Regardless of if you can see them, there are bugs in your home.
A study by PeerJ found that the average American home has 100 different species of arthropods inhabiting it. The arthropoda category includes almost every bug you can think of, including spiders, insects, centipedes, mites and butterflies. Arthropods make up 75 percent of life on Earth, so it’s no surprise that they have adapted to living in unison with humans and have taken advantage of our habitats as well.
When it comes to household bugs, these unwanted roommates can vary in visibility and impact on your home. One lone spider in a dusty corner may not harm anyone, but an infestation of bed bugs will definitely leave their mark. While it’s tempting to buy-out the bug spray aisle of your local hardware store if you have a bug infestation, these products can contain toxic chemicals that are unhealthy for you and your family (including your pets), as well as detrimental to the Earth.
Luckily, there are many common household items that can help you deal with your pest problem. These household remedies are easy to create and will help keep bugs out of your apartment in a safe manner. Save our visual for a quick reference on how to get rid of bugs the natural way!
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While some landlords are responsible for pest control, they often will take a while to deal with the infestation or may use harmful products. Next time you spot one of these common household bugs, try taking preventative measures with these natural remedies.
Household bugs found in your kitchen
While bugs can be found in all parts of your home, here are a few of the most common pests in your kitchen — plus a few tips to keep them out.
Ants are one of the most common household bugs that are found in every climate. If you’ve ever had an ant infestation, you are familiar with how these tiny creatures are able to get into every nook and cranny in your home.
Not only can ants contaminate food by depositing dirt and feces into it, but they can also pose a threat to your home. For example, carpenter ants are able to tunnel through wood and damage the structure of your home.
Natural ways to get rid of ants
You’ll want to get rid of ants, as soon as you can. There are many ant sprays on the market, but many have chemicals that can be harmful to you and your pets. For a natural ant deterrent and ant trap, try out the following recipes.
- Vinegar and water spray: Combine a mix of half white vinegar and half water in a spray bottle. Spray this on any ants you come across. Then wipe up the area. The vinegar will overwhelm the ant’s sense of smell and they will not return.
- Cayenne pepper, cornmeal or coffee: Another way to disrupt ant’s sense of smell, without making your home smell like vinegar is by sprinkling cayenne pepper, cornmeal or brewed coffee grounds around the area where the ants are coming from. These items will prevent the ants from smelling the food in your home as well as their fellow ants. The powdery texture of these will also make the ants want to avoid the area.
- Dish soap spray: If you want a spray that will kill the ants in your home as well as clean up your surfaces, try creating a dish soap and water mixture. Fill the spray bottle three-quarters of the way full and then add 10-20 drops of a natural ingredient dish soap. Shake to mix and then spray your problem areas.
There are many varieties of flies that you may find in your kitchen, but the two most common are house flies and fruit flies. These flies can easily sneak into your home through cracks in screens or open doors. They are attracted to old food that may be laying around, whether that means your overflowing garbage can or the old fruit sitting on your counter.
In addition to the annoyance of having them buzz around your home, flies can be dangerous because they carry and spread diseases. They have been responsible for the spreading of salmonella, E.coli and food poisoning.
Natural ways to get rid of flies
To reduce the fly population in your apartment and prevent the risk of disease, you’ll want to make a natural, homemade fly trap.
- Jar fly trap: A good way to kill off these disease-spreading creatures is by creating a trap. Fill a jar with about an inch of apple cider vinegar. Add a few drops of floral dish soap. Use plastic wrap to cover the jar. Secure it with a rubber band. Poke holes in the plastic wrap so that the flies have an entry point.
- Fruit trap: This trap targets fruit flies, but can work with other varieties. Cut a piece of fruit about one inch thick. Place it in a bowl so that the cut side is facing up. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and secure it with tape or a rubber band. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the top and then let it a secluded area of the kitchen.
3. Indian meal moths
Indian meal moths are commonly found in kitchens and pantries. These nocturnal insects creep into your home in the dead of night and lay their microscopic eggs in flours, cereals, grains, seeds, candies and dry pet food.
The main danger of Indian meal moths is that they will spoil your food. If they invade your pantry, they will bring their webs, feces and skin with them, which will contaminate your groceries.
