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The Most Insane Pest Control Ideas

Some of these wacky pest control ideas may not work for you, but others swear by them. If you have an infestation, even the strangest solutions are worth a shot.

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fishFamily Handyman

Try Fish

If you have a backyard water garden or small pond, try adding minnows or goldfish to eat mosquito larvae. The fish may only live for a season but they are inexpensive enough to buy each spring. Here are some pond, fountain and waterfall projects you can build yourself.

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Block pests roof sprayFamily Handyman

Spray Foam to the Rescue!

One of the easiest ways to keep bugs and rodents out of your home is to seal up any gaps. Look for holes in your foundation, near pipes, windows and in your garage and attic. Use caulk to seal them or foam installation to close off entry points. Try these 10 tips for insulating walls.

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rosemary herbskaiskynet/Shutterstock

Fresh Herbs

Next time you’re in the backyard for a bonfire, throw some sage or rosemary in the fire pit to keep mosquitoes away. They can’t stand the scent. Try these seven mosquito repellent tips.

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Soap and Water

Are wasps taking up residence outside your porch door? Make a simple solution of dish soap and water and mix in a spray bottle. At dusk, spray the nest. The soap will clot their breathing pores and they die quickly. Here’s how to deter bees and wasps and identify which is which.

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firewood Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock

Keep Wood Away from the House

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, keep your stacked firewood away from the house. Many pests, including insects and mice, love to make their home in the stack.

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Use whole cloves or clove oil in areas of your home where you’ve seen ladybugs. Since ladybugs don’t like strong scents, they’ll leave. When you’re done, just vacuum up the dead bugs along with the cloves. Have Japanese Beetles in your garden? Try this.

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SCREENFamily Handyman

Fix Screens

Mosquitoes, spiders, house flies and even bats can get in through torn screens. You can do this project yourself, you’ll just need some simple tools along with some screen, spline, brick and wood stop block. Follow this guide to fix your screens.

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bird seed for pest controlAlexander Mogilevets/shutterstock

Use Alternative Food Sources

Animals are drawn to free food, so try setting up food sources in strategic areas of your yard. If pests are getting in your garden, try setting up a bird feeder in the other part of your yard to lure the squirrels and rabbits over there. Try this DIY bird feeder wreath.

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Guard Your Chimney

A chimney cap, along with a screen, can keep birds and other rodents out of your home. The cap will also help extend the life of your chimney flue. Here are some chimney maintenance tips you can do yourself.

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White Vinegar

Ants leave a scented trail and wiping down the counter or the floor with just water doesn’t always work to get rid of the scent. Use a solution made from ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 cups water and 10 drops of peppermint oil. Ever wonder how ants know there are crumbs on your floor? Find out here!

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onionNUM LPPHOTO/Shutterstock


Onions make you cry and they may also keep spiders away. Next time you’re slicing onions, slice up some extra and toss them in a bowl of water. Place the bowl at areas of your home where spiders lurk and they should steer clear of the area. Here’s why you should never kill a spider.

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Fix Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping not only helps keep warm or cool air inside your home, but it can also keep pests away. Make sure to keep weatherstripping in working order and replace any that is worn. You can weather strip a door with a simple-to-install kit.

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cage over vegetable plantPeter Turner Photography/shutterstock

Wire Cloches

If rabbits or deer are getting into your prized plants, try a wire cloche. You can even make one yourself with some chicken wire.

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lavender essential oilsLiliGraphie/Shutterstock


No matter how much you clean, you’ll never get rid of all the dust mites in your home but you can do things to minimize them. Make your own repellent spray for dust mites with essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, clove or peppermint. Mix a few drops in a spray bottle with some water and mist it on upholstered furniture, bedding and curtains. 

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copper mesh for pest control

Copper Mesh

If you find a hole where pests are getting in your home, try shoving some copper mesh in to block the entrance. Leave about a half inch of space for expanding foam sealant and then fill the gaps with foam. Try these 26 tips for controlling pests in and around your home.

