Tuesday, July 20

Pests (and how to kill them)

A few days ago I watered one of my kitchen plants. Apparently I over-watered it because suddenly I was waging a war against the colony of ants evacuating their "home."

This wasn't the first problem that I've had with pests since moving in, so I decided to share some natural remedies I found for problems with insects.

  • While my battle with the ants required a more immediate weapon (I relied on Windex) small piles of corn meal placed around the area where you've seen ants is a long-term solution. The ants take the corn meal back to their nest, eat it and then can't digest it. Then the DIE.
  • It took me almost a year to finally get rid of the fleas that kept tormenting my dog. I tried every flea repellent I could find before finding out about beneficial nematodes--a microscopic worm that kills subterranean insects such as fleas, ants, beetles or cutworms. The nematodes are harmless to humans and animals and come in packaging that dissolves in water. Then you spray the mixture on your lawn. My aunt recommended beneficial nematodes as a solution and after researching them I decided to give them a try. I purchased a package online at Home Depot's website for about $20. So far I haven't had any more trouble with fleas.
  • Mosquitoes and I have a love/hate relationship. As in: they love me and I HATE them. Usually I can't step outside without getting bitten repeatedly. This summer I invested in the Off! Clip On Mosquito Repellent. I've been on two camping trips with it and come away with maybe five mosquito bites--a miracle for me. If you know of a way to kill off the mosquito population completely, however, let me know. I'd buy that in bulk.
  • When I lived in my apartment I had a horrible problem with fruit flies. The things are such a nuisance and almost impossible to get rid of. I have yet to see a bottle of "Fruit Fly Killer," but if you fill a container halfway with apple cider vinegar and add a couple drops of dish soap the flies are drawn to the mixture and drown. Cheap fix.
  • If you have trouble with flies or other flying insects congregating around your porch, try hanging ziploc bags filled with water. The reflection of the water confuses them and they'll avoid the area. Before I bought this house I used to hang a bag on my front porch during the summer so there weren't as many bugs near the door when I came home. I don't use the front door as often now, but I may use this one on my back porch.
  • Don't take this the wrong way, but I would rather put up with any of the pests I already mentioned than deal with roaches. I get a creepy crawly feeling just thinking about them. I have yet to find a simple solution for roaches since they have a reputation for surviving anything except a stomping. While I don't currently have a problem with them (thank the Lord), when I do I resort to chemical sprays and traps. Buying all the chemicals and traps can become very expensive and I don't like exposing myself or Oliver to them. However, unless I find a cheaper (effective) solution I'll use the chemicals whenever I see a roach. No way am I letting them live with me!

Hope you found this post useful, do you have any natural (or proven) methods for getting rid of pests? Any methods you've heard about and plan to try if needed?


  1. I love this post! I have problems with all of these things in my apartment, and I would say the number one thing I look forward to as a homeowner is more flexibility in dealing with these issues. I just can't understand what beef the complex has against using a blow torch as an extermination device! ;o)

  2. Oh Sara... Does the blow torch work on roaches? ;)

  3. I just moved into an apartment and am having a horrible time with fruit flies! I don't leave any food out or anything, but nevertheless there are four or five of them that slowly fly around the kitchen. I'll try the cider and soap mixture. I'm tired of trying to smack them out of mid-air!

  4. Jordan, totally remember that! Best of luck!

    I also found this article related to my post, so I thought I'd share with everyone:

  5. I was recently reading an article about how roaches can't digest baking soda. Apparently a 1:1 mixture of white sugar and baking soda set out near a small container of water will solve a roach problem. Worth trying!


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