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How to Deal with 7 of Your Most Hated Bugs

The best parts of spring—the warmer weather, the blooming gardens, the outdoor activities—don’t only attract us, they attract unwanted neighbors. Get rid of pesky pests with these 7 DIY ideas from Hometalk.

By
Hometalk.com
May 27, 2015

ants

This sunny season is prime time for pests of every shape, color, and size to find their way into your home and garden. Instead of leaving you to swat, squash, and itch all on your own, here are some tried and true ways to rid yourself of creepy crawlers.

Tip #1: Deal with Ants (indoors)

Find the Source: Ants usually appear when they can easily find food, like sugar or crumbs, or when there’s available moisture. The best way to rid your home of ants is to keep counters and dishes clean, and dry up any moisture. If the environment stays ant-friendly, any poisons or traps might kill your current colony, but they won’t prevent future infestations.

Project via Tracy @Made from Pinterest

Solution: Once the source is dealt with, there are some very useful baits that will trap and kill any pesky straglers. This borax idea is an all time favorite fix. Mix sugar, warm water, and Borax until completely dissolved, and then soak a cosmetic pad or cotton ball in the mixture. In no time, ants will come collect the solution and bring the poisoned food back to the queen, destroying the colony.

Tip #2: Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Find the Source: Fruit Flies enter your home because there is an overripe or rotten fruit or vegetable that entices them in. If you have any produce out on your countertops, stored in baskets on your shelves, or sitting in your sink, stow it away in your refrigerator or toss it (and take out the trash) immediately.

Project via Carolyn @Homeworkfruit flies

Solution: Along with sticky fly paper, a tried-and-true way to catch a ton of fruit flies is by putting out edible traps. Mix some wine or apple cider vinegar in a small container with some liquid dish soap. The soap breaks the surface tension, trapping the flies when they come to eat. Another easy trick is putting some diced up apples and vinegar in a thin-knecked bottleflies can get in but they can't get out.

Tip #3: Banish Fungus Flies

Find the Source: Fungus flies, or Fungus gnats, are a sign that you’re over-watering your houseplants. They lay their eggs in the top two inches of your plant’s soil and can damage or devour the roots. Dig down into the soil and keep an eye on it for a couple minutesif you have fungus flies, you’ll see them living there.fungusProject via CX Hydroponics

Solution: Let the soil dry out for a few days so the top two inches are dry. Then, mix one part hydrogen peroxide (regular %3) with four parts water, and water your plants as you normally would. The solution will kill fungus fly larvae on contact, but it won’t harm your plants. Do this weekly until you stop spotting adult fungus flies around your plants. Water your plants with the hydrogen peroxide mixture once a month for added precaution.

Tip #4: Deter Drain Flies

Find the Source: Drain Flies lay their eggs in damp and sludgy environments, so a dirty sink or drain pipe is basically their dream house. They’ll stay mainly in bathrooms or kitchens around sinks and drains, and when you squash them, they leave a powder or dust, which can help you identify them.

unclogProject via Home Repair Tutor

Solution: The best and easiest way to rid your home of drain flies is by thoroughly cleaning your drains and pipes. Use a long wire brush or a plumber’s snake to clean those spaces of all organic material that these flies consume, including food build-up and even hair clogs. Clean and dry your sinks before going to sleep every night until the problem disappears.

Tip #5: Chase Away Spiders  

Find the Source: There are all different types of spiders that you might find in your home or garden, but in general, they prefer cooler, shadier areas, so you can expect to see webs in the corners of your porch, patio, or barn ceiling, or under the leaves and flowers in your garden.

Though spiders can be alarming, as long as they’re not posing a threat to you, keep in mind that spiders are a great natural insecticide. They get rid of many more, much worse insects that could pose a threat to you (like mosquitoes), or your garden (like aphids).

spidersProject via Bright Nest

 

Solution: The easiest and cheapest way to get rid of spiders is to use dawn dish soap in a pump up garden sprayer. Add 1/4 cup of soap to 2 gallons of water, mix gently, and then spray the front of the house and all of the bushes around it. Knock spiders and webs out of corners with a cheap, tossable broom, and keep your outdoor lights off at night, because they attract moths, which in turn draw spiders. Instead, add some decorative solar lights to your outdoor spaces. (Get solar light DIY ideas here!)

 

Tip #6: Keep Mosquitos FAR Away

Find the Source: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing bodies of water, so dump out any buckets, dry up any puddles, and clear away any marshy or damp areas in your yard.

ladybugProject via Tasha @Desiner Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

Solution: Before going outside, spray yourself with this secret potion of mixed essential oils to keep biters off. For your outdoor spaces, many DIYers swear by covering everything in a heavy spray of Listerine — you’ll get a minty fresh scent and a mosquito-free cookout. Prevent mosquitoes from coming indoors by planting containers of lemongrass, mint, or other mosquito deterring greenery, near your entrances.

If you have them inside your home, keep fans on, so that the air is moving. Mosquitoes don’t fly in windy or breezy air, so this should keep them off of you. Lemongrass and mint can grow indoors as well, as long as they get enough sunlight.

Tip #7: Free Your Garden from Aphids

Find the Source: An easy way to tell if your plants have aphids is searching for misshapen or damaged leaves, or a sticky, sap-like residue, which aphids suck from the plant. Though they can be extremely difficult to see with the naked eye because of their whitish or light green color, check the underside of your plant’s leaves for any signs of aphids or any miniscule movement.

ladybugProject via Isis @Little Mountain Haven

Solution: There are a few ways that gardeners have found to deal with aphids. The easiest method (but understandably the least popular) is running your fingers over leaves and stems and squishing aphids by hand. For a cleaner method, placing chopped up banana peels just under the soil around the affected plants will chase aphids away in many cases. Another garden-friendly idea is bringing in ladybugs from a local garden store. One ladybug can devour up to 5,000 aphids in a year!

For more great pest control ideas, or to find an answer to a pest problem, check out our pest control page on Hometalk.

 

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