Oh, the horror! The one thing I hate in this world is bugs! I am just simply afraid and disgusted by all pests! I’m also squeamish when it comes to seeing pictures of them; so have no fear if you are too, this post will not contain any pictures of pests! What you will see is budget-friendly DIY pest control methods that actually work!
Now, I’ve moved around more than my fair share and have had to deal with all sorts of pests from the east coast to the west coast. It just makes my skin crawl to think of all the things I’ve seen. I am a borderline clean freak, and that does not always keep pests away (though it does help).
As a person who also likes to save money, I did not want to pay around $50 per month for routine pest control or $100-$300 per treatment. So, of course, I always try DIY methods first.
I’ve tried “do it yourself” home pest control options that are both natural and the hard stuff (chemicals).
Please note: This post may contain affiliate links, but at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure policy, click here.
Can you do your own pest control?
Doing your own pest control isn’t only possible, but it’s also very easy. You can purchase the same commercial / professional pest control products that the pros use, and do the job yourself at a fraction of the cost!
The most important thing is to read the application instructions. Pesticides are poisons that kill pests, but also can cause health problems or kill humans and pets as well. Use the correct product (nontoxic, pet-safe, etc) for your household and follow the application instructions.
There might be circumstances where you will need help. If there is an infestation in your attic or crawl space, I definitely would not be doing that myself. I would also try a termite control home remedy, but I would still call in the professionals to be sure they are gone and that there is no structural damage. When it comes to safety, it is not always best to be cheap!
The products I recommend are suggested to buy at specific places I link because of the price/quality.
My #1 phobia is of roaches, they’re icky and gross. Unfortunately, living in humid places you are bound to have them at some point. They can also come in your home when you live in multi-family dwellings, on used items you purchase, and they can even hitch a ride on your house guests and in their bags.
There are over 4,500 different species of roaches in the world, with 69 different types in the United States. However, there are only 5 that are a common problem in households. They are the German cockroaches (small), Brown-banded cockroaches (small), American cockroaches (palmetto bugs), Smoky brown cockroaches (prefer dry areas), and Oriental cockroaches (water bugs). I don’t care what specific species they are, as long as they go away, but distinguishing the type might be useful to know which product will work for you.
When it comes to the roaches, I give you: Advion Cockroach Gel Bait. I can not stop recommending this product enough, it starts killing cockroaches instantly.
See it in action! This video shows an INFESTED house before and after a month of using the product.
If you’re looking for how to get rid of roaches overnight, this pesticide works! I can only testify that it worked on the small ones for me, but it’s supposed to target German, American, Australian, Smoky-Brown, Brown, Asian, and Brown-Banded cockroaches. I’ve used it in houses, apartments, and even cars.
Storytime! Years ago, I bought a car and it seemed perfect. Until… My husband and I were driving it home that night, and roaches started crawling out! Ugh! I’m a baby, so I freaked out the whole ride home.
I immediately called the car dealership and got them to agree to clean it in the morning. However, I also had some Advion leftover from treating my home. I used it in all the crevices, I probably (most likely) went overboard with the application. But, in the morning, there were several dead roaches on the carpet. And since I wasn’t going back in that car, my husband then drove it back to the dealership to get steam cleaned.
Other than treatments, you also have to cut off their food source. They’re attracted to both food and non-food sources such as paper, and standing water. After the treatment of the product and maintaining cleanliness, I’ve had no more roach issues in the car or at the home I treated for years.
Buy Advion Cockroach Gel Bait here and get free shipping well.
But of course, as a military family, we’ve moved around a lot, so that was not the end of our pest issues.
Other cockroach control products
These are products that I’ve been told really work by others, but I haven’t tried myself.
Hot sauce spray
This is an old mother-recommended home remedy for repelling roaches. Mix one part hot sauce to two parts water and use as a perimeter spray to repel roaches. I’m not sure why it repels them, but I preferred to just kill them off with the Advion.
Boric Acid Powder
(I recommend buying this at a dollar store!) Sprinkle this powder lightly in areas where the roaches travel; if there is too much, they will avoid it. When they clean themselves after walking through it, the acid attacks their nervous and digestive systems, thus killing them. Roaches also eat other roaches, so the poison travels to the next one. Though it is said that this powder is relatively safe for humans and pets, I would still put it in inaccessible areas.
A safer alternative to boric acid, this fine powder has sharp edges that cut into the roach’s shell. Once inside, diatomaceous earth kills roaches by drying out and dehydrating the bug.
When I adopted my adorable kitten into the family, she also brought along fleas; and they were biting me as well! They reproduce very quickly, so it’s important to take action immediately! I tried to use home remedies to get rid of the fleas, but also had to resort to medications.
