If You See This Bug, Follow These Steps ASAP!

There is one brown bug experts warn people to keep their eyes peeled for, ones that lurk in flowerbeds, grass, and cracks in the house. It might look harmless, but this pesky insect is known to be a destructive gardener.

Stay alert! If spotted, people should follow these upcoming steps.

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Being hyper-aware of the insects flying around the yard is important, especially when it comes to the Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug.

Doug Inkley has collected thousands of stinkbugs in and around his home
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Yes, it is a horrible name for a horrible bug that wants to do nothing more than infest gardens and homes if they are able to.

They Will Find Their Way Into The House

These wings are not to be taken lightly. If they feel the need, these bugs will fly up and find their way into a person’s house, whether it’s the walls, cracks, or even the curtains.

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James Hash/YouTube
James Hash/YouTube

That’s why it is so important for people to be aware if they see brown bugs around the yard.

Small Does Not Mean Harmless

These brown critters might be tiny, but their small stature does not stop them from wreaking a whole lot of havoc if they go undetected.

General View Of Nymph Of Brown Stink Bug
Daniel Hernandez-Salazar / Eyepi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Daniel Hernandez-Salazar / Eyepi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

That is why people need to be hyper-vigilant because these bugs walk, have wings, and can find themselves in unlikely places — like a house.

It Was Accidently Introduced To The USA In 1998

The brown marmorated stink bug actually originated in Asia, primarily Korea, China, and Japan. It was found in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1998, where scientists believe it was accidentally brought over from its home region.

Helmeted Squash Bugs and Brown marmorated stink bug.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Sadly, it did not take long for the stink bug to become a huge pest in the Eastern part of the United States.

They Made Their Way From Pennsylvania To North Carolina

In the United States, though, these bugs did not make their way into the country until 1998. They spread from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and even made their way down to Virginia by 2004.

Halyomorpha Halys In Greece
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Most recently, stink bugs have made their newest home in North Carolina. But they are not just infesting the eastern seaboard.

Max Barclay Has An Idea Of How The Bug Traveled

Backtracking to its origins, though, one expert believes they understand how the invasive stink bug could have made its way across various countries.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

The head of the Coleoptera collection at the National History Museum, Max Barclay, believes it all comes down to the bug first finding its way over to the United Kingdom.

He Predicted They’d Arrive Back In 2014

In 2014, Barclay commented, saying he believed the brown marmorated stink bug would make its way from the east to Britain and that it was “only a matter of time.”

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Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images
Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images

Well, he was not wrong, as the first stink bug was spotted in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in 2020.

They Smell Like Cilantro Or Almonds

The stink bug got its name because of the odor it releases. While some say they smell like herbs, namely cilantro, others think they smell like almonds.

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Ministry for Primary Industries/YouTube
Ministry for Primary Industries/YouTube

Either way, if a person starts smelling either of those items in their garden where none is growing, there is definitely an issue!

Shipping Crates, Pallets, And Packaging

Sadly, that prediction also came with other bad news — the stink bugs would come, and they would not leave, establishing themselves quickly.

BLG Logistics Center for Siemens
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images
Bernd Settnik/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to Barclay, “since stink bugs are moving indoors to hibernate during the winter, they will have arrived in shipping crates, pallets, and packaging from global trade.”

Higher Altitudes Aren’t Safe Either

In the paper, Dr. Haye went on to explain where in Switzerland the stink bugs would infest. He said the insects would head “Southwards, the projected range expansion would reach the foothills of the Alps.”

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Brett_Hondow/Pixabay
Brett_Hondow/Pixabay

He continued, “And higher latitudes in the alpine valleys could become suitable under future climate conditions. Monitoring the spread and population development in the north-western part of Switzerland, and higher altitudes of the valleys in the south, are recommended.”

Infestations Can Reach Into The 1,000s

As the paper suggests, it is only a matter of time before the stink bug population really gets out of hand. So, it is important to keep those eyes peeled for any shield-shaped bug lurking around the yard and house.

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Mike Lewinski/Flickr
Mike Lewinski/Flickr

There is no need for an infestation of up to 1,000 of these insects.

