For daily wit & wisdom, sign up for the Almanac newsletter.
Become a better gardener! Discover our new Almanac Garden Planner features for 2024. It’s easy, fun, and free to try!
Midsummer is the time when insects make themselves most known—indoors and out. If you find unwanted creatures in your house or garden, don’t reach for the poisons. Cope with bugs with safer methods for your household environment.
It’s always as good idea to try to peacefully coexist with insects such as ants. But if they become a problem in your yard or garden, try these tips:
For only one or two hills, sprinkle instant grits on the anthill. When the ants take them to the nest, the queen and workers eat them, and the grains swell up and kill them. It will take about two days before all activity stops.
Or, make bands of crushed eggshells along walkways to keep them from crossing.
More Bug Tips
Aphids on your garden plants can be knocked off with frequent, strong streams of water from the garden hose. See more about controlling Aphids.
If you notice yellow-and-black-striped Colorado potato beetles or the metallic-blue-green Japanese beetles crawling on your plants, put down a dropcloth and, in the early morning when they’re most active, shake them off and dump them into a bucket of soapy water.
If a colony of yellow jackets sets up housekeeping in your lawn, watch them from a distance to find their underground doorway. At night, when they’re not active, place a large glass casserole dish or salad bowl over the hole and weight it down with a brick. The wasps will be forced to exit elsewhere and usually won’t return.
Herbs can be used for pest control. Wormwood, yarrow, santolina, tansy, mint, and lavender are traditional moth repellents. Oil of rosemary also can be effective.
If it’s your pet that’s bothered, try putting a drop of lemon oil on his collar for flea control.
Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann