Getting the Best of Pests

Do you want to get the pests in your house to bug off without using harmful chemicals?  As one knowledgeable person said, “There is no good all-purpose repellent.”  However, there are a variety of useful methods for ridding your abode of specific pests.  We present several here, along with suggestions of where to turn for in-depth information.

  • The best offense is truly a great defense—as humans, bugs need to satisfy basic needs for air, water, food and shelter.  Eliminate places of water accumulation, dampness, and high humidity; caulk cracks; practice good food storage and housecleaning techniques.
  • Combine apple cider vinegar a dash of dishwashing soap in a shot glass to trap fruit flies.
  • Pheromone (hormone) traps are very effective in controlling meal moths and should be placed every 120 sq. feet of floor space where the moths are seen.  The lure in the trap (Surefire is one brand) needs to be replaced every three months.  (Of course, you must also search for and dispose of infested food and thoroughly wash storage containers.)
  • Place boric acid or silica gel dust in cracks or other areas where silverfish live (such as attics or garages) to reduce their population.
  • Sodium borate treatments can be used to spot treat drywood termites and can be applied with a sprayer or paint brush.

The Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC) in Berkeley, CA is a great source of “least toxic” pest control solutions.  The Center publishes two periodicals, The IPM Practitioner (technical) and Common Sense Pest Control (for the layperson).  For information on membership call 510-524-2567, or visit the organization’s website.  The Center’s founders also published a massive tome entitled Common Sense Pest Control.  Another useful book is Least Toxic Home Pest Control by Dan Stein.


Amiable ant or treacherous termite??  Many people misidentify bugs and these two winged specimens are frequently confused.  To compare:

Ants Termites
Wings Different sizes Equal in length
Antennae “Elbowed” Straight
Waist “Pinched-in” Thick

In other words, if you see the above-pictured insect in your home, “fly” quickly to seek treatments!

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