For a House, Sealants Are Key

When it comes to protecting a house, the method of defense is a bit different. First, it is very important to seal each and every opening there is with a good and reliable sealant.

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Mike Lewinski/Flickr/Flickr
Mike Lewinski/Flickr/Flickr

This way, the stink bugs do not have an opening to creep into and, ultimately, infest the house.

$40 Million Worth Of Apples Was Ruined

In 2010 alone, farmers lost around $40 million in apples solely because they did not catch the stink bug infestation in time. Instead of eating down to the core, stink bugs leave a gross-looking brown stain where they eat.

Cotton bud showing signs of stinkbug infestation, Tifton, Georgia.
Edwin Remsberg / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Edwin Remsberg / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Even worse, they love grapes and can ruin entire wine supplies with their stench.

There Is No Way To Wipe Out An Invasive Species

Sadly, there is no way to wipe out an invasive species like the stink bug. People can only contain the issue. During an interview with The Guardian, Barclay said, “[The stink bugs] establish [themselves] pretty quickly.”

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Gary Bernon/Wikimedia Commons
Gary Bernon/Wikimedia Commons

“We’ve seen this in a lot of invasive species before. You find one or two, and then they are everywhere. The harlequin ladybird from China arrived in [the United Kingdom in] 2006, and now they are enormously abundant.”

The Body Resembles A Shield

Experts urge people to keep their eyes peeled when outside because a tiny brown bug might be lingering in their yard. With six legs and a body resembling a medieval shield, this bug is unique but still tricky to spot.

Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug, stink bug on a tomato
Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images
Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images

Fully grown, they only reach around 0.7 inches long.

25 Years And 44 States Later

Unfortunately, stink bugs have not stuck to the eastern seaboard. They have unfortunately made a lot of moves and have infested a total of 44 out of the 50 states in the United States.

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Oregon State University/Flickr
Oregon State University/Flickr

Amazingly, it only took these tiny bugs a short 25 years to hit all of those states.

Solution: Contain The Pest

While there is no long-term solution to terminate stink bugs altogether, people can do a few things to contain the annoying situation.

Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug
Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images
Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images

From plants and crops to the walls and curtains of a house, if any shield-shaped bugs are flying around, keep these tricks in mind.

Solution One: Remove Weeds And Other Obstructions

The first thing a person wants to do if they spot these little brown bugs is to go into the garden and pull out all of the weeds. Stink bugs love to hide within weeds and anything else that will camouflage them.

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photoAC/pixabay
photoAC/pixabay

This means taking away lawn ornaments is also a good idea.

Solution Two: Homemade Repellent

If removing weeds does not do the trick, a homemade bug repellent is a great next step. According to Gardening Know How, the best way to get rid of the unruly stink bugs is to make a homemade repellent made of kaolin clay solution (mineral clay), 15 milliliters of dish soap, and a couple of gallons of water.

Insect Repellent Spray
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Mix it all together, throw it in a spray bottle, and spray it everywhere.

Solution Three: A “Trap Plant”

Stink bugs are attracted to yellow flowers, such as sunflowers. So, it is a good idea to create a “trap plant” using any yellow flora. This does not mean planting a Venus flytrap near a yellow flower, though!

Sunflower farm in New Jersey
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The idea of of “trap plant” is to guide the stink bugs away from everything else.

Plant The Trap Away From Everything

For a “trap plant” to work, a person is going to want to plant yellow flowers in a different section of the yard, far away from all of the other crops and flowers. This way, the stink bugs will congregate there, away from the garden.

Autumn weather Sep 16th 2021
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

From there, it is up to the person how to handle the bugs.

Or Dig Up The Plant And Put It In A Plastic Bag

Another option is to wait until numerous stink bugs fin their way to the trap plant. Once that happens, dig up the flower and dispose of it in a plastic garbage bag. Do not throw it away, though — they will just crawl out!

Doug Inkley has collected thousands of stinkbugs in and around his home
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Instead, place the bag in the sun. The heat will kill the bugs in a few days.

