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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Natural, Homemade Bug Repellant

This is a Guest Post from Ashley Pahl at She Makes a Home. I am so excited to share these natural bug repellants with you because using harsh chemicals and poisons are dangerous for pets and children. If you love this post, please leave Ashley a comment!

 Hello, I'm Ashley Pahl from She Makes a Home, and I'm so excited to share some tips with you here on Bricks and Baubles! With the weather being so intensely warm this year, we've been having pest problems more than usual - mostly fruit flies and ants in the home.

Luckily, it only takes a few household ingredients to take care of these problems.

To get rid of fruit flies, you will need:

  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Banana peel
  • a small container

First, fill the small container about 2 cm deep with the apple cider vinegar. Next, put 2-3 drops of liquid dish soap into the vinegar, and stir it around. Finally, a couple pieces of banana peel placed inside the dish is all you need - just make sure the peel is covered by the liquid.

The flies will be attracted to the sweet vinegar and banana peel, but the dish soap will trap them once they land. The vinegar smell might be a bit strong at first, but it helps to place the traps near where the flies are hanging out - near fruit bowls and sinks. You can move your trap around the house until you've caught them all. Empty and replace as needed.

To get rid of ants:

Ants are smart little things. The day that they invaded my home, I got rid of most of them via vacuum, but new ones kept coming in. Killing them on site will not stop the problem - once they locate a food source, they leave a scent trail for others to follow.

To repel ants, you will need:
  • Vinegar and water
  • Cinnamon

and if they persist, you will need:

  • Borax
  • Jelly; powdered sugar and water; or peanut butter
  • a lidded container with holes punched in the top

If an ant problem isn't that bad, you may be able to keep them away by:

1. disposing of the ants that already came inside
2. cleaning the room thoroughly
3. spraying a mix of vinegar and water on the floor where the ants were walking - it erases the scent trails they left for others to follow
4. sprinkling a line of cinnamon in front of the opening they used to get in (you will need to have seen where they were coming from)

Ants cannot stand cinnamon! I couldn't believe it when I first tried this method. I read that ants hate peppermint, and won't cross lines of chalk or baby powder, but all of the other methods failed. A thick line of cinnamon did the trick: I watched them walk into my living room, walk up to the cinnamon, and turn around and leave! After you haven't seen ants for a while, clean up the messy ground cinnamon, and replace with cinnamon sticks left around the house where ants might return.

Now, if there are so many ants that you just can't contain them, it's time to step-up your efforts. Mix 1 tablespoon of Borax (20 Mule Team - found in the laundry detergent aisle), with 2 tablespoons of jelly; or, mix 1 tablespoon of Borax mixed in with 1/2 cup powdered sugar dissolved in 1/2 cup water, to make a paste.Put this bait into lidded containers with holes punched in the top for the ants to access the bait, and take it back to their colony. Keep these containers out of reach of children and pets - behind furniture or under appliances are good places.

Some ants do not like sweets - if this is the case, try peanut butter instead of jelly or sugar.

You may actually see increased ant activity as they go for the bait, and this is good - it means they are taking it back to the colony to share. The Borax will do them in when eaten, and hopefully take care of your entire ant problem within a few days. I have tried this, and within a week our ant problem was gone.

Have you tried any of these method with success? Or do you have any ideas for naturally getting rid of other pests? Share your ideas in the comments!
Cinnamon is magical! I used a cinnamon air freshener that was primarily cinnamon essential oil to rid my bathroom (behind the toilet) of spiders! It worked great! Thank you so much Ashley!! 
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