As the weather turns cold, gone are the mosquitoes and flies that bugged us all summer. In their place come the cold-weather critters (think mice and moths) that can wreak havoc on our homes (and closets). Sure, ’tis the season for holiday guests, but if yours are of the rodent or insect kind, you’re probably hoping to be less than hospitable (especially if you’re selling your home).
But you don’t have to break out the harsh chemicals. Whether you’re defending real estate in Seattle, WA, or Philadelphia, PA from those pesky would-be roommates, these natural pest control remedies will do the job and are safe for kids and pets.
Store firewood far away from your house
You see a woodpile, rodents see a warm shelter from the cold — and it’s only a short while until they migrate to your abode. Another reason to keep piles of debris away from your home? They’re a prime breeding ground for spiders.
Use soap and water
And not just for hand-washing. If you have an ant issue, wipe them away with a paper towel doused in soap and water. Doing so will remove the ants’ chemical trail, which can keep their friends from following their path. For good measure after cleaning, sprinkle some cayenne or black pepper near entry points, which will also repel those little workers.
Make use of mint
Mice abhor peppermint, so soak a few cotton balls in peppermint oil and leave them where you suspect the mice are entering. Replace these often, as the mint oil tends to dry out. For a longer-term fix, plant mint near the foundation of your house to discourage entry.
Bring on the peanut butter — as bait
Even rodents can’t withstand the temptation of this delicious treat (it beats cheese!), so if you’re using mousetraps, dab a bit on the trap to ensure a catch.
Stock up on sachets
Wrap rosemary, lavender, or thyme in a cloth sachet and place it in your closet or drawers to keep moths at bay. Moths also hate the smell of cloves, so wrap them in tissue paper or cloth and store them in your pantry to keep food from becoming infested.
Store sweaters in the freezer (really)
This is especially helpful if you think you have a moth problem. The cold air kills any remaining larvae, so put your sweaters in a plastic zippered storage bag and give them a deep freeze for a couple of days.
And not just in your cooking. While you may love the stuff, it turns out that stink bugs can’t stand the stench. Sprinkle garlic powder in hard-to-reach areas or make a spray of 4 tablespoons of powder and 2 cups of water. Spray it on doorways or plants near your house (stink bugs live on leaves and then mosey on inside) every two to three days.
Cue the citrus oil
Spiders, which taste things with their feet, are not citrus fans, so dab a few drops of orange or lemon oil around the house (especially in dark corners) to discourage their stay. Bonus: Your house will smell fresh and clean!