Quantcast
Health

10 Natural Ways to Keep Insects Out of Your Home

Insects are beneficial to the environment in a multitude of ways—especially when they're outside where they belong. Ants, flies, moths and other creepy crawly things aren't so welcome when they're in your house. Your first impulse might be to dash out and buy a can of bug spray. But so many of those store-bought insect eradicators contain ingredients that are harmful to people and pets as well as insects. There are better ways to keep the pests outside without turning your home into a chemical-soaked zone.

Aromatic herbs smell sweeter to you than to the insects you don't want in your house.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

One of the best is to become an herb gardener. There are a multitude of herbs that are known insect repellents, and herbs are one of the easiest plants to grow. Most need little maintenance, and many of them don't mind a little shade. And there are other things in your kitchen that act as bug repellents as well.

Ants are one of the most frequent home invaders and one of the easiest to deal with in a sweet-smelling, natural way. Spraying lemon juice or vinegar along the path where they're entering the house works as well as poisons. Mint and tansy are two herbs that are especially effective in keeping ants away. Crumble some leaves around trouble spots, place a few plants on a windowsill or even plant some just outside your door. Both are care-free hardy perennials that will come back year after year, and mint's purple flowers and tansy's yellow buttons will add color to your doorway. Hot pepper flakes are a bit messier and less aromatic but can get the job done as well.

If you're craving a mosquito-free evening on your porch or patio, think lemon. Lemon grass, lemon-scented Pelargoniums (commonly sold as scented geraniums) and lemon balm are some of the ones you can keep in pots or in the garden. Lemon balm is a mint and like all mints, you'll never have to think about it again after planting—except maybe to cut it back to keep it under control. Speaking of mint, rubbing it on your skin is also an effective way to repel biting bugs. Another plant with outstanding mosquito-repellent properties that's effective against (ugh) cockroaches too is catnip. It's also great for keeping your cat entertained, as you probably know.

Mint pretty much repels anything, and that includes flies. A number of the above-mentioned herbs are unappealing to these flying critters as well. Lavender, tansy, basil, rosemary and even cloves will keep them at bay.

So many of these herbs do double, triple and even quadruple duty. Mothballs have that weird smell you might associate with your grandmother's closet. You don't have to have it in yours. You can make your own simple sachets to protect your sweaters from moths with lavender, mint, rosemary, cloves and cinnamon, as well as those cedar chunks you can buy in stores. And you can choose your own favorite aroma to cling to your clothes.

There are other things you can do before your home becomes overrun by tiny invaders. In the kitchen, seal all your food in containers— especially attractive nuisances like sugar and flour. Clean up crumbs from your counter and floor as soon as you drop them, and don't leave dishes in the sink. In both kitchen and bathroom keep the drains clean and free of debris. And make sure your garbage cans and compost bin lids are fit securely not only to keep insects away but four-legged pests as well.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Toxic Chemicals in Salons Linked to Adverse Health Effects, Including Cancer

A Life Less Toxic: Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse Visit Organic Mattress Factory Naturepedic

Is Your Shampoo Toxic?

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
An activist adjusts his hat while protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline during the Native Nations Rise protest on March 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. The KXL has been at the center of a contentious fight for a decade. Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

KXL Pipeline Developer Plans to Start Construction in 2019

Construction on the long-delayed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline is planned for 2019, developer TransCanada said Monday.

"Keystone XL has undergone years of extensive environmental review by federal and state regulators," TransCanada spokesman Matthew John told Omaha World-Herald. "All of these evaluations show that Keystone XL can be built safely and with minimal impact to the environment."

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Artist Ricky Lee Gordon paints his mural, Wings of Paradise, on a building in Long Beach, California. David McNew / Ricky Lee Gordo / Greenpeace

Wings of Paradise: Drawing Attention to Rainforest Destruction

By Alexander Navarro

For too long the story of Indonesian forests has been painted with the darkness of burning rainforests, disappearing species and displaced communities. Greedy palm oil companies, that only seem to be driven by the bottom line whatever the cost to humanity or biodiversity, have played a major role in this.

Keep reading... Show less
Science
The ICESat-2 will point lasers at Earth's ice sheets. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

NASA's New Space Laser to Measure Earth's Changing Ice

NASA will soon activate the "most advanced laser instrument of its kind" to study Earth's changing polar ice.

The incredibly precise Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) is the main feature of the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) that successfully launched into space from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sept. 15.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Atlantic wolffish is already at risk from oxygen depletion. Nilfanion, via Wikimedia Commons

Oxygen Loss in Canada Linked to Climate Change

By Tim Radford

Oceanographers have identified an act of slow suffocation, as oxygen loss grows near one of the world's richest fishing grounds, and are linking the change to human-triggered global warming.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
A Co-op grocery store location in Shoreditch, London. The Co-op Group / CC BY 2.0

Supermarket Becomes First in UK to Replace Single-Use Plastic Bags With Compostable Alternative

Since 2015, all large stores in England have been required by law to charge five pence for single-use plastic bags in an attempt to reduce plastic pollution.

Now, major UK supermarket chain the Co-op is taking that one step further by phasing out plastic bags entirely and replacing them with compostable alternatives, becoming the first supermarket in the UK to do so, The Guardian reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Tiger: Bernard DuPont (CC BY-SA 2.0); Wolf: John and Karen Hollingsworth /USFWS

Tigers and Wolves: The Reigning Cats and Dogs in Conservation?

By John R. Platt

Do the species most in need of conservation also receive the most scientific research?

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
A tiger in Dhikala, Nepal. Ranjith Kumar 2016 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild Tiger Population Nearly Doubles in Nepal

Thanks to dedicated conservation efforts, Nepal now has an estimated 235 wild tigers in the country, a nearly twofold increase from its baseline of 121 individuals in 2009, the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) announced Sunday on the occasion of Nepal's National Conservation Day.

The South Asian nation is now on track to become the first country to double its tiger population as part of WWF's "TX2" goal to double the world's wild tiger population by 2022—the next year of the tiger on the Chinese zodiac.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
North Carolina hog CAFO in Hurricane Florence floodwaters, Sept. 18. Larry Baldwin / Crystal Coast Waterkeeper / Waterkeeper Alliance

In a Warming World, Carolina CAFOs Are a Disaster for Farmers, Animals and Public Health

By Karen Perry Stillerman

In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, I've joined millions who've watched with horror as the Carolinas have been inundated with floodwaters and worried about the various hazards those waters can contain. We've seen heavy metal-laden coal ash spills, a nuclear plant go on alert (thankfully without incident), and sewage treatment plants get swamped. But the biggest and most widely reported hazard associated with Florence appears to be the hog waste that is spilling from many of the state's thousands of CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations), and which threatens lasting havoc on public health and the local economy.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!