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12 Natural Pest Control Strategies: Pros and Cons

Creepy crawlies.



Whatever you call them, it’s no secret that pests are everywhere, invading our homes, gardens, picnics, and stealing our peace and quiet. One minute you’re watching a quiet documentary about gardening, the next you’re dealing with an ant infestation.

And there are times when, for whatever reason, you need to deal with pests naturally, without the use of chemicals.

This presents a problem for most people. When it comes to dealing with pests, most people simply get some form of pesticide, which works quite effectively. But dealing with pests naturally isn’t quite so easy.

That’s where we help you separate real natural pest control methods from myths.

In this post, we’re going to discuss 11 methods for dealing with pests naturally, and the effectiveness of those methods based on the viewpoint of professional exterminators.

By the end, you’ll have a clear strategy for creating a pleasant, as close to pest-free environment as possible.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Method #1: Create Natural Barriers

Natural Barriers


Hundreds of years ago, kings built great walls to keep invading enemies at bay. You can adopt a similar strategy in your battle against the creepy crawlies.

Perhaps the most effective way of dealing with pests is to keep them out altogether. By creating barriers using natural ingredients, you keep pests where they belong and keep your home and garden pristine.

Garlic works as an insecticide for a variety of insects, including everything from mosquitoes to Colorado potato beetles. Simply grind it up, mix it with water, and apply it anywhere that insects might enter your home. As a bonus, your house will consistently smell like crushed garlic.

Cayenne pepper, cinnamon, bone meal, talcum powder, and chalk also work as barriers to insects. You’ll need to experiment a bit to determine which substance works best to repel which insects, as different insects are averse to different substances.

You can also use plants to create barriers around your home. Spearmint, peppermint, and pennyroyal are effective at repelling ants and aphids. Mint and basil planted around doorways and under windows will keep flies away and make your house smell like a delightful greenhouse.

If you’ve got a snail problem, use sand, copper, lime, or even ashes to keep them away. And if you’ve got ants sneaking into your house via cracks and crevices, put a dash of lemon on them and send the ants running.


All of the natural ingredients listed above do repel insects. However, they would only last a few days at best, requiring you to constantly reapply them. In other words, there is no residual with these products that keeps the bugs at bay for a long period of time.

Plus repelling insects won’t get rid of them. It would be like treating the symptoms and not the disease. One MUST find the source of the problem and eliminate it at the source for true, long term insect elimination.

Method #2: Soapy Death


Much like small children, most insects, such as mites, aphids, whiteflies, and beetles, don’t do well with soap. When covered in soapy water, they suffocate, dying a somewhat slow, but very clean death.

To make an effective soap spray insecticide, mix 1.5 teaspoons of liquid soap with 1 quart of water and then spray directly on insects, as well as places where insects tend to collect. The spray can be applied as necessary, though it’s recommended that it primarily be used in the evenings or early morning, not in the heat of the day.


Soapy water can kill many insects like fleas, aphids, etc. Unfortunately, the heat of the day will evaporate it in a matter of hours, making it ineffective in the long run against most issues.

Like the ingredients used to create barriers, there is no residual to allow it to continue working. And though soapy water is an effective product to use against aphids, it’s not effective for clearing up most insects like fleas. Soap can suffocate and kill fleas, but will not effectively eliminate infestations inside a structure.

Method #3: Oily Death


When applied to human skin, oil simply makes it greasy, much like a teenager’s hormonal skin. To insects, however, oil is a death blow. A hit of oil can quickly kill aphids, mites, thrips, and other insects that pester you.

To create a simple oil insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of soap and then shake it thoroughly. Then add 2 teaspoons of the oil/water mix to 1 quart of water and spray directly on insects or on affected areas. Like soapy water, the oil coats their bodies in a suffocating sheen, causing them die relatively quickly.


Oils work the same way that soaps work. But just like soap, you have to apply it directly to the insects to have any effectiveness. This is an effective method if you’re treating a small area for a minor issue.

Method #4: Citrus Attack


Not a fan of oranges? Neither are spiders. In fact, they don’t like citrus of any kind. The sight of a lemon or grapefruit sends them scurrying back to their dark holes.

To make a simple citrus spider repellant, simply mix water and unsweetened citrus juice. Then wipe down your countertops, walls, or any other place where spiders tend to appear.

While it’s true that spiders don’t like citrus, it will only repel them to other areas of the home. Additionally, constantly wiping down countertops, walls, etc. involves a significant amount of time and effort. It would leave no residual and make everything sticky. In addition, you could cause an entirely new issue with insects that do like citrus.

Method #5: Kill The Queen


Few things are worse than accidentally stepping into a fire ant hill and suddenly being attacked by a swarm of generally angry fire ants (you did step directly into their home after all). Thankfully, there is a way you can get rid of fire ants relatively easily: assassinate the queen.

We know, it sounds dramatic, but it’s actually quite simple.

Spread some grits on the fire ant hill. The worker ants, being loyal to their queen, will carry the grits back to her so that she can eat them. When it rains, the queen will drink the water and the grits inside her stomach will expand. When they expand, she’ll die, leaving the colony without a queen. Once she’s a distant memory, the remaining worker ants will die off, leaving that spot ant-free.


