The Best 15 Clever Ways to Get Rid of Bugs

If you're tired of scratching and swatting your way through summer, get to work on one of these clever ways to get rid of bugs.

Along with the warmer weather comes lots and lots of bugs. Eww! Ouch! If you’re tired of scratching and swatting your way through summer, you’re not alone. Put the fly swatter away and get to work on one of these clever ways to get rid of bugs.

15 Clever Ways to Get Rid of Bugs

Make your own bug spray to keep mosquitoes, ants. and other pesky insects away while you enjoy the outdoors.


  • 1/2 cup catnip
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons witch hazel
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 to 20 drops essential oil
  • Small spray bottle
  • Small funnel
  • Sauce pan
  • Bowl
  • Sieve
  • Paper towel


  1. Gather the ingredients for your homemade bug spray. Catnip contains nepetalactone, which attracts cats but repels bugs naturally. Using dried catnip, which you can find for a few dollars at any pet store, works just fine, but using the fresh stuff is even better. Vanilla is a scent that's disliked by several types of bugs, including ticks. Essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and citronella also keep bugs away while adding a wonderful scent to this insect repellent.
  2. Measure and add the catnip to a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, boil for five minutes, and then turn off the heat and let cool for at least an hour.
  3. If using fresh leaves, then roughly chop the catnip and let simmer for 10 minutes before removing from the heat.
  4. Place a strainer within a bowl and then line the strainer with a paper towel. Pour in the catnip tea and strain. Now measure and add four tablespoons of the catnip tea to the small spray bottle with the help of a funnel. Reserve any leftover strained liquid in a sealed jar or plastic container for the next batch of bug spray.
  5. Next measure and add the witch hazel, which acts as a carrier for the essential oil.
  6. Vanilla repels mosquitoes, ticks, black flies, and gnats, making this delightfully smelling ingredient doubly beneficial. Measure and add the pure vanilla extract to the small spray bottle.
  7. Essential oil is the key ingredient in this bug spray, with lemongrass, peppermint, lavender, and citronella being great additives for keeping pesky insects at bay. Pick your favorite scent, or a combination of oils, and add 10 to 20 drops. If using a combination of oils, drip five to 10 drops of each for a seriously strong bug spray. Top the spray bottle with water, and you're ready for spraying.
  8. Spray a small amount near your ankle to test for a skin reaction before spritzing all over, taking care to avoid the face area. This repellent is safe to reapply every 30 minutes as needed, or spray directly on bugs, indoors or out, or on tables or along window sills to deter their pesky attention.

Use Epsom salts to deter snails and slugs around your garden plants.

Make an all-natural ant poison in just two minutes using corn syrup and borax. I so need to do this. We get ants every spring!

The video is three minutes long, but half of it is me flapping my lips about ants – the actual time taken to make the ant poison? A mere 45 seconds:

Keep spiders away from your house with peppermint essential oil. Sounds crazy, but it works!

Is your garden overrun with aphids, ants or mites? Introduce ladybugs into your garden to get them under control.

Add sage to a fire when you’re entertaining to keep bugs away from the party.

Recycle tin cans to make your own citronella candles. It’s easier than you’d think!

You’ll Need:

  • Cans
  • A double boiler (or here is a handy candle making kit)
  • Wax (soy wax, paraffin wax, old candles)
  • Pre-waxed wicks with tabs (150mm / 6”)
  • Citronella oil for candle making (use 1 oz per lb of wax)
  • Other scents for candle making like pine, mandarin orange, eucalyptus, peppermint
  • Hot glue gun


