Bugs and pests aren’t just an annoyance. They’re a threat to health and safety too. Having insects and other critters running around in your living space can lead to painful bites, spread of bacteria, contamination of your food supply, and much more.
It might not be at the very top of your survival priority list, but it should be in there somewhere.
If you find yourself struggling with an infestation, whether it be pre or post-SHTF, here are a few tried and true natural ways to banish unwanted houseguests for good.
Diatomaceous Earth for Bugs
Diatomaceous earth, or DE for short, has a plethora of uses. It can be given to livestock as a natural dewormer; food grade DE can be consumed by humans to treat parasites and detoxify the body; and it’s a fantastic natural bug killer.
Even though it’s incredibly tough on bugs, DE won’t hurt kids or pets. It’s totally safe and non-toxic. In fact, you probably eat it already without knowing it, because it’s added to many grains during storage to keep insects from eating them.
DE works by cracking and damaging the exterior shell/coating all bugs have when they walk through it, which in turn causes them to dry out and die.
DE is effective for killing beetles, stink bugs, spiders, and a whole slew of other creepy crawlies.
Be aware though, DE does kill bees, which are extremely important to your local ecosystem, so don’t spread it around your flowers.
Peppermint Oil for Mice
Do you hate killing mice? We don’t blame you. Poison, clap-traps, and sticky paper are all less-than-ideal options for getting rid of mice.
First of all, poison can cause serious damage not just to the mice that eat it, but to your neighborhood predators too. Animals like owls, snakes, and foxes (basically anything that would eat a mouse) can be poisoned and killed if they eat a mouse that’s eaten your toxic bait. Then there’s the clap-trap. Humane when it catches mice by the neck, but far from fool-proof. Lastly, you’ve got sticky paper, which has long been labeled the cruelest way to kill a mouse – leaving it stuck for days while it starves.
What if you could just repel mice instead of killing them? Peppermint oil does just that.
Get some essential oil of peppermint and put a few dozen drops of it into a spray bottle with a little water. Then spray the solution around the areas you know mice are entering and leaving your home.
The strong odor and painful burn of the oil is very effective at keeping mice away. Plus, you can feel good about never having to dispose of a dead mouse again!
Homemade Fruit Fly Traps
All it takes is one bunch of stale bananas to start the nightmare that is a fruit fly infestation. It seems like once the things get started it takes an act of God to get them out of your kitchen. Oh, but they only start in your kitchen. Eventually they move on to your bathrooms too. Then they’re inescapable!
Never fear though. There’s a simple trap you can make at home that will eliminate your fruit fly problem in a matter of days, no matter how bad it is.
First, get a bottle of raw apple cider vinegar (regular will work, but raw is best). Then get several small glasses and pour about ⅛ of a cup into each one. Next, take clingy plastic wrap and make a taught cover over each glass. Finally, use a fork to poke a bunch of small holes in the plastic wrap, being careful not to overlap and make any of the holes bigger than one tine of the fork.
Fruit flies like to lay their eggs in highly acidic liquids, so they’ll be attracted to the odor of your traps immediately. They’ll land on the plastic and crawl through one of the tiny holes you made, but then they can’t find their way out. After a few days, you’ll be shocked to see how many fruit flies collect in a single trap.
Use one or two traps for smaller spaces like bathrooms, and place three to five traps in larger spaces like the kitchen.
Cornmeal and Borax for Ants
While diatomaceous earth can work for ants, it only kills them one at a time as they come into contact with it; it can’t address an entire colony of ants at once. That’s where cornmeal and borax come in.
First off, it’s important to note that borax isn’t technically 100% natural. It is, however, very safe and has low toxicity in humans and animals. Having said that, you still wouldn’t want a child or pet touching or consuming borax directly, so you can leave it out of this recipe if you’d like. The resulting solution won’t be quite as potent of an ant-killer, but it will still be better than putting down a dangerous chemical alternative!
The science behind the method is simple: ants are attracted to the starches and sugars in cornmeal, even though trying to digest it will kill them, and when you spray a solution of borax over the cornmeal, it makes it even more poisonous to the ants. When they try to eat the tainted cornmeal, they’ll quickly be killed.
The important part of this method involves with what the ants do with your bait though. They take it back to their colony and spread it around to the other ants, hopefully the queen too. When the queen eventually dies, the entire colony will dissolve and relocate, assuming there are enough ants left for them to even do that.
Put Up a Bat Box
You’ve heard a few good ways to tackle bug problems inside your house, but what about those terrible flying and biting pests outside? Mosquitoes are the epitome of an unwanted pest. They benefit the ecosystem very little, and they carry a plethora of bacteria and diseases. Depending on the time of year, they can make it nearly unbearable to be outside!
But you can make friends with nature’s best mosquito hunter, the bat, to keep yourself from being eaten to death each time you decide to sit outside in the evening.
Attracting bats to your yard with purpose-built houses for them to sleep in and raise their young is one of the best ways to ward off mosquitoes and other flying, biting insects. Plus, they’re a blast to watch at dusk!
How Do You Control Pests Naturally?
Do you have any other natural pest control methods you think should be on this list? If you do, please tell us about them in the comments!