Us humans have never really enjoyed sharing our dwellings with insects and pests – isn’t that we moved out of moldy bat-infested caves? Unfortunately, they seem to enjoy our company, and like a bad roommate, it can be a genuine headache getting them to abandon.
Ants, cockroaches, and termites are considered the most common house pests, with professionals estimating that odorous house ants are the most challenging pest to control.
However, unless you’ve got an infestation worthy of an Aliens movie, it’s not always worth calling in the exterminators just yet. There are some simple and natural steps you can take to eliminate common house pests such as those mentioned, with rather simple to obtain ingredients.
Depending on the size of your pest infestation, you may want to try several of these solutions together. You can check this guide to learn more on getting rid of ants and other house pests.
How do ants and other pests obtain in your home?
Just like humans, insects prefer shelter from the rain – which is why you’ll detect more house pest activity during rainy weather. They’ll typically crawl in any way they can – through windows, doorways, tiny cracks in your foundation, etc. If there’s a place they can squeeze through, they’ll squeeze through it.
Other house pests like moths and termites are naturally drawn to lights, so they’ll try to find a way inside your house if they see lightbulbs on at night, for example.
Once inside, where house pests begin nesting depends on the ant species or other insect type. Some ants prefer to live in wooden walls, especially if the walls are hollow. Others can live underneath floorboards, or even in gaps and cracks in cement, such as in your basement.
Roaches prefer moist places with access to drinking water, so you’ll typically find them near leaking pipes, such as underneath your kitchen sink, or in the bathroom. Termites eat wood and anything containing cellulose, so you’ll typically find them in wooden walls, or munching on paper books and things like that.
Some common signs you have ants in your walls conclude:
- Small piles of dust and other excavated material.
- Visible ant trails going into your walls.
- Ants coming out of electrical sockets.
- A hollow sound if you tap on what should be solid wall (indicating structural damage).
How to obtain rid of ants in your home
For the purpose of this article we’ll be focusing on ants, but the information given can apply to other house pests as well. All insects with an exoskeleton, for example, share a common weakness to diatomaceous earth, which would conclude ants, cockroaches, termites, and bed bugs.
Start sealing up entry points
First observe where the ants are travelling from. If they’re marching in a trail, you can always follow the trail back to their home. So if you have concrete walls, for example, you may find small cracks in the concrete that they’re tunneling through and forming nests in.
Filling in the cracks with a bit of concrete repair, or even caulk, will help a lot in disrupting their ability to flow through your home.
Sprinkle a bit of diatomaceous earth along trails
Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder that feels soft to us humans, but on a microscopic level, is actually quite sharp and risky to the exoskeletons of ants. Imagine rolling around on the beach, except the sand is razor-sharp. That’s what DE is like for ants.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is completely harmless to you, and can even be ingested (some claim to use it as a health supplement). However, the tiny sharp crystals will cling to the oily bodies of ants, cutting deeply into their exoskeleton and dehydrating them, causing their death.
Dust it along their trails and other areas of ant activity, and within a few days, you should detect serious reduction in their population.
DIY ant repellant sprays
There are many different natural ingredients believed to repel ants. These conclude extracts from peppermint, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, bay leaves, and chili powder.
It’s simple to mix up your own spray-solution with these ingredients. For example, you can boil a quart of water, add a couple tablespoons of cayenne pepper powder, a teaspoon of vinegar, and a shot of liquid soap. Spray it where you see ant activity.
The soapy water will suffocate the ants you spray directly, and the cayenne pepper and vinegar will deter other ants from returning.
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