It is our basic primitive instinct to be repulsed by the creepy crawlies, bugs. Bugs are dirty, transmit disease, and have a knack to get in everything and multiply. Many people call pest control or more ominously referred to as “The Exterminator” and a sci-fi esque guy shows up with a Ghostbusters-like apparatus to spray our houses and workplaces with toxic chemicals. And when we go to enjoy the great outdoors, we cover ourselves in more toxic chemicals to keep the bugs away. Is there a more natural way to live with nature? Glad you asked! Of course, there is and below you will find great DIY solutions to most of your bug problems.
Have you seen the Disney Animation Wall-E? Remember who’s left on Earth after the apocalypse caused by the disastrous and careless behaviour of mankind who had covered the planet with trash. A trash-collecting robot..and a..cockroach. A sweet little pet who had survived the apocalypse, gots accidentally squished by Wall-E and blasted by Eve’s energy gun…but that barely hurt him…What I’m saying is…cockroaches are tough survivors and you’d better work hard to keep them away from your home. Because once in, you must prepare for a tough battle. And though charming this animation character may seem, honestly, I don’t want it in my kitchen, nor anywhere near.
But if it still comes around one way or another, try these natural repellents to show your new bug companions he’s come uninvited.
Adopt excellent sanitation practices. Vacuum and mop floors regularly. You can use a solution of water and vinegar once in a while for better sanitation (or lemon juice and water). Take out the trash regularly.
Don’t prepare a feast for the uninvited guests. Don’t leave any food leftovers on kitchen countertops, tables, in the oven, and use air-tight containers for food storage in the fridge.
Get rid of any paper and old carton boxes stored in the kitchen. Cockroaches love hiding in paper. Contrary to common beliefs that paper attracts cockroaches – no, it doesn’t. But paper bags and other types of stored paper, provide shelter, possibly food, and a place for roaches to lay their eggs.
Keep your place cool. Cockroaches are known to be heat-seeking insects. The combination of heat, moisture, and food is their dreamed of location.
Take care of leaks and cracks. Leaks attract pests. And cockroaches enjoy humidity. Close up any cracks around doors, windows, and utility access areas. Fix leaky pipes, gaps around pipes and dripping faucets.
A Cockroach Repellent Cocktail
Then go the homemade, natural route!
All you need
Tea Tree Oil
- Add 20-25 drops of mint essential oil in 1 cup of water. (20 drops of peppermint or spearmint or cypress essential oil should work well, either). Pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray all over the kitchen, on countertops, under the kitchen sink, cabinets, cracks, doors, etc. Be careful with kitchen appliances.
- Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil on a sponge and rub infested areas. You could drop some in distant corners, too.
- Place cucumber slices and bay leaves in areas most likely to be visited by cockroaches – in corners, on kitchen cabinet shelves, under the sink, near the fridge. Be sure to remove them when they are shriveled.
- Wash the floor twice a week with a mixture of 1 part lemon juice and one part water. Pay special attention to infested areas.
Diethyl-meta-toluamide, lurks in most mosquito repellent products. Though convenient they might be for use, research suggests that their main ingredient might cause more harm than good. According to a Duke University study, DEET damages brain cells and causes behavioral changes in rats after frequent and prolonged use. It might be especially harmful to vulnerable populations, including small children. One of the authors of this study, Mohamed Abou-Donia, Ph.D., advises to “never use insect repellents on infants, and be wary of using them on children in general.” As well as to avoid combining them with other chemicals or medications.
Another research shows that up to 15 percent of DEET is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. According to safety data sheets on diethyl-meta-toluamide, the toxic effects of this chemical include reproductive disturbances, genetic material mutations, and central nervous system disorders.
Safe is better than sorry. Especially when you have so many natural options available. And especially when you can mix a mosquito repellent at home!
Oil of lemon eucalyptus DIY Mosquito Repellent
While searching for an effective natural mosquito repelling formula, you get stuck in piles of recipes and ingredients claimed to all keep mosquitos at bay. While, in fact, there are few completely natural products that really drive those bloodsuckers away. Among them – oil of lemon eucalyptus. The component of this oil that repels mosquitos is known as p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD). It works by masking the mosquito’s environmental cues in locating their prey.
This oil is recommended by the CDC as an alternative to DEET. According to the same authority, it should not be used on kids under 3.
Note: There is a difference between “lemon eucalyptus essential oil” and “oil of lemon eucalyptus”. The first one refers to the unrefined oil made by steam distilling the dried leaves and twigs of the lemon eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus citriodora or Corymbia citriodora). It typically contains citronellal (70-90%), citronellol (4-12%), isopulegol (1-16%) and trace amounts (2%) p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD). On the other hand, under the term “oil of lemon eucalyptus” we often find lemon eucalyptus essential oil processed to reduce the citronellal content and increase the PMD content.
Citriodiol is the tradename registered name of the refined oil of lemon eucalyptus. In Europe, it is called PMDRBO or PMD rich botanic oil. In the United States, it is called OLE or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
You can still make your homemade mosquito repellent with lemon eucalyptus essential oil if that’s what you have at hand. Its effect is due to components other than PMD, which are relatively volatile. Meaning, you won’t get a long-lasting protection. On the contrary, the effect typically lasts less than an hour. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil is not approved for use in countries with disease-carrying mosquitoes. And it is not registered with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as a potent insect repellent. While PMD is registered by the EPA as a biopesticide repellent.
Caution! Do not use if pregnant, breastfeeding, and don’t apply to children under 3. Lemon eucalyptus oil is safe for most adults, especially when you apply it on your skin as a mosquito repellent. But is should absolutely NOT be ingested! A skin patch test recommended before using it for the first time.