Sidenote: It’s common to think that indoor cats cannot get fleas; however, they can also be brought indoors on humans.
When I first learned about this pill from the vet; I paid $13 for 1 or 2 pills. Then I found the same Capstar pill online, 6 for $20. I was also able to use it after my cat had already received a monthly flea prevention treatment.
Capstar is an oral medication that starts to kill adult fleas within 30 minutes of taking it. There are different strength tablets for cats and dogs, but it also depends on weight and age for treatment. It can also be used every 24 hours as re-infestation occurs. But to prevent that, you should also take measures to get rid of fleas in the surrounding environment.
D.E. (Diatomaceous earth) contains the fossilized remains of diatoms (a major group of algae). This is a natural product that is supposed to help control cockroaches, bed bugs, house dust mites, ants, and flea infestations. It is used in a variety of products from explosives to water filtration. The food-grade DE can also be used as a health aide.
While it is non-toxic to humans, the dust can cause eye and throat irritation, so it’s best to wear a mask.
Diatomaceous earth works by cutting up and entering the bug’s exoskeleton. It then absorbs the oils and fats, drying out the insect, and causing them to die of dehydration.
Before applying, give your home a little cleaning first: Vacuum, sweep, and wash affected bedding in hot water. Then, sprinkle the D.E. over the areas with flea activity. To be safe, I sprinkled it everywhere. You can also use it in conjunction with salt and baking soda, which also dry out the pests. I left it down for two days, then I vacuumed everything and immediately threw out the vacuum contents (just in case live fleas crawl out and re-infest).
The areas you place it must be dry, wet D.E. will not work.
One thing I hated about living in East County, San Diego, was all the spiders! It also did not help that I was surrounded by trees, plants, and bushes. Almost every other day, I saw a spider crawling around. I don’t know the species, but they were small and dark with thick bodies (luckily my cat would kill them).
I’ve had minimal success with getting rid of spiders, but here is what didn’t work:
- Peppermint spray – My home smelled good at least
- Mint plant – They built a web in it!
- Thyme plant – Another failure
- Raid Max Bug Barrier – I only used this on the door, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.
Maybe these pest control DIY methods would work on other spiders, but not the invincible ones I had.
Ortho Home Defense
After moving to the east coast, I had problems with spiders and roaches in the garage. I tried a fogger bug bomb, and they immediately came back in the next couple of days. It was recommended to me to try the Ortho Home Defense Spray by my rental’s maintenance guy and a few other people. While I did see some success with this, it has to be reapplied regularly. The spraying wand on it also rarely works (there are many reviews about this); and I ended up pouring it into a spray bottle.
Also, it did not deter the large roaches from coming inside the house when it rained.
Ants are one of the only pests I can tolerate the sight of, but I still don’t want to live with them.
As soon as summer started, it seems as if they built a nest right beside the house. A colony just started to invade my home office, crawling up between the wall and the carpet. Eww! I’m still not sure what they were attracted to, because they were crawling around in my paint supplies. But, I’ve used the following product before (mother-recommended) and it worked brilliantly again:
I’ve tried different ant control home remedies like cleaning with vinegar and using cayenne pepper barriers; however, what worked the best for me is Terro Ant Killer: specifically the one in the bottle.
It comes with little tabs to use, but you can place this product on other scraps of paper. Just drop a few beads of the product and place it somewhere along the ant trail. You might see increased activity at first, but this is to be expected. Ants leave scent trails to tell the rest of the colony where they can find food. As they collect the Terro and bring it home, they poison the whole colony and the queen. Presto! Ant problem gone! (Be sure to add more bait once depleted.)
I’ve also tried the bait stations but they didn’t work for me at first. After I used the one in the bottle, the ants started going to the stations and drowning in the liquid. Due to this, I don’t think any ants would survive to go back and poison the colony.
If you’ve seen anything in the news about military housing, you’ve probably heard of the continuing problem with mold and rodents. However, we live in a very sketchy area and wanted to have some feeling of security, so my husband and I hoped for the best and decided to move in.
Before moving in, I made sure it was sprayed for pest and inquired about previous mold and rodent problems. Result: A statement about preventative maintenance and the home being treated for general pests after the previous tenant, and again before the new one.
Did I believe that meant I would have no issues? Nope! So upon move- inspection, I made sure to look closely for everything. The home looked really clean, but what did I find in the carpeted rooms closet? Rodent poop!
While I was able to get the housing company to help take care of the issues, doing your own pest control for mice is not hard.
Eliminate Entry Points
I ran to the internet and looked up how to get rid of the mice. No way was I going to move in or bring my belongings into the home until they were gone. The first thing that I learned is that they can get in through the tiniest holes, down to the size of a nickel. So we looked for all possible entry points, took a picture of them all, and sent it to maintenance.
