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Getting Rid of Pests

By: Maryam Parsi

Posted on: July 15, 02

We all sometimes suffer from uninvited guests and, although we don't want to harm them, we do want to persuade them to leave our property. Here are some suggestions that might help:


Ants are harmless and are only looking for sweet stuff when they come into the house, so keep all sugar, jams, honey, cakes etc in tightly closed tins and jars. Wipe kitchen surfaces down with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Find where the ants are entering the house, block up any obvious holes and cracks and sprinkle red chilli pepper and/or paprika and/or dried peppermint or pennyroyal across their line of entry. We have also read that they dislike coffee grounds, if placed in a dish on the worktop, they will avoid the entire worktop. Crumbled bay leaves or sprigs of pennyroyal in cupboards and corners may also act as a deterrent.


If birds are scratching up your seeds or eating your lettuces you can deter them with sillouettes of hawks (on sale in many garden centres), scarecrows, strips of coloured plastic or tinfoil flapping in the breeze on strings. Please don't fasten lengths of cotton or nylon over your rows of plants/seeds. Birds may get entangled in the yarn and may even lose a leg.


Can make a mess of your garden if they decide its a good place to use as a lavatory. Try jam jars half full of water left at intervals in the flower beds, rose prunings placed around your most precious plants and some say a length of hose pipe left on the lawn frightens cats, who mistake it for a snake.

Fleas and Ticks

Feed brewers yeast and garlic to pets. Fennel, rue and rosemary repel fleas.


Urban foxes can be a nuisance in gardens and may pose a danger to small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs.


We hear that a plastic replica heron standing by your poolside will deter live herons from feeding on your fish as they assume the pool is already occupied and fly past.

House Flies

Try vases of fresh herbs around the house, or hang up dried herbs in winter. Eau-de-Cologne Mint, Penny Royal, Rosemary, Rue, Thyme and Tansy are said to repel flies.


Look for humane mouse traps like the Triptrap, in pet shops and garden centres. These trap the mouse alive and you can release it away from your property, it will need to be taken about a quarter of a mile away or it will find its way back! You must inspect these traps regularly or the mouse will die of thirst which is more cruel than a conventional mouse trap, and remember to store the traps in such a way that no animal can get in accidentally when you are not using them.

A wide range of humane traps suitable for many small animals, eg mice, rats, squirrels, foxes, minks and pigeons can be obtained from commercial suppliers: Unlike the TripTrap, their mouse box will catch several at once, so may be more suitable if you have a serious problem.

Sonic deterrents which are supposed to emit a sound too high for human hearing, but unpleasant to rodents and other small animals, are becoming widely available.

If you do not have cats in your house it may be worth "borrowing" a friend's cat and let it roam the house for a while, the scent of the cat may put of the mice becoming established or building nests.


A dab of lavender or citronella oil is said to repel midges. We've also heard that biting insects are attracted by colour contrasts, so if you are pale skinned, wear pale colours, if dark skinned, wear dark colours.


One idea is that you should locate the moles run by drawing a line between two mole hills, dig down until you find the run, then insert the movement from a musical birthday card. It seems moles detest noise and will all abscond to your neighbours' garden. Another method is to place a number of children's toy windmills around the garden so the sticks are embedded in the mole runs. As the wind turns the windmills, it sets up vibrations which the moles dislike.


Place cedar chips or lavender sachets amongst clothes.


These insects get a bad press. They really do a very important job of maintaining the balance of nature by preying on other insect pests and they are not vicious by nature. They don't attack humans unless provoked but unfortunately, people panic when they hear the buzzing, wave their arms about and practically ask to be stung. Keep calm. To keep them out of the house, make sure all sweet things are securely covered. Put net curtains at open windows and bead curtains over the kitchen door to discourage them from flying in.

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