8 Natural Ways To Pest-Proof Your Home
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Bug Out!1 of 9
By Naomi Jaul
With warm weather comes war—the kind waged against encroaching creepy crawlies, that is. But if you'd rather not cloud your home in chemicals, here are some eco-friendly, easy-peasy ways to keep out the six- and eight-legged critters or to win back some territory if they've already made it inside your home.
Marching Orders2 of 9
You've found yourself with lines of marching ants criss-crossing your kitchen, now what? Open up your spice cupboard. "Bay leaves repel ants, as well as moths and roaches," says Jolie Kerr, author of the upcoming My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag and Other Questions You Can't Ask Martha. Strew this spice in cupboards and leave bunches tied by windows, where ants often break in.
Shoo Fly3 of 9
Is there anything more annoying than the buzz of a fly? Prevent them from entering by planting an indoor herb garden near windows packed with basil, bay, mint and rosemary—flies hate the smell—and hang pomanders—a mix of herbs and scents in a bag or aromatic ball—from doorways and windows.
Safe Storage4 of 9
We've all seen those tell-tale signs in flour and dried goods that signal the pantry moth's presence—one of the hardest bugs to clear out completely. Unfortunately, the pest was probably packed into the product in larvae form before it reached your home. In general, store flour, rice and grains in the freezer to prevent potential future infestations (just let the dry goods come to room temperature before cooking with them) while oil of cloves will help keep them out of cupboards.
Once Bitten5 of 9
We hope you like garlic—because one of the best ways to keep mosquitos from biting is to eat plenty of the stuff. Also, instead of perfume—bloodsuckers are attracted to the scent—dab oil of lemon eucalyptus on your wrists. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it lasts longer than any repellant—including DEET.
Tangled Web6 of 9
"Eucalyptus will repel spiders," says Kerr. "But spiders eat other bugs, like mosquitoes, so think twice before removing them from the premises." Still, if you'd like to avoid midnight removal missions from your bedroom, dab a border of eucalyptus oil around window and door frames.
Roach Attack7 of 9
The most shudder-inducing of all bugs, roaches are notoriously hardy. An easy, unexpected remedy? According to various natural home remedy blogs, common baking soda! Stir together equal parts white sugar and baking soda and place dabs in strategic spots—behind or beneath appliances, in closets or near wastebaskets. Roaches will be attracted to the sugar, but the baking soda will kill them. If you have pets, limit the mixture to places your pets can't reach.
Fruit Fly Showdown8 of 9
Summer's stone fruit, like plums, peaches and cherries, attract these pesky little flies to the kitchen. To get rid of them, "You need to make a fruit fly bait using something to attract them (cider vinegar, wine, beer or juice) mixed with dish soap," says Kerr.
Flea Assault9 of 9
If you've got a furry friend, your home can easily become a haven for fleas—particularly in summer, when eggs hatch every two days. After treating your pet, throw all their bedding—as well as cushion and couch covers—into the laundry and blast them in the dryer. Try sprinkling fine salt over carpets (which will dehydrate and kill fleas and eggs) for a day before vacuuming. For hardwood floors, cut up a few lemons and steep in boiling water, then use the mixture to mop floors and tiles.
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