  1. Using the hot glue gun, affix the wicks to the bottom of the cans and press it firmly into the center. If you are using a larger can, add two or three wicks spaced apart around the center.
  2. Assemble your double boiler and add wax or old candles in small pieces. Don’t worry so much about bits of wick or other specks in the wax as you won’t see them in the candles when they are done. Heat over medium heat until the wax is completely melted.
  3. When the wax is melted it’s time to add the fragrance. Add 1 oz of citronella oil per pound of wax and augment the scent with 0.5 oz of other scents per pound.
  4. Let the wax cool slightly and carefully pour into containers. I can usually gently maneuver my wicks to stay in the center as the wax cools, but if you are having trouble, secure the wicks with a chopstick or clothespin to keep them in line. Be careful not to disturb them too much and set them in a warm place to cool. Cooling slowly and completely will create the best looking candles.
  5. If you get a depressed area around the wick when cooled, warm up some more wax and pour it into the void.
  6. Allow your candle to cure for 48 hours undisturbed before burning. Then, when you fire it up, let the candle burn so that there is a full, wide pool of wax before you blow it out. It is said that candles have a memory, so it’s best to let the first burn set the tone for all the rest.
  7. Decorate your citronella candles by wrapping them in burlap, twine and/or yarn. Store them near the garden, deck, or patio so you can quickly light up when the pests start buzzing around.

Get rid of wasps naturally with peppermint oil, dish soap and water.

Non-Toxic Wasp Spray/Repellant

You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap (optional)


  1. Combine all of these ingredients together into your spray bottle.
  2. Wait until the very early morning hours, or late at night when it looks like they’re sleeping, then shake and spray!

Use mason jars and citronella torch fuel to make these lanterns to keep bugs away. They add nice lighting on summer evenings, too!

Here’s another trick for wasps using vinegar, sugar and salt.

Use water, baking soda and honey to create a sticky surface to get rid of silverfish in tight spaces. Here are 5 tricks for getting rid of them.

  1. Wrap a tall glass jar with masking tape or twine (this helps create a surface the bugs can crawl on) and then toss in some dry oatmeal or crackers to attract the silverfish. They can crawl in, but they can’t get back out! Check for critters in your trap, empty and repeat as needed
  2. Try topping a cracker with a 1:1 mix of borax and flour or powdered sugar to lure them out of their hiding places. Borax is low on the toxic-to-humans totem pole, but do keep it out of reach of kiddos. You could also go the convenient route and try BioCare’s pre-made spider and silverfish traps
  3. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth around floor boards and areas you see the silverfish moving around, making sure pets and children can’t get close enough inhale it. DE is the fossilized remains of micro-organisms and hard-shelled algae. It works by scratching the bugs exoskeletons using its microscopic shards so the bugs become dehydrated
  4. Mix equal parts water, baking soda and honey, then apply it to small pieces of sturdy paper or cardboard. This mixture will kill silverfish and is handy for tight spots behind the books on your bookshelf
  5. Dilute cedar oil with water and apply to cracks and crevices with a sprayer. The oil emits a smell that is noxious to silverfish and other common household pests but pleasant to humans. Silverfish experience cedar the way humans experience ammonia (remember those awesome cedar-lined chests and closets?). Regular application will create a barrier to re-entry

In a pinch, Cool Mint Listerine can serve as an effective bug spray. You’ll have to reapply it more often than traditional sprays, though.

Here's a little something that might come in handy this holiday weekend.

Instead of spraying your family down with the harmful chemical Deet, use Listerine. Pour the mouthwash in a spray bottle and spray the kiddies with it. You may want to use a nice, fresh scent like mint instead of the original Listerine. Also, do not use the whitening mouthwash; you risk staining or bleaching your clothes.

This will have to be reapplied more often than commercial bug repellants, but its safer for the family.

If you’ve ever suffered through a fruit fly outbreak, you know how hard those suckers are to get rid of. Use vinegar and Dawn dish detergent to create a fruit fly trap.

You’ll Need:

  • A jar {the quart size worked great, but something smaller should as well}
  • An 8.5 x 11″ sheet of paper
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dawn liquid dish detergent


  1. Pour 2/3 of a cup of apple cider vinegar into the jar. Squirt the dish detergent into the jar. I added an extra squirt for good measure. đŸ˜‰
  2. Swirl the liquid around to mix.
  3. Make a cone out of the paper and stick it in the jar. You don’t want the paper to touch the liquid. It’s just there to trap flies in the jar before they face their demise in the apple cider vinegar/soap mixture. Bwahaha!
  4. Place your DIY Fruit Fly Trap on the kitchen counter and let it do it’s magic.

Cloves and lemon also helps repel fruit flies, and bonus: it smells good!

Bundle lavender, sage and mint together and take them wherever you want to deter mosquitoes.