These Easy Tricks Will Solve Your Summer Pest Problems

Barbecues, sunbathing, patio parties — it’s all fun and games until the bugs arrive. You’ll find a plethora of creepy crawlers and flying pests this time of year, but it doesn’t mean you hide out all summer. These are the best ways to battle the bugs and fully enjoy your time outdoors, pest-free. One surprising children’s play item repels insects like none other (page 9).

1. Set a simple vinegar trap

Apple cider vinegar in a bowl
This is all you need to rid yourself of no-see-ums. | iStock

Prevents: fruit flies

Fruit flies, no-see-ums… No matter what you call them, they seem to multiply in the summer. And there’s nothing more annoying than clapping your hands, trying to kill these pests all day long. To rid yourself of this problem, get some apple cider vinegar, dish soap, and a small jar or ramekin.

Pour just enough vinegar into the jar to cover the bottom of it, add a drop of soap, and wait for the flies to arrive. The apple cider vinegar attracts the little pests, and they’ll sink the moment they land.

Next: Orange you glad you tried this trick?

2. Rub your house with orange peels

Oranges | vmenshov/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: spiders

Did you know spiders hate the smell of citrus? Keep these creepy pests out of your house by rubbing lemon, orange, grapefruit, or any other peels around baseboards and on wood furniture. As a bonus, everything will smell lovely, and the peels help to give your wood furniture a good polish.

Next: Use this instead of DEET spray.

3. Carry a dryer sheet

Dryer Sheet
Dryer sheet | Memoriesarecaptured/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: mosquitoes

Chemical-heavy bug sprays are definitely effective, but they’re also stinky and potentially toxic. Tuck a dryer sheet into your pocket when you head outside for a safer, more natural bug deterrent that smells much better and works just as well.

Next: You may not notice this issue until it’s too late.

4. Check your pipes

Plumber Using Wrench Under Kitchen Sink
Tightening pipes |

Prevents: centipedes and other moisture-loving pests

Typically, pipes are hidden in dark cabinets, and you may not notice a slow leak. However, plumbing leaks create damp, moist conditions where some gross bugs thrive. Make it a point to check your pipes for standing water on a regular basis and tighten up any loose seals.

Next: This is a popular method because it works.

5. Diffuse citronella

Fresh lemongrass
Fresh lemongrass (citronella) | Sombats/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: mosquitos

There’s a logical reason why so many stores sell citronella candles during the summer months. This distinctive smelling plant is one of the most effective bug deterrents around. Either opt for candles and torches to create outdoor ambiance or buy the version you can wear for personal use.

Next: A simple yet super helpful trick

6. Blow a fan

Paddle fan on porch
Paddle fan on porch | sstaton/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: flies and other insects

Outdoor fans aren’t just there to create a cool breeze on a sweltering day — they also help to keep mosquitos and other bugs away. Think of it as the equivalent of waving your arms around in circles without all the work. Plus, they add a real touch of sophistication to your gazebo area.

Next: It can be cheaper to do this than buy bug spray.

7. Make your own natural bug repellant

essential oils with lemon and herbs
Make your home smell amazing with essential oils | DGLimages/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Prevent: mosquitos

No dryer sheet? No problem. Plenty of different essential oils can help keep the bugs away. Make your own all-natural bug repellant by mixing specific oils with a carrier base such as coconut oil. Lemon eucalyptus oil and clove oil are both great at keeping mosquitos away. Just be sure to never apply clove oil directly to your skin.

Next: This lawn feature attracts lots of bugs.

8. Forget the pond

Colored koi carp in the national Japanese park. Himeji, Japan
Koi pond | Sergdid/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: mosquitoes

Standing water attracts mosquitos — period. If you have a pond, a baby pool, or even large puddles on your property, then you’re at risk for attracting these annoying pests into your yard. Finding a good deterrent is great, but you’re much better off not attracting pests in the first place.

Next: One of your children’s play toys will keep bugs at bay.

9. Draw a chalk line

box of chalk
Box of chalk | ipopba/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: ants

Here’s a weird, little-known fact about ants: they won’t typically walk across a line of chalk. Regular chalk is made of calcium carbonate, a material that interferes with an ant’s ability to follow scents and collect food. Keep ants out of your home the easy way by drawing chalk lines around all points of entry. There’s no need to buy anything specials; regular old dollar store chalk will work just fine.

Next: This weird, cheap trick will stop wasps.

10. Sprinkle some cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks and powder
Cinnamon | Derkin/Getty Images

Prevents: wasps and other insects

This cheap and easy advice helps to deter all sorts of pests. Sprinkling cinnamon around your home creates a natural barrier that many bugs won’t dare cross. Parents also advise that sprinkling cinnamon in a sandbox will keep bugs from making a home in there.

Next: Don’t let this common mistake attract bugs in the kitchen.

11. Keep food sealed up

A food pantry
Kitchen storage | yokaew/Getty Images

Prevents: ants and other pests

You know that food you have lying around? Bugs love it, and they will take up residence in your home if you leave it out. Keep fruit in the fridge, put your cereal in sealed containers, and generally use common sense when it comes to leaving food around. The fewer food items bugs can find, the better.

Next: This bug deterring step has a surprising benefit.

12. Caulk those cracks

Applying caulk
Applying caulk | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: flies and other bugs

Don’t let bugs get in. If you have visible gaps around windows and doorways, get some caulk or other sealing material and close it up before the bugs find their way into the house. As a bonus, sealing up cracks can help reduce your energy bills.

Next: This can cause infestations (and it’s a little gross).

13. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink

Dirty dishes in sink
Dirty dishes in the sink | ikrents/iStock/Getty Images

Prevents: food-loving flies

It can be tempting to leave the dinner dishes until the morning. However, doing so puts you at risk for a veritable bug infestation. Keep your sink and counters wiped down and tidy to keep bugs from taking up residence in your kitchen.

Next: Doing this will help keep bugs out of every room.

14. Vacuum up crumbs

Vacuum cleaner
Vacuum cleaner | kaesan/Getty Images

Prevents: all kinds of bugs

You might not notice the crumbs in the corner, but those tiny bugs sure do. Keep up with sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and dusting in all the rooms of your home to keep pests from wanting to come in. It’s easier to keep bugs out in the first place than it is to get rid of them once they’re in residence.

Next: So many people forget to do this one thing.

15. Identify the culprits

Silverfish feeding on paper
Silverfish feeding on paper | Leonid Eremeychuk/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

The only way to get rid of pests is to figure out what they are in the first place. Not all ants are the same, and not all methods of getting rid of them work for every species. Use the internet or a pest control company to identify the type of pest problem you have and then cater your deterrent efforts accordingly.

Next: This step doesn’t have to be a last resort.

16. Call a professional

Exterminator | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

When all else fails, it’s time to call in a professional pest control company. The pros may cost more, but in the long run, your peace of mind could be worth it. Pest controller experts have the right equipment and methods to take care of your bug problems once and for all!

Read more: 15 Common Pests That Are Destroying Your Home

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