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Create bug repellent with household items
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Depending on the methods used, eliminating insects of all shapes and sizes that fly, crawl and creep into homes can be as easy as pie or complicated and messy.

Homeowners and renters can go the easy route and purchase several kinds of insecticides or repellents from any home improvement retailer. Those promise to kill ants, roaches, fleas, bed bugs, spiders, hornets and wasps, to name a few.

Or they can create a household version of pesticides to remove the creepies and crawlies from the house and even garden. And longtime amateur or professional gardeners both have examples of the favorite homemade remedies.

Avid gardener Charlene Sienkiewicz has “looked up different ways to keep” pests out of her yard for 15 years. She has found an average substance to eliminate the snail population: beer.

“Any kind (of beer) works,” the Flowery Branch resident said.

Murphy oil works for aphids, which  are very small insects that harm plants.

Sienkiewicz also knows what household waste can enrich the garden. She suggests putting banana peels in the garden to “put potassium back into the soil.” She also will soak eggshells, crush them and sprinkle the crushed up shells around her rose bushes.

“It adds calcium,” she said.

Wanda Cannon agrees many homemade remedies may repel bugs in the home and garden.

She said essential oils, such as clove, lemongrass, lemon balm, rosemary, basil, tea tree, catnip, lavender and mint can also be utilized in the garden.

Cannon is education and volunteer coordinator for the Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy in Gainesville. She, however, claims not to be an expert.

She does say oils can be used in a spray bottle with a mix of witch hazel, vinegar or distilled water in the garden. Or the mixture can be used around windows or cracks in the home.

Cannon also suggested mixing dried herbs such as sage, thyme and mint with a 32-ounce bottle of apple cider vinegar, sealing it for two weeks and shaking every day. Once it is ready to use, strain out the herbs and use
accordingly around the house or garden.

If you’re specifcally looking for a way to rid bugs around the perimeter of the home, use a mix of galic, cinnamon and red cayenne pepper powder.

“Sprinkle (the mix) around the foundation once or twice every month,” Cannon said. “Do more liberally if it rains a lot.”

Other recipes for homemade remedies can be found online at

One such example is a garlic-mint insect spray.

Crush up some mint leaves and garlic cloves in a food processor or blender, add a squirt or two of dishwashing liquid and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Combine the ingredients, bring it to a boil and let it sit overnight.

The new concoction can be put into a spray bottle to spritz or a cup to pour into the garden to prevent bugs.

Bugs, especially ants, don’t mesh well with coffee grounds, according to the Huffington Post. Recycle leftover grounds and place them where you think they may be entering the home. Word has it ants aren’t fans of cinnamon, either.

Another homemade method to eliminate ants is mixing a cup of sugar, a cup of warm water and two tablespoons of Borax. Borax can be found from stores such as Wal-Mart for less than $5 if none is in the house.

A gallon of water and three tablespoons of pepper flakes or 10 finely chopped peppers will make another remedy. Simmer the flakes and water for 15 minutes and let it sit overnight. Strain the mixture and add some dishwashing liquid.

For a fruit fly problem, use apple cider or regular vinegar and apple slices. The trick to this remedy is finding a container that will let flies in, but not let them out.

And if deer prove troublesome, use a mix of 20 percent eggs and 80 percent water to get them off the lawn and garden.

If these recipes don’t work, Cannon suggests keeping counters clean and making sure food containers and plastic bags are sealed and put in the refrigerator. She added limiting outdoor activities to dusk and nights with no wind will help.