I am constantly reconciling the person that I’d like to be with the person I actually am. Regarding spiders, ants, and other pests – I wish I could be one of those “it’s their home too!” people, but that just doesn’t fly with me. Things that crawl give me anxiety, and I’m happy to live and let live but once they begin cohabitation, they’re just too close for comfort.
I vehemently wish this was something I had no experience with - but having lived in various types of dwellings (high rises, brownstones, duplexes, single family homes) in large cities (and now the suburb - though to be honest Los Angeles is really one big suburb), I have invariably come into contact with creepy crawly roommates. Despite never being invited, they made themselves at home through my pets, my travels, or some kind of crevice in my home.
I have dealt with bed bugs, fleas, spiders, ants, earwigs, and a few other not so welcome visitors. I strive to do everything as naturally as possible and these are thing’s I’ve used to eliminate, and now prevent the issue with pretty good success rates. Obviously if you have some sort of infestation, it’s best to call in professional help for your particular issue but these natural routes work as more of a maintenance/home-proofing option.
Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade)
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring white powdery substance made from fossilized remains of hard-shelled algae that’s used in a plethora of applications including pest control. It works by drying out the exoskeletons of insects leading to their ultimate demise – and it gets rid of all types of insects (ants, fleas, bed bugs, spiders, beetles, etc). I sprinkle some on my areas rugs every week before I vacuum. It gets sprinkled on my dogs’ beds in between washings as natural flea prevention.
When we started to dig up the plants, weeds, and other various overgrown neglected awfulness in our yard, we noticed that we made an awful lot of bugs homeless – and they started trying to get in the house (living in an older home, there’s a lot more cracks and crevices where bugs can get in). The next time we did yard work, I sprinkled it outside around the perimeter of the house to deter them from coming in. I also sprinkle it around my baseboards every so often, leave it there for a few days, and then vacuum it up. Not the prettiest sight, but definitely better than having unwelcome visitors. Make sure to buy food grade DM to make sure it’s safe for humans and pets (some folks even take it as a supplement!)
Naturally Acidic Cleaners
Once again, regular old vinegar saves the day. I regularly clean my counter tops with a combination of white vinegar and water (and lemon juice if I have it on hand). Bugs hate the acidity and anywhere that’s cleaned becomes a place that is not so appealing for set up shop. I also use a solution of vinegar and water for my floors. It’s so cheap, and it’s very good. I buy the giant handles of it from Target for a few dollars which last a very long time.
There are many scents that are natural deterrents to bugs (lemon grass, citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus are a few examples). Instead of buying super expensive bug sprays, I make my own linen/air spray with 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil , 1 tablespoon of alcohol, and 1 cup of water. I spray my bed sheets, closet, and even myself with the mixture!
Vacuum Often – At Least Once Per Week Tough but true. Regular vacuuming not only makes for a clean and dust-free house, but it makes it a not so fun place for bugs to set up shop. I hate vacuuming immensely, but I do it to keep my house as bug-free as possible. I bought a refurbished Dyson Anima l for my vacuuming needs and it’s life changing compared to my old cheapo vacuum.
Invest in sealed food storage Mason jars are the kale of food storage and DIY’s nowadays – they are everywhere. and despite the trend being completely overboard, I love using them for food storage. They are super cheap (like a buck or two a jar for the large ones), they look nice, they are eco-friendly, and they are perfect for food storage. All my grains, flours, nuts, dried fruit, and other pantry items are in mason jars. I also invested in some pyrex bowls with bpa-free lids for all my leftovers storage
There are many obvious ways to deal with pest proofing your house: caulk and seal any gaps and cracks, add screens to doors and windows, keep mulch and branches away from the home, deal with and store your garbage efficiently – but this stuff goes the extra mile and sends a message: my home is most certainly not their home. I am not one of those people.