My wife and I had a terrible ant problem last year. We both had a bad habit—probably more me than her—of leaving food sitting out. Or if we spilled crumbs on the floor or counter tops, we didn’t sweep or wipe them up right away. The ants loved our bad habit, but we didn’t love the ants, so I had to find a way to get rid of them. Because the ants were in the kitchen, I didn’t want to use harsh chemicals, and I didn’t want to risk getting sick from some pest-killing chemical. Instead, I was able to find some products and techniques that are safe to use around the house, and, as a bonus, they’re also eco-friendly.
Preventing Insects and Bugs from the Outside
One of the best ways to prevent insects from coming into your home is to seal up any and all openings. While this probably won’t stop all pests from entering, especially if you have an older home, it will make it more difficult for them to get in. Install new seals on doors and windows, and make sure any doors or windows that are sometimes left open have screen doors. Sealing your home will also make your furnace and air conditioner more efficient, which improves air quality and saves you money.
Besides making your home a little more difficult to get into, there are other things you can do like encouraging natural predators of insects to live near your home. Birds and bats are a couple of the biggest natural predators for insects. Consider putting some bird and bat houses up in your yard. Bats are best because they sleep all day and come out at night when many insects are active.
A final technique for preventing insects from entering your home is to use garlic. Garlic can be made into spray that is effective on many plant-dwelling insects. Blend up several garlic cloves and water and then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Put the liquid in a spray bottle, and you can spray it on anything outdoors you don’t want insects to get on. I’d hesitate to use this in my home because it smells so strong.
But If the Bugs Get In…
If you already have insects in your home, try setting out small dishes of sugar water and dish soap. The insects will be attracted to the mixture and drown. My wife and I have found that this works great with flying insects. If you have ants, they might ignore the sugar water soup concoction, so try vinegar. Vinegar will keep ants off of whatever you spray it on. When my wife and I had our ant problem, I sprayed vinegar right down into the crack they were coming out of.
While those solutions are easy, we found something even easier and less expensive. We started cleaning up after ourselves. Insects like ants are usually in your home because there’s something for them to eat. Find out what they’re interested in, and you can get rid of it or at least store the food so ants can’t reach it. If there’s nothing to eat, they’ll go away. We tried many of these green solutions, and while they worked, we didn’t get rid of our problem until we eliminated the source