Problem: Insects are causing problems within the home.
Background: A long list of chemicals is available for controlling in sects that invade the home. However, with the growing concern for the environment and the move away from chemicals, the following are alternative, no chemical methods of pre venting or treating household pests.
In most all cases, it’s helpful to re pair or seal cracks, holes, and other potential points of entry around the home, including foundation, walls, and screens. If the suggestions below don’t seem to work, contact your local extension service office or an experienced nursery person.
What to do: For ants, use a bait made of 2 parts boric acid in 98 parts food attractant. Select the food attractant by offering ants various materials, such as grease, jelly or peanut butter, and choose the material most frequently selected. For carpenter ants, repair moisture-damaged wood. Do not store fire wood on the ground, especially near the home. Also keep stored lumber dry. For carpet beetles and clothes moths, dry clean or launder clothing before storing. Freeze, dry clean or iron infested articles of clothing. Use mothballs when storing susceptible clothing.
For centipedes, eliminate their prey, which is primarily sow bugs. Dry damp areas with a fan or dehumidifier. When found in the home, eliminate with a broom or swatter. For clover mites, wipe them up with a damp cloth; they are generally found around windows. Keep 18 inches to 24 inches of soil bordering the home’s foundation loose and free of grass.
For crickets, keep the lawn well mowed and maintain a weed-free area around the home. If using outdoor lights near the home, use a non-attracting yellow light. For fleas, keep pets and pet living areas clean; thoroughly vacuum infested rooms (see Fleas Inside Home).
For flies, keep kitchen and other household areas clean. Pour boiling water down drains to eliminate drain-infesting flies. Store garbage in tightly covered receptacles. For ground beetles, keep firewood and debris away from the home. When found in the home, remove by hand or by vacuum. For sow bugs, reduce moisture through dehumidification. Remove decaying vegetation, such as lawn clippings or fallen leaves, from around the foundation. For spiders, keep household areas clean. Eliminate their hiding places and prey (such as sow bugs). When found in the home, kill them using a broom or swatter.
Special advice: For pantry insects, dispose of infested food products. Store uninfested food in tightly sealed glass, metal, or plastic containers. Clean shelves thoroughly, removing crumbs and debris from cracks and crevices. Treat foods more than 60 days old: Foods such as cake mixes and spices in original containers can be cold-treated by ex posing them to 0°F (in a freezer) or lower temperatures for 3 to 7 days, depending on the size of package. Dried fruits can be heat-treated by placing them in a cheesecloth bag and dipping them in boiling water for about 6 seconds.
Helpful hint: For boxelder bugs, try spraying clustered insects on your home or other buildings with a solution of ½ cup laundry detergent to 1 gallon of water. (Test on an inconspicuous area because detergents discolor some siding.) Vacuum bugs found in the home (properly disposing of the used vacuum bag) or re move them by hand.