My Favorite DIY Pest Control Solutions

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DIY Pest Control Graphic

My Favorite DIY Pest Control Products and Solutions

Over the years, my husband and I have developed tried-and-true methods for dealing with a number of common pests, both in our home and in our garden. Our approach relies heavily on natural solutions that won’t harm our health or the environment. We do not use broad-spectrum insecticides, since they’ve been shown to be harmful to beneficial insects, wildlife and fish and because time has shown us that they just aren’t necessary. We aim to address our pest problems at the source, using the simplest and least invasive means possible.

With that said, here are the home remedies and commercial products that we’ve come to rely on to keep our home and garden pest-free:

Ant Bait

Have ants that you haven’t been able to get rid of with home remedies or a whole arsenal of commercial products? The Homeplus Ant Killer Bait Stations are the answer. They’re made of metal – not plastic – so they can be used indoors or outdoors, and they’re designed to attract 60% more ant species than other products. When worker ants find the bait; then take it back to the colony to share. This eliminates the queen, and thus the whole colony. Within 24 hours, you’ll start seeing dead ants around the bait station.

Glue Traps (for Mice and Insects)

These Catchmaster Pest Traps are the cornerstone of our indoor pest management system. These peanut butter-scented glue traps can be used to catch mole crickets, mice, roaches and a host of other creepy crawlies. At around $22 for 72 traps, they’re dirt cheap, too. I just checked my order history, and we haven’t had to order any since 2015. $22 for six years of pest control is pretty incredibly, don’t you think?

Fruit Fly Traps

How to Make a Fruit Fly Trap

Battling a fruit fly infestation? Get rid of them quickly, and keep them away, with this simple, DIY trap. I keep one on my kitchen counter from spring through fall, to capture any fruit flies that may have come in on grocery store or garden produce. Catching them early is the key to keeping the problem from getting out of hand. A single adult fruit fly can lay 500 eggs!

Pantry Moth Traps

No matter how careful you are, you’re bound to end up with a pantry moth infestation at some point. When that happens, I recommend Professor Killamoth Pantry Moth Traps. These triangular cardboard sticky traps have a pheromone mixed into the glue that attracts pantry moths. They’re highly effective, and do not contain any insecticides.

Clothing Moth Traps

Professor Killamoth also makes clothes moth traps. They work just like the pantry moth trap, but have a pheromone that attracts clothing moths instead. I keep these in our closets as a preventative measure. Discovering moths in the trap is way better than discovering holes in your favorite wool and other natural fiber clothing.

Essential Oils for Indoor Pests

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used to boost your health and make your home smell nice, but they can also be used as pest control. I use citrus oil to keep ants out of our house, cedar oil to keep moths out of our closets and peppermint oil to keep mice out of our cabin. You can read more about how I use essential oils to repel household pests here.

Carpenter Bee Traps

Carpenter Bee Trap

We love bees, and work hard to encourage their presence in our yard, but carpenter bees are another story. They bore large holes in houses, fences and outbuildings, causing significant structural damage. Since they make these holes for the purpose of laying eggs, further damage by hungry woodpeckers is almost inevitable. A broad-spectrum insecticide would kill them, but it would also kill a lot of other bees and beneficial insects. So, instead we use these cedar carpenter bee traps to capture ours. You can order them from us in our shop.

Mosquito Control

Bug Stick

It’s getting increasingly popular to pay a pest control company to spray your yard for mosquitoes, but the pyrethrin and pyrethroids that most companies use have been shown to be harmful to a long list of pollinators, including honeybees, butterflies, dragonflies, caterpillars and ladybugs. These chemicals also harm fish and other aquatic organisms. Needless to say, we steer clear of them. Our mosquito control involves eliminating standing water from our property and attracting natural mosquito predators to our yard. You can read how we do this here. When the mosquitoes are bothering us, we apply homemade bug repellent, or light a citronella candle. Our best-selling Bug Stick and Bug Bar are available for purchase in our shop. To learn how to make your own bug spray, and citronella candles, be sure to check out my tutorials.

Insecticidal Soap for Garden Pests

Homemade Insecticidal Soap

Battling an aphid or thrip infestation in your garden? When these pests get our of control, I mix up a batch of my homemade insecticidal soap. It’s insecticide-free, and eliminates the problem in a hurry. You can use it on houseplants, too.

Yellow Traps for Orchard and Garden Pests

Homemade Codling Moth Trap

Codling moths, fungus gnats, aphids, whiteflies, leafmners, thrips and a whole host of other garden and orchard pests are attracted to the color yellow, so I make my own dirt cheap traps using tennis balls and sticky Tanglefoot. They work like a charm. Here’s how I make them. If you prefer to purchase yellow traps, I can just about guarantee you’ll still save a ton over whatever you’re using now.

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  1. Thanks for all of the useful suggestions. We have successfully used your solution to the fruit-fly problem. I clicked on this article today hoping for ideas on how to get rid of the common housefly. From August through October we can have a problem with houseflies. I know we only have another few weeks before they die out with the onset of frosty weather, but right now the weather is cool enough to make us want to use our outdoor areas again (our summer was blistering hot this year) and make the flies want to crawl all over us for the extra warmth. So… how do you get rid of them? Our current solution is lots of fly-swatters everywhere the flies find us.

    1. Hi Lucinda, Glad to hear my fruit fly trap worked well for you. You can actually use something similar to trap houseflies. It’s on my list to write up the instructions for the website. But in the meantime, just take a 2L soda bottle, and use a serrated knife to cut the top off, where the bottle starts to taper. Flip the top over, so it looks like a funnel (remove the cap, if you haven’t already); then, tuck it back inside the soda bottle to create a homemade housefly trap. To, bait your trap, just pour a couple inches of apple cider vinegar inside. You can use soda, sugar water, fruit, etc. to bait your trap, but if you use vinegar, it’ll keep the bees and wasps out of it (and I try not to suggest anything that’ll harm bees). Stick this trap out on your patio, and it should take care of your fly problem. They’ll fly in to get to the vinegar, and the funnel will prevent them for getting back out. Simple, but really effective.

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