All Creatures Great and Small

Safe Pest Control Products

You certainly don’t need to use any pesticides in your home during this pandemic or at any other time You can control most pests yourself safely and effectively. Here is a list of some products you find around the house or that you can easily purchase that will help you manage your pest problems.  There are many others, but these may be the easiest to find and use.

Baking Soda

When baking soda eaten by insects it releases carbon dioxide bubbles that are fatal. A paste made from baking soda will also give quick relief to an insect sting. You can sprinkle baking soda around your home inside and out. It will repel ants and roaches.


Believe it or not, Beer is very effective at controlling some pests. If you soak a rag in beer and put it in the middle of your garage floor at night, it will be covered in drunken cockroaches the next morning waiting for you to dispatch them. You can also put some pie pans filled with beer outside where you see roaches.  They will crawl in and will be there the next morning and they don’t check IDs. If you put some saucers of beer out in your yard you will attract snails and slugs who will get drunk and die in the brew.

Borax / Boric Acid

Borax is a combination of sodium, boron and oxygen and is mined from the soil. Boric acid is a crystalline material made from borax. 20 Mule Team Borax is very effective in controlling a wide variety of insects.

Boric acid is a powder that removes the waxy coating on the exterior of the insect’s body when they crawl over it. The waxy coating is used to retain water and without it the insect quickly dies from dehydration. When mixed in baits it can control ants, cockroaches and some other insects. The insects also ingest the material while grooming and subsequently die. Boric acid will remain effective indefinitely in a dry environment. Boric acid can be mixed with any food the roaches or ants are eating including peanut butter, jelly, sugar, syrup or honey. Keep any baits you make out of the reach of children and pets.


Catnip will not only repel insects such as cockroaches, ants, mosquitoes, and others, but it will prevent rabbits, deer and squirrels from eating plants sprayed with it. And cats love it.

Diatomaceous Earth

I frequently recommend using diatomaceous earth (DE) for controlling a variety of pests.  If you use this product, be sure it is food-grade quality.  Diatomaceous earth is mined from the fossilized silica shell remains of microscopic diatoms.  Diatoms are animals that are related to crustaceans of today.  They produced shells that are now ground up and used as a powder or dust for insect control.  Diatomaceous earth absorbs the waxy layer on the surface of insect skins, causing the insect to desiccate (dry out).  Diatomaceous earth also effectively controls slugs and snails.

This least-toxic insecticide is considered harmless to humans and is used in stored grains. Mix ¼ cup of food-grade DE in a gallon of vinegar and spray pests with the mix or pour into ant mounds as a drench. Do not buy or use DE sold for swimming pool filters. This form is not effective as an insecticide and, when inhaled, can cause silicosis, a deadly lung disease. Diatomaceous earth is abrasive to lung and eyes – so use proper personal protection when using this product.


Salt will kill any vegetation and is a good herbicide for killing weeds in a sidewalk, along a fence or similar areas. Salt mixed with water will also kill snails and slugs. Salt will kill many insects and can be used in crawl spaces or other areas to deter termites and cockroaches.


Soaps can effectively kill insects because of fatty acids in the product that destroy cellular membranes in the bugs. It also produces a coating on the insect that prevents it from breathing through its spiracles. An effective soap spray consists of 40% water, 40% alcohol and 20% dish soap. You can mix 1 cup cooking oil with 1 tablespoon non-detergent liquid soap as an insecticide. Use 1 tablespoon of this mix to each cup of water and you can control aphids, scales, mealybugs and spider mites. It will kill the eggs as well as the adults of these pests. Do not use it if the temperature is over 85 degrees F. as it may damage the plants.


Sugar is a very popular insect attractant that can be used to control many insects if mixed properly with other ingredients. You can catch wasps and yellowjackets by cutting the top off a 2 litre plastic bottle, invert it inside the bottle to make a funnel and put two or three inches of sugar water mixed with a few drops of soap in the bottle.


White vinegar is effective against ants. Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar will attract and catch fruit flies, fungus gnats and wasps.  You can mix 3 parts vinegar with 1 part dishwashing soap to kill weeds.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have toxic pesticides sprayed in and around your home.  If you have any pest questions, my email address is


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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