All-Natural Pest Control

We had an ant invasion recently. It was reminiscent of the week we moved in, nearly three years ago. (See this previous post.)

We learned the hard way that even those innocent-looking ant traps emit harmful vapors. Eventually we called our eco-friendly pest control operator, who saved the day. After he sprayed his proprietary blend of botanical solutions, the ants disappeared.

This time I used a homemade ant trap and an all-purpose pesticide powder. Our antagonists were gone within 24 hours. The recipes below can be used for a variety of invaders and may prove helpful for your own pest challenge!

  1. All-Purpose Pesticide Powder
    • 1/2 c. bay leaves
    • 1/2 c. peppermint leaves
    • 1 1/2 tsp. each citrus peel, garlic powder, diatomaceous earth, cayenne pepper, pyrethrum, salt
    Grind the ingredients into a powder using a blender or mortar and pestle. Dust along affected areas.
  2. Homemade Ant Trap
    • 1 tbsp. hot water
    • 1 tbsp. honey or sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. borax
    Place the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake to mix. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture, slightly squeeze out the excess liquid, and put the cotton ball on a small lid. Place the ant trap where you see the most ants. After the ants have disappeared, discard the cotton ball and keep the lid for reuse.
  3. Neem Oil Insectide
    • 1 qt. warm water
    • 2 tsp. dishwashing liquid
    • 5 tsp. neem oil
    Mix water and dishwashing liquid. Slowly add the neem oil while stirring the mixture vigorously. Don't prepare more of the neem oil insecticide than you'll need, as it will lose its potency if stored. (1 oz. neem oil mixed with 10 oz. coconut oil makes an excellent mosquito repellent!)
  4. All-Purpose Onion/Garlic/Cayenne Spray
    • 1 garlic bulb, chopped or ground
    • 1 small onion, chopped or ground
    • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1 qt. boiling water
    • 1 tbsp. liquid castile soap
    Mix garlic, onion, cayenne pepper and water; add liquid soap. Shake and pour into spray bottle. Freeze for long-term storage.
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar Jar
    Pour an inch or so of apple cider vinegar into the bottom of a wide-mouth jar. Make a funnel with a sheet of white paper with a 3/4-inch hole on the bottom. The bottom should not touch the vinegar. Place the funnel into the jar and tape edges to secure the funnel to the jar. Effective against fruit flies and gnats.
For more all-natural pesticide ideas, see momsAWARE's Bug-Busting Bonanza and downloadable recipe list, the Pest-Punching Printout.