critters’ lives and taking important precautions for our own health as well. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that poisons that can kill insects can’t be all that great for us either–they are poisons after all. (Read a report of the dangers of household pesticides here.)

Here are a number of tips to prevent pests from entering your home:

  • Get rid of any standing water, damp areas or water-damaged material–they all attract insects.
  • Fix leaky plumbing (good for water conservation too!). Don’t leave water in plates under your houseplants, under your refrigerator or anywhere overnight.
  • Don’t inadvertently feed them! Clean areas where food is stored, prepared or eaten. Don’t leave dirty dishes or pet food out for very long.
  • Store opened food items in tightly closed glass containers which will deter insects from chewing through boxes or bags.
  • Put food scraps and trash in a tightly covered garbage or composting can, and take out the trash frequently.
  • Remove or block their hiding places. Caulk cracks and crevices to block access to your home.
  • Caulk and seal openings in walls, use weather stripping on doors and windows, and use screens on floor drains, windows and doors.
  • Don’t store newspapers, paper bags, and boxes for long periods of time–they make cozy homes. Also check for insects in packages or boxes before bringing them into your home.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially under your appliances.
  • Keep exterior spaces clean to deter flies: Clean up pet litter, and tightly close all garbage cans.
  • For fleas, bathe your pets regularly. Wash mats, beds or surfaces that they lay on and vacuum your house weekly or more.

If these steps fail to curtail your pest problem, you may choose to bring out the big guns. Well, the big non-toxic guns that is. Try these green solutions to pesky pests:

Homemade all natural pest strips
Natural flea control
How to rid you home of mice

What’s you take on household pests? Do you “dispatch” by any means possible? Do you have some favorite all natural tips to share? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear.

Read more: General Health, Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Household Hints, Natural Pest Control, , , , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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1:59AM PST on Dec 2, 2013

Bed bugs build up immunity to store-purchased pesticides, which are also harsh to use in your home. To help reduce the spread of the nasty pest, instead mix together a spray of equal parts water and tea tree oil and mist over infected areas. Also, directly spraying bugs with rubbing alcohol kills them on the spot. Cleaning and naturally treating infested areas will inhibit the suckers but may not get rid of them completely, making calling in a pro the best bet. Get more info at :

4:33AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:35PM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

i was hoping also to see more natural ways to get rid of them, not just prevention

8:18PM PDT on Sep 9, 2011


11:22PM PDT on Sep 8, 2011

Good tips, thank you!

2:00PM PDT on Sep 4, 2011

Good tips

9:36AM PDT on May 16, 2011

The occasional bug never bothered me, but my wife hates spiders. I tell her they eat the other bugs, but she doesn't care.

9:12PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

I have had a huge problem with insects over the years and even though the termite control people said it was safe for my pets I do believe when my cat died it was related to the treatments for insects. I used to live in Arizona and the termites are so bad there that the real estate agents say there are two houses one with termites and one that is going to have them.

I am now living in Southern Texas and the coach roaches, fire ants, and mosquitoes are horrible. I dealt with termites, fleas, and other pests that were easier to kill. Our neighborhood is treated by the city and our house is sprayed by us and the mosquitoes would attach you once you stepped out the door. The fire ants were every where and even would get inside our cars while they were parked in the driveway. I still have to try to exterminate the rest of the coach roaches because they hide in every little hole anywhere in the house. I tried pest strips for the mosquitoes; powder, spray, and granulars for the fire ants; and roach motels and several types of sprays for the coach roaches and nothing works. I spent hundreds of dollars on insecticides and treatments for my pets and sprays for my children. My landlord says it isn't there problem even though the other rental house I lived at didn't have these issues and it was less than five miles away. I believe insects are in some areas over other areas because like the article said standing water, places where food is available, and just places to hide. If th

8:49AM PDT on Sep 21, 2010

Thanks for the info, but I was really hoping there would be a safe, natural suggestion for keeping termites away. . . it seems the local exterminators have a monopoly on them, but there must be something (like borax around the foundation or whatever) that will stop the little buggers. Suggestions? Anybody?

9:03AM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

Thanks for the info

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