5 Natural Pest Control Options That Work!

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Natural Pest Control that actually works
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I would have thought that with all the snow we had last Winter, insects wouldn’t be bad this year. And I would have been wrong. I’ve always been a target for mosquitos when I am outside (thus my obsession with natural bug spray recipes), but this year, it seems like there is a giant insect conspiracy to dive bomb and infiltrate every door of our house the second it is open (which is every other second with our kids).

The normal advice to “make sure to keep counters and floors clean and put food away so insects aren’t attracted to your house,” doesn’t works so well when you are fermenting jars of sweetened tea (kombucha) and sugar water (water kefir) on the kitchen counters.

That advice also doesn’t work so well when my kids’ favorite snacks are fresh fruits and veggies and inevitably, some of them drip on the table or floor.

Natural Pest Control Options

Thankfully, there is a great pest control company locally that ran a special where I could have our entire house and yard sprayed with pesticides to ward off ticks, mosquitos, roaches, flies and other things I’ve never even heard of. So of course I jumped on that deal right away.

In case you missed the sarcasm in that last paragraph… I absolutely did not have our house sprayed, but I knew I had to find some natural pest control options that actually worked before the flies few off with my sanity.

I turned to some of the natural pest control ideas I’d used in the garden before, and tried the suggestions of friends. These were the options that worked best for us:

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth (or DE) is a fine powder made from the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. It has a very hard shell, is high in silica and is very sharp, though it is so fine that it doesn’t do damage to human tissue or skin. In fact, I’ve taken it internally before to get rid of parasites and for its silica content (helps hair and nail growth).

As I explained before:

The strong negative charge of diatomaceous earth means that it naturally attaches to and removes from the body things like: chemicals, viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and even radiation. It’s sharp/strong structure allows it to puncture the exoskeleton of insects on a microscopic level, causing them to dehydrate and die (while humans and animals are left completely unharmed).

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is recognized as safe for human and animal use, and food grade DE is considered safe for human consumption, even during pregnancy and nursing.

I’ve found the DE is especially effective for ants, fleas, roaches and other insects that walk or jump rather than fly. The only caution is to avoid inhaling the powder as it can be irritating to the lungs. This post explains other ways we use DE.

How to use DE for pest control: When I noticed an invasion, I sprinkled DE liberally on the carpets and in areas where the ants seemed to be entering. Within a day or two, the ant problem had solved itself and I just vacuumed up the remaining powder.

Years ago, when we adopted a precious kitten who brought some not-so-precious fleas with her, our apartment became flea infested within days. Thankfully (or unfortunately), we had white carpet, so I just sprinkled DE on the cat and all the floors a couple times a day for a week and the fleas were gone.

Where to get DE: I use this brand because it is food grade so we can also use it internally. I’ve also ordered 50 pound bags inexpensively from local supply stores and co-ops before, it can just be difficult to find a food grade option.

Natural Ant Poison

Katie of KitchenStewardship.com suggested this method when I interviewed her on my podcast last year and it works quite effectively, though it does take a day or two to start working because the ants take it back to their home and it poisons them.

It is made with borax and corn syrup (the only thing I’d recommend using it for) and while you wouldn’t want to let your children play with or eat it, borax is much less toxic than pesticides. (I cover the safety of using borax in this post).

Her method is to mix equal parts Borax powder and corn syrup and spread on an index card. The ants are attracted to the sweetener, eat it and take it back to their nest and it poisons them. Again, not an immediate fix, but a good long-term one.

Natural Fly Traps

Fruit flies have been especially bad this year, and because of their size are difficult to trap. Thankfully, we haven’t had too many large flies, but the fruit flies were starting to drive me a little crazy.

Someone at the farmer’s market suggested these natural fruit fly traps and they have worked great. I keep one on the counter near the fruit and we haven’t had trouble with fruit flies since we got them. Another great option is this natural blend to attract and kill the common fly.

Essential Oils Spray

The easiest way to deal with indoor pests is to keep them from coming indoors in the first place. Easier said than done, but I had good results with using a vinegar and essential oils spray on the outside of our doors where flies and ants were coming in.

