How to get rid of all manner of bugs without nasty chemicals

There's some handy home remedies to get rid of bugs this summer. Source: Pixels.

It’s a constant battle at this time of year to avoid mosquito bites, ward off annoying house flies, and avoid any scary run-ins with spiders.

But these pesky insects aren’t as hard to eliminate from your home as you might think. While there’s any number of sprays and chemicals you can buy, who wants their home smelling of harsh bug spray all the time?

There are some home remedies that have been tried and tested over the years, and here’s some of the top tips picked up along the way.

Ants

If you’re keen to repel them, laying out some white vinegar, cinnamon, or peppermint will send them running in the opposite direction.

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There’s a number of food products that are guaranteed to bring the ants swarming in – and they can also be used as a handy trap. Ants are attracted to Borax, but once ingested, it’s poisonous to them. A handy tip, shared by Pinterest users, is to mix half a cup of sugar with a mug of warm water. Add two tablespoons of Borax and soak a cosmetic pad in it. Then allow the ants to collect food and spread it back to their queen, helping wipe out the colony.

Just don’t forget that Borax is also poisonous to pets and humans, so keep it out of their way. It can also kill plants, so don’t accidentally let it touch your house plants.

House flies

We all know how annoying the buzz of a fly in your room at night can be.

A handy trick is to fill a jar with some sugar water, and place a paper funnel in the top, wide side up. The flies will smell the liquid and fly into the jar via the funnel. Once in, they won’t be able to figure out how to escape again.

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Cockroaches

A key part of removing roaches from your home is keeping every surface and floor sparkling clean. Then it’s just as important to seal up any gaps or water leaks where they may be able to get inside – for example, put plugs in your kitchen sink overnight to prevent them crawling out of them. And do up your garbage bag overnight too, as they can slip into bins pretty easily and will be more inclined to do so if there’s a waste bag open.

If they’re already inside, there’s a natural solution. Mix three parts boric acid with one part powdered sugar. The sugar lures the roaches, while the boric acid kills them. By sprinkling it around your furniture and kitchen cabinets, it is bound to be right in the way of their path.

A word of caution, though – boric acid is also poisonous to humans and pets so take care to not put it anywhere children may find it or your dog or cat may sniff around.

Read more: Remedies to get rid of common garden pests

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Fruit flies

Fruit flies can be seemingly impossible to get rid of with fresh fruit and vegetables out on your sideboard – but there’s a few handy tricks to help you out.

If you’d prefer a humane way of making these pests disappear, make a paper cone with a tiny opening, and put it wide-side up into a jar with a very ripe piece of fruit or peel at the bottom.

If you leave this overnight, it will attract the flies, and you can take it outside and release them the next day.

Another good trick is to mix wine or apple cider vinegar with washing up liquid. The soap will trap the flies when they try to eat the sugary liquid.

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Fleas

If you have pet dogs or cats, fleas will be a well-known problem – and they can be a nightmare when they get into your furniture.

The vacuum cleaner is your best friend with these critters. A good trick is to sprinkle carpets with a thin layer of diatomaceous earth. It’s non-toxic to humans and pets, but kills fleas within a day or two. 

Powdered boric acid can also kill fleas and their larvae by drying them out. Cover your carpets with the powder, working it in with a broom or stiff brush. After around three days, vacuum it up and the problem should be solved. Again, though, never sprinkle the powder directly on your pet! 

Spiders

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The dreaded spider invasion can be prevented by keeping doors and windows shut, but it can never halt them completely.

Mix a quarter cup of soap with two gallons of water, before pumping it all round the outside of your house using a garden sprayer, to repel them from areas of ingress instead.

Read more: Spider-proof your house and garden

Mosquitoes

We’ve all got the standard insect repellents to stop these, but if you want a more natural solution, you can make your own.

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Fill a 16oz bottle with around 15 drops of lavender oil, 3-4 tablespoons of vanilla extract and a quarter cup of lemon juice, before spraying yourself. Lemongrass or mint plants can also deter them, so they are good to grow round doors and entrances.

Aphids

A popular trick to stop aphids is to place chopped up banana peels round the bottom of affected plants, just under the soil. Alternatively, ladybugs are a great way to remove the problem – they may have a gnaw of other plants but at least they look far prettier!

Have you tried any of these tricks? Did you notice a difference?