Next Steps: Disposing Of The Trap Plant

Once the trap is planted and the stink bugs begin to congregate, it is up to the planter to decide what they would like to do. The good news is there are a few options. The first option would be to do nothing and let nature take its course.

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Free-Photos/Pixabay
Free-Photos/Pixabay

This means literally leave the plant alone and let birds and other animals pick off the insects.

When All Else Fails, Use A Vacuum Cleaner

Sadly, sometimes sealant does not do the trick and stink bugs will get into a home. If this ever happens, there is no need to worry quite yet. The trick is to grab the vacuum cleaner and suck those pesky insects right up!

Clean windows
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

Just be sure to toss the vacuum bag out as soon as possible, or else their smell will linger.

They Thrive In Warm Weather

These insects do not fare well in cold climates, so they make their way into the shipping crates to sleep through the chilly months, something called “diapause.” When the winter months are over, all bets are off.

General View Of Nymph Of Brown Stink Bug
Daniel Hernandez-Salazar / Eyepi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Daniel Hernandez-Salazar / Eyepi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Stink bugs not only love warm weather, but they tend to thrive in it.

Climate Change Is Helping The Stink Bug Invade New Areas

With the ongoing climate change debate and the Earth getting warmer and warmer each year, humanity could be looking at a major stink bug invasion!

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Illuvis/Pixabay
Illuvis/Pixabay

The International Journal of Biometeorology did research, predicting that by the 2010s, the bugs would make their way to Switzerland, making the country a new home.

It’s Just A Tiny Brown Bug, Right? Wrong.

Insects are not always easy to spot, especially if an area is heavily wooded or there are a lot of flowers around. They tend to blend, especially if the bug happens to be tiny and brown.

Stink Bug In Germany
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Unfortunately, this is exactly what experts urge people to keep their eyes out for.

They Made Their Way To Switzerland

Their research was correct. According to the journal, “In Switzerland, crop damage and increasing populations have been observed since 2017 and related to increasing temperatures.”

SWITZERLAND-MOUNTAINS
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

One of the specialists on the paper, Dr. Tim Haye, is an expert in the stink bug and had a few things to say in relation to the insect and climate.

It Is Bad News For The Swiss People

Working for the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, Dr. Haye knows a think of two about invasive insects, including the stink bug. In the paper, he wrote, “There is strong evidence that climate change is already modifying species.”

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Gary Bernon/Wikimedia Commons
Gary Bernon/Wikimedia Commons

“It is evident that the number of non-native species will increase and that climate change will promote their establishment. The north-western part of Switzerland could become completely suitable for H. halys.”

The Mixture Is Harmless To Plants

According to Gardening Know How, stink bugs will not munch on leaves, crops, or even step foot on something sprayed with that mixture. Even better, it also repeals them from laying their eggs!

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Bankim Desai/Unsplash
Bankim Desai/Unsplash

The mixture is also harmless to plants and crops. Just be sure to rinse fruits and vegetables well with water before consuming.

Fruits And Vegetables Are Their Favorite

The thing is, the smell is the least of a person’s concerns. These insects are the biggest pests, going straight for the garden.

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Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

They love to munch on fruits and vegetables and take out an entire crop if a person is not careful and does not take care of the issue.

It Is So Important To Keep An Eye Out For This Insect

Whether it’s weeding, a homemade repellent, a trap flower, sealant, or vacuuming, one thing is certain — no one wants to deal with an invasive species like stink bugs.

Stink Bug In Germany
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Wassilios Aswestopoulos/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It is so important to keep an eye out for this insect, especially before it is too late and the garden or house is infested.

Catnip Works More Than Most Insect Repellants

Although cats love catnip, bugs hate it. In 2001, researchers at Iowa State University compared catnip oil to Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), found in most store-bought repellents. Catnip oil was ten times more effective at keeping away mosquitoes and roaches than DEET.

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Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The downside? The catnip oil that researchers used was highly concentrated. You’d either need a lot of catnip or the essential oil to keep away bugs. Still, a catnip plant can do wonders for your home.