This can easily be done yourself, and we bought the required materials in case we notice any future holes.
To seal up small holes, stuff them with copper wool. This material is hard for mice to chew through and gets stuck in their teeth. Copper wool is preferable to steel wool because it isn’t known to rust.
After this, seal the hole with caulk so they also can’t just push the wool out. It is recommended to use silicone or polyurethane caulk to stop the mice from smelling it as a previous entry point.
Tomcat Mouse Killer
I felt comfortable using this poison around the house because I didn’t move my cat in yet, but it also comes with one bait station. I placed a Tomcat bait block in every room and closet on a white piece of paper. After a couple of days, I noticed crumbs on the paper; they were eating it! This resulted in my husband finding a stumbling mouse, which he was able to capture easily and get rid of.
I’m still not sure where the mice were hiding in this empty house after sealing all the holes, or even if I missed one!
Other mice control products
These products were used for pest control, but they may or may not work.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
After I got the entry points sealed and the mice out, I wanted to keep them out. I’ve read conflicting reviews about different ones, but this ultrasonic pest repeller seemed like it might be good. I was also just desperate to make sure I never see a mice again, and it wasn’t a bad price for 6.
I plugged a repellant into each room on the outward-facing wall, and hopefully, this will keep them away from the house. If anything, I have a cute blue nightlight.
It’s only been a couple months now of being mouse-free, and I cannot attribute that to the electronic repellent, sealing the entry points, or both; however, I will update if there is any change in the future. UPDATE: Mice were unfortunately seen again after about 18 months. I’m not sure if they got used to the signal, or it never worked to begin with.
Warning: I’ve seen another repellant with thousands of great reviews, and nearly bought it. But looking through the older reviews, I saw that most were actually for a book, and they switched the product after. Other products I’ve looked at also had a lot of fake reviews. The same name and variations of it were used multiple times. So, don’t just go off of star ratings, look at the reviews and the quality of them.
I used this glue trap with peanut butter as bait, but it did not work for me. A friend recommended it after it worked for them, but it could be because it was a different brand, or I was just unlucky.
I bought the 4 pack glue trap for $2 at Walmart.
This old fashioned trap is a cheap go-to device that works for many people, but not me. It is what the military housing’s pest control company put in the kitchen (only non-carpeted area) to catch the mice, along with a liquid bait. It could be because they were not placed in the locations in which the mice frequently traveled.
Psst! I believe you can get 2 for $1 at the dollar store.
Have you ever left a fruit in your fruit bowl so long that it started going bad? Oops, I have! I noticed a single fruit fly at first, and then there were two! Fruit flies reproduce fast, so take action right away! These are my proven DIY methods to prevent a fruit fly infestation.
ACV in a cup
Simply pour some apple cider vinegar in a cup, put a couple drops of dish soap, then cover it with saran wrap. Poke a few small holes in the plastic, and the fruit flies will be able to get in, but not out.
Did you know fruit flies can stand on water? The flies are attracted by the ACV and go in for a little drink, but the dish soap breaks the surface tension and causes them to fall in and drown.
Fly Ribbon Trap
Regularly, I don’t recommend Raid Fly Ribbon because it did not catch a thing for me. However, I poured a few drops of apple cider vinegar in the tube, and it suddenly started working like magic!
When it comes to pest control, do it yourself to save money. Versus using a professional, it can save you hundreds of dollars! Here’s a quick recap of all the products that are known to help with pest control. (Underlined is what I’ve used it for.)
Advion Cockroach Gel Bait: German, American, Australian, Smoky-Brown, Brown, Asian, and Brown-Banded cockroaches
Hot Sauce Spray: Barrier spray for roaches.
Diatomaceous Earth: Cockroaches, bed bugs, house dust mites, ants, and flea infestations
Boric Acid: Cockroaches, fleas, ants.
Capstar: Adult fleas
Ortho Home Defense Spray: A long list of different roaches, spiders, ants, ticks, silverfish, etc.
Terro: Common household ants.
Copper Mesh: To fill entry holes of rodents and insects.
Tomcat Mouse Killer: Mice
Glue Trap: Mice
Snap Trap: Mice
Apple Cider Vinegar Trap: Fruit flies
Raid Fly Ribbon: Flies, gnats, moths, and other flying insects (fruit flies).
I’ve also read a lot about a product called Talstar P Professional Insecticide. It has great reviews and is supposed to allow you to do your own pest control, getting rid of everything from spiders and roaches to termites and scorpions. Have you heard about this? I plan to use this for any future insects I have problems with; especially the dreaded large roaches!
When it comes to pest control, do it yourself vs getting a professional treatment to get rid of bugs for a fraction of the cost! For more ways to save money every day, click here.