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Friday, July 29, 2011

Tips to Keep the Bugs Away

I couldn't bring myself to post a picture of an actual bug. So the animated
version is what you get...

We live in a basement apartment, so naturally we get bugs. We've seen our share of earwigs, spiders, ants, june bugs and more!

Last year was especially bad for earwigs. Holy cow! They were everywhere. I would wake up in the morning and find about 10 or 15 scattered around the floor. Every few days I would find a little grouping of baby earwigs under our rug or in our bathtub. It got so bad that they were getting into our food. I poured a bowl of cereal for myself one day and almost took a bit out of an earwig. Gross, huh?

In our previous apartment, our door faced the sun so everyday we would get a mass of june bugs sun bathing on our door, all over our driveway, and on the front face of the apartment. Everyday when we would leave or come home, we would run in or out as fast as we could to keep them from getting inside.

So what can you do to keep those pesky pests away? Here are a few things I've learned over the years.

  1. Get Rid of Hiding Places. Earwigs and spiders love to hide out in dark, untouched (preferably damp) places. Leave as little as you can just sitting around. Don't leave piles of clothes sitting on the floor or stacks of newspapers laying around. I can't tell you how many spiders I've found amongst clothes or how many earwigs I found in stacks of paper. Even paper that was up on the counter! Remember the earwig I almost ate? *Shudder* I got rid of all our opened food in the pantry (cereal, chips, etc) and everything new that we opened from that point forward went straight into ziploc bags or plastic containers. Just make sure to seal everything properly after you use it.
  2. Clean Regularly! This might sound like a no-brainer, but it really will help, especially when it comes to ants. If  they have nothing to go after, they won't come inside. We had issues with ants in the kitchen and unless I wiped down the counter each and every time I used it, it was swarming with ants. Even if I just left some crumbs from toast or flour from baking. Make sure to vacuum and/or sweep under everything - not just around things - and vacuum often!. It's the things that don't get moved that attract the bugs. Keep your clothes hanging up or in the dresser.
  3. See What you Can do Outside. The bugs migrate from the outside in, so if you can stop them from enjoying your yard, chances are you'll have less bugs to deal with inside. Get rid of standing water, move your garden further away from your house (if possible), try not to use bark or wood chips in your yard (earwigs, especially love this stuff)
  4. Make Sure your House is Sealed Well. This may not be an option for those in apartments, but look around for hols and such where bugs can get into the house easily. Do what you can to seal them up. Use some caulking to seal cracks and holes in the foundation, walls, and flooring of your house.
Some natural products you can use to keep the bugs away:
  1. Use essential oils and candles. Heather had good luck keeping spiders away with Lavender candles and oils. Also try garlic, pepper, mint, or citrus peels (especially orange and lemon). If you're dealing with bugs outside, consider a citronella candle.
  2. Try making barriers. Supposedly, ants won't cross chalk, baking soda, or borax lines. I've also heard that a barrier of Cream of Wheat works (because they eat it and then it expands and they die). Try it out!
  3. Look for sprays that you can use to keep the bugs away. We've had good luck with a product called Hi-Yield (found at an IFA type store). It's safe to use around pets and children, has no strong scent, but apparently doesn't take care of hobo spiders. It also had no effect on earwigs because we had way too many for me. To help keep the earwigs at bay, I also used Hot Shot Natural Home Insect Control. It was also safe around kids and pets (Andyroo was crawling/almost walking at the time) and had a lemony scent, not a chemical scent. I was able to find it at Lowes for around $4-6.
Do you have any awesome tips to keep the bugs away? PLEASE feel free to share!!

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