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For most of us, it doesn’t take long after move-in for bugs and other pests to be buzzing and crawling about our homes. These creepy irritants have a way of showing up when we least want them to, like flicking on the bathroom light to find a roach on the wall, or coming down for breakfast just ahead of an army of ants.

Back in the old days, we had no problem reaching for a handy can of nasty bug spray to take down the invaders. Now, we're more aware of the potential harm to our pets, our kids, and ourselves when it comes to pesticides. But are there natural eco-friendly alternatives to pesticides? Good news—there are!

For Flies

Open a window or door to catch a cool breeze and in come the flies. Then, it becomes a battle of wills to swat or shoo them out the door. Try these fly-be-gone remedies and save yourself some of the trouble.

Herb Sachets

You would think a fly would go anywhere for grub, but apparently, they have an aversion to mint, bay leaves, cloves, and eucalyptus leaves. Tie up some of those fresh herbs in a sachet of cheesecloth and hang it by your doors to turn flies away at the door.

Eucalyptus Oil

A few drops on an absorbent cloth placed near a potential fly zone will also send them elsewhere.

Pheromone Fly Traps

These are non-toxic traps which attract flies and kill them. You still have to deal with the clean-up, but it’s easy to just toss the trap itself.

For Mosquitoes

Nothing will ruin a backyard BBQ more than being bit by these tiny bloodsuckers. Usually, by the time you notice the bite it's too late and the scratching commences.

First, make sure there are no sources of standing or stagnate water nearby. This is where the pests set up shop.

Garlic Repellent

Mix one part garlic juice with five parts of water in a spray bottle. This can then be used to spray on the skin or on hanging cloth strips that will drive the pests away from your eating area.

Marigolds and Thai Lemon Grass

These are two fragrant plants that mosquitoes don't like. A few pots of these around your patio could be a big help.

Neem Oil

A compound spray utilizing the oil of the Indian Neem tree is safe to use against mosquitoes. Read those labels!

Electric Mosquito Traps

If you aren't put off by the sizzle and snap of a bug zapper then these traps are totally eco-friendly. Be sure to hang them out of reach for the young ones.

Bat Houses

Okay, this one might be a bit extreme, but just as there are birdhouses to give birds a nesting area, there are also bat houses that will attract these creatures to your home. Don't be scared. Bats can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in a single night. This is probably a better option for a bigger backyard!

For Cockroaches

They say cockroaches and certain fast food snacks will outlive any nuclear holocaust. Let's hope we never have to put that to the test. In the meantime, cockroaches are just downright nasty and don't deserve a lot of empathy. Be sure to first take care of the problem at its source before dealing with the infestation itself.


This might make kitty go crazy, but it will also keep the cockroaches away. If you identify some roach hot spots in your home then put down some catnip sachets. It goes without saying that this should only be used in a home without cats!

Soapy Water

A spray bottle of soapy water at the ready can kill a cockroach with just a few sprays. Keep in mind, though; they are fast. Try your best to aim for the head and lower abdomen, coating the bug with a thin film of soap.

For Ants

Much has been made of ants ruining many a picnic. They can also be a nuisance if they make it into your home. Start alleviating the problem first by doing an extensive clean-up, focusing on any food debris the ants could be attracted to. Then proceed to using natural repellents.

Mint Tea

Place a couple of mint tea bags at the point of entry for an ant trail and they'll turn right around. If you don’t drink mint tea, crushed mint leaves will do the same, as well as lemon juice, citrus oil, coffee grounds, or cayenne pepper. These fragrant articles ruin the scent trails ants use to lead themselves and other ants to their source of food and water.

Soapy Water

Yes, your soapy water spray bottle has multiple uses when it comes to pest control.


For ants on a patio deck, slip a few cloves of garlic between the cracks. They're not a fan.