Eliminating Household Pests without Bug Spray--Ants, Cockroaches, Scorpions

Commercial bait works. We're partial to the self-enclosed plasctic housed varieties.

Commercial bait works. We're partial to the self-enclosed plasctic housed varieties.


We clean. We take out our trash. Then, one morning we go to the kitchen to make coffee and find a trail of ants tromping across our counter like the ASU Sun Devil marching band at halftime. So, we grab the fly swatter or a wet rag and let them have it. Within a few hours, they’re back.

What to do?

First, it’s important to remember that what you see only represents the smallest margin of the ant population and that killing what you see only takes care of the surface problem.

Seal cracks where pests can gain entry.

Seal cracks where pests can gain entry.


First, please, don’t use bug spray in your kitchen.

Ants come calling because they need food and moisture. Control starts by fixing water leaks, caulking entry cracks and crevices where ants can get in, and leaving homemade or commercial bait at the point of entry. If you can, resist the urge to kill them and leave commercial bait, instead. They will take it back to their nest and kill the whole colony. A homemade version of ant control is  1 part Borax to 3 parts powdered sugar will work. Since ants leave a pheromone scents which other ants follow, a vinegar solution or Windex works well to eradicate it.
Soak cotton balls in  ¼ C sugar, ½ C water, 1 Tablespoon Borax, and leave it right in their path. The sugar will attract them and the Borax will kill them. 
Mix equal parts jam and borax and leave in on an index card where they will find it.

In addition, every possible item they can eat has to be eliminated. Crumbs, soda spills, even jars with drips interest ants. Things that shouldn’t be refrigerated (like jars of honey) can be put in plastic zip lock bags. 

If they’re on the kitchen counter, they will hide under whatever is sitting on it. This includes the coffeemaker legs, a drinking glass, the dish soap bottle, and other hiding spots. Cleaning is critical to cut off their food supply, eliminate their pheromone trail, and get rid of places they can hide.


Sometimes, a lone cockroach will turn up because they hid in cardboard box and paper bag creases and caught a ride into your home. But, most likely, there is more than one. They colonize your kitchen for the same reasons as ants (moisture, food), and can be treated with the same bait and cleaning practices, or caught with sticky traps. 

Cockroaches are attracted to dirty dishes, trash, grease, and cardboard glue. A clean house won’t guarantee they’ll stay away, but a dirty house will attract them. 


They eat other bugs, but no one wants these critters around. Cats and chickens will chase and eats them, though. 

They eat other bugs, but no one wants these critters around. Cats and chickens will chase and eats them, though. 

A scorpion can live without food for weeks, but not without water, so, again, the advice is to get rid of water sources. Scorpions eat the other bugs in your home, so a scorpion infestation, usually the result of an ongoing, untreated water leak, often rids the home of other bugs such as roaches and silverfish.

A scorpion can be found with a blacklight. They are nocturnal and hide beneath things and crawl along baseboards. Once you find one, you can kill it with a fly swatter, crush it with a pair of cooking tongs, or step on it. 

A scorpion can and will crawl along a ceiling, and drop into a bed. They love hiding in pillowcases and under pillows.

Scorpions are known for hiding underneath wet towels left on the bathroom floor. Homeowners who have a scorpion problem need to shake out their towels, clothing, and bedding before using, and also knock the heel of their shoes against the floor before putting them on, since scorpions like hiding in shoes. They also love to hide in concrete blocks.

Scorpions can be killed with a fly swatter, sticky traps, and food-grade diatomaceous earth sprinkled beneath places they hide. Diatomaceous earth is not harmful to pets and can be sprinkled around the base of the house and beneath the refrigerator and dishwasher. It doesn’t kill them immediately but cuts up their underbelly, which slowly dehydrates them.

If you feel like you need a hand or could use help getting a grip on the cleaning or keeping your house clean on a regular basis, give us a call or sign up for a cleaning on our website.