10 Cheap, Effective Ways to Pest-Proof Your Home

6. Invite birds

Birds are pretty to look at, and they like to eat bugs. Consider getting a bird feeder — it’s cheaper than a bird bath and it won’t create a stagnant pool of water. Or you can make one free. Check out Audubon.org for six examples. It’s a nice weekend project for the family!

7. Store firewood away from the house

Termites, ants and cockroaches like to hide out in woodpiles and the damp ground underneath. Keep firewood stacked on an elevated surface and stored away from your home.

If you have a lot of wood, consider a firewood rack, which allows wood to be stacked neatly and off the ground. Otherwise, stack wood somewhere like a wheelbarrow or bench and cover it with a tarp.

8. Make a homemade flytrap

I hate fruit flies. They pop up wherever there’s something sweet and seem to linger forever. So after I got tired of running after them, I took to a more scientific approach.

I’ve tried several homemade flytraps, but I’ve had the most success with this: Add a squirt of dish soap to half a cup of apple cider vinegar in an open container. The flies are attracted to the sweet-smelling vinegar, and the soap breaks the surface tension, drowning the fly.

Put a few of them around the house where you see the pests, but don’t put the traps near open windows — that encourages more flies to come in.

9. Don’t kill mice — trap them

I don’t like killing mice because their dead bodies are a breeding ground for insects and bacteria. Instead, try this simple trap (less than $7 on Amazon), which has a four-star average review and is reusable.

There’s also this slightly more expensive trap for less than $13. It has even more positive recommendations than the first trap, and its transparent walls let you see if a mouse has been caught.

To prevent mice from getting inside in the first place, use steel wool to plug holes like those found near baseboard heaters and dryer.

10. Practice mosquito management

Mosquitoes are annoying bloodsuckers. At best, their bites leave itchy red welts. At worst, they can transfer disease such as the Zika virus. We discussed ways to ward off the annoying bugs in “5 Cheap Steps to Eliminate Mosquitoes,” including:

  • Get rid of standing water: Mosquitoes lay eggs in stagnant water, so take away their breeding ground by overturning water in open containers and throwing mulch or soil over yard puddles.
  • Place minced garlic around your porch. Garlic’s odor acts as a natural repellent to many insects, including mosquitoes.
  • Adding citronella, eucalyptus, cinnamon or castor oils to sunscreen can repel mosquitoes for when you need to work outside — just be sure to follow the instructions and don’t dump a cup of citronella on your face.
  • When you’re sitting outside on the porch, use an oscillating fan. You’ll love the nice breeze, and wind is a mosquito’s enemy.

What do you do to eliminate bugs at your place? Tell us below or on our Facebook page!

Kari Huus contributed to this report.

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