Natural ways to get rid of Indian meal moths
To prevent your well-stocked pantry from becoming waste, you’ll want to take precautions to rid Indian meal moths from your home. Using chemical solutions in your pantry can be dangerous so finding a natural solution is the best way to treat these pests.
- Wipe down your cans and bags: With the case of meal moths, prevention is the best tactic. These meal moths are commonly found on shipping pallets and can sneak their way into your home through cans and bags of dry food. Wiping down your cans and bags with a hot soapy washcloth will prevent them from spreading to the rest of your food.
- Sprinkle bay leaves: A natural remedy for deterring Indian meal moths is sprinkling bay leaves throughout your kitchen cabinets. These strong smelling leaves will prevent these insects from setting up camp in your pantry.
Cockroaches are among the most common unwanted house bugs and can be found all over the world. They are able to find their way into your apartment through small holes and cracks in the walls or through the pipes. Cockroaches seek shelter in narrow spaces so they are often found under sinks and in dark drawers.
Cockroaches don’t bite, but they have been known to cause health problems. Their skin and waste can cause allergy or asthma symptoms.
Natural ways to get rid of cockroaches
Pesticides may rid your house of these pests, but they can also be harmful to human health. Instead, try these natural solutions for ridding your home of cockroaches.
- Wine bottle trap: Fill the bottom of an old wine bottle with something sticky that will attract cockroaches, like syrup or peanut butter. Then line the inside of the wine bottle top with cooking oil (be sure not to get it on the outside of the bottle). The cockroaches will be drawn towards the sweet contents, but get trapped inside because they can’t climb back up the slippery walls.
- Catnip: This plant creates a strong smelling oil that cats love, but cockroaches hate. Fill small satchels with fresh catnip or cotton balls that have nepetalactone essential oil on them. Place these satchels in places you’ve seen the roaches.
Household bugs found in your bedroom
A bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation, but you don’t want pests getting too comfortable. There are a few common bedroom bugs that you may encounter that can cause you discomfort and sometimes even harm.
Fleas are a common household bug, especially for those who have pets. These tiny creatures that can live for several weeks to several months, but reproduce easily so even one flea can turn into an infestation in your home. Fleas are able to jump nearly a foot, so they are commonly spread by jumping onto people or pets.
Flea bites are more common on pets than they are on people. These bites usually cause excessive itching. On occasion, flea bites can also lead to an infection or allergic reaction from the flea’s saliva.
Natural ways to get rid of fleas
Since pets are the primary target of these pests, it’s important to find a natural way to get rid of them that isn’t going to be harmful to your furry friend.
- Herbal flea spray: For a non-toxic removal, try creating an herbal flea spray. Start by vacuuming the whole house and washing any items on the hottest washing setting. Then mix together 4 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of water, 4 oz of lemon juice, and 2 oz of witch hazel in a two-liter spray bottle. Spray everything in the apartment, including carpets, furniture and pet beds.
- Salt: Salt is able to dehydrate the fleas and kill them. Try sprinkling finely ground salt on the carpets. Leave for a day and then vacuum.
- Rosemary and lemon spray: Begin by boiling 4 cups of water and then remove it from the heat. Add in 6 thinly sliced lemons, chopped rosemary leaves, 3-4 drops of Geranium essential oil. Cover and leave overnight. The next day, strain the water and put in a spray bottle. Spray this natural solution throughout your home to repel fleas.
6. Bed bugs
Bed bugs are an unfortunate and common bug found in the bedroom. They are small enough to tag along in suitcases, boxes and shoes. For this reason, they are commonly found in the summertime when people are more inclined to travel.
Bed bugs do not transmit any diseases, but they do feed on human blood. Their bites don’t usually hurt, but they leave small red, itchy marks on the skin.
Natural ways to get rid of bed bugs
Sometimes it can take a little while to schedule an exterminator, or you may not want the toxic chemicals they use in a place where you sleep. In these situations, household remedies for bed bugs are the answer.
- Steam clean or use a hairdryer: Bed bugs and their eggs will be killed when exposed to high temperatures. Steam cleaning the areas where your find bed bugs will expose them to temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, try taking a hair dryer to the area.
- Baking soda: Baking soda will absorb the moisture in the bed bugs, killing them. Sprinkle the area and surrounding spaces with baking soda. Let sit for an hour and then vacuum. Repeat this process every few days to make sure all the bugs are taken care of.