All you need…
- 1 Glass spray bottle
- 25 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- 4 oz. witch hazel or 2 oz. coconut oil. Other options to mix with include jojoba, castor oil, or olive oil.(Source)
- Mix the ingredients together in your glass spray bottle. Shake.
- Shake well before each application because ingredients tend to separate.
- Apply to clothes and exposed skin. Be careful to not spray in eyes.
Essential oil mix DIY Mosquito Repellent
You could also experiment by including more essential oils known to repel mosquitos to some extent or another. These include Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Catnip, Geranium, Lavender, Mint, Patchouli. For convenience, you could simply purchase and add this special blend of essential oils. Nature Shield combines many of the oils listed above. But be sure to add at least 15-20 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil and some organic vanilla extract. If you are going to apply your DIY Mosquito Repellent to small kids, make sure you use this KIDSAFE oil blend (Citronella, Grapefruit, Geranium Bourbon, Rosalina, and Patchouli.) instead (don’t add lemon eucalyptus oil in this case).
Mosquito Repellent for Kids: Add 40 drops of KidSafe Shield Me blend to 2 oz of Fractionated Coconut Oil.
- 80 drops of bug repelling essential oils – a mix of your choice (Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Catnip, Geranium, Lavender, Mint, Patchouli) or 70 drops Nature Shield.
- 15-20 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
- 1 Tablespoon vodka or rubbing alcohol
- 1/2 cup Natural Witch Hazel
- 1/2 cup water (or vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin (optional)
- Add the essential oils to an 8 oz glass spray bottle.
- Add vodka or rubbing alcohol and shake vigorously to combine.
- Add Witch Hazel and shake to blend.
- You could also add vegetable glycerin to help keep ingredients together.
- Shake before each application as components tend to separate (oils and water). (Source)
I think we’ll all agree on this…flies are annoying. They are capable of destroying any backyard barbecue and even a regular dinner inside your lovely kitchen. Flies reproduce in the warmer months. These critters gravitate toward your food, and don’t even bother you are eating it at this very moment! Are you not willing to share? For a reason. Flies carry loads of bacteria and dangerous germs including salmonella, e.coli and even cholera. So be sure to take measures…the natural way.
Water and a transparent plastic bag (don't forget the penny!)
This is an awesome way to repurpose your used ziplock plastic bags. Fill in a transparent plastic bag with water, drop a penny on bottom, zip and hang in the location you need to protect. I’ve read this trick here and the author warns it might not work on all fly species.
How does it work? Refraction of light. This is the bending of light as it passes from one transparent substance into another. In other words, it alters the course and velocity of light.
This bending by refraction makes it possible for us to have lenses, magnifying glasses, prisms, and rainbows. Even our eyes depend, upon this bending of light. Without refraction, we wouldn’t be able to focus light onto our retina.(Source)
The eyes of the flies are a pair of large complex eyes, each of which is composed of 3,000 to 6,000 simple eyes. The way this system works can be compared to the screen’s pixel matrix. Each simple eye provides a part of the whole picture of the world. The fly bases his movement by light. According to some entomologists when these complex, sensitive eyes experience refracted light, the insect becomes confused and flies away.
A modern interpretation of the “traditional”plastic bag repellent
Inspired by the traditional hanging plastic bags of water used to scare away flies at food markets and taco kiosks on the urban streets of Mexico, designer José de la O created this beautiful sculpture – the Anti Fly Sphere.
The Anti Fly Sphere is handmade at a family owned glass workshop in Mexico City. Is made out of Borosilicate Glass, which is thinner, lighter and can resist abrupt thermal changes.
My personal opinion is that finding a way to drive and keep house flies away is a much better option than trapping them to reduce their number. However, some prefer this way and here’s a tip for them. Making a fly trap is relatively easy. You can choose from several variations, the most popular is the plastic bottle trap.
DIY Fly Trap Device
You can take an empty soda bottle and repurpose it to become your weapon in the fight against house flies. Cut the top part of the bottle, add bait and water and put the cut top part of the bottle upside down. The flies will easily go in but will not be able to find a way out. While researching I came across a smart advice. Since flies use light to find their way, finding a way to attach a dark material like dark paper or cloth, above the bottle opening, would increase the effectiveness of this fly fighting method by preventing flies to get out. Haven’t tried that but It sounds feasible.
You can also use a mason jar instead of a plastic bottle. You need to pierce holes in the lid. And if you don’t want to sacrifice the lid, make a cone out of a piece of paper with a small opening at the bottom and place in the jar upside down.
Well, that is what makes your trap a success or not. And it depends on the type of flies you need to drive away.
House flies like the smell of fermented or old, spoiled food, especially sweet and meat. At best a combination of two. Some swear in shrimp and fish bait – because of the strong smell they seem to be a magnet for flies. But a great repellent to people, especially those with a sensitive nose.
Fruit flies. If you are dealing with fruit flies use ripe fruit, apple cider vinegar, fruit juice, syrup, wine, beer.
Apple Cider Vinegar Fly Trap
Flies like the smell of fermented food. When you heat apple cider vinegar, it releases a specific smell that is similar to the smell of fermented food. It attracts flies, drawing them into a trap. You can use red wine instead since flies tend to love this. But make sure it’s a cheap one. You’ll need to change regularly. And your house will probably smell like a winery.
- Heat 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and pour into a mason jar (you can use the plastic bottle trap version, too, but the vinegar should not be too hot).
- Set the jar in the fly-infested area.
- You could add a dish soap (preferably fruit sented) to decrease the vinegar’s surface tension. In this case, you can use a shallow bowl and not a DIY trapping device. Adding sugar to vinegar would also be a winning tactics while flies are 10 million times more sensitive to sugar than the human tongue.
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