Creepy, crawly, and flying insects are okay outdoors, but you don’t want them in your home. Yet sometimes they make their way inside.
We researched tried-and-true methods to remove bugs indoors. Follow this handy guide to get rid of what bugs you this summer.
Common bugs in your home
Crumbs of food and a reliable water source can attract ants to your house. When it’s too warm or wet outside, spiders may venture in, especially if there are other bugs in your home to eat. Flies, bees, and wasps love rotting fruit, and flies flock to garbage. Light, trash, and food also attract beetles. Weevils hitch a ride in your groceries, via eggs laid by adults in products like rice. Other common bugs include earwigs, firebrats, centipedes, silverfish, cockroaches, bedbugs, termites, and if you have pets: fleas and ticks.
Steps to take to combat bugs
While these buggy visitors may be common, they’re certainly not welcome. Here’s what you can do about it.
Step 1: Seal cracks and openings.
Bugs often crawl in through tiny cracks or holes in window screens and around windows and doors. Carefully check all these potential openings.
- Close up holes by replacing screens, caulking openings, or applying weatherstripping.
- Caulk is generally used for cracks near stationary items, while weatherstripping is for things that move such as doors and windows.
- Don’t forget to check where electrical lines and pipes enter your house. Canned spray foam can help to seal these openings.
Step 2: Clean the kitchen.
Bugs feast on your crumbs. They eat flour, cereal, baking mix, crackers, dried pasta, dried fruits, nuts, popcorn, and pet food. Ants especially like sweets.
- Wipe down cutting boards and counters after food prep.
- Keep food in sealed containers and/or in the fridge or freezer.
- Put a lid on your garbage can and empty it regularly.
- Clean the crumbs from your microwave, stove, toaster ovens, and other appliances.
Step 3: Beware of hitchhiking bugs.
Some bugs come in with items that you bring into the house, such as groceries, or even your pets.
- Meal moths, weevils and beetles love the grains and cereals in your pantry. Store those items in glass, metal, or sturdy plastic containers with airtight lids.
- If you notice bugs in your pantry in one container, check the ones next to it. Throw away any boxes with bugs. Remove all items from the pantry and clean the shelves with soap and water.
- Pro Tip: Freeze any items for 3-4 days or heat them in a 140F degree oven for an hour or two to kill insects and eggs.
- For those bugs getting a free ride on your fur babies, keep pets up to date on flea and tick Check them for fleas and ticks regularly.
Step 4: Clean and declutter.
Bugs look for shelter, and they will find it among your clutter. Vacuum and keep your home neat to help keep bugs at bay.
- Avoid piles of newspapers and stacks of boxes where spiders and cockroaches love to live.
- Even piles of dirty laundry can be home to bugs. That’s a good reason to put clothes away.
- Make sure to declutter and donate items that you no longer use.
- Store firewood outside and away from the house. Check any wood for bugs before you bring it inside.
Step 5: Dry areas that are damp.
Bugs also look for water. Some prefer damp places, such as drain flies that live in your kitchen sink and bathtub drains. If you can dry the areas that are damp, that will help eliminate bugs.
- Fix leaky faucets, drains, and pipes as a first defense.
- In areas where it’s typically damp, like a basement, use a dehumidifier.
- Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are working correctly and not leaking.
Step 6: Use the scents that bugs hate.
Certain scents repel bugs. Fortunately, these same scents usually smell pretty good to humans.
- Peppermint repels ants, mosquitos, and spiders. Put some essential oil on a cotton ball and adjust the strength as needed.
- Tea tree and citronella oils also work well in keeping away a range of pests.
- Spiders don’t like onions. Slice some and put them in a bowl of water.
- Many brands of fabric softener sheets contain a compound, linalool, which has a scent hated by mosquitos and other flying insects.
Step 8: Place bug traps.
You can find bug-specific traps on the market, or you can make your own.
- Sticky flypaper will trap flies and gnats. Be sure to hang it up and away from your pets.
- Ant bait traps use various insecticides. Keep them out of reach of pets and toddlers. For a nontoxic ant remedy, sprinkle some cornmeal. Ants like to eat it but cannot digest it.
- For fruit flies, put apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and punch holes in it. The fruit flies will be attracted to the vinegar and get trapped beneath the plastic.
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