9 Ways To Get Rid Of Pests Naturally This Year

Posted by on April 19, 2021 in Eco-Friendly with 0 Comments

As the weather warms up and you’re getting ready to go back outside into the garden, you may start to notice more animal and insect activity. Turns out that pests are getting ready to be more active too.

Whether you’re worried about your vegetable garden, or the wasps that bothered your children on the swing set last summer, pests can be a big headache for homeowners. Your pest problems can vary based on a whole range of factors, including where you live, the season, and what kind of property you’re maintaining. Maybe you’ve got centipedes in your house, and you’re looking for an in-depth walkthrough of how to get rid of them. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

In this article, you’ll get a look at nine ways to get rid of pests naturally this year. They range from encouraging a local owl to help with your mouse problem, to making wasp traps. No matter what, these tips should give you somewhere to start when it comes to keeping critters at bay.

1. Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Using an approach called “integrated pest management” (IPM) can help you to control the population of whatever it is that’s bothering you. As defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), IPM is “an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management”, with the ultimate goal of managing “pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”

What does that mean for your home or garden? While some pesticide use might be appropriate for farming applications, using IPM at home could look pretty different. It might mean encouraging the presence of animals that you don’t mind having in your garden, such as local song birds. They’ll help to keep the population of insects under better control.

Owls are another animal that can help, especially if mice are a problem. A recent study of introduced barn owls showed that they favored mid-sized prey—mostly different kinds of rats, depending on the environment in which they were living. This might mean that an owl box, which may encourage an owl to roost on your property, could be a solution for any mice or rats that you’re worried will get into your home.

On the whole, remember that there are all sorts of options to choose from when it comes to pest control, so consider what will work best for your situation.

2. Seal up your home

While it might not seem like it, there are many ways to get into your home for something the size of an insect (or arthropod, arachnid, mouse, etc…). You’ll want to find any gaps and cracks that you can, no matter how small. This means regularly looking for:

  • Tears or rips in screens
  • Gaps or cracks around windows and doors
  • Cracks in your foundation
  • Loose pieces of siding
  • Missing roof shingles
  • Gaps around utility lines, pipes, and wiring.

All of these are things that you should do at least once a year. Consider slotting this chore into your home maintenance plan for when the weather warms up; that way, you can make any replacements or repairs that you need to before the insect activity increases significantly.

3. Practice good food storage

There are quite a few things that you can do on a daily or weekly basis that will help to keep pests at bay naturally. For example, storing your food in sealed containers makes a big difference. Many pests are just looking for a food source, and if they can’t find one then they often won’t become a bother.

If you can, put pantry staples and similar products in resealable containers after you open them to keep out any would-be invaders. Also, make sure to clean out your pantry regularly, since spoiled food will definitely attract pests.

4. Rinse your recyclables (and close the lid)

Whether it’s an old soda can or an empty jar of pasta sauce, your recyclables are another attractive home—and food source—for pests. By rinsing out any metal, glass, or plastic containers that you’re planning to recycle, you may save yourself some unpleasant surprises.

You can also help yourself by storing your recyclables in an air-tight container, to reduce the number of opportunities that pests have to get in. Like all new habits, rinsing recyclables and keeping the lids tight on containers may take time to get the hang of, but it makes a noticeable difference when you do it regularly.

5. Pick the right lightbulbs

If you’re looking to reduce the number of flying insects that are getting into your home at night, take a look at your lighting. Try replacing standard light bulbs with halogen or high-pressure sodium vapor lights, or changing the color of the lights you’re using. Light bulbs with an orange, pink, or yellow tint will attract fewer insects.

Another method to consider is moving your lights away from your home. You could place a light on a pole further from your door, providing sufficient illumination but pulling insects away from where you enter and exit at night.

6. Clean regularly

In line with some of the suggestions above, this one seems simple but, if done consistently, may prove very helpful.

Regularly cleaning your home does a few things to keep pest problems under control:

  • You’ll disturb areas where pests might be gathering.
  • Crumbs and other food debris, which could attract pests, will get picked up.
  • As you clean, you’ll see any new entry ways for pests that you mightn’t have noticed before.

Some tasks may not be necessary every day, but when implemented will be very effective. For instance, cleaning your drains regularly can reduce the number of flies breeding in your home. For this, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, which will bust up clogs as it foams.

7. Manage your mulch and plants

Mulch does great things for plants, but it can also be a welcoming environment for bugs. If you have garden beds that touch the foundation of your house, consider using another kind of groundcover, like rocks, that won’t serve as a home for pests.

You should also manage your plants to ensure that they don’t serve as an entryway for insects. Make sure to check regularly for points where trees or bushes touch your home, then trim them back. By reducing the frequency with which bugs come into contact with your home, you may decrease the chance that you’ll end up with a larger problem.

8. Use herbs to deter pests

There are many herbs that can help to repel bothersome bugs (and mice!). For example:

  • Basil—Planting basil in a container on your windowsill will give you herbs for cooking and repel flies.
  • Bay leaf—Whether you grow your own or buy them, bay leaves can be placed in flour and other pantry staples to keep out pests.
  • Lavender—Along with looking and smelling great, lavender repels fleas, mosquitoes, and moths.
  • Mint and catnip—Ants (and mice) dislike the smell of these plants. You could sprinkle mint leaves in your pantry to keep out mice, and plant mint or catnip around your foundation to keep away ants.
  • Rosemary—Along with its use in cooking, rosemary repels mosquitoes while it grows. It also repels cats, if you have a problem keeping strays out of your yard.
  • Sweet Woodruff—When put under wool carpet, this herb can repel moths and carpet beetles.
  • Tansy—This little-known herb repels flies, fleas, moths, mice, and ants. It looks a bit like a marigold when flowering, so it’s also a nice plant to place at the foundation of your home.

As you can see, many of these herbs have uses beyond pest control, so it might not be a bad idea to plant a herb garden, for use now and in the future.

9. Trap wasps

Wasps serve an important ecological role, helping to fertilize some plants and countering other harmful insects. Still, they can ruin your outdoor space if they set up their nest in the wrong spot.

What to do? Simple: build DIY traps, and place them around your yard in the spring when queens are busy looking for where to build nests. Lots of the materials you’ll need may be things that you already have around the house.

There are plenty of plans for traps online, but the basic principle is as follows:

  • Cut the top off a plastic bottle.
  • Put bait in the bottom (something sweet will work).
  • Invert the top portion (which you’ve cut off) to serve as a funnel.
  • Place the trap somewhere wasps are likely to find it, and empty it regularly.

Conclusion

As this article has made clear, there are plenty of ways to keep pests out—for this year and the years to come. What’s more—you can do it without relying on a lot of chemicals and insecticides.

From using herbs to changing light bulbs, there are all sorts of things that you can do to keep your family and home pest-free. Give these nine natural pest-control strategies a try, and if you need any more advice, don’t be afraid to contact a professional for a consultation on other strategies that you might want to consider.

Author Bio:

Miles Perrine, Miles is an expert in pest control and has owned several pest control businesses in the past. Nearly every weekend you'll find him up in the mountains, in a neighborhood, or somewhere else helping someone get rid of their pesky pests – either actively or through consulting. But when he's not, he writes about pest control tactics to help others.

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