I mixed 2 cups of water with 1 cup of white vinegar, 50 drops of peppermint essential oil, 20 drops of basil essential oil and 20 drops of lemon essential oil. It actually didn’t smell bad but seemed to repel the insects.

Fresh Basil Leaf

I liked this natural pest control solution because it was duel-purpose. Fresh basil leaves seem to repel flies effectively, and I love the flavor or basil (pesto anyone?). I potted some fresh basil plants and placed them near each of our doors. It seemed to cut down on the insect invasion and we now have an almost endless supply of fresh basil leaves for caprese salad and other recipes.

Has your home been invaded by pests this year? What has worked for you?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


46 responses to “5 Natural Pest Control Options That Work!”

  1. Sally Avatar

    The homemade bug spray instructions are unclear..when you get to the part where you put 2-3 tbsp in a 16oz bottle it doesn’t say to fill with water..surely you don’t just put 2-3 tbsp of the concoction in a spray bottle..PLEASE clarify.
    .Thank you! Sally

  2. Kimberly Avatar

    My cats got flees after staying at a friend’s. I have read about diametrious earth. My question is, if it is not to be inhaled, how can that pbe prevented if it is sprinkled on the cats fur? Wouldn’t they inhale it when they groom or just from being around each other? Wouldn’t I inhale it if it is just loose in their fur, or on the floor? Thanks.

  3. mark david Avatar
    mark david

    Thanks for the tips. Will definitely be trying the DE on my dog and the acv on the counter,Do you know any natural remedies to kill Ticks in the yard?

  4. Sylvia Avatar

    Any remedies for keeping spiders out of the house?? Killed 8 in the past few days. They’re brown recluse too. I’ve been bitten already, and I’ve tried the essential oil thing, but haven’t had any luck. I’m also arachnophobic on top of being bitten and trying to sleep after even seeing one is impossible. I’d rather move than deal with these things. Especially since I have three children, I don’t want to buy the normal pesticides but I don’t know what else to do to keep these out of the house!! I’ve heard that the diatomaceous earth kills them, and it helped outside in my husbands shed, we bought some for horses edible version at the local tractor supply I’m assuming this is the edible safe version for humans too??? I’m not sure but it said it was for horses to eat to keep gnats from bothering them. Do you think this would be safe to use inside?

  5. Megan Avatar

    Where we live, they spray the apartments every 8 weeks with insecticides! I am horrified of this. We have an almost 1 year old and that’s who I worry most about. Do you have any suggestions as how to counteract this and make or place as safe as we can considering the circumstances? (We are stuck in a lease for 13 months)

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      That’s tough. I would ask them not to spray and let them know I’m chemically sensitive and could have an allergic reaction to the insecticides.

  6. Glenda B Avatar
    Glenda B

    The article above on Diatomaceous Earth is great for garden pest control & indoor pest control. However, the writer doesn’t distinguish the difference in the two different brands enough. Just plain Diatomaceous Earth is to be used outdoors only! If you want to use it indoors for pest control make sure you buy Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. I can’t stress this enough to only use the FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth indoors, on your pets, or ingesting. Just plain Diatomaceous Earth is a pesticide for Outdoor Use Only. The article above is a great informative article about the product. I was just worried someone would not notice to buy only Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for home use. You can find Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth on Amazon.

  7. Elisabeth Avatar

    We have very large ‘house spiders’ (shudder!), and windows here don’t have any screens (we live in the UK). Any thoughts on keeping the spiders out of the house. They’re fine in the garden, but the bodies of these are about the size of a nickel and the legs an inch and a half out on either side. I really really don’t like them!

  8. Hazel Adams Avatar
    Hazel Adams

    I have never heard of using basil leaves before as a natural bug repellent. That would be a great idea for my kitchen. I am excited to try this, because I think it will make my house smell really good.

  9. Chris Milas Avatar
    Chris Milas

    Thanks for all the amazing tips, loved the whole article especially the Natural Pest control options you have shared.

  10. GiaP Avatar

    Hello! I am looking for suggestions to help get rid of house centipedes! I’m DEATHLY afraid of them and would rather move than live with them! I have two small children and pets. I am looking for healthy, non toxic ways that work. Has anyone been in this boat? Thank you!

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