How to: Deal with Summertime Bugs and Pests

How to: Deal with Summertime Bugs and Pests

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.

For more DIY tips like these and many, many others, visit The Family Handyman or pick up or subscribe to their print version for a schmeasily $10 a year.


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Kristine on Jun 04, 2012:

It is a very good read on finding and eliminating the sources of gnats!

Kristine on Jun 04, 2012:

I'm a pest control tech. I hold the highest licenses the state of Texas offers...and while some of these are true...if you have an active infestation of say ants in your kitchen...putting crushed bay leaves in your window isn't going to do crap. You need to kill the queen to get rid of that and some crushed herbs aren't going to do a thing!

On another note I just received an email from my local entomologist on the gnats issue. http://bexarento.blogspot.com/2012/05/gnats-driving-you-crazy.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BexarCountyEntomology+%28Bexar+County+Entomology%29

"  Bleach, boiling water, and other products will only kill the larvae in the drain now; it does not keep the adults from laying more eggs"

It is a very good read on finding and eliminating the sources of gnats!

Mel on May 22, 2012:

Coffee grinds work wonders for slugs & ants. My parents sprinkle it around the deck & no more ants!

DIY Maven on May 21, 2012:

@Reese...and I bet it smelled great too! :) Thanks for the tip!!

Reese on May 21, 2012:

Here's another great tip to deal with mice: peppermint oil!  We had a mouse problem in our house last winter but I put a few drops (5-10) on cotton balls and placed them along walls in places they would frequent.  It worked a charm!  You might need to apply for several weeks but it works better than anything else I'd tried, and we haven't had a problem since! 

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