1. Drive away mosquitoes with whole cloves in lemons and limes.

The smells of citrus and clove may be appealing to us, but mosquitoes despise it and stay away. Place lemon and lime halves with cloves anywhere you don’t want mosquitoes.

2. Keep flies away by hanging a Ziploc bag filled with water and pennies.

The key here is to hang your bags filled with water and pennies in a place that is well exposed to sunlight. Flies will get confused and stay away when they see light reflecting off the water and coins.

3. Stop ants from marching with cinnamon.

Dip a few cotton balls into cinnamon and place in areas where ants frequent (you could sprinkle cinnamon directly onto surfaces, but using cotton balls helps with cleanup). The ants will avoid the area and your ant problem will disappear. Freshen the cotton balls as needed.

Related: 8 Alternative Uses for Listerine

4. Trap fruit flies and gnats with red wine vinegar and dishwashing liquid.

Combine 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in a small glass. Stir gently to prevent bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap, and with a skewer, poke a few holes in it. The flies get in, but can’t get out.

5. Control the aphid and flea beetle population in a garden with homemade garlic spray.

Garlic’s pungent odor—in combination with cayenne—makes plants sprayed with this non-toxic solution undesirable for consuming or laying eggs. The liquid soap in this recipe will coat and kill any existing larvae.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp minced or pureed garlic
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid Castile soap


Mix the ingredients together and let the solution sit in the sun for several hours to steep (overnight is better). Strain the garlic solution then add it to a spray bottle. Apply to plants as needed, preferably spraying in the early evening.

6. Use pure vanilla extract to deter mosquitoes and gnats.

Pure vanilla extract does the trick—anything else may attract bugs instead of repel them away. Mix one tablespoon of vanilla extract with one tablespoon of water and apply to your skin with a cotton ball. This non-toxic repellent will work for about 30 minutes, so reapply if needed.

7. Maintain a healthy garden by growing insect-repelling plants.


  • Lemon grass contains the natural oil citronella, which is a proven natural mosquito repellent.
  • Basil is delicious in Italian dishes, but house flies and mosquitoes hate it.
  • Marigolds repel mosquitoes, aphids, and even rabbits.
  • Lavender‘s scent is hated by moths, mosquitoes, flies, and fleas.

For more information on insect-repelling plants, see Mother Nature Network.

Related: 15 Brilliant Household Cleaning Hacks


7 Unusual (and Non-Toxic) Ways to Get Rid of Insects