Clean Out Pests With Baking Soda

Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate, is a natural insecticide. When bugs eat the powder, the carbon dioxide inside kills them, according to the EPA. Use it against ants, slugs, beetles, roaches, and other pests.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for ARM & HAMMER

If you have an ant-covered mound outside, you can sprinkle two cups of baking soda over it. After a while, pour some vinegar on it to finish the job. For roaches, set out an empty coffee can partially filled with baking soda.

How Borax Destroys The Thorax

If you have an ant problem, break out some borax. Borax is a shorter name for sodium tetraborate decahydrate, a compound mined in deserts. The powder is poisonous to bugs when they eat it. Ants will carry borax back to their hive, and it will gradually kill them.

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Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Borax also works against roaches, fleas, beetles, and silverfish. Sprinkling borax where the bugs are should do the trick. Or, you can mix borax with corn starch to create a bug-repelling paste.

Why People Rub Dryer Sheets On Their Arms

An old wives’ tale advises people to stick a dryer sheet in their pocket to repel bugs. This tip has some scientific backing. Scientists found that gnats tend to avoid dryer sheets because of their chemical makeup.

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Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Two dryer sheet ingredients, linalool and beta-cintronellol, are toxic to bugs like mosquitoes. However, we don’t know if dryer sheets can prevent mosquito bites, but rubbing a dryer sheet on your arms may keep gnats and mites away.

Prevent Bug Bites With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil makes an effective insect repellent, according to a 2018 study in Scientific Reports. For some reason, insects such as ticks and mosquitoes don’t like the fatty acids in coconut oil. Researchers say that coconut oil’s anti-bug acids are lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid.

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Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Coconut oil is safe to eat and apply topically, and if you rub coconut oil on your skin, it may prevent bug bites. Because it’s a thick substance, you may feel oily for a while.

Instant Mashed Potatoes: A Non-Toxic Rat Bait

If you don’t want dead mice all over your home, you can try this non-toxic bait. Sprinkle instant mashed potatoes, sometimes called potato flakes, in spots throughout your home. Usually, these flakes expand with water but don’t mix them quite yet. Just use the dry flakes.

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Getty Images
Getty Images

The mice will eat these flakes, and when they drink water next, the flakes will expand. They will die almost instantly from internal bleeding. No mess and no bloody traps.

Cornstarch

Recently, researchers have used cornstarch to fight insects. During their study, the powder worked on termites and plant-eating bugs. Some gardeners swear by cornstarch, claiming that it protects their tomatoes from worms and insects.

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RITA REED/Star Tribune via Getty Images
RITA REED/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Pests don’t like the chemicals and smell of it. The fine powder can also suffocate them. Some pesticide companies add cornstarch to their formulas, but you can also sprinkle the powder around your garden and home. You can rub it on your body, but not your face.

Mice Actually Hate Cheese

TV shows tell us that mice will enter a trap if you place cheese there. But a study by Manchester Metropolitan University found that mice actually hate cheese. Because cheese has such a pungent odor, mice would rather eat other animals and even humans.

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Alfred Schauhuber/McPhoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Alfred Schauhuber/McPhoto/ullstein bild via Getty Images

According to the researchers, mice prefer high-calorie and high-sugar foods that give them more energy. Peanuts, fruit, and bread make ideal mouse trap treats. On the flip-side, you can place cheese in places that you don’t want mice to eat.

Stall Ants’ Tracks With Chalk

In 2018, a viral Twitter video showed a circle of chalk repelling ants. There’s nothing in chalk that ants don’t like. Instead, the texture of chalk stops their path, and they have to wander around the drawn area confusingly. It also removes scent trails from the ground.

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Dan Istitene/Getty Images
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

If you’re eating outside, you can draw a chalk circle to ward off ants briefly. It won’t last long, but it could save your lemonade. Although insecticidal chalk exists in China, it is illegal in the U.S.

What Do Ants Hate? Cucumber Peels!

Did you know that ants avoid cucumbers? Specifically, they dislike the peels. Cucumber peels have a compound called trans-2-nonenal, which is used in commercial insecticide foams. In simpler terms, it’s too bitter for ants.

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Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

To get rid of ants, peel a few cucumbers. Find any entrance areas that ants crawl through, such as windows or holes around the door. Wipe the walls or floor with the cucumber skin, and then leave the peel there. You won’t find any more ants.