When the ants take the grits to the colony, the queen will indeed digest the grit, then when she gets a drink, the grit will expand killing her.

Having said that, grits are only effective if they don’t get wet from rain, morning dew, high humidity, or any other water source. If they get wet before they get to the queen, they will expand prematurely.

Additionally, the grits could also have an unintended side-effect. You may attract other vermin and insects causing a whole new issue.

The most effective way to eliminate ants is water-resistant granular ant bait.

Method #6: Roach Elimination


Is there anything worse than roaches? They are the very definition of creepy, crawly, generally disgusting insects. But roaches have an unexpected Achilles heal — a weakness that is their ultimate undoing.

They have a sweet tooth.

Mix equal parts powdered sugar and baking soda and you suddenly have an effective roach killer. Simply put the mix wherever you see roaches and watch them eat themselves to death.

Another effective, natural way to eliminate roaches is to use boric acid. (Note: Boric acid should never be consumed by humans.) The roaches will ingest the acid, bringing about their demise.


Roaches can develop “cross-resistance” which can eventually make them immune to your homemade bait and actually make them worse.

Most pest professionals will use more than one type of bait with different active ingredients and different matrices of inert ingredients. Also, homemade baits can be very messy and ineffective if not properly mixed.

After roaches eat a roach bait, they will go back to their nest and die at the nest. They are cannibalistic, so when the other roaches in the nest digest the dead one, it will transfer to the other roaches and kill them as well. You need enough time for the roach to make it back to the nest. If your bait is too strong or too weak, it won’t be as effective.

Method #7: Destroy The Scent With Vinegar

Destroy The Scent With Vinegar


Ants rely heavily on scent to communicate with each other. When they discover food (or any other item of interest), they release chemicals which create a scent trail. Often times, this scent trail leads directly from their nest to a location in your home, such as food on the floor.

But you can fight fire with fire, creating a trail of your own that destroys the ant’s scent trail. Use a solution of half vinegar, half water to wipe down all surfaces where you see ants. This will wipe out the scent trail that the ants use to navigate, eventually forcing them out of your home.


Eliminating the “scent” or pheromone trail can be achieved by these methods but again that is not taking care of the issue. That’s like putting up a road closed sign. They will just detour and start a new trail. You must find and eliminate the nest for true results.

Method #8: Cloves Over Mothballs


Mothballs may be effective at repelling moths, but the simple fact is they stink. Literally. A much more effective repellant is cloves, which drives the moths away and creates a delightful aroma.

Another effective way of dealing with moths is to fill a small basin with water and then hang some form of light over it. Moths are attracted to light like adrenaline junkies are attracted to bungee jumping. The moths will bump into the light, fall into the water, and drown. Put a dash of soap in the water to break the surface tension and ensure they actually down into the water as opposed to sitting on the top of it.


Both cloves and mothballs are effective repellents for moths, but repelling them only moves them to a different area. Again, treating the source is the best solution and will get rid of the moths so there is no need for cloves or mothballs.

Method #9: Drive Away The Fleas With Rosemary


Who’s a good boy? Your pet when they don’t have fleas. And they’re doubly good when they smell good and don’t have fleas. So how can you achieve this? Grind up some rosemary and sprinkle it onto both your pet and his bedding. You’ll send the fleas running and have a pet that smells absolutely delightful.


Rosemary is a repellent that will move fleas but not take care of the source problem. If you drive the fleas away from your pet, they will find a blood meal elsewhere. This meal is usually the pets owners. We doubt this is a desirable alternative to save Muffy!

Method #10: Let Fruitflies Drink Themselves To Death


Fruit flies can’t resist a good wine. If that wine happens to be a Chardonnay? Forget about it. They can’t stay away. To capture and kill fruit flies, fill a small container with Chardonnay and mix in a small drop of soap. This attracts the fruit files and then ultimately captures and drowns them.

We have to admit, drowning in wine doesn’t seem like a bad way to go.


Using wine to kill fruit flies will only take care of the adults. The most effective way to handle fruit flies is to find the source and eliminate the source. I know we sound like a broken record, but we know how to get rid of bugs for the long haul.

Method #11: Create Your Own Fly Traps


If you want don’t want to use flypaper, you can create your own natural fly traps in several ways. First, put something sweet, such as mango peels, in the bottom of a bottle. Driven by their greed, the flies will go into the bottle. To their horror, they will find themselves unable to get out of the bottle.

Another simple way to kill flies is to boil water, corn syrup, and sugar together. This will create an extremely sticky mixture. Spread the mixture of doom onto a paper and suddenly you have your own flypaper. The flies will land on the paper and find themselves stuck fast.


Flytraps only take care of the adults and you need to find the source and attack them at the larval stage for true results. All maggots and flies will originate from decaying organic matter, and unless you find the source, the problems will persist in most situations.

Final Thoughts

Pest control

What’s clear is that while many natural pest control methods work in one fashion or another, to truly solve the problem you need to employ a pest control professional.

If you need help dealing with your pests, contact Dave’s Pest Control today.


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