Home Pest Control: Remedies for Ants, Cockroaches, Flies, Fleas

Home pest control can be anything from getting rid of ants, flies or cockroaches to treating your pets for fleas. I am not going to talk about natural pesticides for your gardens as this has been discussed at length in another article.

But with regards to home pest control remedies this article deals with those pests that invade your homes and barns; namely ants, flies, roaches and fleas.

When homesteading you will eventually encounter a pest problem of one sort or another. This is especially so if you keep chickens or livestock, as flies will often become a problem.

However, from a health and safety perspective for you, your family and other animals on your homesteads, whatever bait or pest control method you use, it should be organic and non-toxic.

Home Pest Control for Ants

ants on a wallAnts are basically harmless, industrious insects. Having a few ants in the house can actually be mutally beneficial.

They will eat the crumbs and food fallen into small cracks that you would have missed cleaning.

They also help to keep the population down of other more troublesome pests such as silverfish, young cockroaches and moths that like eating holes in your woollens.

However, once in your house in large numbers they will make a bee-line for the sweet things in your kitchen and trails of them moving back and forth to their nests will make your life a misery.

Natural Home Remedies for Getting Rid of Ants

There are several good home remedies for getting rid of ants.

- One is to crumble either dried or fresh tansy leaves in the areas where the ants are gathering.

- If you don't have tansy, take wormwood leaves and use those in the same way.

- Crushed catnip works in the same way.

- Ants don't like goldenseal either. If you have tea bags, you can either make a strong tea and spray the surfaces with it, or remove the tea from the bag, and scatter it throughout your cupboards.

- Salt is another simple remedy. Either sprinkle salt on window sills or on doorsteps where the ants are coming in. You can also mix salt with water and
spray the solution around the house. This is a cheap and effective way for keeping ants at bay.

_ Talcum powder also works in the same way. Baby powder will do. Just sprinkle as usual.

- 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of Tobasco sauce. Spray on surfaces.

_ Using a spray of equal parts vinegar and water and sprayed on surfaces several times a day disrupts the ants sense of smell and they are then unable to track their way from their nest to the food source.

- Essential oils work well to control ants, especially orange oil.

- Another remedy for ants is to use a mixture of essential oils suspended in a vodka solution.

1 spray bottle
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vodka
5 drops essential cinnamon oil
5 drops essential citronella oil
5 drops essential lavender oil

Mix all ingredients into the bottle, shake well, and spray where you find the ants. Do not spray directly onto foodstuffs, and keep away
from children.

Home Pest Control for Cockroaches

a singular cockroachAnts are one thing, cockroaches are quite another.

These insects have stood the test of time, are great survivors and seem almost impossible to kill. However, borax is your friend.

The following recipe is quick and easy to knock up, and very effective in getting rid of roaches.

1 cup boric acid
1/4 cup black pepper
1/cup bay leaves

Cut up bay leaves finely with either a pair of scissors or a knife. Mix together with the boric acid and black pepper. Sprinkle the mixture in small amounts in the corners of your cupboards and on pantry shelves or anywhere the roaches are living.

- If you grow black hellebore, then pull up the plants and scatter the roots around where you have seen the cockroaches. In the morning you will see the roaches either dead, or dying as black hellebore root is toxic to them.

- Another recipe with boric acid is using 4 parts boric acid to 1 part flour and then scatter this around the shelves and cupboards.

- Cockroaches also can be repelled using cucumber skins. Peel cucumbers, making sure that the skins are rather thick, and place these around the kitchen where the cockroaches are. Cut new skins every night, for 3-4 nights and you will get rid of them.

- Finally, you can also use plaster of Paris, oatmeal and sugar:
1 cup Plaster of Paris
2 cups oatmeal
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and scatter in cupboard corners and on pantry shelves.

Home Pest Control for Flies

A large house flyLike roaches, flies are dirty insects, but worse still, they bring disease.

If you keep livestock, you could be invaded with the large horse fly. However, the common house fly is what people encounter the most.

Again there are simple home remedies for getting rid of flies.

One such remedy is using pepper, sugar and quassia chips.

a handful quassia chips
1 pint water, boiled
2 oz black pepper, powdered
1/4 lb brown sugar

Pour the boiled water over the quassia chips and allow to steep for 1 hour. Strain off the water, mix the other ingredients together, place on plates, or similar where the flies are being a pest and they will soon fly off and leave you in peace.

- Another home pest control remedy is to grow the herb wormwood outside your back and front doors. Flies hate the smell of this herb, and won't come near.

- And just as ants don't like tansy, flies don't like tansy either. So this is another useful herb you want to plant in your gardens and around your homesteads.

 Home Pest Control for Fleas

A common fleaFleas bite. Not just that, but some people have horrible reactions to flea bites so that the skin comes up in huge welts.

Regardless of the reaction you might have, what will happen for certain is that your skin will itch, and itch, and you will end up scratching yourself silly.

If you feel like this after a couple of bites, just think how your poor cat or dog must feel if you don't treat them for fleas.

- Pennyroyal is a wonderful herb for fleas. The essential oil of pennyroyal can be sprinkled around, but it is an expensive way of using this herb. If you grow it in your garden, then take the leaves, steep them in hot water, and then use this water to spray carpets and floors.

Don't spray your cats and dogs with pennyroyal as it is highly toxic, and if they lick themselves and ingest the solution, they could end up poisoning themselves. It is far better for you to treat your pets with a commercial anti-flea product, although stay away from flea collars as these can be toxic to some pets, especially to kittens and puppies.

- Salt also works well with fleas. However, it has to be applied to the floor and carpets regularly for it to work. Fleas reproduce every 3 days so salt the floor every day for 9 days, and vacuum every 3rd day. 

- Essential oils work well to control fleas. Eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil or citronella oil will work.

- A boric acid solution can also be used to spray on carpeting. Just make sure that your carpet is dye-fast before using.


So, you can see that there are a lot of home pest control methods around for a number of insects that may invade your home. You will need to find one that works for you.

Although all of the remedies we have given you work, some work better than others, and the way they work will also be determined by the specific insect you are applying it to. Pharoah ants for example are more difficult to erradicate than the more common house ant.

Find a home pest control method, stick to it until you get results. A week to 10 days is all you need for most of these solutions to your pest problems.

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