Guide to Natural Pest Control

13 Recipes for Natural Pest Management

Guide to Natural Pest Control

Pest control can be a frustrating and expensive issue for many homeowners. Rather than relying on harsh chemicals, more and more people are looking to natural methods, including eco-friendly treatments from Green Pest Control. Not only are these methods safer, but they are often more affordable and accessible too.

In this guide, we will walk through the top 15 natural options for getting rid of common household pests and keeping them away for good. From essential oils, to traps, to good old vinegar, you likely have many of these items already in your pantry.

1. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is one of the most versatile and effective pest management solutions. It is powder made from fossilized algae that feels like talc or chalk. It kills insects by absorbing the lipids from their exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate.

Here’s how to use DE for pest control:

  • Sprinkle a fine layer in problem areas like baseboards, under appliances, and in cracks or crevices.
  • Create a barrier around your home’s foundation.
  • Mix with water in a spray bottle and use on infested plants.
  • Dust onto mattresses, carpets, and pet bedding to kill fleas and bed bugs.

DE is safe for pets and humans, just avoid breathing in the dust by wearing a mask when applying.

Best for: Ants, roaches, silverfish, fleas, spiders, and more.

2. Essential Oils

Many essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus naturally repel insects. They can be used to create sprays, candles, or diffuser blends. Some popular recipes:

  • All-purpose spray: Mix 20 drops each of peppermint and lemongrass oil with water in a bottle. Use around baseboards, windows, and doorways.
  • Flying insect repellent: Add 5-10 drops of eucalyptus or citronella oil to a diffuser or candles.
  • Flea spray: Mix 5 drops of lavender, peppermint, and citrus oils with water to spray on pet bedding.

Essential oils are safe for people and pets when diluted properly.

Best for: Ants, mosquitos, flies, fleas, and cockroaches.

3. Borax

Borax is a natural mineral that can dehydrate and kill insects. For pest control, mix equal parts borax with either flour or sugar and place in infested areas. The bugs will ingest the borax along with the food source and die.

  • For roaches, leave mixture along baseboards, under appliances, and in cabinets.
  • For ants, sprinkle around ant hills and along trails in your home.
  • Can also be used to kill fleas – mix with carpet powder and apply before vacuuming.

Borax can be harmful if pets or kids ingest it, so use it with caution and keep it out of reach.

Best for: Many types of ants, roaches, silverfish, and fleas.

4. Vinegar

Plain white vinegar is another pantry staple that can be used to safely deter insects. It helps dissolve exoskeletons and interferes with ants’ scent trail pheromones.

  • Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on ants and along baseboards or windows.
  • Place cotton balls soaked in vinegar along ant trails or in other problem areas.
  • Spray undiluted vinegar around the edges of your kitchen and bathroom to deter roaches.

Be careful using vinegar around stone surfaces or wood floors as it can damage the finish. It is safe for kids and pets.

Best for: Ants, fruit flies, and roaches.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Similar to white vinegar, apple cider vinegar makes insects’ exoskeletons more permeable.

  • Fill a small bowl with 1/2 cup ACV and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Place plastic wrap over the bowl and poke small holes in the wrap.
  • Fruit flies can get in through the holes but will be stucked by the plastic wrap.

ACV and dish soap can also be mixed in a sprayer and used directly on ants. It is pet and kid safe.

Best for: Fruit flies and ants.

6. Citronella Candles

Citronella is a natural plant oil that repels flying/biting insects when they are lit. Burn citronella candles outside during spring and summer to help keep bugs at bay.

  • Place citronella candles around patios, decks, picnic areas, etc.
  • Try to place candles downwind from where you’ll be sitting.
  • For stronger repellent, look for candles containing eucalyptus, lemongrass, or other essential oils.

Citronella oil is toxic to pets like cats and dogs if ingested, so keep candles out of reach.

Best for: Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

7. Natural Repellents

There are also many plant-based repellent sprays and lotions you can buy or make at home. These contain oils from citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, garlic, and lemongrass that naturally deter insects.

Some easy homemade repellents:

  • Citrus peel spray – Boil citrus peels from lemons, oranges, limes then cool and add to a spray bottle with water.
  • Garlic spray – Blend garlic cloves with water and a bit of dish soap in a blender then strain.
  • Herbal sachets – Place dried peppermint, eucalyptus, etc. in small sachets to hang outdoors and repel mosquitos.

Be sure to test on the skin first to avoid irritation from essential oils.

Best for: Mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas when applied to skin, clothing, and outdoor living areas.

8. Traps

Pheromone Traps

Pheromones are chemicals bugs release to attract mates. Pheromone traps contain synthetic versions to lure the pests inside. For example, Japanese beetle traps draw the beetles in via female pheromone lures.

Once inside, the insects become stuck in adhesive and die. Change lures and adhesive pads regularly per product instructions.

