Bugs are a part of the natural world and although they play a vital function, we don’t want them in our homes for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, trying to find natural solutions can sometimes feel impossible — or those that are labeled “natural” aren’t effective. So, we’ve rounded up some clean and proven bug control solutions that do the job — minus the toxins.
Before You Start
If you’re reading this, you probably understand that pesticides are not great for your home environment. The first step is to remove any current toxic insect repellents, pet shampoos, or rodent traps. As long as they’re in the house, they’re creating damage, especially for toddlers and cats and dogs who travel low to the ground.
Natural Repellents By Bug
If you’ve got yourself an ant problem — don’t fear. There are a couple of natural solutions that can remove an ant infestation.
- Cinnamon: Not to get too morbid but cinnamon suffocates ants and sprinkling it on or around and any ant infestations can remove them from the home. This is a good option for more severe cases.
- Mint: A softer alternative is mint as it’s a natural insect repellent. If you have the space, you can plant mint near entryways. If not, you can place a few drops of peppermint oil near problem areas.
- Cayenne Pepper: This spice doesn’t suffocate ants but they do hate it and it can act as a barrier to them entering the home. Sprinkle a “wall” of cayenne near entryways and they won’t move into your home.
Renters, travelers, and New Yorkers have all probably heard a bed bug horror story or two. Unfortunately, the best solution for bed bugs is prevention, which means being very vigilant when traveling. We love this tip from Branch Basics, “When you travel, check to see if the hotel is treating bed bugs. With that question you can discover if they are having an issue. If they are, ask how they treat bed bugs. Stay in another place if the hotel is using toxic pesticides.”
If you’ve found yourself with a bed bug problem, there are two options:
- Baking Soda: This natural ingredient dehydrates bed bugs. Give a generous sprinkle over all surfaces that you’ve seen bed bugs including nooks and crannies. Following this, you’ll need to use a HEPA vacuum over the surface. Continue this process each day until all the bed bugs are gone.
- Diatomaceous Earth: You’ll see this natural solution make an appearance multiple times in this guide. It’s one of the best remedies against all types of insects, including bed bugs. Again generously sprinkle it around all infestation sites.
In hotter weather and humid climates, flies can be a real nuisance but there are simple solutions.
- Fans: Flies will avoid a strong breeze, so setting up a mobile outdoor fan around the grilling/picnic area can prevent them from getting in your space.
- Natural Fly Traps: All you need for this genius and effective invention is to mix a quarter cup of sugar and a cup of water into a mason jar. Then roll a stiff piece of paper of thin cardboard into a cone shape and insert the narrow end towards the water and the wider end towards the mouth. The sugar draws the flies into the jar and keeps them there.
Mosquitoes and Midges
Once the mosquitoes come out, it can mean the outdoor activities are over and everyone heads inside but with these remedies, you can keep enjoying the dusk hours without the bites.
- Tea tree oil: An oil found naturally in Australia (a country very familiar with “mozzies”), tea tree oil has been field tested as an effective natural-based mosquito repellent.
- Thyme: Research has found thyme to be one of the best natural protections to take against mosquitoes and offered a 91% protection rate. You can make your own thyme oil spray or if you’re camping, you can throw some thyme leaves on your campfire; as it’s said that burning the leaves can keep mosquitoes at bay for one to two hours.
Our pets are our family and deserve the same level of natural care. Fortunately, there are many treatments and brands providing clean flea preventions. Here are a few:
- Flea Comb: A simple flea comb is an excellent way to get fleas off your pet’s body and can be a great way to spend some time with your dog.
- Lavender Collar: Another easy and effective solution? Rub some diluted lavender (or cedar oil) on your dog or cat’s collar.
- Lemon Bath: Not only do fleas hate this bath recipe, your dog will leave smelling and looking fresh. Just take half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, two cups of water, and add to your regular clean pet shampoo.
If you’ve got more than a few friendly bugs in your garden, there’s a simple solution. Just take two teaspoons of Branch Basics concentrate, plus one and a half teaspoons of neem oil, and fill up one Branch Basics bottle with water.
Have you noticed moth balls’ strong odor and the way it clings to clothes? It’s because it’s a highly toxic product, especially to our furry friends. The good news is that there are some lovely smelling natural solutions that are just as effective.
- Storage: To prevent moths arriving in the first place, wash and dry clothes before storing in either a dry storage area or a sealed container.
- Cedar: We love red cedar blocks as they have a gorgeous woody scent. You can find cedar hangers and sachets at most natural health stores. Building or renovating? You can even consider building your wardrobe with cedar wood.
- Lavender: Another fresh fragrance that keeps moths at bay, lavender can be applied with a few drops on a cotton wool ball and placed in your chest of drawers.
A roach can send a shudder up even even the biggest nature lovers’ spines — plus they can spread germs and nasties throughout the home. Here’s the best natural roach repellents that work:
- Oregano Oil: Many oils were tested in this clinical study but the clear winner for roach repellent was oregano oil. In fact, oregano oil had a 97-100% mortality rate for roaches after the first 24 hours and the one spray kept them at bay for more than a week.
- Catnip: If you’ve got cats at home, it’s good news for you and them. Catnip is obviously a cat pleaser but it also is hated by roaches. Although it doesn’t kill them, it prevents them from ever entering.
- Diatomaceous Earth: Although this is a non-toxic substance for animals and humans, it’s deadly to roaches as it destroys their exoskeletons. If you have a big infestation, it’s particularly useful as the roaches take the earth back to their central colony.
Depending on where you live in the world, most spiders are harmless but again something we’d prefer to see outside the home.
- Dish Soap: Make your own anti-spider spray with some natural dish soap and water then spray on spider or web.
- Coconut Oil and Vinegar: Is there anything coconut oil can’t do? Make a mixture with one cup of white vinegar and a teaspoon of coconut oil and spray on cobwebs to keep spiders away.