Eliminate Insects Non-toxically in Hard-To-Reach Places: SIMPLE Nontoxic Pest Control to Get Rid of Crickets, Bedbugs, Fleas and More
By Joanie Blaxter, founder of Follow Your Gut
For four months during the summer last year, the only way I could sleep was with ear plugs, I kid you not! Was it noise from street traffic? A neighbor's dog? Drunken Hell's Angels motorcyclists departing the local bar?
No, the culprit is smaller than the size of my thumb and can live for months in a wall eating nothing, but, according to my insect expert friend, “cellulose!”
Yes, crickets are THAT loud. Hah, you laugh! You try sleeping with that piercing screeching in the wall next to your bed.
Spraying poison was not an option. Besides, even if I was okay with the dangerous chemicals, how do you spray Raid inside the wall? Ear plugs, from my perspective, were at least a nontoxic solution.
And then, one day the light bulb appeared over my head saying, “Duuuhhh, Joanie, call Ron!”
The pest control advisor who restored my beauty sleep
Ron Whitehurst and his wife, Jan Dietrick, run the “oldest, commercial” biological pest control company in the United States, Rincon Vitova Insectaries.
Got an outdoor infestation problem? This family company “… produces and distributes insects and other organisms, supplies and tools for biological control of pests.” They ship all over the U.S. – beneficial spiders, wasps, larvae, ladybugs, you name it, they have it. And it's just down the road from me.
If anybody would know HOW I could get rid of crickets in my walls without poisoning myself, it would be my entomologist friend Ron!
Ron seemed totally nonplussed by my dilemma and, bless his heart, immediately offered to loan me what he calls a “puffer,” containing a 50/50 mix of diatomaceous earth and boric acid (DE/BA).
The advantage of the puffer is that the powder comes out of a very long and narrow nozzle, enabling you to easily get the spray directly into small cracks where the insect hides.
Ron explained that he uses a combination of diatomaceous earth and boric acid because, together, they work more effectively. The diatomaceous earth scratches the exoskeleton of the insect, allowing the boric acid to be more readily absorbed.
The key is to get the powder far enough inside the space that sooner or later the cricket will walk through the powder. Once that happens, it will die, literally, from drying out.
Woohoo! It worked!
Blessed sleep followed for at least, oh, maybe three nights… BEFORE ANOTHER CRICKET MOVED IN!
Another frantic run down to Ron's house to borrow the puffer. Another success story followed by an undisturbed night.
And then… you guessed it.
Every cricket who disappeared into the Great Ninja Warrior Cricket Beyond was quickly replaced by another. This happened five times!
Two steps to cricket-proof a house
Since cricket “song” is actually the mating call of the males, I needed to find out how these boyz were getting in my walls to begin with. Carefully examining the outside of my small, ground floor apartment, I saw dozens of small openings around my door and window frames, all beckoning to any randy leg-rubber who happened to be passing by, Romeo, Romeo, come hide here to sing your piercingly loud, romantic songs!
After spraying as much powder into as many indoor cracks as I could find and all had been quiet on the western front for about a week, to prevent any further critters from crawling in, my landlord caulked the outside holes. See how airtight it looks now!
I had him focus only, though, on the openings all around my door frame since that was where I'd heard crickets in the walls.
Fast forward one year to the present, and you guessed it… Not one, but TWO crickets simultaneously began a marathon sing-off in my wall, this time in the area close to my window. Of course.
“If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” –John Wooden
You can see the gaps around my window frame here.
I have a caulking gun and a puffer and I'm not afraid to use them!
This time I went ballistic, bought my own puffer online, as well as my own supplies of diatomaceous earth and boric acid, and got my landlord to agree to loan me his caulking gun.
I settled on the very affordable Pest Pistol Mini Duster.
Although not as sturdy as Ron's professional quality one, being made of plastic, my new puffer is, nevertheless, easy to pump, even for my small hands. The spray is quite adequate and, most importantly, the nozzle, long and flexible enough to reach into those small, awkward cracks.
I thought I was the only one with “loud walls.”
Turns out we're having a U.S. Southwest Cricket Bonanza these days due to the five-year drought!
Dry weather suits the buggers, so their population has exploded in my region here in southern California. When that happens, it's not unusual for crickets to move into the walls of homes.
I was so grateful to read that other people's homes are being invaded too! Part of me secretly worried I was unconsciously giving off female cricket pheronomes. Really. Creepy.
Anyway, it's been so quiet here lately that I guess the word has spread in the Ninja Warrior Cricket community to stay away from that beeyatch's house, you go in, you never come out!
Hah. Have puffer, will spray. Have caulk, will block. Silent night, holy night. 🙂
Works for ants, fleas, ticks, ear wigs, roaches, carpenter ants, anything that lives in your walls
And the best part is that this DE/BA powder kills just about anything with an exoskeleton that you don't want living in your home. Remove your electric light socket covers and puff away liberally. Put the nozzle into any crack you have. Dust the inside of your bedstead. Insert the tip of your puffer into the edges of all your walls, floors, door and window frames, etc.
