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Ants, Bedbugs and Dust Mites: DIY Natural Home Pest Control Solutions

Fend off pesky ants, bedbugs, dust mites and other pests. Make your own natural home pest control solutions with ingredients including vinegar, corn syrup and chile peppers.

| May 2013

  • Make your own pest control solutions.
    Photo By Fotolia/Elenathewise
  • Safely eliminate unwelcome visitors in your home and garden with natural DIY solutions in "Dead Snails Leave No Trails."
    Cover Courtesy Ten Speed Press

Learn how to eradicate pesky pests naturally with Dead Snails Leave No Trails (Ten Speed Press, 2013) by Loren Nancarrow and Janet Hogan Taylor. This comprehensive guide using organic methods is the perfect DIY home pest control solution to eliminate unwelcome visitors in your home and garden. The following excerpt will give you solutions to ridding your homestead of ants, bedbugs and dust mites while keeping yourself, your family and the environment safe from harmful chemicals.


You wake up one morning to find ants all over your kitchen counter. Ants are very opportunistic, and no matter how clean your home seems to be, they’ll keep coming back by the thousands. Don’t worry—help is on the way.

Ant Eradication Ideas and Recipes

To get rid of the ants you see, spray a soapy water mixture or commercial window cleaner on the ants and their trail. Any cleaner with ammonia, alcohol, soap, or pure citrus extract will work, or you can make your own Ammonia Solution. It will kill the ants and break their trail (and clean your counters at the same time).

You can also combat ants by sending poison back to their nest with them. Our simple Indoor Ant Bait is an effective method. This mixture of borax (or boric acid—sold as roach bait—which is very inexpensive and available at most home and garden centers) and corn syrup can work wonders on ants that enjoy a sweet dinner. Warning: Boric acid is a liver and kidney toxin which, over time, can make children and pets sick. A small one-time dose will most likely cause only an upset stomach; however, if your pet is showing worrisome signs of distress, contact the poison control center in your area. Grease ants, which love oily foods, will ignore this bait. If you find your ants are the grease-hungry kind, try the Ant Death Bait recipe—and mix the dry ingredients with lard or shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Make sure you keep this away from pets by placing the crumbly mixture in a small plastic container in which holes have been punched along the bottom to allow the ants access.

Baking soda mixed with sugar makes great ant and roach bait (see the Sweet Roach Bait recipe). Place a tablespoon or so of each in an empty spice bottle with a shaker top. You want to be able to lay the bottle down on its side without having the contents spill out. Place the bottle where you have seen ants or where you think ants are getting into your home, so the ants can go in but the bottle keeps your pets out.

If you can, follow the ants back to their nest. Here you can also use the Ant Death Bait in dry form or the Sweet Roach Bait. Sprinkle a thin layer of either bait evenly around the nest opening. (Don’t make piles that dogs can lick up, as they love sugar.) For easy application, mix the bait with powdered sugar and use a sifter to apply. (You should reserve an old sifter for this purpose; don’t use the same one you use for baking.) The ants will carry the mixture into the nest to feed to the colony, killing those that eat it. Repeat the sprinkling as long as you see ants.

Now that you have found the problem nest, here are a few more options:

• Pour boiling water on the nest to kill the beasts. It won’t kill all the ants at one time, but after a few repeated treatments it should really cut down on their numbers.
• A strong Chile Solution (see the recipe) poured into the nest will not only kill the ants but also make the nest unlivable.
• Sprinkle cornmeal around the ants’ mound opening. The ants eat the dry cornmeal, which expands inside their bodies and kills them.
Getting Rid of Ants
There are several ways to prevent ants from becoming a problem in the first place. One of these ideas might be the solution for you:
• Follow any ant trails to your home’s entry point (such as holes in the wall or floor) and plug the holes.
• Try using mentholated rub, but be sure to test a spot to make sure it won’t stain.
• Dab a little eucalyptus oil, citrus oil, or lemon juice on a rag and wipe it in your cupboards or entry points. You can also soak a string in the oil and stuff it into holes or along a crack.
• Use talcum powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, or boric acid powder (see warning) to sprinkle in windows. Ants do not like to cross powdery substances. Replace if it gets wet.
• Cucumber peels are also thought to have a repellent quality for ants.
• Mint tea leaves or cloves left in areas where you find ants can repel them. Replace when the scent is gone.
• One report states that leaving a light on in the kitchen or bathroom when you are having a problem there with ants can change their foraging habits.
• Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of a house or garden. For ants, trying to cross this substance is like walking on broken glass. Like the other powders suggested, it must be replaced if it gets wet. Avoid using swimming pool diatomaceous earth. Warning: When using diatomaceous earth, always wear a protective dust mask to avoid inhaling any potentially harmful particles, and never dust when children and pets are present.

Know Your Ant Enemy

Ants are members of the wasp class of insects. There are more than 3,500 species of ants living in nearly every habitat around the world. All of these ants are social and live in colonies called nests or mounds. The colony consists of a queen and female workers. When a nest gets overcrowded (some nests have over a million ants), the queen will produce winged males and females that go out and establish new nests.

Different species of ants, looking for different foods, can invade your home at the same time. The pale pharaoh ant searches for fatty foods; the thief ant prefers protein foods.

Scent trails left behind by a scout ant provide a chemical connection between the nest and a food source, like your kitchen. The trail lasts for only a few minutes, but that’s usually long enough for the ants to get from the nest to the food.

Scientists have demonstrated that ants are capable of individual learning and of passing on what they have learned. They have demonstrated the ability to remember and recall and to correct their mistakes, which explains why they can be so hard to get rid of.

2/12/2019 7:47:51 AM

I thought I had dust mites but whatever I have IS tiny tho they can be seen without a microscope,tho it is easier to see them with a magniscope - they have the clear bodies & legs as described. I've taken all the steps (that are practicable with apartment living) several times. They clear out for a few weks & then they're back. Does anybody have any suggestions?

7/21/2016 6:13:55 AM

Nice article. It would also be good to contact the pest control experts like and they know how to treat the pest problems with ease and also keeping health safety in mind.

3/28/2016 12:34:59 PM

The best home DIY idea i have tried and had success with is a bed bug heater from they are so helpful. Had i found them sooner i would have saved thousands.

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