Thankfully the winter is starting to be behind us, but now that the weather is getting warmer the bugs are coming out of their hibernation and, chances are, into your home to visit. The response to this is usually killing the bug as we see them and then hoping they don’t come back, but to prevent mass bugicide let’s see if there are some ways we can prevent them from coming into your home in the first place.
Ants- I’m not gonna lie, ants are my biggest cringe-worthy insect to find in my home. Ants love sugar, so a well cleaned home (especially kitchen) free of loose crumbs, Popsicle sticks, or spilled sugary drinks are going to be your absolute best defense. This isn’t always a perfect system, and things like pet food (always hard to keep track of in a home) can attract ants, so there are some natural remedies to help:
1. Mint: Mint is part of the essential oil family that gives off very strong scents. Because ants follow their nose in order to find their food sources the strong odor of the Mint will confuse and deter them from coming in your home. Get some mint extract, peppermint oil, or even mint tea will do the trick. If you can find the colony that the ants are coming from you can soak a string in the scent and line the colony with it. Other items that work are citrus oil, cloves, and even cayenne pepper.
2. Coffee Grounds: Using the basic logic of the mint above, take your coffee grounds (even used ones work) and spread them around the entrance to your home.
3. Cucumber: No, really it works. Cucumbers, the more bitter the better, are really good at keeping ants from entering your home. Jury is still out if pickles work, if they do by all means tell me in the comments.
Wasps: Unlike their fat and fuzzy relatives the bumblebee, a wasp can be particularly annoying and potentially dangerous for homes with young kids and pets who might not know any better. If a wasp is in your home, he probably just wandered in there on accident or he thought he was going after something but was mistaken. However, if the problem persists and you see more wasps IN your home than outside of it, it’s entirely possible they have built a nest in your home. If this is the case DO NOT try and remove it yourself, call professional help. So what can you do to keep wasps at bay?
1. Seal off open holes/cracks: Wasps don’t have much of a body to begin with, but the body they do have can squeeze through some really small cracks. Make sure screen doors don’t have holes in them, check vents, splits in paneling, anything that could be an entrance to your home from the outside.
2. Know which foods wasps like: During the beginnings of the spring and summer wasps enjoy protein based foods. After a picnic or a barbeque, feeding a pet outside, or by the pool, make sure that all food scraps are properly disposed of. Towards the late summer/early fall time period they switch to sweet foods, especially fruits. Make sure all sodas and juices are properly covered and not left outside. Clean up any old fruits that may be left outside or underneath a fruit tree.
3. Avoid perfume and bright colors: Basically anything that makes you seem more like a flower will make bees and wasps attracted to you. This doesn’t mean wear black all summer and don’t primp for your date, but keep this in the back of your mind when getting ready for a family picnic.
Roaches: I could probably have an entire article on roaches, but whether they’re giant pillbugs, or the little cupboard cleaners, they are annoying all the same.
1. Catnip: The active ingredient in catnip is a natural deterrent to roaches. Leaving out little bags of catnip should do the trick in heavily infested areas, as well as mixing a little catnip with water to make catnip tea which you can spray around baseboards to keep them away (Not recommended for houses with cats, otherwise kitty is going to have themselves a grand ole time).
2. Cucumbers…again: Apparently bugs don’t like to eat healthy because cucumbers can be a way to keep roaches away too. Just be careful that your cucumber isn’t attracting different bugs, or getting mold in your kitchen/house.
3. Hot Sauce: Mixing hot sauce and water will make the anti-cock(roach)tail. Another easy cocktail to make for roaches is just plain soap and water. Make the soap-per-water concentrate pretty soap heavy, but by spraying a roach with soapy water you can kill them.