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dfh17sep026_650566540_12 washing beddingMy Hardy/Shutterstock

Wash Bedding

When it’s time to get out the seasonal bedding, throw it in the washer before making your bed. Washing and drying it thoroughly will kill any bugs and their eggs.

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apple cider vinegarfocal point/Shutterstock

Apple Cider Vinegar

When pesky fruit flies take up residence in your kitchen, reach for the apple cider vinegar. Pour a small amount in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Poke some pencil-lead-sized holes in the plastic and the flies will get in but will be unable to get out. This DIY guide will help you get rid of several types of flies.

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squirrel on garden fenceMatt Browne/Shutterstock


Baffles are cone- or cylinder-shaped objects that attach to posts or poles to keep squirrels away. If squirrels keep eating all the bird seed, try a baffle. If squirrels are eating your hanging plants, you can also use a baffle on the post or pole.

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spider control


Spiders love humid environments, that’s why you often see them in basements. Use a dehumidifier to maintain a 40 percent humidity level and keep the eight-legged, unwanted guests away. These are the 10 most dangerous bugs you need to avoid.

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coffee grounds coffee filterNor Gal/Shutterstock

Coffee Grounds

Don’t throw those coffee grounds in the compost bin just yet. If you have pests getting in your home, use some leftover coffee grounds in areas outside your home where pests are gaining entry. Critters can’t stand the smell. Try these nine natural remedies for pest control.

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dog foodFamily Handyman

Close Off Pet Food

Mice, ants and other pests love a free meal and pet food is quite often their meal ticket. Make sure pet food is closed off in sealed containers. Here are 40 perfect pet projects to show your pet some love.

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cornmealMoving Moment/Shutterstock


Ants love to eat cornmeal but they can’t digest it so they’ll die. Place small piles wherever you see ants and they’ll take it back to their colony. Cornmeal also works the same way to kill slugs in your garden.

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banana peelRein Jongelie/Shutterstock


Next time you see aphids taking over your garden, plant a banana peel under the soil near the stems of your plants. The bugs will steer clear and the nutrients will help your soil. Here are some humane pest control options for critter-proof gardens and planters.

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ventFamily Handyman

Block Off the Dryer Vent

Pests such as squirrels and mice can often find their way into your home through the dryer vent. Regularly check dryer vents to make sure the damper isn’t broken and ensure the seal between the vent and the wall is tight.

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racoon Klod/Shutterstock

Close the Trash

Raccoons and rats love to get into your trash whenever possible. Make sure all trash outside your home is in a closed trash can with a tight-fitting lid. If you can, keep trash cans in the garage until garbage day. Contain pests with these do it your itself pest control strategies.

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shrubFamily Handyman

Trim Plants

If you have plants or shrubs right next to the house, keep them trimmed. Many plants attract insects and overgrown shrubs can become a great place for mice, squirrels and rabbits to hang out. Try these pruning tips for healthier bushes.

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chilimarcin jucha/Shutterstock

Chili Powder

Try using chili powder in your garden to protect plants against harmful insects. Just sprinkle the powder around your plants. The powder won’t kill pests, but it will keep many away. Stop invasive plants from taking over your garden.

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Neem Oil

Neem oil has long been a favorite for those looking for a natural pesticide. The oil keeps many harmful bugs away from plants as it is made from a leaf that is extremely bitter. Here are 11 natural bug repellents worth trying.

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Tired of the rabbits in your garden? Plant some marigolds. Rabbits can’t stand the strong, bitter taste and will leave your vegetable plants alone. You can also use these tips to get rid of rabbits.

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mouseRudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

Pick Fruit

If you have fruit trees or bushes in your yard, pick up fruit as soon as it falls. Critters such as mice and squirrels love making stockpiles of the fruit and will stick around if there is a consistent food source. Keep mice away from your home with these DIY tips.

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snake Oshchepkov Dmitry/Shutterstock


If you find snakes in your yard, know that they are keeping other pests, such as mice, away. However, you can make your own DIY snake repellent. Just soak some rags in ammonia and place them in unsealed plastic bags. Snakes can’t stand the scent, so leave them where you see snakes, such as near brush and wood piles. Check out these additional simple ways to get rid of snakes.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.