Photo: Eco-friendly ways to get rid of ants in the home

The key to getting ants out of your home is to identify the source. (Credit: treehouse1977 via Flickr)

As a temporary fix, try diatomaceous earth. Say that fast three times!

It said to be safer than using borax (sodium borate) especially if you have pets. Sprinkle a small amount of diatomaceous earth along cracks and baseboards, or above the cupboards. It's a naturally occurring fine glasslike powder made from crushed fossilized algae. It is so abrasive that it damages the protective outer shell of creepy crawlies. When that protective exoskeleton is pierced, insects dry up and die. Ask for it at your local garden or hardware store.

Warning: carefully clean up diatomaceous earth with a damp rag instead of a vacuum to prevent clogging the filter.

As with any problem, you'll need to identify the source. For example, carpenter ants love wet, rotting wood. When my home experienced an indoor ant invasion, it was due to the drain being clogged inside my refrigerator. Unable to drain properly, the water slowly leaked out the door, onto the floor and underneath the fridge — rotting the wood underneath. After tipping our fridge on its back and using an air compressor to remove the clog, my home is now ant-free.

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And for other natural and less toxic temporary solutions for silverfish, fleas, moths or roaches in the home try these home remedies. To repel silverfish, flies and moths, add a few drops of citronella essential oil and lavender essential oil on cloth strips along windows or inside cupboards.

Avoid using mothballs, which are made of toxic substances like naphthalene chemical associated with cancers. They're also dangerous to children because they look like candy. Instead, store wool clothing and other garments with cedar blocks, cedar chips or in a cedar chest. Or, combine in a sachet two handfuls of dried lavender or rosemary herb with a tablespoon of dried cloves and a tablespoon of dried lemon peel. Then toss these bundles into drawers, closets and cupboards. It smells nice to us, but not to moths!

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