DIY Bug Treatments: Fact or Fiction

Everyone has heard of DIY bug treatments. Whether they involve dryer lint, essential oils, or other household items, many seem too good to be true.

While there are some things that are successful at deterring pests, your best bet is calling the experts at Environmental Pest Management. We care about the safety of your family and use products that will only harm bugs, not your loved ones.

When bugs invade your home, get rid of them fast. Reach out to Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

A lot of cockroaches are sitting on a white wooden shelf.The German cockroach (Blattella germanica). Common household cockroaches

Can You Handle Those Bugs Yourself?

There are as many home treatments for pest control as there are types of pests. A successful DIY bug treatment will

  • Only require items you already have or that are easy to get
  • Be inexpensive
  • Be effective at ridding your space of pests and
  • It won’t be hazardous to your health or the environment.

Some pests can have an impact on your health. Cockroaches and dust mites can worsen asthma and allergies. Take action to get them out of your space. If you have severe allergies, you might want to skip the DIY and hire a professional.

Common DIY Bug Treatments

You can find anything on the internet. But how much of it is accurate? Here’s what we found. 

food grade diatomaceous earth supplement - powder and in a glass of water

Can you get rid of ants with used coffee grounds? 

The treatment:

Take your old coffee grounds and use them to surround anthills. You can also sprinkle them directly over the nest or along the ant path. Some sources claim the coffee grounds are toxic to the ants while others state that they don’t like the smell of coffee. 

Conclusion: fiction. A hill of coffee grounds may cause an ant to change its path once, but if you come back a day later, you’ll find the industrious little buggers will have moved the grounds out of their way.  

Instead, lay down a barrier with diatomaceous earth (DE). This natural product dries out the exoskeleton of ants when they walk through it.  It will also deter bedbugs, spiders, fleas, ticks, and cockroaches.

Can you drive out spiders with essential oils?

The treatment: Use peppermint, lemon, or chestnut oil to repel spiders. Apply undiluted oil with a spray bottle, dropper, or cotton ball to places you suspect spiders are using as an entrance. Spiders use their legs to smell, so they are very sensitive to oils on surfaces.

Conclusion: Fact – at least for some scents. Peppermint and chestnut oil do repel some species of spiders. Lemon oil doesn’t bother them.

Spiders like damp places. You can reduce the number of spiders in your basement by dehumidifying it to 40% and sweeping down webs when they appear. 

Eucalyptus Essential oil in Amber Round Glass Bottle with Glass Dropper and Fresh Eucalyptus leaves on wooden background. Phytotherapy.

Can you trap fruit flies with vinegar and dish soap?

The treatment: Pour about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar into a glass or used soda bottle. Add a couple of drops of dish soap. Cover the top or opening with plastic wrap and poke a few small holes in the wrap with a toothpick.

The vinegar smell will draw in the fruit flies. They will find their way in through the little toothpick holes. The dish soap reduces the surface tension of the vinegar, so when they land, they will break through the surface and drown.

Conclusion: Fact. This trap will catch and drown fruit flies. But remember, just trapping will not eliminate all of them. Make sure to get rid of any overripe fruit or standing water, or they’ll keep coming back.

Do bay leaves smell bad enough to protect your food?

Here’s the theory: Cockroaches and other insects are repelled by the smell of bay leaves. Place your shelf-stable food in sealed plastic containers. Place a bay leaf on top to ward off insects. Some versions also suggest crushing the leaves and putting the leaf dust along insect paths.

Conclusion: Fiction. The only effective part of this bug treatment is sealing your food in containers. Cockroaches are drawn to garbage and spoiled food. They will dig through animal dung for their meals. They aren’t put off by terrible smells.

Can you burn out bees and wasps?

This treatment calls for pouring gasoline on a bee or wasp nest and setting it on fire. 

Conclusion: Fiction and basically a terrible idea. Wasp nests are extremely flammable, but they tend to be on or near other flammable items, like your house. 

This method is also bad for the environment in general. The gasoline contaminates groundwater and kills plants. Even if you’re okay with all of that, this method doesn’t kill all of the wasps, because they won’t all be in the nest at once. Any remaining ones will be very aggressive.

Central vacuum cleaner hose laid on the floor in the living room. Cleaning room conceptual shot, focused on foreground.

What Else Should You Do?

Regardless of the method you choose to remove those pests, follow up with these steps.

    • Vacuum. You might catch some bugs that have traveled away from the main infestation. Make sure to empty the vac outside right away.
    • Clean bedding.  If you had an infestation in your bedroom, wash all of your blankets and sheets on hot. Freeze your pillows to get rid of any bugs that might have made a home in them. They need to be at 0º or below for at least four days.
    • Clean the bug trail. Mix the same amount of vinegar and water in a container. Spray and wipe down any place ants or other crawling bugs traveled. Some bugs leave a pheromone trail that will attract more of their kind. You can also use a household cleaner.

 

 

How to Make Sure Those Bugs Stay Out

Once you’ve gotten rid of your uninvited guests, make sure they don’t come back. These tips will help keep your home bug-free.

  • Store your food in airtight containers. Raise the pet dishes off the floor.
  • Remove standing water and fix any leaks. Don’t leave damp towels or sponges around. Bugs are drawn to water.
  • Walk around your home and take a close look. Seal any cracks in your foundation. Fill any gaps around doors or windows.  
  • Make sure the dryer vent damper closes completely.
  • Keep your outdoor garbage secure and sealed. 

Remember, Help Is Out There

If the DIY method you tried didn’t take care of the whole problem, you need professional help. A good exterminator will guarantee his work. Contact Environmental Pest Management for a free quote today.

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