If you feel like saying buzz off to the flying or crawling creepies storming your home this summer, we’re with you.

Of course, summer pests aren’t just a pain: they can also be harmful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that illnesses from mosquito, tick, and flea bites have more than tripled in the past 13 years. So don’t let summer pests get you at your best. Here are some tips to keep bugs and rodents away from your home this summer.

1. Fleas and ticks

Fleas and ticks don’t just bite your pets  they bite you too. Your first line of prevention is your yard, keeping it as well-groomed as a show dog with tidy shrubs and freshly mowed grass. If you live in a rural area, try to keep wildlife out of the yard as they often bring fleas and ticks with them. Inside, keep your carpets clean and dispose of the vacuum bag so that eggs and larvae don’t develop in the bag.

Home remedies: In addition to a good flea collar, one potential home remedy for fleas is to spray your pet’s coat with a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.

2. Gnats

Gnats probably won’t hurt you, but they are just oh-so-annoying — and can carry bacteria around the house. Of course, the best prevention tip is to close the darn door! (We have no luck with that in our house, but maybe you and your family will fare better.)

Aside from that, make sure your screens are in good repair, since a gnat doesn’t know the difference between a hole in the screen and your open door. Then make sure food is cleared and stored in a covered container because that’s what they’re looking for — meaning don’t leave dishes in the sink or a trash can out in the open.

Home remedies: Since gnats like apple cider vinegar, use it to beat them at their own game. Fill a jar one-quarter full of the vinegar and place a funnel on top. The gnats will fly into the funnel and not be able to get back out. You can try something similar with a little pool of red wine and dish soap in a bowl: cover the bowl with plastic wrap and poke some holes in it. They’ll fly in and drown.

3. Ants

That familiar swarm can make your heart sink. Most ants are drawn into the house in search of food and water, so the first step in stopping them is to keep your counters squeaky clean. You also want to seal cracks and holes where they might be entering and keep trees and shrubs away from the house.

Home remedies: Some homeowners swear by home remedies such as sprinkling cinnamon or coffee grounds near nooks and crannies where they might enter, or drawing a line in chalk, which some say they just won’t cross.

4. Mice

You usually think of mice as coming in to get warm in the winter, but they’re equal opportunity pests — still looking for food, water, and shelter even in the summer. The best way to keep them out is to deny them entry. Make sure that you’ve sealed up any holes (even the tiny, dime-size ones) or cracks. And keep all your food, including pet food, covered.

Home remedies: We’ve heard that mice don’t like the scent of onions or peppermint, but here’s an odd one: used kitty litter. Mice naturally fear cats so if they smell their urine, they’ll scurry off in a jiffy.

And of course, remember that an exterminator is always an option for peace of mind.

On that note, you know what else offers peace of mind? Home insurance that makes sure you’re protected. Get a free quote today!

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.