Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

4 frugal methods for pest control

Apparently, where I live now is considered “country”. As a suburban girl my entire life, country living takes some getting used to. For instance, did you know that here in the country, people actually talk to each other? Did you know that their kids play with each other? Outside, even? Did you know that neighbors offer to do things like lend you their lawnmower? And don’t expect anything in return? Did you know that they invite you to their homes and let you inside instead of making you stand on the doorstep?

It’s all true.

The niceness is overwhelming. You know what else is overwhelming? All the damn bugs.

You see, when you move to the country, bugs outnumber people by about 40 million to 1. Not only that, the bugs are everywhere. There are crickets in my garage right now. There are flies in my house. Let’s not even discuss the seemingly insatiable mosquitoes that are bad asses and are apparently resistant to bug spray, citronella candles, and jeans. Even when used in combination with each other. It’s disgusting. And then there’s the spiders. I’m pretty sure they’re bigger than my dogs and I’m pretty sure they’re going to eat me. Or at least wrap my house in a a cocoon of spider web, effectively making me their prisoner.

Also there are snakes. SNAKES.

My husband, who grew up in the country, thinks this is all fine and normal. My friends who’ve lived here for years are unfazed. I, however, am disgusted. It’s not that I hate nature; I don’t. It’s just that I want all the creepy, crawly, disgusting parts of nature to relocate to no where near where I live. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

However, until my creepy crawly relocation plan has had time to take effect, we’ve been having to do some pest control on our own. And while it’s somewhat satisfying to murder a spider with a flip flop (cruel? Perhaps. But when he’s as big as my fist and his web is preventing me from getting through my front door, he’s got to go), I’d rather not commit regular arachnid genocide or anything worse. So we’ve taken to doing the following frugal (and less violent) methods:

  1. Regular lawn maintenance. Okay, fine. My husband has been taking care of this, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am terrified of the lawn mower. But the point is that by regularly mowing the lawn, keeping the grass short and the weeds out of the plants, we’re eliminating much of the breeding ground for snakes and bugs. This is an excellent start.
  2. Having an outdoor cat. An unintended side effect of having an outdoor cat (you can read her whole story if you want) is pest control. She’s great at killing mice, which are apparently a problem where we live. All we have to do is pay for food and flea treatment and she takes care of the rest.
  3. Bug repellent lights. We have several exterior light fixtures. Regular light bulbs attract insects of all kinds–including the ones that fly–and you have to run faster than Usain Bolt in order to get into the house without also letting in bugs. The repellent lights aren’t perfect but they’ve definitely decreased the volume. And they’re not too expensive either.
  4. Keeping outdoor areas clean. One of our neighbors told us that black widow spiders have been sighted in the area over the years (see, I told you that country folks are nice). No, thank you. Since these vile creatures live in dark, damp places (does it disturb anyone else that black widow spiders and mushrooms thrive in the same kind of environment?), we have to make sure that the area around our wood pile, our garden, and our outdoor storage bin stay clean and as dry as possible. Because if I ever see one of those, I’m moving.

We also plan on using a pest control company to spray around the house but we’d like to get it under control on our own before we introduce chemicals. Neither of us are a huge fan of them but if it’s going to make the unwelcomed four and eight legged, as well as the winged and the slithering, guest leave, I’m all for it.

I guess there’s a downside to living anywhere. For us, it’s the bugs. On the bright side, at least the weather is getting cooler. That’s the best free pest control I can ask for!



  1. shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet

    I am about to be a bad person…
    Around here, when it gets colder and the rains come, that’s when the pests move inside your house. Growing up in MT, we never had spiders in the house in the summer, but we had them in the winter. Now in WA, we had a really big rain storm last week, and surprise, surprise, next day the ants were in my kitchen.
    We do have someone come out and spray every couple of years (time to get them back out). We also hate the chemicals (having dogs and now a kid), so we always ask before we schedule about the chemicals they use and their safety for pets/kids. In addition, we make sure the bill/invoice they leave lists the chemical make up of what they sprayed, just in case there is an unexpected reaction.

    But, in good news, outdoor cats are pretty good at killing mice and small garter snakes, and also the occasional bat.
    shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet recently posted…25 ThingsMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      No. I refuse to acknowledge that spiders will live in my house. If they do, they will die. I’m not allowing them to occupy space inside.

      That’s a good suggestion about asking for the list of chemicals. We’ll have to do that. In our previous house, it wasn’t an issue. Some ant traps took care of the ant problem and that was that. Bigger issues out here.

