The key to controlling pests inside the home is to prevent them from coming in to begin with. If they’re already inside, get rid of them as quickly as possible to keep them from getting too comfortable and multiplying.

Having certain natural predators in your yard and around your home can be helpful in controlling pests before they get in. Spiders, frogs, dragonflies, praying mantis, and birds help diminish pest populations on your property. Here we look at how to control flies and moths; for other types of flying insects, please see the links above right.

© Ivan Stoyneshki |
Controlling Flies

The most common preventative measure against flies is keeping the kitchen garbage tightly closed. Sprinkle dry soap or Borax into garbage cans after they’ve been washed and allowed to dry; both act as a repellent.

Other remedies include:

Oranges. Scratch the skin of an orange and leave it out; the citrus acts as a repellent.

Cloves. Clusters of hanging cloves repel flies.

Mint & Basil. Mint planted around the home repels flies. A pot of basil set on the windowsill or table helps to repel fleas. Keep basil well-watered from the bottom so that it produces a stronger scent. Dried, ground leaves left in small bowls or hung in muslin bags are also effective.

Sugar & Corn Syrup. Make your own fly paper by boiling sugar, corn syrup, and water together. Place the mixture onto brown paper and hang or set out.

Controlling Moths

If you can see moths, these aren’t the only ones to worry about. Moths that cause damage to clothes are too small to notice. It is the larvae of these moths that eat fabric. To prevent an infestation, store items in a clean condition since moth larvae especially like areas with food stains.

Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, Cloves & Ginseng. Mix 1/2 pound rosemary, 1/2 pound mint, 1/4 pound thyme, 1/4 pound ginseng (optional), and 2 tablespoons cloves in cheesecloth bags and place in closets or drawers.

Dried Lavender or Rosemary & Mint. Make sachets of dried lavender or equal portions of rosemary and mint. Place in closets, drawers, or closed containers to moth-proof garments.

Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Dried Lemon Peel & Cinnamon. Mix handfuls of the first three ingredients. Add a little lemon peel and a pinch of cinnamon. Put the mixture inn muslin bags and place in closets and drawers.

Molasses, Vinegar &Yellow Container. To trap moths, mix 1 pan molasses with 2 pans vinegar and place in a yellow container. Clean the container regularly.

Clothes Dryer. To kill moth eggs, run the affected garment through a warm dryer.

Courtesy MSU Extension