By Marla A. Schultz
With the warm summer weather, many of us spend more time soaking up the sunlight, relaxing on the back porch savoring the evening breezes, or enjoying company around a backyard fire pit. Along with this beautiful weather, there are often unwelcome visitors too: ants, mosquitoes, spiders, and cockroaches are some of the pests we have been dealing with lately. Luckily, I know some natural and effective homemade bug repellent recipes that allow you to keep a clean kitchen and home.
I hate using toxic chemicals to rid our home of these infestations; I don’t want poison permeating the skin of my family members or contaminating the environment. Feet encased in shoes—an unnatural thing in a family of eight where, typically, at least six of us are barefoot—become mandatory for a couple of weeks. The Mission Impossible theme song thrums in my head as I try to find my youngest son’s foot attire and wrestle his feet into the offending gear. He’s five and classifies shirts and shoes as senseless accessories … even in December.
With this in mind, I have begun searching for ways to naturally rid our house of these pests. Here is some of the best homemade bug repellent I’ve found.
Natural Ant Repellent – 3 Ways
Ants hate the smell of oranges … go figure. Place dried orange peels wherever they are coming into your home and leave them there. If you prefer to not have peels, even if it’s beneficial, sitting around your house, soak cotton balls in essential orange oil and set these in front of their entry points instead. Lemons deter them too. Setting a bowl of the fruit on my kitchen counter kept them away. Ants appeared in other parts of the kitchen, but not in that particular area.
Another smell ants detest is peppermint. Use the same method and soak cotton balls in the peppermint or use a combination of mint and citrus to make a natural ant repellent:
- 5 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops of spearmint essential oil
- 5 drops of lemon or orange essential oil
- 1 cup distilled water
Directions: Combine in a spray bottle, shake, and spray wherever ants are a problem.
My last option is a boric acid and sugar ant repellent that uses:
- 6 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp boric acid
- 1-2 C boiling hot water
- 1 T honey
Directions: Combine all ingredients and mix until everything is completely dissolved. Allow to cool. Place cotton balls in jar lids and pour a little of the solution in the lids until the cotton is saturated. Set the lids along the ant trail or known points of entry. Rewet the cotton balls as needed. Keep away from pets and children.
Homemade Cockroach Insecticide
Make your own cockroach baits by utilizing the power of baking soda. Cockroaches have a high level of acid in their stomachs and the combination of this acid and baking soda builds up gas and causes them to explode. I was unable to find specific quantities, besides equal parts baking soda and sugar, for this recipe so I adapted it.
- 1/4 C baking soda
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1/8 C flour
- Bacon grease (you need enough to make it clump)
- 1/4 onion, minced
Directions: Combine the soda, sugar, and flour. Fry the onions in the bacon grease and when they are soft and limp, mix into the dry ingredients. This should form small clumps. Place these clumps wherever you have a cockroach problem. I placed mine in an inverted jar lid in corners of my kitchen.
Natural Spider Repellent
Spiders, like ants, don’t like citrus or peppermint so utilize the essential oils you purchased to rid your home of ants for these insects too.
Make your own spider repellant with these ingredients-
- 5 to 6 drops peppermint essential oil or lavender essential oil
- 1 tsp. dish soap (like Dawn)
- 1/2 quart water
Directions: Pour into a spray bottle, shake, and spray along the perimeter of your home, around windows and doors, on cobwebs, and anywhere else you see spiders lurking.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
Some of my children are allergic to mosquito bites. The bites don’t just itch and irritate, they swell up. Because of this, we try to avoid mosquitoes whenever possible and I’ve been on the lookout for effective, natural mosquito repellents.
Some homemade mosquito repellents:
- Garlic—eat lots of it. Mosquitoes don’t like the smell.
- B12—take this vitamin regularly. The smell of this on your skin deters them.
- Lavender—mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or organic soy oil. Soy oil is also a mosquito repellant, so you’ll double the effectiveness by using this soil as the carrier oil.
- Neem or neem seed oil—this oil is from a plant in India and is proven to be more effective than DEET when applied to your skin. It can also be used for many other purposes, such as a natural pest repellant in gardening. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, this oil shouldn’t be ingested. Research this oil before using for other purposes.
I haven’t tried all of these natural homemade bug repellents yet, but I’m working my way through the list. If you have a homemade bug repellent solution for ridding homes of pests, I’d love to hear it!
Marla Schultz is married to Rick and the mother of six children, ages sixteen to five. She lives in California where she homeschools; works from home; creates delicious, healthy meals; and plans creative parties for her family.