DIY Pest Control

If you’re tired of unwanted critters taking over your home, you’re not alone. Pests like stink bugs, gnats, scorpions, and wasps are guests most homeowners are not happy to host. In this article, I’ll give you do-it-yourself ways to deal with common house pests without hiring a professional pest control company. Whether you’re dealing with roaches, ants, flies, or even bed bugs, I’ve got practical tips and DIY pest control products that will help you take back your space.

No need to call an exterminator when you can take charge of your own pest control. There are proven methods and ingredients you probably already have at home to create effective repellents and traps. These solutions are safe, affordable, and easy to use. You’ll learn how to handle carpenter bees, roaches, and spiders using simple pest control supplies.

Effective DIY pest management is possible. I’ll discuss how to prevent future infestations with practical tips on sealing cracks, fixing leaks, and maintaining a clean home environment. Get ready to tackle your pest problems head-on and enjoy a pest-free home without calling professional pest control services.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Roaches:
  • Make homemade insecticide — If you’re not interested in trying out one of the best insecticides for home use, you can make your own. Mix together borax and sugar in equal parts. You’ll want to avoid inhaling the mixture, so wear a mask at all times. Apply the powder along baseboards, in cracks, and under sinks. When roaches ingest the mixture, the borax damages their digestive system and outer skeleton, killing them. You can use this process for killing ants with borax as well. Boric acid is often found in commercial pest control solutions, but this method is less expensive. Since borax is slightly toxic, keep the mixture away from children, pets, and food prep areas. Only bate areas that your family or pets won’t come into contact with.
  • Use coffee grounds Apply coffee grounds in gardens to get rid of roaches. There are several ways to do this. One way is to trap roaches by filling a jar with one cup of water and two tablespoons of dry coffee grounds. Line the edges of the jar with petroleum jelly. Roaches will climb in to get the coffee grounds but will be unable to climb back over.
How To Prevent a Cockroach Infestation:

To prevent a cockroach infestation, start by using essential oils, as roaches hate their smell. Make a preventative spray with ½ cup of water and eight drops of citrus or peppermint oil. Next, pour the solution into a spray bottle and target dark, moist areas of your home, like your basement baseboards and bathroom floors. Clean all dishes after meals, seal food in containers, and wipe down kitchen counters to eliminate food sources for these pests. Leaky faucets attract roaches, so check your plumbing system and fix leaks as soon as possible. Finally, inspect your home for cracks in door frames, windows, countertops, and walls, sealing any holes you find with caulk.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Ants:
  • Create a homemade ant repellent — When you spot ants, spray them with a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Wait a few minutes and wipe up dead ants with a wet paper towel.
  • Attract ants with boric acid — Boric acid is a slow-acting poison and an effective ingredient in ant bait. You can purchase boric acid at your local pharmacy. Create a mixture of one part corn syrup and one part boric acid. Spread this mixture on a piece of paper and wait for the ants to eat it. Keep boric acid away from children, pets, and food prep areas.
  • Mix baking soda and sugar — Make a mixture of three parts baking soda and seven parts sugar. This solution will react in an ant’s digestive system and kill it. Leave the mixture in small containers for ants to eat and take back to their nests.
  • Use food-grade diatomaceous earth — While non-toxic to humans and pets, food-grade diatomaceous earth is extremely poisonous to ants and will dehydrate and kill them. Sprinkle this powder anywhere you see visible ant trails. Only use food-grade diatomaceous earth, as other forms are poisonous to humans and other animals.
  • Use essential oils — Mix a few drops of peppermint, tea tree, or clove oil with water. Put this solution in a spray bottle and target visible ant trails around your home.
How To Prevent an Ant Infestation:

To prevent an ant infestation, make sure to clean up after meals by washing dishes right away, wiping down counters, and taking out the trash. Seal all leftover food in containers to keep it safe from ants. Don’t leave pet food out, as this can attract ants. Take steps to keep your home clean and food properly stored to avoid an ant problem.


