The good people over at The Family Handyman are talking about bugs and pests in their June 2012 issue. Specifically, how to rid and repel them from our homes. They were kind enough to send along these GREAT tips on how to do just that.
Repel ants with mint or bay leaves. Discourage ants from entering your home by planting a mint barrier around your foundation. You can also set whole bay leaves around kitchen food canisters and sprinkle crushed bay leaves along windowsills.
Fend off mosquitoes with lemongrass and basil. Lemongrass contains citronella. Repel mosquitoes by growing it in clumps around your deck—you can mash up the inner leaves and rub the juice on your skin. Basil also has the same effect, so planting a bunch in pots around your patio will help keep you swat-free.
Control crickets with DIY sticky traps. For those who have a cricket infestation but are wary of the chemicals contained in bug sprays, duct tape serves as the perfect homemade trap. Set out long strips of duct tape—sticky side up—in the infested room, and change the tape as needed. To permanently banish crickets, seal entrances by caulking around windows. Also, make sure to dehumidify rooms (especially your basement)—crickets like damp areas.
Bleach gets rid of drain flies. Tiny drain flies are harmless insects that live on the gunky slime in your drainpipes, but can gather in huge numbers in your house. Try pouring a teaspoon of bleach down the drainpipe and keeping the drain hole blocked for about an hour. If this method doesn’t work, you can starve the flies by cleaning the gunky slime out of the drain with a long-handled brush.
Lights and sprinklers deter unwanted visitors. Uninvited guests in your backyard—raccoons, foxes, skunks, etc.—can be a nuisance, cause messes and even damage your property. Installing motion-activated lights and sprinklers are two of the best methods to rid your yard of these intruders.
A better mousetrap. Got a mouse problem? Try propping up a soda bottle at about a 20-degree angle, then baiting it with peanut butter. A small amount of vegetable oil around the inside of the lip will prevent the mouse from “slipping away.”
Remove bird feeders to prevent nighttime visitors. Don’t forget to take in any bird feeders before the sun sets, otherwise you risk attracting unwanted visits by elk, deer, coyotes and even bears.