Sticky Traps

Glue boards or sticky sheets catch insects and rodents that cross over them. To use:

  • Place along walls, in cabinets, under appliances, etc. for cockroaches and mice.
  • Hang sticky fly strips from rafters in barns or stables to catch flies.
  • Put sticky boards under the legs of beds and furniture to trap bed bugs.

Check adhesive sheets frequently and replace them when full. Can be used against a wide variety of crawling pests.

9. Boric Acid & Borates

Boric acid is the powdered mineral form of boron. It damages insects’ exoskeletons and kills them via dehydration. Borates are other boron-containing compounds.

To use:

  • Apply powder directly into wall voids, cracks and crevices, under appliances, behind baseboards, etc.
  • Can be used in baits – mix with sugar or flour and place out of reach of kids and pets.
  • Low-risk pesticide sprays and gels often contain boric acid as the active ingredient.

Borates come as powders and as products like Tim-Bor or MotherEarth DuraGuard which can be sprayed into wall voids.

Best for: Ants, roaches, silverfish, and termites.

10. Nematodes

Nematodes are tiny worms that parasitise and kill insects like grubs and ants that live underground. They occur naturally but can also be purchased for pest control.

  • Buy beneficial nematode products and mix them with water per instructions.
  • Water onto lawn, garden beds, and around trees/shrubs where pests are problematic.
  • The nematodes will seek out and infect pests in the soil.

Completely safe for use around pets and kids.

Best for: Soil-dwelling pests like grubs, ants, fleas, and root weevils.

11. Mosquito Dunks

Warm weather brings swarms of mosquitoes itching to get inside and feast on you. But there are natural ways to keep them out of your home and off your skin. Mosquito dunks contain the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti) which kills larvae but is safe for other animals.

  • Place a dunk in standing water – birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, rain barrels, etc. – where mosquitos breed.
  • One dunk can treat 100 sq. ft. of water and lasts 30 days.

The bacteria are harmless to people, pets, and beneficial insects like bees.

12. Peppermint Oil

Dealing with Pests Naturally

Minty smells like peppermint naturally deters ants and other insects. Here are some ways to use peppermint oil around your home:

  • Place a few drops on cotton balls and tuck into cracks or crevices where ants enter.
  • Mix 10-15 drops of peppermint oil with water and spritz around baseboards, windows, and doorways.
  • Look for natural peppermint-based sprays and ant baits that contain the oil.

Use pure peppermint essential oil and avoid skin contact. Refresh applications weekly.

Best for: Ants, spiders, cockroaches, and grain beetles.

13. Cinnamon Oil

The strong smell of cinnamon oil also drives ants crazy. It interferes with their scent trails and repels them from your home.

  • Make a spray by adding 1 part cinnamon oil to 10 parts water. Apply to ant trails and around doors and windows.
  • Sprinkle ground cinnamon around the gardens where ants are problematic.
  • Use cotton swabs dipped in cinnamon oil to dab directly on ant trails or nests.
  • Reapply weekly for best results.

Best for: Ants, also repel mosquitos, roaches, and spiders.

Other Natural Pest Repellents

Here are some other common household items that act as natural insect and rodent repellents:

  • Chestnuts – Keep mice and chipmunks out of your home and landscape areas.
  • Onions – A strong onion smell deters rodents like rats and gophers.
  • Garlic – Repels mosquitos, spiders, ants, and flies.
  • Chili Peppers – Deter insects and small mammals from getting into lawn.
  • Lavender – The smell repels flies, mosquitos, and fleas.
  • Coffee Grounds – Used in gardens to repel slugs and snails.
  • Catnip – Repels roaches, ants, and mosquitos.

Why Go Natural for Pest Control?

  • Toxic to humans: Many popular pesticides are linked to health issues in humans including cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological damage. Why expose your family to these risks unnecessarily?
  • Toxic to pets: These products can be even more dangerous for our furry friends. Natural options are much safer if you have pets.
  • Harmful to the environment: Using toxic solutions do damage beyond their intended targets. They can kill beneficial insects like bees and contaminate groundwater.
  • Creates resistant pests: Chemicals often become ineffective over time as pests develop resistance. Natural methods are less likely to cause resistance.
  • Dangerous for children: Kids are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of chemicals. It’s wise to avoid using harsh pesticides in homes with infants and children.

The bottom line is that a natural, non-toxic pest management method is healthier for your family and kinder to the environment. If you can tackle pest problems without chemicals, why wouldn’t you?


Controlling household pests doesn’t require filling your home with dangerous chemicals. With some clever strategies and natural products, you can kick pests to the curb without harming your family or the environment.

The key is using deterrents and treatments together to both repel and eliminate pests. Patience and diligence are needed, but the results are a toxin-free home. With natural options like diatomaceous earth, essential oils, and desiccant dusts, you can target common pests at the source.

Implement these safe, natural solutions and you’ll be pest-free (or close to it!) without exposing your home to nasty chemicals.

In case infestation has set in and natural remedies no longer work, professional pest control is your next best option. Make sure they use eco-friendly treatments. Your family and the environment will thank you.