DIY Pest Control — How to Get Rid of Flies and Fruit Flies:
  • Make homemade fly traps — Cut a paper grocery bag into strips. Boil ¼ cup of sugar, ¼ cup of honey, and two tablespoon of water in a small pot. Using a fine paint brush, coat the strips of paper in the mixture and hang the strips from your ceiling to attract and catch flies. Throw away the strips after a couple of days.
  • Set out wine or vinegar If you have fruit flies, put one tablespoon of red wine or vinegar in a small bowl and add some sliced fruit. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and poke holes in the top with a toothpick. Flies will flock to the mixture and won’t be able to escape. Throw away the contents of the trap after the flies have been caught.
  • Use essential oils — Thyme, clove, geranium, basil, lavender, lemongrass, and peppermint repel flies. Mix a few drops of one of these essential oils with water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture around your kitchen and living room, and anywhere else flies are visible.
How To Prevent a Fly Infestation:

To keep flies out, make sure to keep your windows and doors closed if they don’t have screens. Fruit flies love open trash, so always bag your food waste before throwing it away and invest in a trash can with a lid. These simple steps can make a big difference in preventing a fly infestation. For more tips on how to get rid of flies, be sure to check out the Today’s Homeowner guide to fly control. It has plenty of useful advice to help you keep your home fly-free.

Bed bugs

DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Bed Bugs:
  • Clean your sheets — Wash all bedding and pillows in hot water and run them through the dryer on high heat.
  • Vacuum floors and furniture — Bed bugs can hide in small cracks and crevices, like along floorboards or within headboards. Use a regular-sized vacuum to clean floors and a handheld vacuum to clean along mattress seams and headboards.
  • Steam clean clothing — If you find bed bugs in your bed, steam clean any clothing close to the bed to remove any bed bugs hiding in your clothes.
  • Make a homemade bed bug solution — Mix one part water and one part lavender or tea tree oil and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the affected area to kill lingering bed bugs. Some people claim that baking soda kills bed bugs, but this is not entirely true.
How To Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation:

When inspecting second-hand furniture, look for signs of bed bugs. These signs include reddish-brown fecal stains, discarded skins, or bed bugs themselves. Always avoid taking furniture from the curb, especially wooden or upholstered pieces and picture frames, as these often have bed bugs inside them. Use a protective mattress cover to eliminate hiding spots for bed bugs. Keep your home clutter-free and vacuum often to prevent bed bugs from nesting. By staying vigilant and maintaining a clean environment, you can significantly reduce the risk of a bed bug infestation.


DIY Pest Control — How To get Rid of Moths:
  • Vacuum all shelves in the pantry — If moths are in your pantry, vacuum the shelves with a hand-held vacuum and get deep into cracks where eggs and larvae could be hiding. Immediately throw away the contents of the vacuum outside.
  • Get rid of affected food — Look for moths in and on food packaging. Also look for larvae on spice jars, unopened packages, and sealed containers. Grain-based products like flour, cereal, pasta, and baking mixes are a moth favorite. Toss any infested foods you find.
  • Use a vinegar solution — Use a clean towel and mixture composed of one part vinegar and one part water to wipe down all shelves, jars, and containers.
  • Tend to your clothes — To get rid of moths in your clothes, iron them and put them in the freezer to kill moths, eggs, and larvae.
  • Hang herbs — Place strong-smelling dried herbs, like lavender or mint, in your pantry or closet.
  • Hang wool clothing on cedar hangers — Cedar has been known to be an excellent moth repellent.
How To Prevent a Moth Infestation:

To keep moths at bay, store all food in airtight containers in your pantry. Avoid putting dirty clothes back in your closet or leaving them lying around — as moths lay eggs in unwashed clothing. It’s also essential to clean up messes immediately. Lingering crumbs and spills create a perfect environment for moths to thrive. By keeping your pantry organized and maintaining cleanliness, you can significantly reduce the chances of a moth infestation.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Spiders:
  • Make a natural spider repellent — Kill spiders with a solution composed of one part water mixed with a few drops of lavender, citronella, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, or tea tree oil. Spray this solution on a spider and wipe up the remnants with a paper towel.
  • Lay out homemade traps — Create homemade traps by mixing one part water and one part corn syrup in a pot and bringing the solution to a boil. After letting it cool, spread the mixture on index cards and place them around your home. Spiders will become stuck in the trap and die. Once you’ve caught a spider, throw the trap away.
  • Spread cedar chips around your home — Much like citrus or peppermint, cedar is often used as a spider repellent. Sprinkle cedar chips on your lawn or in your garden to repel outdoor spiders. For indoor spiders, place cedar chips on window sills, along doorways, and in closets.
How To Prevent a Spider Infestation:

Spiders aren’t drawn to light, but the insects they prey on definitely are. To keep spiders away, it’s a good idea to keep your porch lights off. Additionally, removing plants and debris from around your home can make a big difference. Spiders love to hide in vegetation and under rocks, and as the weather cools, they often seek shelter indoors.

You can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth to create a barrier around your doors and windows. This natural pesticide works by slicing through a spider’s exoskeleton, causing it to die. By combining these strategies, you can effectively discourage spiders from invading your space.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Termites:
  • Make room for more sunlight — Direct sunlight kills termites, so clear brush around your home or put termite-infested furniture outdoors during the day.
  • Create a homemade termite repellent — One of the easiest forms of DIY pest control is making a homemade solution to get rid of termites. Mix one part borax with one part water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the liquid over an affected area to kill a termite colony.
  • Use orange essential oils — Mix a few drops of orange oil with water and spray the walls in your basement, attic, and bathrooms.
  • Purchase nematodes — Beneficial nematodes are naturally-occurring microscopic roundworms that eat termites. Purchase them at a gardening or farm supply store.
How To Prevent a Termite Infestation:

To keep termites at bay, make it a habit to regularly check for signs of infestation. Look for discarded wings or sawdust-like material around your home. Also check for paint that looks bubbled or cracked — this is a sign of a termite hole. Avoid leaving piles of wood outside, as termites are drawn to untreated wood. Instead, treat your wooden furniture and outdoor decks to make them less desirable to termites. Remember, termite inspections play an important role in preventing future damage. Schedule them regularly to protect your home from these destructive pests.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Silverfish:
  • Make a boric acid trap — Sprinkle boric acid on a cracker and place the cracker on an index card. Silverfish will die after eating the cracker and ingesting the boric acid. Keep boric acid away from children, pets, and food prep areas at all times.
  • Dehydrate silverfish with food-grade diatomaceous earth — Place this powdery substance around baseboards or other places you’ve seen silverfish. Diatomaceous earth will stick to their outer shells and dehydrate them. Make sure you get food-grade diatomaceous earth, as this is the safest form to use around children and pets.
  • Spray essential oils around your home — Mix a few drops of cedar, lavender, cinnamon, citrus, or basil essential oil with water or vodka. Spray the solution in closets, drawers, and bedrooms.
How To Prevent a Silverfish Infestation:

Silverfish live in undisturbed spots, often hiding in stacks of old newspapers or piles of mail and books. To keep these pests away, make sure to clean up and organize any clutter lying around your home. Since silverfish also love damp environments. It’s a good idea to use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry and reduce the humidity in your home. By managing both clutter and moisture, you’ll make your home less inviting to these sneaky invaders.


DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Fleas:
  • Bathe your pet — Scrub your dog or cat with water and a pet shampoo containing natural insecticides to kill adult fleas. You may also use water mixed with rosemary or lemon peel.
  • Clean pet materials — Wash pet bedding, sheets, blankets, and pillows with laundry detergent and hot water.
  • Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth on your carpet — Fleas have an exoskeleton that the sharp edges of the microscopic diatom will cut, causing them to dry out and die. Leave diatomaceous earth in your carpet for several hours, then vacuum the area. Immediately dispose of the vacuum bag.
  • Make a homemade flea repellent — Mix one part eucalyptus oil and one part water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the repellent all over the home, especially in areas that have been affected by fleas (like your living room, pet bed, and carpet). Eucalyptus oil isn’t safe for cats, so use another pet-friendly method, like food-grade diatomaceous earth.
  • Vacuum often — Fleas multiply quickly and their eggs can live for a long time, even when adult fleas are dead. Vacuum often — about once a week — to remove any leftover eggs.
How To Prevent a Flea Infestation:

To keep fleas at bay, start by maintaining a well-trimmed yard. Fleas thrive on overgrown grass, so keeping your lawn neat will make it less inviting. Also, don’t leave pet food outside — doing so can attract wild animals carrying fleas into your yard. Regularly treat your pets with veterinarian-approved flea medication and use a flea comb to check for fleas. In the summer, keep your pets’ coats short to spot fleas more easily. By taking these steps and learning how to effectively get rid of fleas in your home, you’ll create a more comfortable and safe environment for both you and your pets.

