How to get rid of ants bees wasps ladybugs etc
July 29, 2008 2:04 PM   Subscribe

My house has the odd bug problem throughout the year I'm looking for quick and concise solutions that can be made out of house hold products and the best bait to use for these solutions (traps poisons etc). I get the odd problem inside and outside of my house so ill try to mention them separately. These semi random infestations happen on and off for example one year it was ladybugs and another it was ants but they only repeat the odd time. I know this question may seem broad but im looking for some solutions that can be relatively universal yet i can make them for pennies...

We keep the house an average sense of clean. Clutter sometimes happens but is usually dealt with in order to isolate problems.

So for the list of things we get in strangely large numbers at random times along with some thing's I have tried to eliminate them.

Carpenter ants along with other random types of ants. (Indoors and outdoors) We used a jar with sugar water and a piece of wool draped from the outside of the jar to the bait to help them drown. [this seemed to work well but it would be awesome to have something outside to stop them before they come in]

Ladybugs - (indoors mainly) I have no idea where these come from but when they come there are at least 20 a week i have to deal with - usually dealt with via vacuum

Housefly's / gnats (Indoors) usually a swift cleanup will help but some times inexplicably we get hundreds of them throughout a relatively short period of time [If this occurs i usually attack them with a vacuum hose for a while till I've significantly diminished their population]

Wasps Bees Yellow Jackets. (Outdoors [my neighbor is an avid gardener which attracts hundreds of flying stinger equipped demons that I'm mildly allergic to]) I've tried making a sort of bee trap out of a pop bottle but I need to find the best bait to put in it advice please.

That covers it keep in mind this is over a period of several years not all happen at once but next time one of these things happen i wish to deal with it swiftly with the proper tactics / weapons available to my arsenal :P
posted by Chamunks to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
For the ants, I've heard of people sprinkling grits where the ants seem most prevalent or where you notice they enter the house. The ants then take the grits, eat 'em, the grits expand in their little bellies, and KA-POW! The ants explode. Not really that dramatic, but it solves the problem and it's cheap.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:02 PM on July 29, 2008

Response by poster: I didnt mean to ramble on there but currently my biggest issue is Bees and other flying stinging things.

Thanks sassyfras I would have never have guessed that would work... heh
posted by Chamunks at 3:22 PM on July 29, 2008

Yellow Jackets love raw fish, especially Salmon.
Borax is a good general bug killer.
posted by idiotfactory at 4:44 PM on July 29, 2008

The ladybugs thing has nothing to do with the cleanliness of your house. They are looking for a place to overwinter - cool weather drives them indoors. It can happen in spring on cooler days, but is more common in fall. It's not a huge deal. Also interestingly, in neighborhoods they do seem to choose some houses over others. It could have to do with the house color and how much attractive warmth it radiates, or just having crevices open to the outside that they can easily find and enter.
posted by Miko at 7:33 PM on July 29, 2008

For ants, "Terro" appears to be the consensus popular ant killer on Ask MeFi. Available at your local hardware store, and you can even roll your own.

Note about carpenter ants - if you have them in large numbers in your house, it means that you have moist or weakened wood in the house. They can't chew up wood like termites do, the wood needs to be softened up for them to build a gallery in it. It might be worth it to talk to a contractor about it, and make sure that there are no structural problems to worry about.

For yellowjackets, the most effective thing you can do, outside of regular professional exterminator visits, is to lay traps. I prefer the Raid green-and-yellow boxes, but there are multiple choices available at the hardware store. They all work on the same premise - attract the insects, and then drown them. You can also build your own trap. (I think I got this from another recent question here.)

No advice on ladybugs, unfortunately. But, a permethrin-family pesticide (your typical can of "bug spray") should repel them effectively. My favorite is Ortho Home Defense Max. Be careful if you're going to use chemical pesticides - don't get any down the drain or in a water or septic system, and don't let young children get any exposure to it whatsoever.

One more thing - if you have flowering plants right near your house, it's going to amp up your insect invasions a lot. Try removing all the plants adjacent to your house. If you keep a garden, try to move it as far away from the structure of your house as you can.

Good luck!
posted by Citrus at 8:18 AM on July 30, 2008

For the gnats issue, check your houseplants. We had an infestation a while ago and no amount of cleaning/covering foods/using fly traps seemed to help. It turned out to be the houseplants. I was over-watering/watering at night, and the darn things were breeding in the pots. Pouring an inch of sand over the dirt in each pot solved the problem. The gnats couldn't breed in the sand, any eggs or whatever in the soil were hopelessly buried, and the gnats eventually died out. The sand has actually been good for the plants too, helps them retain moisture/ go longer without watering.
posted by sarahmelah at 11:38 AM on July 30, 2008

a permethrin-family pesticide (your typical can of "bug spray") should repel them effectively.

Permethrin is extremely toxic to cats, FYI (as well as aquatic creatures). Your best bet is to figure out how the ladybugs are getting in your house, and block up those access ways. You can also look into ways of providing shelter for them outside. They are attracted to light colored buildings and walls in full sun, like on southern or sometimes western exposures. I would concentrate on sealing up these sides of the house first. Shade trees are a long-term solution.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:03 PM on July 30, 2008

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