15 DIY Natural Insect Repellents To Use In Your Home
Australia is notorious for its creepy crawlies and flying insects. No matter the time of year they seem to find a way to swarm our gardens, slither into our homes, pop up in unexpected places (yes we’re talking about the errant huntsman on the inside of the car window) and if worse comes to worse sting or bite us.
But did you know that traditional chemical insect sprays and remedies aren’t the only way to protect yourself and your home?
Put the can of repellent away and stop filling your home with clouds of bug spray, here is a list of 15 natural repellents that you can do yourself. In fact, you might already have some of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.
The saying goes that spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them. Well this might be true if you’ve been eating a lot of citrus. As it turns out spiders absolutely hate citrus fruits. So go crazy and rub down surfaces in your home that spiders tend to frequent with leftover citrus peel. The upside is citrus peels also smell fresh and fruity, so it’ll be like a mini spring-clean every time.
There are two types of vinegar that can help you repel annoying insects. White vinegar can be used as a general purpose bug spray. Simply put some in a spray bottle (add some water if the smell is a little too pungent) and spritz around your home, especially the kitchen, to keep small insects out. For extra protection also spray around the front and back doors to keep bugs from coming inside at all. And if you are experiencing an ant problem, spray the areas where they crawl to stop them from coming back.
The other repellent is apple cider vinegar. Perfect for protecting your thriving fruit bushes in the garden, if you start experiencing problems with fruit flies. Simply fill a glass with the vinegar, cover it with cling wrap and poke some holes into it. Place the glass beside the fruit tree and watch the flies become attracted to the sweet smell and then become trapped in the glass.
This is a very traditional remedy for getting rid of insects like moths from your home and repelling any new ones that try to make their way in. All you need to do is visit your local hardware store and purchase a few small blocks or maybe use a branch from your own cedar tree. Place the wood around the house for an instant repeller that is also forest fresh!
4. Eucalyptus Oil
An Aussie favourite, eucalyptus oil is also a super effective mosquito repellent. In fact, studies have shown that eucalyptus oil is just as effective at repelling as the active ingredient in insect repellents like Mortein, and in some cases it was found to be even more effective.
The strong smell we’ve all come to love confuses mozzie’s sense of direction making it hard for them to find us (and suck our blood). However, if for some reason this natural remedy doesn’t work, don’t worry! Eucalyptus is also an antiseptic.
This is another natural mosquito repellent that is easy to find. Garlic can be used to ward off our least favourite biters in two different ways. The first way is to eat as much garlic as you can. Your body will secrete the smell and the mosquitoes will steer clear of you until it wears off. The alternate way to get the same effect without the garlic breath, is to sprinkle garlic powder around your home and backyard.
6. Egg shells
Got a snail or slug problem? Despite being the slowest and probably the least harmful insects to come in contact with, snails and slugs can wreak havoc on your garden. So to prevent them from chomping through your favourite plants or leaving slimy trails all over your clean patio, don’t throw away your egg shells after your breakfast. Instead crush it up into smaller pieces and scatter it over the ground or garden bed. Snails and slugs can’t slide over the rough surface and will be forced to go elsewhere.
This all purpose repellent is an oldie but a goodie. All you’ll need is some onions, a bowl and some water. Slice up the onions (size doesn’t matter), put them in a bowl full of water and leave it out. Bugs will hate the smell and decide to vacate. A gardener’s trick is also to plant onions in the garden as “companion plants” to keep insects from eating the veggie patch.
The iconic citronella candle is still one of the best ways to keep mozzies at bay. A type of lemongrass that loves the Aussie climate, consider growing some of your own so you always have some on hand when Summer comes around and you don’t want to become the main course.
9. Keep your trash managed (and clean)
This is probably the easiest way to keep bugs out of your home. All it involves is making sure your bin is sealed and clean. This means purchasing a bin with a lid, regularly emptying it when it’s full, and wiping it down whenever it gets gross. By managing your waste, you’ll manage any insects interested in your leftovers.
If you can spare some of your much-loved coffee grounds all you need to do is sprinkle them around windows, doors and any cracks that they crawl through into your home for an instant fix.
This one might seem a little too good to be true, but bear with us. Next time you entertain guests and have some leftover opened beer cans lying around, don’t throw them out. Instead you can use the stale beer to get rid of cockroaches. This is because the beer is similar to the pheromones they use to signal each for food.
Fill a cup with the stale beer and leave it out in the open for them to find. They’ll come running (beer is a big attractant) and climb in for a taste. Once they fall into the bottle, they won’t be able to escape.
12. Get rid of stagnant or standing water
To disrupt the lifecycle of mosquitoes around your home, regularly empty any bodies of water that accumulate in the garden. This includes puddles, pot trays full of water, and anything that isn’t able to drain quickly. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water, so it’s best to get rid of any excess water quickly.
13. Diatomaceous Earth
If you haven’t heard of this before, you should read up on it now. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) has many uses (including as a classic ingredient for paint) but in this instance this non-toxic repellent is great for keeping a variety of crawling bugs out of your life. Made from ground up shells of microscopic sea creatures known as diatoms, DE can be sprinkled and thrown over any problem area. Soon the bugs will realise it’s a no-go zone and move on to a new home.
Fleas and ticks, ugh! Nobody likes them and certainly nobody likes trying to get rid of them. These serial pests can cause distress for not only your family but your pets as well. Rosemary deters lots of different bugs, but more importantly it also repels fleas and ticks from hanging out in spaces that it’s planted. And for some added protection, rub some rosemary over your cat or dog, the plant will coat their fur in natural oils giving them some added protection and relief.
Another flea repeller, these beautiful yet deadly blooms contain a chemical called pyrethrum that naturally disables the nervous system in fleas. This means they will do anything to keep away. Luckily this isn’t at a loss to you because you can decorate your garden with the fantastic flowers and keep yourself protected at the same time.