  2. Brandy

    You can make a solution of salt and water in a spray bottle. Also try cocnut oil and and white vinager in a spray bottle. These repeal spiders.

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I didn’t know that! I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. EL @ MoneyWatch101

    Faster than Usain Bolt, hilarious. Nice tips Jana.

  4. Michelle

    We have had a really bad spider problem so far this Summer because of the weather. I actually cannot wait until it gets cold so that they can all DIE!
    Michelle recently posted…$9,554 in August Extra Income – Looking for Affiliate IncomeMy Profile

  5. Tara @ Streetsaheadliving.com

    Lol, not everyone in the country talks to each other. Where my husband’s family lives, they have a lot of neighbors they never talk to… but then they live in a much more rural area.

    I hate mosquitoes too, but here in NYC we got invaded by these nasty Tiger mosquitoes that can survive the winter via living in the sewers, those sneaky bastards!
    Tara @ Streetsaheadliving.com recently posted…Guess Who’s BackMy Profile

  6. Joe Saul-Sehy

    Hilarious. Cheryl had a similar problem when we moved to “the country.” I sometimes feel like there must be a spider factory under our house that we missed on the inspection, because I’m constantly revoking their “rental agreement” inside of our home.
    Joe Saul-Sehy recently posted…My Wife Is Pregnant β€” Is It The Right Time To Purchase Life Insurance?My Profile

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  8. Caleb

    Not leaving food around and checking pipes and leaks are good ways to prevent pests from invading your home. Make sure that there are not cracks around your doors and vacuuming regularly can help as well. You can take simple steps to help your home be pest free.

  9. marc

    Black widow… thanks but no thanks… I would use pesticides all around the house to make sure they don’t get in.

    I love the cat tip! I’ve have 4 cats and no mice problem anymore! I guess if your cat gets rid of the mice your chances of getting a snake infestation should be minimal so it’s like killing two birds with one stone πŸ™‚

    Living in the country is nice but bugs really bug!

  10. Carl Cantrell

    Great post. In my case I’ve got issues with termites.They are really a threat to your home. In fact, they most likely remain active in cold weather. What’s worst, termite problems could possibly result to thousands of dollars worth of damages and exterminating them is not as easy as going and buying a can of pest control spray.

  11. Weris Chatter

    Hi Jana,

    These are really a good methods to consider for good & effective pest control solution.There are so many other pest solutions available that can help to remove different kinds pests easily. Considering for the professional pest control experts that can be much better for effective pest control solution.

  12. Patricia

    OMG! Black widow spiders within your area! The worse thing about these creatures is, they can be anywhere. Even in your shoes and you might get into trouble even for a little negligence. πŸ™

  13. Bryan

    I would also have bug repellent lights and to keep a weekly lawn maintenance. I’ve got some problems with termite infestation and I’m actually planning to treat the walls of my home so that’s gonna keep me busy.

  14. Justin Wright

    Gardening can be a very rewarding but it can be a very frustrating time for you. Because some type of garden pests can ruin your garden in a very short period of time. So you can help of pest control and removal company to get rid of and remove garden pests that are harmful to your garden.

  15. Gloria Miranda

    Hello Jana! I totally agree to your post! These are some basic steps for pest control that we can do on our own at home. Thanks for sharing!

  16. bryan flake

    I didn’t realize that mowing the lawn keeps pests away. My wife and I aren’t too keen on using pest control chemicals in our home. However, I can totally see a usage for a new cat or two. Recently, a mouse chewed through a power cord I had in the garage.

  17. Liz Armeson

    Huh, I had no idea black widows liked damp places. I’ll have to go through my backyard and make sure we don’t have anywhere they’d like to live. I had never heard of bug repellent lights, I’ll definitely have to look into that.

  18. Jon

    Pests, weeds and diseases (pests) pose serious risk for primary producers as they can impact on market access and agricultural production. Pest control is best achieved with an Integrated Pest Management plan using a range of biological, chemical, mechanical, physical or cultural control methods.

  19. Elden Gatley

    I agree that you should have an outdoor cat. I think they are always looking for pests to eat. Not only that, they also probably tend to scare pests away.

  20. Oscar Knight

    My cat once chased a squirrel up above the tree and got stuck there. never again its going to happen. hahaha! but anyway, good tips there.
    Oscar Knight recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

  21. Alex Lloyd

    We got a cat hoping to sort our mice out, and he’s done a great job so far. Doesn’t seem to catch many of them but just his presence and smell apparently puts off rodents

  22. Kaitlyn

    Thanks for sharing these tips! My cats are the best bug catchers. I need to pick up some bug repellent light soon!


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