Spring is here and we await the pesky little bugars that invade our homes and gardens. With so many of us attempting to go green, the bug sprays of the past pose a problem for us as well as our environment.  With a little research and Grandma’s remedies, it is possible to do away with these pests with a less toxic approach.

ANTS–Did you know that they hate cucumber peels?  It doesn’t kill them, but it will repel them, as will orange or lemon peels.  Take peels from either an orange or lemon and add to boiling water. Remove from the stove and let soak overnight.  Next day place the infused water into a spray bottle and spray the areas where you have seen the ants.  Also, ants do not like turmeric herbs, another good repellant.


COCKROACHES–I think that these little critters are the nastiest of all.  Living in Arizona for a while, I have had some experience with them.  We had ones that were as big as your thumb AND flew.  Between the heat and the cockroaches, I was out of there!  I no longer have to deal with them, but for those of you that do, bay leaves and cayenne pepper is supposed to deter them.  I love my Ivory soap, but I understand that they don’t.  Mix a couple of tablespoons of liquid Ivory soap in approximately 1 quart of water then place it into a spray bottle–the mixture is supposed to kill the roaches.  I have my doubts, so give it a try and let me know if it really works.


GRASSHOPPERS–These are pesky little creatures that love our gardens.  I am content to leave them alone if they leave me alone.  But my tomato plants don’t feel the same way.  In a spray bottle add a mixture of blended onions and Tabasco sauce in approximately 1 quart of water (strain the mixture before adding it to the water).  Let sit for a day and then spray this concoction around your garden. I have tried this and it does repel these little guys.


MOSQUITOES–Now we are talking about a host of problems.  I am allergic to them and will swell up baseball-sized bumps when bitten.  They can also carry diseases, so we want to eliminate them from around our homes and be armed when we are outside.  Standing water around your house and in your garden is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.  There are a number of plants that repel them, such as, tomatoes, basil, citronella grass, and eucalyptus.  It was suggested that catnip wrapped in gauze repels them–try carrying it with you on a walk.  I haven’t tried this one yet, but will this summer.  Another suggestion from a neighbor is to mix 4 parts glycerin to 1 part eucalyptus oil and rub on your skin to repel them.


SPIDERS–OK, now we are talking about one of my big fears.  I remember my mother saying that “a spider can’t hurt you, but it can make you hurt yourself getting away from it”.  It doesn’t matter how small although the bigger the scarier, I still hate them.  I have tried everything to rid my basement of them (without spraying toxic chemicals), until I found sticky pads.  I placed a sticky pad in each corner of the basement and I was shocked at the number of spiders visiting my basement weekly.  I try to get my husband to toss the old ones (filled with spider carcass); it is too traumatic for me.  Another alternative is to spray the areas where they enter with peppermint oil.  I love the smell, but apparently they don’t!


FLIES–They are annoying and nasty, but not until my son came home with the story about how a fly eats his food did I actually become obsessed with keeping them out of my house. I am not great with a fly swatter so I am going to try lavender oil which is supposed to repel them. You can add lavender oil to a spray bottle to spray around the doors and windows or place small amounts of the oil around the house in bowls, candles, etc.


WEEVILS–They love beans, rice, flour, and grains.  I don’t have a problem with them, but for those that do, simply place a dry pepper in the beans and grains and no more weevils.


MICE–Some people think mice are cute, but the sight of one brings on panic, and then I am ready to pack my bags and move.  Not realistic, so they will have to be the ones to go.  I don’t like killing them, but one year we were infested and had to do something.  I think if you take that road, traps are more humane than poisons.  I know there are a lot of people that won’t agree with me, so let’s try to keep them from not wanting to visit.  I understand that peppermint oil (100% pure essential oil) will keep them away–they don’t like the smell.  Place cotton balls soaked in the oil around the baseboards and where they frequent. Another suggestion is to fill a spray bottle with peppermint oil or camphor oil and spray it along the baseboards. I haven’t seen any this year—knock on wood!


I have family members that use electronic pest control units in their homes successfully.  But I am just not ready to place them in my home until someone can reassure me that they are not harmful to my family in any way. So I file this one under “still not convinced”! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for getting rid of pests, please share your ideas and experiences.