Tips for a Bug-Free Home, Inside & Outside

June 21, 2017

in Home,Lifestyle

Each region, as well as each season, in the U.S. comes with its own unique traits, from the weather to the kinds of insects that come slinking out from under rocks and out of trees to make their way to your unsuspecting home. No season seems to bring as much strife as the summer. With summer in full swing, here are a few tips that cover a variety of home remedies, maintenance and professional solutions for ensuring an entirely bug-free house.

Preventative Measures Inside the Home

Your best defense is a good offense, so begin by taking preventative measures. Prepare an all-purpose solution of one part vinegar, one part water and wipe down all surfaces in the kitchen. This will be sure to eliminate food particles and any lingering food odor from the room in your home most likely to draw unwanted dinner guests.

Next, check all water fixtures for leaks. Gnats, flies, mosquitoes and other winged raiders are drawn to water, particularly stagnant water, so identifying and repairing any leaks will minimize the insects' attraction to your place.

If your water faucets pass inspection, move on to the drains. Check the bathroom drains to make sure they are draining properly and no water is standing, then check the kitchen drain for food debris. To be certain you're getting rid of any residual particles, pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain followed by half a cup of vinegar. As you may remember from your fifth-grade science fair, this combination causes a chemical reaction similar to a volcanic eruption, so only let it sit for five minutes, then flush it out with boiling water.

A few other tips to keep in mind in your defensive plan are to a) move any dry foods you may have in boxes into sealable glass jars, b) excessively rinse all of your recyclables before tossing them into the bin, and c) any trash cans used for food scraps should have a fitted lid.

Outside of the Home

Cinnamon – It's not just for internet challenges. But just as it nearly suffocates those unsuspecting fools who try to swallow it on a dare, it also gags the average insect and sends them retreating from the pungent smell. Sprinkle cinnamon around your home and particularly around any insect points of entry. Generally, the bugs shall not pass. It's like Gandolf showed up and slammed down his staff.

Herbs – Planting specific herbs around your home, especially near the front and back doors will deter many kinds of bugs from making a mad dash for the door when it opens and closes. There are different herbs that stave off different insects, but a few of the most effective include citronella, lemongrass, bay leaves, garlic, mint, catnip and basil. Not only will these herbs serve as a kind of organic scarecrow, but they can also be harvested and used in your cooking.

Diatomaceous earth (DE) – Technically, DE is the ground up husks of sea organisms called "diatoms," but since diatoms are about 90 percent silica, or quartz, the term "earth" is still accurate. Like cinnamon, in pest control, DE is meant to be spread in front of entry points as a deterrent. To humans, the consistency of the powdery DE seems fine, but to would be house crashers like ants, it is jagged and sharp, like shards of glass, so insects won't cross. You can also use chalk in some cases, specifically for ants, because the calcium carbonate of chalk means that ants lose their ability to follow each other by scent.

Sometimes, though, the do-it-yourself method is not enough. Some species breed too quickly, like bedbugs, or have already caused too much damage, like termites, to be significantly affected by preventative methods or home remedies. When an infestation gets out of control or persists despite reasonable efforts, it is time to call in a pest control service to help solve the problem.

You can't control the seasons, but you can control how you respond. Use these tips to make sure your summer isn't ruined by a full-scale attack on your home.

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Lindsey Renuard is a blogger, YouTube beauty expert, and the Managing Editor of the Skiatook Journal.

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