Friday, July 31, 2015

My Battle with Ants and Other Summer-Time Pests


Do you look forward to the warm weather months? I think we all do, especially during the cold and frigid months when we are almost forced to stay inside and out of the cold weather. Well, summer is here and those pesky pests are in full force! 

Those pests that I'm referring to are ants, spiders, wasps, flies, gnats and other insects who thrive in the warm weather. Yes, I do realize that each one serves a purpose in the world, but I prefer that they don't live in my house and would find another location to raise their family outside of my yard. So what are we to do? I for one have tried almost everything under the sun for getting rid of insects around my home. Everything from hiring a professional exterminator (expensive!) to trying home remedies. Most options have been sufficient for a short while but the bugs always find their way back! I have however, found ways to keep the bugs under control and at bay although it's almost a constant battle. Here are a few things that have provided good results in and around my home.


Ants

Wow, these insects are tiny but persistent and there are tons of them. Where you see one, there are hundreds behind him. Ugh! Outside I have had a yard full of ant hills, some big and some small. I've bought the granules from my local store and scattered them throughout my yard but all this did was force the ants to move and make another hill elsewhere in my yard. In my home, they seem to come out of nowhere and reside on my kitchen counters. I'm talking clean, no food on the counters! What do they want??? This year I did some research online and found ant granules that claimed to not only kill the ants but also prevent the queen from laying more eggs. Well, I've had it for over a month and have spread it throughout my yard for the fire ants (not directly on the ant hills) and guess what? No more ant hills outside. Score! For the tiny ants inside I've spread a thin line of granules along a few baseboards (not too much, as I have inside pets) and then put a little bit in a bottle cap on my counter. It worked! I have been ant free inside and out for about two weeks and and I'm one happy woman! If you are interested in getting rid of your ants, check out Do My Own Pest Control. They have tons of pest control products although I have only tried out this one. 

Spiders and Mice

I grouped these two pests together only because I've used the same method for both. I live in a very rural area so mice are everywhere and I do mean everywhere! Although I love cats, I also keep them around for a very specific purpose...mice! I have two that do an exceptional job at keeping the mice population under control but that's not enough, they apparently breed so fast that my poor felines can't seem to keep up with them. 


I can't even tell you how much I detest spiders. I'm not talking about tiny little spiders or "Daddy Long Legs" but big, ugly spiders that creep me out! Yuk! I don't know about the rest of the country but in Texas we have some BIG spiders inside and outside, they seem go wherever they want.. These are referred to as Banana Spiders, Hobo Spiders and Wolf Spiders, all non poisonous and I'm sure they eat tons of bugs but honestly, I can't deal with them without think of the movie Arachnophobia. The Banana Spiders tend to stay outside, building their massive webs everywhere but the Wolf Spiders and Hobos have been coming inside more and more. My youngest son refers to them as "Tarantulas."

This one has been tough. I've hired professional exterminators and for a short while we don't see them. Once again, this cost for this service is out of my budget. In addition I've used lots of over the counter products with little results. After talking to my sister I decided to try her solutions for mice and spiders. She uses a combination of Peppermint Oil and Rosemary as a deterrent. These essential oils are all natural and not harmful to pets or children so I thought I would give it a try. First I soaked cotton balls with the essential oil solution and put them under kitchen and bathroom cabinets and behind appliances as well. My house spelled great but I still continued to see the spiders. (No mice!) So I tried another method...I filled a spray bottle with water and added a few drops of each essential oil and sprayed around my home ~ In corners, along baseboards, under furniture and any other place I could get to. I have noticed less spiders (again, no mice!) and on top of that my house smells great! The cost is right in line for me as I use essential oils for many other things as well. 

Fruit Flies

I dont' really know why these annoying insects are called "fruit flies" because in my home, they aren't only there for the fruit! I could have completely clear counter-tops, no dishes in the sink and they will still be flying around my kitchen. I do use a product that sprays from an automatic dispenser, similar to those that dispense a great smelling fragrance. It really does work for the fruit flies, flies and other flying insects but my kids couldn't take the smell in the kitchen. My kitchen area is pretty small so we removed the dispenser and placed it in a more open area of the house instead. I've also tried Dawn Dish Liquid in a small dish on the counter which apparently works for countless people according to Pinterest, but not for me. I guess my fruit flies don't like to swim. My next step is to try a Fruit Fly Trap from Do My Own Pest Control. The reviews are great and they seem to work. 

Carpenter Ants

This one may seem a bit crazy but it worked! A couple of years ago I notices these weird looking ants (some with wings) on my bedroom window sill. They were inside the window and would also hang out on my nightstand which was really gross. Regular ant spray didn't work and in addition to the annoyance, I found out that Carpenter Ants actually destroy the structure of your home over time. OMG! Once again, hiring a professional exterminator was out of the question, so I searched the Internet for a solution that I could afford. I found one ~ Cornmeal. That's right and it worked within a week and they haven't returned. Yay! 


Ultimately, I'm not an expert on pest control but I have tried many options, some work and some do not. If you find something that works, my advice it to keep doing it! If you have other solutions for getting rid of bugs, mice or even snakes, let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear them!

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