Create A Wormwood Mosquito Barrier

Wormwood is a perennial silvery herb that mosquitoes hate. It has a strong smell and is toxic toward most insect larvae, according to Planta Medica. If you plant a wall of wormwood outside, it may guard against insects.

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BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

This only works with common wormwood, or artemisia absinthium. Never rub wormwood against your skin; it could cause irritation or a rash. You can burn wormwood, but know that it has a slight hallucinogenic property. It’s best to keep the plant as-is.

Wash Bugs Away With Mouthwash

Although it sounds unlikely, some people swear that mouthwash makes a solid insect repellent. Some brands, such as Listerine, contain repellents such as eucalyptus oil. Although mouthwash hasn’t been tested against insects, people still use it.

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Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Before you spray things with mouthwash, dilute it so your area won’t smell too minty. Fill a spray bottle with 3/4 mouthwash and 1/4 water. You can spray it around the area’s perimeter and furniture legs since it won’t disintegrate paint.

Citronella Isn’t Effective; Lemon Eucalyptus Is

Although some people advertise citronella oil as an insect repellent, it may not work. Citronella, a naturally occurring oil found in two types of grasses, can only repel insects for a maximum of two hours. And most citronella candles have less than 5% of the oil, making them ineffective.

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Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Ali Atmaca/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Instead, use lemon eucalyptus oil, says Eric Hoffer of Hoffer Pest. Lemon eucalyptus stems from the gum eucalyptus tree, and a 30% oil concentration can stave off insects for hours.

For A Nice-Smelling Bug Repellent, Try Lavender Oil

Lavender oil not only smells good; it’s a natural insect repellent. Its sweet smell comes from linalool, a compound that bugs don’t like, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Studies find that this compound is just as effective– if not better– than commercial insecticides.

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Sanka Vidanagama/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Sanka Vidanagama/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Before applying lavender oil, dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba. Add one drop to every tablespoon of lavender oil. For mosquitoes, combine it with cinnamon or tea tree oil, says Colorado State University.

Spiders Hate Peppermint Oil

Many have found that peppermint essential oil keeps spiders away. Why? We’re not really sure. Some people think that since spiders taste with their legs, they stay away from strong-smelling oils.

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@stefantakespictures/Unsplash
@stefantakespictures/Unsplash

Whatever the reason, you can use peppermint oil to spray away spiders. Combine water, a splash of dish soap, and five drops of essential oil in a 16-ounce spray bottle. Coat the openings around windows and doors. Apply once a week or every few days as necessary.

Insects Run From Rubbing Alcohol

Just as rubbing alcohol can kill germs, it can also destroy bugs. Many blogs have advertised that rubbing alcohol can prevent bedbugs. However, you have to apply isopropyl alcohol directly to your sheets, which isn’t very practical.

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Ryan Hyde/Flickr
Ryan Hyde/Flickr

You may want to use rubbing alcohol as an insect repellent. If you spray it in a well-ventilated area, bugs won’t approach it. It won’t work 100% of the time, according to one study. But it may work as a temporary DIY solution.

Use Eucalyptus Oil Against Mice

Eucalyptus essential oil can ward off many critters. According to The Scientific World Journal, eucalyptus oil can repel mites, honeybees, moths, and termites. If used correctly, you can also use this oil against mice.

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Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Carlos Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Drip eucalyptus oil onto cotton balls and place them around the house. You can also dilute it in a carrier oil (such as almond or jojoba oils) and spray the mixture around your home. Reapply it every day, and you may not see pests.

Cinnamon Oil Kills Mosquitoes

A Taiwanese study found that you can kill mosquito larvae with cinnamon oil. As an anti-bacterial, cinnamon essential oil can defeat mites, fungi, and termites as well. It can also keep bugs away from the area.

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@picoftasty/Unsplash
@picoftasty/Unsplash

“We think that cinnamon oil might also affect adult mosquitoes by acting as a repellant,” says lead study author Peter Shang-Tzen Chang. Mix two drops of cinnamon oil with lotion or carrier oil before applying it to the skin.