Ants in the kitchen, fruit flies in the pantry, silverfish in … your glass of water? Ew. Pest control at home can be a lot to manage. Luckily, we have tips on getting rid of bugs without spending a fortune on extermination or selling your house and fleeing the country.
Here are 4 tried-and-true solutions for getting rid of some of the most common (and icky) household pests.
It’s unlikely you’ll see one ant traveling solo because they live and work in colonies, collectively determining a set pathway. And unfortunately for you, that pathway probably snakes around your kitchen counters or floor.
The good news is that there’s an inexpensive kitchen killer of ants: food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE). DE’s nontoxic, so it’s a safe way to get rid of ants without using insecticide. Just spread it around corners of counters, the floor, or in cabinets and wait. It’s messy, though, so it really helps if you have a duster applicator, available at most gardening supply stores.
It typically works within a couple of days and effectively dries out ants. Simple as that! Leave it for 2 to 3 days before vacuuming and then dispose of the vacuum bag when you’re done.
Bonus tip: Coffee grounds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves of garlic left around entrances also help repel ants.
These seemingly indestructible pests are estimated to have been around for over 250 million years, can stop breathing for up to 40 minutes, and can survive without a head for up to a week (you read that right). But don’t panic. There IS a way to get rid of them.
Cockroaches are highly adaptable little creatures, which makes them difficult to extract without a trained professional. While it’s recommended that a pro deal with your roach infestation, here’s an effective DIY approach you can use in the meantime: combine 3 parts borax with 1 part sugar in small dishes or bottle caps (something roach-accessible).
Cockroaches are attracted to sugar, so they’ll be drawn to your solution … and bam! That’s when the mixture goes to work dehydrating their exoskeletons. You should have a better roach situation by the time the exterminator arrives.
They’re not really fish, but that won’t stop silverfish from going for a dip in your drink. Silverfish have hard exoskeletons, seek out damp, unlit places in your house, and tend to be busier during the night. They’ll eat just about anything, including carbs, mold, and fungi — meaning even glue and many fabrics aren’t safe from silverfish.
Silverfish are repelled by mothballs and spices like bay leaves, sage, and whole cloves. Filling sachets with those spices will keep silverfish at bay (and your cabinets smelling nice too).
You can also step up your pest control with food-grade DE (not just for ants!). Want something a bit easier to clean up? Silverfish hate the smell of citrus, so you might consider using an organic, citrus-scented spray designed to repel them. It’s also a good idea to mop, vacuum, and dust frequently to get rid of any eggs.
Fruit flies don’t have the most refined palates. They’re especially drawn to fruit that’s gone bad and other fermenting foods. And unfortunately for homeowners, fruit flies go from babies to fully formed pests within 8 to 10 days, so it doesn’t take long for them to reproduce.
Have a bottle of red wine on hand? Leave a bit in the bottom of the bottle and let it sit out. Flies will flock to it, sinking in the process.
Not a wine drinker? Fear not! You can do something similar with a jar, decaying fruit, plastic wrap, and a toothpick. Simply put the fruit in the jar, seal the top with plastic wrap, poke holes in the plastic, and wait for the little pests to fly inside. They won’t be able to find their way back out. Then, immerse the jar in soapy water for about 10 minutes to make sure that no flies return.
Getting rid of other household pests
For many, rodents are the most disconcerting of all the pests. Learn how to get rid of mice in 4 simple steps.