35 Natural Indoor Pest Control Tips
Fortunately, if summer ants are invading or fruit flies won’t stop buzzing your bananas, natural indoor pest control solutions are easy to implement if you know what they are.
That’s why we’re here.
We’ve addressed natural garden pest control, so it’s time to tackle critters that may lurk indoors without harmful chemicals.
Find the cause
This is obvious, but we’re going to mention it anyway.
Remove the root problem and the pests might just disappear.
Did you forget about that rotten potato in the vegetable bin? Toss it, clean the area and see if the bugs re-appear.
If it’s not that simple, and it rarely is, here’s what else you can try to kill or deter the pests from sticking around.
Ditch the annoying buzz for good.
1. Use a fly swatter.
Obvious, but we’ll mention it anyway.
2. Repel with plants.
Flies do not like marigold, tomato or hazel plants so place these near windows and doors to deter flies from entering the house.
3. Re-purpose a gallon milk container into a fly trap.
Grab an old 1 gallon milk container and poke holes toward the top of the jug that are large enough for a house fly.
Pour 1/4 cup each of syrup and apple cider vinegar into the jug, then fill half-way with water.
Replace the cap and place where fly problems are serious.
The flies will become attracted to the sweet smell, fly in and die.
Or, drill fly-sized holes in the top of a mason jar and use the same mixture.
4. Or, re-purpose a toilet paper roll and a half-gallon milk container.
Open the flaps of a cardboard half-gallon container of milk so that the bottom of the carton is completely exposed.
Cover a toilet paper roll with honey and set it in the bottom of the milk container.
The flies will get stuck in the honey.
5. Hang a bag of water with a penny in it outside your door.
No one is entirely clear why this works, however, the theory is that flies (with their enormous eyes) are frightened by light reflecting off the water and penny.
Rotting fruit is the ultimate temptation for a fruit fly as a source of food and a place to lay their 500 eggs.
6. Grab a beer (seriously) to make a reusable fruit fly trap.
Pour some beer into a wide-mouthed mason jar (or similar) until it’s half-full.
Hammer a nail into the metal lid of a mason jar to create holes big enough for fruit flies to crawl into.
The fruit flies will drown in the beer because they are not smart enough to figure out how to crawl out.
Alternatively, rubber band a plastic bag around the mason jar and poke holes in that.
7. Or, re-purpose an empty 1L plastic soda bottle.
Saw off the top 1/3 of a 1L bottle and put a rotting piece of fruit in it.
Flip the top 1/3 of the bottle (that you just sawed off) upside-down with the cap off (like funnel) and place it inside the cut-off bottle.
Flies will enter the bottle, but not exit.
8. Keep fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator.
Remove the temptation and the flies will disappear.
This includes being mindful of leftover food on dirty dishes and unsealed trash cans.
9. Cover your liquor bottles.
Though the fancy open spouts are neat-looking, they also attract fruit flies.
And, no one wants extra protein in their Mojito, right?
Just cover the spouts with plastic wrap and be sure to clean up any liquor spills in your bar area.
10. Keep your garbage disposal clean.
A good way to find out if your garbage disposal is the source of your fruit fly problem is to cover it with clear tape and see if any fruit flies wind up sticking to it.
If there are fruit flies, try dumping 1/2 cup of baking soda down the garbage disposal and chase it with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar.
The bubbling effect of the vinegar should deodorize the garbage disposal and knock out any living fruit flies.
11. Check your houseplants.
What you may think are fruit flies might actually be fungus gnats.
Let the soil around your house plants dry completely before watering, which will kill any larvae.
Ants are social insects that live in colonies where there is a division of labor, communication and an ability to solve complex problems—like how to get inside your house.
12. Spray them with distilled white or apple cider vinegar.
Luckily, ants are easy to kill, but the fungicidal properties of these vinegars will prevent them from coming back.
13. Plant or place mint in troubled areas.
Mint destroys their sense of smell, which they rely on to get from one place to the next.
Some report that even placing mint tea bags around the house works, too.
14. Re-purpose cucumber peels.
Apparently, ants also hate cucumber.
Place cucumber peels in troubled areas—the more bitter the cucumber is, the better.
15. Lay cinnamon sticks in drawers.
Again, cinnamon’s strong smell causes ants to roam elsewhere.
Garlic works, too, but cinnamon is easier to deal with and a much more pleasant smell to humans.