In other words, go to town! The only caveat is, since it is dust, you don't want to inhale the powder into the lungs. Furthermore, while the boric acid is “low in toxicity if eaten or if it contacts skin” it can cause nausea and vomiting if injested, so don't leave it in places where pets or children may be tempted to eat it for some reason. Other than that, this powder is death-dealing to insects of any kind, as long as the insect walks through the powder.
Bed bugs too…
Did you know that after four decades of absence, bedbugs are making a mysterious, but HUGE, comeback? According to this article, the bedbug extermination business in 2014 was up 18% over the previous year: U.S. Bed Bug City List.
Bed bugs are a stubborn pest, so be thorough. Check out these How-To Instructions for a complete list of the multiple steps you may need to take or watch this video, keeping in mind that you can substitute the diatomaceous earth/boric acid mix for the toxic pesticides that commercial pest control operators commonly use.
ATTENTION TRAVELERS! Since bedbugs are most commonly found in hotels and motels, you might want to check the list above for the cities with the worst rates of bedbug infestations.
***DON'T MISS THIS: Also, check out Kelly's FREE printable on how to nontoxically eliminate bedbugs, including DIY instructions on how to make an inexpensive bedbug trap. Click here.
More nontoxic insect control options (say good bye to exterminator bills!)
- Here's a family that uses peppermint oil spray for spiders and various insect pests outside in sheds, the lawn, the garden, etc. Tell me you don't wanna hire this cutie in his pj's to come work in your yard too!?
Here's the best deal on the best quality peppermint oil.
- Kelly's post on another bug you don't want around: How to Get Rid of Head Lice Naturally
- More from a past article I wrote: Are You a Bug Magnet? How to Get Rid of Bugs Naturally: Head Lice, Fleas and Mosquitos
What about you? What lives in your walls, furniture, flooring, bedding? Armed and dangerous, can you think of others uses for a puffer in order to get rid of pesky pests? Let us know what works for you!
This was a post by my sweet friend, Joanie Blaxter, now a regular writer around here!
Joanie has been in sales & education in the natural foods & products industry since the early 70's, with her most recent six years spent as a vitamin specialist in a health foods store. She has also been the Ventura, California chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2010.
For health consultations Joanie can be contacted here and her past articles are located here.
Disclaimer: Neither Joanie nor I are health professionals! Use what you read here for your own research and then consult with a natural-minded doctor or health professional you trust to find what is best and right for YOU. Read my entire disclaimer here, and also note that there may be affiliate links in this post.
Joanie Blaxter says
JUST GOT RID OF STUBBORN WASPS TOO! My landlord dropped off a spray bottle of “poison” as a hint when he got stung by wasps that repeatedly built nests under the eaves of my porch. I knocked down three and they kept coming back before I went “Ah hah! Peppermint oil!” I ended up buying a large bottle of citrus extract that could shoot a spray 5 or more feet (relatively cheap) but spiked it with 4 ounces of peppermint oil. THAT did the trick! After I knocked down the fourth nest, every time I saw them returning to build again, I kept spraying the area with the oil. THEY HATE IT. After 2 days they gave up and went somewhere else.
Denise Fountain says
a-ha! We have tried DE without resolving the tiny pavement ant issue. I confess. I finally broke down and hired an exterminator. I didn’t know about trying 50/50 mix with boric acid. Got to try this because I really don’t like the pesticides. Thank you!
Joanie Blaxter says
@ Denise Do let me know about whether or not you have success. As I said, this combination was taught to me by a professional nontoxic “bug” guy, so hopefully it will do the trick for you.
Jill-David Boman says
We have GOT to try this for the chiggers in our lawn! The agony those things are causing me right now from their stealth, biting ways!
Joanie Blaxter says
You mean besides a cat ^..^ ?? :)))
I don’t know much about mice control, Nan. I have friends that set traps and I’m pretty certain that mice don’t like peppermint oil either. If you find their holes you could spray lots into their tunnels and nests (if you can spray back that far), Block up all holes coming into your house.
Ha, ha! Thanks, Joanie!
Is there anything similar that will work on mice?
Joanie Blaxter says
Try this homemade bug spray: https://www.mommypotamus.com/easy-homemade-bug-repellent/
Raymur Rachels says
Any suggestions for mosquitoes in the yard. I live in FL and cannot go outside without getting eaten up. I’ve started taking Vit B per your suggestion, but they still love me. I’m planning on hanging some bat houses but would LOVE a non toxic yard solution!
Boric acid is not toxic for dogs. I used it for a flea problem in a home we rented a few years ago. Last tenant left them. Worked like a charm. Didn’t like coming here reading an ad…unsubscribing. no offense. 🙂
Chris, which ad?
Someone told me that boric acid is toxic for dogs. Do you know if that’s true? Also I read to be sure to use food grade diamotaceous earth, not any other kind. I have been researching how to treat a small dog for fleas I’m a non toxic way.
Joanie Blaxter says
Heather, my experience with fleas for cats and dogs is that the best solution is diet. In fact, it’s the only real, lasting solution. I have information about why and what to do in this article: https://kellythekitchenkop.com/how-to-get-rid-of-bugs-naturally/