It’s that time again when the flying, buzzing, biting things come out. Rather than poisoning yourself, your family or your pets to get rid of annoying insects, here are some safe alternatives:

All-purpose outdoor insect spray: Mix one chopped garlic clove, one chopped small onion, and one tablespoon cayenne powder with one-quart water. Allow to steep one hour, then add one tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap, like blue Dawn or Ivory liquid. This all-purpose insect spray remains potent for only one week, so use it up by spraying the exterior perimeter of the house.

Ants: Repel an ant invasion by washing countertops, cabinets and floors with equal parts water and vinegar. 

Aphids: Mix 1 gallon water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons Ivory liquid. Spray on plants where aphid damage is evident.

Bugs, spiders, ants: To prevent ants, spiders, and bugs from entering your home or other structures, spray the foundation and the grout within a foot of the wall with a mixture of 1/2 cup ground lemon (you can puree the lemon in a blender or food processor) including the rind plus one gallon of water. Apply with a garden sprinkling can. Not only is the weak solution versatile, but it’s also mild, cheap and environmentally sound.

Fly and insect spray: Rubbing alcohol makes a great fly and insect spray. Fine mist evaporates quickly and is not harmful to anyone but the pests. This doesn’t necessarily kill them but anesthetizes the little guys, so once they’re asleep, dispose of quickly.

Fruit flies: Set out a small dish of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will not work, it must be apple cider vinegar) to which you’ve added a few drops of detergent. Cover with plastic wrap then pull back the wrap along part of the edge too give an entrance point. Fruit flies fly in and never come out.

Mice: Use peanut butter as bait for your mousetraps. You can reset the traps and catch several mice before you need to add bait.

Mosquito repellents: Plant basil around the patio and house to repel mosquitoes. Keep it well-watered so that it produces a stronger scent. 

Moths: Make sachets of dried lavender or equal portions of rosemary and mint. Place in closets, drawers, or closed containers to mothproof garments.

Silverfish: To get rid of silverfish, put about 1/4 inch of flour in a small, straight-sided glass. Run a strip of adhesive tape from bottom to top on the outside. Silverfish will travel up the tape and drop into the glass, but they won’t be able to get back out. Place one of these traps in each room where you’ve seen silverfish.

Snails and slugs: To keep snails and slugs out of your garden sink pie pans in the garden so the rims are flush with the ground. Fill with beer. The slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer, which will be their final undoing.

Snails: Snails will turn around and go the other way rather than cross a protective border of sand, lime, or ashes.

Spiders: To discourage spiders spray rubbing alcohol on windowsills.

Tacky fly swatter: For fruit flies and other tiny flying insects that a regular fly swatter just seems to miss, put a few strips of double-backed tape on your flyswatter.

Tape that sucker. Don’t squash a bug crawling on your wall, drapes or anywhere else it can stain. Just “apply” a strip of tape; the bug adheres to it and can be disposed of.

Wasp repellent. Toilet-bowl deodorizers nailed by the door, placed near wastebaskets or set on a windowsill will keep wasps away. They hate the smell.

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