Carpenter Bees

DIY Pest Control — How To Get Rid of Carpenter Bees:
  • Hire a beekeeper to relocate the colony — Carpenter bees are pollinators and important to the ecosystem. Hire a beekeeper. Check the cost of bee removal and hire a professional beekeeper who can safely remove a colony to another site.
  • Play music next to a carpenter bee nest — Carpenter bees hate vibrations and loud sounds. Place a set of speakers next to a nest and blast loud music.
  • Place a bucket of water with soap underneath the nest — Bees will fly into the bucket to get the water, but will become coated in soap, and can’t fly away.
  • Make a homemade carpenter bee repellent — Boil water and add citrus peels. Let the solution cool for a few minutes. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray bee holes to eliminate existing bees.
How To Prevent a Carpenter Bee Infestation:

To keep carpenter bees away, start by treating or painting any untreated wood on the outside of your house before spring arrives. Carpenter bees are particularly attracted to untreated wood, so taking this preventative measure can deter them from setting up new colonies. If you spot old holes from previous bee activity, fill them with steel wool to block any potential new colonies from moving in.

If you have carpenter bees, it’s important to take steps to remove them.

Final Thoughts

DIY pest control methods are a practical and effective way to tackle common household pests without the need for calling in professionals. By using readily available materials and these simple techniques, you can manage pests like ants, roaches, fleas, and more on your own. 

Creating homemade traps and repellents using ingredients like boric acid, essential oils, and diatomaceous earth can effectively eliminate various pests. I recommend using these strategies with current infestations and to prevent future ones. Take a proactive approach, such as treating wood for carpenter bees or using a dehumidifier to manage silverfish. Doing this reduces the likelihood of pests finding their way into your home. 

DIY solutions also save you money and are safe for your pets and family. Regularly apply these DIY solutions to keep you ahead of pest problems, and your living spaces comfortable and pest-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are DIY Pest Control Products as Effective as Professional Pest Control Services?

DIY pest control products can be effective for minor infestations but often fall short for larger problems. This is because of weaker chemicals and potential user error. Professional pest control services use stronger treatments and strategies to deal with both the symptoms and the reasons for infestations.

What are the most effective natural ingredients for DIY pest control solutions?

Vinegar and diatomaceous earth are good natural ingredients for DIY pest control. Vinegar stops pests like ants and fruit flies from moving around, and diatomaceous earth breaks down insect exoskeletons. Essential oils, hot pepper flakes, and garlic oil can also scare different insects. Citrus and coffee grounds are natural repellents.

Is it cheaper to do your own pest control?

DIY pest control is typically cheaper. A DIY solution might not fix the issue as effectively as professional services and could lead to more complications.

Editorial Contributors
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Sam Wasson

Staff Writer

Sam Wasson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an Emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. Sam brings over four years of content writing and media production experience to the Today’s Homeowner content team. He specializes in the pest control, landscaping, and moving categories. Sam aims to answer homeowners’ difficult questions by providing well-researched, accurate, transparent, and entertaining content to Today’s Homeowner readers.

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photo of Laurie Engle

Laurie Engle

Expert Writer & Reviewer

Laurie Engle is a freelance writer who provides insights to homeowners on topics such as the home warranty industry, relocation issues, and real estate trends. As a licensed Realtor since 2001 Laurie has acquired extensive expertise in dealing with home warranty companies and navigating the intricacies of the real estate market. In addition to her commitment to helping clients with their home buying and selling needs, she maintains a sharp awareness of market dynamics, including property values, interest rates, and local regulations.

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