These pests are extremely adaptive but prefer warm, humid environments and will usually run away when exposed to light.
16. Lay bags of catnip around problem areas.
Catnip is a natural repellent to cockroaches and non-toxic to humans and pets.
17. Save your old beer (again).
Soak bread in beer and place it in a metal container like the big Folger’s coffee cans.
Wait for the cockroaches to climb in and not be able to get out.
18. Leave out bay leaves, cucumber slices, or garlic.
Roaches hate all of the above.
19. Spray them with soapy water.
This will kill them on contact so keep a spray bottle around!
It’s imperative to keep dust mites under control, especially if you have allergies or asthma.
Even though you can’t see them, they’re everywhere in the average home, because they feed on human detritus like flakes of skin.
20. Crank up the heat.
Dust mites are killed at temperatures over 130°F or higher.
Detergents alone won’t kill them unless the water temperature is high enough.
21. Use dust filters.
Cover your heating vents with filters that can trap particles smaller than 10 microns.
22. Avoid using humidifiers.
Dust mites thrive in humidity and warmth so if you happen to live in a warm, humid climate, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
Did you know that silverfish can live up to 1 year without eating?
Silverfish are nocturnal and like dark, humid locations such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.
23. Reduce humidity.
Fix leaks and consider a dehumidifier or fans if you live in a humid climate.
24. Caulk any cracks.
Seal up cracks in flooring and walls to prevent silverfish from crawling out or nesting.
25. Use small mesh bags of cloves.
Silverfish hate the smell of cloves so spread these around problem areas in mesh bags.
Earwigs will eat almost anything from other live or dead insects to plant material to soap.
They also prefer humid, dark living spaces such as basements, bathrooms and crawl spaces.
26. Set a beer trap.
Add earwigs to the list of beer-loving pests.
Find a small jar that you can tip on its side, allowing an earwig to crawl in.
Pour in enough beer that it doesn’t spill all over the floor, obviously.
The earwigs will crawl into the jar and drown in the beer.
27. Roll up a damp newspaper section.
The earwigs will crawl into the newspaper creases and get stuck.
Want to know how to spot bed bugs in your home or hotel room? Watch this extremely helpful video.
Keep in mind that it’s best to call a professional if you spot bed bugs in your home.
Some websites claim that essential oils are a solution, however, the FTC is skeptical of such claims and investigating accuracy.
28. Analyze points of entry.
Bed bugs tend to enter the home through windows and doors that happen to be near where birds or mammals nest on or near a house, so keep points of entry closed if you live in an area where bed bug infestations are common.
29. Vacuum and launder–constantly.
Bed bugs can live without food for up to 3 months so if you spot them in your home, stay diligent about keeping things extraordinarily clean while also checking mattresses and other potential hiding places.
30. Mix a natural repellant.
Did you know that spiders have taste buds in their legs?
Mixing a spray bottle of peppermint oil in water or cloves in water is an effective deterrent when sprayed on windowsills and doorways.
The video below mixes 3 cups of water, 1 tsp dish washing liquid and1 tablespoon of peppermint in a spray bottle.
31. Place chestnuts around the perimeter of your house.
It could be an old wive’s tale, but homeowners across the world swear by chestnuts as spider repellent.
32. Eliminate other pests.
The reason why spiders are invading is likely because you have other pests inside your home that they feed on.
The side “benefit” of our four-legged friends is that they sometimes come with fleas.
Fleas are highly adaptable and become stronger with each generation so it’s critical to get an invasion under control immediately.
33. Set a soapy water trap.
Put a nightlight near where your pet sleeps and set a dish full of soapy water underneath it (assuming your pet won’t trample the dish).
Fleas will hop into the dish and die, as they’re attracted to light.
34. Buy an electric, plug-in flea trap.
Plug it in where there’s a problem and then move the flea trap to other areas.
The traps use light and heat to attract fleas to a sticky pad that they attach to and die.
Fleas don’t drink water so the less that’s in the air, the lower their chances of survival are.
Air-conditioned homes tend to have less fleas on average.
Have an indoor pest control method that we missed?
Let us know in the comments below…
Photo credits: fruit fly, Flickr: Jonn Tann; silverfish, Flickr: JR Guillaumin, cockroach, Flickr Ted & Dani Percival; earwig, stock.xchg: Patti; dog, stock.xchng: Minita