Any pests in your home are cause for concern. They’re annoying, could bite and spread diseases, and they can damage your house. Fortunately, there are some home pest control methods designed for prevention, and others that will fix a current problem.
If you’re interested in avoiding harsh chemicals found in commercial pesticides, these DIY home pest control methods might do the trick instead:
If you’re concerned about the harmful effects of pesticides, especially on children or pets, there are some natural home pest control methods that could be effective. Ants can be a big problem, regardless of where you live, so let’s take a look at some natural ways to get rid of ants in your home:
There are other methods to get rid of ants without pesticides, and while they are still “natural”, they could carry some risk if you have small children who might put things in their mouths. Some people use borax, or boric acid, for home pest control. If you sprinkle borax where the ants are, the chemical erodes the waxy surface on the insect’s skin and it will dehydrate and die. In order to “bait” the insects to the borax trap, though, you likely have to mix the powder with something sweet like honey or powdered sugar. By doing that, you could attract other kinds of pests (like rodents), so be careful if that’s your technique.
Still, while borax or boric acid might not have the level of risk that you would find in commercial pesticides, ingesting it can cause nausea, vomiting, throat swelling and other serious issues. Home pest control remedies that involve borax or boric acid would be best for cracks, behind appliances, out of reach of children or pets, and not near food surfaces.
If you live in the southern portion of the U.S., or even in the northeast, mosquitoes can be a big problem. Years ago, mosquitoes were seen as merely a nuisance — aside from the buzzing if one got into your house, a bite would be an itchy annoyance for a few days. With concerns about the Zika and West Nile viruses on the rise, everyone wants to do whatever they can to control the mosquito population. How to get rid of mosquitoes inside the house can be challenging, so the best method is to start by controlling them outside.
Eliminate standing water. The egg, larva and pupa stages of a mosquito life cycle happen in four to 14 days. Therefore, any water that remains stagnant for four days or longer is ripe for mosquito breeding. Eliminating breeding sites is the best way to reduce the mosquito population in your yard.
Here are some tips for getting rid of standing water:
Herbs and plants as mosquito control. There are certain herbs and flowers that are believed to create inhospitable environments for mosquitoes, whether because the pests dislike the smell, taste, or for other reasons. These herbs and flowers are commonly used for mosquito control:
You can use these herbs or flowers in “mosquito pots”; simply plant a few combinations of the herbs listed above in small pots and place them strategically around your yard or home. You can also use dried versions of these herbs to make mosquito-repellent potpourri that you could place by entryways, a pool deck, barbecue, or just on an outdoor table while you’re dining. Making your home smell uninviting to them is one method to get rid of mosquitoes inside the house.
You can also place a few drops of essential oils on a cotton cloth and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. It will add a little natural repellent as you wear your clothes, and you don’t need to apply anything directly to your skin!
Most of us can probably agree that cockroaches are gross. Even if you’re pretty pest-tolerant, there are lots of reasons why you definitely don’t want cockroaches in your home. For one thing, they contaminate food and can spread bacteria that causes food poisoning. For another, one cockroach could produce several thousand offspring in a year, so once you have them, they’re very hard to get rid of.
If you do suspect that you have an infestation, here’s how to get rid of cockroaches in your home:
Mice are among the most common non-insect pests that can invade your home. Even if you don’t have an “invasion,” just a few can cause a lot of trouble. But, first, they’re sneaky little critters. They’re not about to just come out of hiding when a human walks by and make their presence known.
Pro tip: If you hear or see mice only at night, it’s possible that the mouse population in your home is still small and manageable. If you begin seeing them during the day, that could be an indicator that you have a large mouse problem and you might want to call a pest control professional.
If you are pretty confident that you have a mouse problem but you want to try to manage it on your own without bringing in a home pest control professional, there are DIY methods for getting rid of them without extensive use of chemicals or pesticides.
Terminix has some good information on this topic. Here’s how to get rid of mice in the walls:
Mouse traps come in several varieties. The most commonly used are the bait-’n-snap, live capture, electric, and “sticky” traps. Once you’ve chosen what type of trap you want to use, you then need to select bait and consider the most effective placement.
Snap traps. These are the traditional wood or plastic traps that have a single snap bar that is designed to instantly kill a mouse when it comes for the bait. You would bait these traps with a tiny piece of cheese or dab of peanut butter. Be sure to use a very small amount of bait, though — they will come for just a tiny bit, but if you use too much they could steal the bait and avoid the trap.
Enclosed snap traps. These function much like the traditional snap traps, except that they operate like a little hut. You open the door in the back to add the bait; when the mouse goes in to get it, he gets snapped.
Catch and release traps. As the name suggests, these are designed to trap live mice that you can then release into the wild. You place the bait in the trap and set the door to open. When the mice go in to get the bait, the door snaps shut behind them.
Electric traps. These are similar to other traps in that you bait the trap to entice the mouse to enter. When it does, the sensor triggers a high-voltage current that electrocutes the mouse instantly. You can re-bait the trap and reuse after emptying the dead mouse.
Glue traps. These traps are sticky and simply catch the mouse as it comes to grab the bait.
Finally, there are ultrasonic pest control units. These are not traps. They are small units that look like smoke alarms, and you plug it into an electrical outlet. They give off ultrasonic waves that repel mice within a certain radius. Depending on the size of your home, this method might not cover every area where mice might enter. As well, they are more effective at keeping mice away than getting them out if they are already in your home. You would want to do some research before investing in an ultrasonic repelling device because some work better than others.
There’s a reason why these animals are called “pests” — whether you’re dealing with ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes, mice or something else, they are not welcome houseguests. Keeping them at bay outside will go a long way towards how to get rid of mosquitoes inside the house, mice and cockroaches from entering, and so on. If you find that these solutions don’t work for you, or you have an ongoing issue, you might want to contact a professional for your home pest control, before the situation becomes too big to handle without drastic measures.
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