Household bugs found throughout the home
Some common household bugs are in hiding throughout your entire home. Although you don’t often see these pests, you can sometimes hear them or see their effects.
House crickets are a popular type of cricket. As the name suggests, they are found in the home and drawn to warm, moist environments. If you have a cricket infestation you’ll either hear their chirping or find chewed fabric.
While crickets aren’t harmful, their loud chirping is enough to drive you crazy. This chirping is a mating call that occurs when male crickets rub their front wings together.
Natural ways to get rid of crickets
If you have male crickets in your apartment, you’ll want to get rid of them as soon as possible to get some peace and quiet. Here are some household remedies for getting rid of crickets in your home.
- Molasses: Create a trap by filling a jar half-way full with molasses. The sweet smell will lure them in and the sticky texture will trap them.
- Chili spray: Create a spray by boiling 2 cups of water and adding half a cup of red chilies, red chili powder or chili sauce. Strain the liquid and then add 2 more cups of water. Put in a spray bottle and spray the outside perimeter of your home to keep the crickets away. Do not use this spray inside, as the color may stain the furniture or rugs.
Another common household bug that you probably want to be rid of are spiders. There are almost 4,000 species of spiders, some more likely to be spotted in your home than others. Some common varieties include the American house spider, black widow spider, daddy longlegs and the domestic house spider.
Depending on the species, spiders can be harmless or venomous. The harmless varieties will keep to themselves, but create spiderwebs throughout your home. The more venomous ones will cause spider bites that are at best itchy and at worst, deadly.
Natural ways to get rid of spiders
Spider appearances in the home increase as the weather gets colder. As this happens, you’ll want to find a natural way to keep them out.
- Citrus: Spiders are repelled by citrus scents. Try rubbing a citrus peel along baseboards, window sills and bookshelves. This will make your home smell good and keep the critters out.
- DIY spider spray: Create a spider spray by mixing together water and a few drops of essential oils. Spider repelling scents include eucalyptus, citronella, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, cinnamon, citrus and cedar. Spray this in areas you find spiders, especially when there has been rain or cold weather.
There are more than 40 species of termites that can be found in the United States, but most look similar. These silent bugs eat cellulose-based plant materials, which is what all homes are made of.
These bugs don’t pose a danger to humans, but they are a threat to the structure of your apartment and your furniture. If termites are found in your home, it’s possible that they will need to be disposed of in addition to your house needing some work done.
Natural ways to get rid of termites
It’s important that you try to rid your home of these pests as soon as one is spotted. Here are some home remedies for getting rid of termites.
- Wet cardboard: Termites love water and cellulose, which is exactly what wet cardboard is. Put pieces of wet cardboard in areas you suspect have termites. When the termites have settled on the cardboard, take the piece and burn it. Repeat this process until the bugs are gone.
- Sunlight: Not only do termites thrive in dark and damp places, but they can actually die from sunlight and heat. If your furniture has termites and you live in a sunny city, bring it outside on a hot day. If the termites are in your home, try setting up UV lights in the area.
Household bugs found in your bathroom
Many bugs are attracted to damp places, so your bathroom becomes their haven. To prevent bugs from making a home in your bathroom, you’ll want to be sure to wipe down any wet surfaces and keep your fan on when showering.
Silverfish, also known as paramites, carpet sharks or fishmoths, have a metallic appearance and oval shape. They are usually found in humid, moist areas such as bathrooms and basements. Silverfish are good at hiding and sometimes go unnoticed by the inhabitants of the home.
Silverfish are not dangerous to humans but can cause harm to a property. Silverfish feed on polysaccharides which can be found in adhesives, book bindings and carpet. This means they commonly destroy bookshelves, artwork and other household decorations.
Natural ways to get rid of silverfish
It’s possible to keep your bathroom clean, without using toxic chemicals. Here are a few ways to rid your home from silverfish.
- Cedar shavings: Silverfish don’t like the smell of cedar. Spread cedar chips in areas where you’ve been seeing this pest to scare them away. If the cedar gets damp or old, be sure to vacuum them up and replace them.
- Jar trap: Cover the outside of a jar with masking tape and place some pieces of bread inside. Put the jar in an area you’ve been seeing the silverfish. Leave it there overnight. The silverfish will be able to climb up the rough texture of the tape but will get stuck inside when it’s unable to climb up the smooth glass inside.
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