DIY: How To Keep Bugs Away Without Using Toxic Sprays

Written by Jen Mayville

With temperatures getting warmer outside, are you starting to notice some unwanted guests inside your home? I am, of course, referring to bugs.

Now, like most green-minded people, you appreciate the role bugs have in the environment. But if you don’t want them crawling around your house, what can you do? You can find pesticides for most common household invaders at your local store, but they're normally full of nasty chemicals which are harmful to you and the environment.

Instead of buying a bottle of the chemical stuff, there are a few steps you can take to keep your home bug free, without harming your health and the environment at the same time.

1. Ants

If you spot ants in your home, first remove anything that could attract them such as crumbs on the counter, or a sticky jar of honey in the cupboard. If that doesn’t do the trick, then place cucumber slices at points of entry. Cucumbers are known to repel ants. If that doesn’t work, “spice things up” by sprinkling cayenne pepper, chili pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, mint, cloves or garlic where you’ve seen ants and along your home’s foundation.

2. Mosquitoes

Summer and mosquitoes — you normally can’t have one without the other. But there are a few natural ways to keep them at bay. First of all, remove any standing water sources from your backyard and keep your gutters clean. Consider adding mosquito-repelling plants, such as lemon balm and marigolds, to your garden. You can also make your own homemade mosquito repellent with essential oils and vegetable oil or apple cider vinegar.

3. Cockroaches

Diatomaceous earth is a known safer alternative to eliminating cockroaches in your home. It can be sprinkled where cockroaches hang out — such as on counter tops and behind appliances. It won’t harm humans, bu cockroaches that come into contact with diatomaceous earth normally die within 48 hours. When applying the material, avoid inhaling the dust; it’s not toxic to people, but inhaling it can irritate. If you just want to repel the cockroaches, try leaving small satchels of catnip where you’ve seen cockroach activity, or simmer the catnip to create a tea that can be sprayed around the house.

4. Flies

A fly buzzing around a room can be hard to ignore sometimes. Flies don’t like basil, so having a few basil plants in your home is a good deterrent (and you can use the basil for cooking!). You can also make your own natural fly paper to capture flies by using corn syrup, sugar and brown paper bags.

By taking the above steps, you can make sure, in a toxin-free way, to keep bugs out of your home this summer. Be sure to sign up for the Toxic Nation newsletter to receive news and toxic-eliminating tips all year long.

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