How to Kill Household Bugs

Four Methods:Killing the Bug by Crushing itUsing an Insect Spray or PowderUsing an Insect TrapStopping an Infestation

Are you annoyed by little creepy crawlies constantly popping up everywhere in your house? Maybe what started as one solitary bug has turned into an infestation. Sometimes, confronting a bug or an infestation can be scary. Luckily, there are several ways that you can control and eliminate the pesky bugs in your home.

Method 1
Killing the Bug by Crushing it

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    Locate the insect. Some bugs stay out in the open and are easy to find. Others, like cockroaches, are nocturnal and prefer dark and enclosed areas. If you know what type of bug you are trying to eliminate, research it to find out where it may be living in your house. A good place to start your search is in the kitchen, as many bugs are attracted to the smell of food. Because bugs are attracted to the smell of food, do your best to keep food out of any living areas for extended periods of time.[1]
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    Find an object to exterminate the pest. Once you have found the bug, you need a tool with which to hit it and kill it. For most bugs, a newspaper, a piece of cardboard, a paper-back book or a regular fly swatter are good tools to use. Roll it up or position it in your hand so it is comfortable. Raise it about a foot above the insect. Alternatively, if the insect is on the ground you can stamp on it with your foot. Make sure that you are wearing shoes, preferably with a solid sole.
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    Hit the insect. Approach the insect and use the newspaper or fly swatter to hit the insect directly and with force. If using your foot, target the insect and stamp on it with the middle part of your shoe. It is important to move quickly and not to hesitate. Many insects like flies are extremely aware of their surroundings, and when they notice a threat they move immediately. Therefore, it's very important to do it quickly!
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    Clean up insect remains. You may want to clean up the insect remains after you are done. Using something disposable like a napkin or paper towel to clean up the insect is a great way of getting rid of it for good! After disposing of the insect, wipe down the surface you picked it up from using an all-purpose cleaner or a product like Clorox to ensure a complete clean.

Method 2
Using an Insect Spray or Powder

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    Use a commercial spray. Another effective way of killing a bug on the spot is to use an insect spray. Insect sprays such as Raid target multiple types of bugs and are effective in killing pests. These sprays can be found in major supermarkets and drugstores. Sprays can be used to target the bug directly, or can be sprayed near cracks, around windows and doors, or other points of entry through which bugs have gotten into your house. [2]
    • To use the spray, hold the bottle about a foot and a half from the bug and spray until the bug is weakened or killed.
    • When killing hardy bugs such as cockroaches, sometimes the spray alone is not enough. After spraying, the most effective way of killing the bug is to hit it with a heavy, flat object like a book to ensure that you have finished the job.
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    Use essential oils to prevent and deter insects. Although commercial sprays are highly effective, many prefer to use natural sprays which are healthier for humans, especially if you are spraying a large area. Insects such as roaches, termites and ants among others are repelled by strong scents and essential oils.
    • Tea tree oil, lavender oil and peppermint oil are just a few oils that have been shown to repel and even kill insects.
    • To make a spray out of these oils, add 6-10 drops of essential oil in a small spray bottle along with two ounces of water and two ounces of white vinegar. Combine and spray areas such as your kitchen or around your windows to target bugs and insects.[3]
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    Use a natural household pesticide. Natural pesticides are a powerful and safe way of killing insects. Look in the store for a natural pesticide made with orange oil.
    • To make an orange oil pesticide at home, mix about 5% orange oil with 95% water or 10% orange oil with 90% water (not orange cleaner) in a small spray bottle.
    • Spray the orange oil pesticide directly on the bug or around the area that the bugs are living. Orange oil pesticides are extremely effective for not only killing solitary bugs, but for killing colonies of insects. [4]
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    Use boric acid powder. Boric acid is another natural ingredient that is relatively safe for humans but toxic for bugs. It can be found at major pharmacies and home-improvement stores. To use boric acid powder, sprinkle the powder around the refrigerator, stove, or any other places where bugs congregate. Bugs will walk through the powder which they pick up on their legs or bodies. Later, when bugs are grooming or cleaning they ingest the boric acid powder, which kills them.[5]
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    Use diatomaceous earth. Another organic earth product is food grade diatomaceous earth (uncalcinated - i.e., not heat-treated), a powdered form of an absorbent abrasive that kills insects through dehydration. Sprinkle this substance around the kitchen and other problem areas in your house. [6]

Method 3
Using an Insect Trap

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    Use a sticky trap. A sticky trap, also known as a glue trap, is a great way of eliminating insects. Sticky trap typically contain an odor that attracts insects, who get stuck to their surface and die. Install the sticky trap in the kitchen or where you have seen the bugs. Leave the trap for a few days and check to see if any bugs have stuck. [7]
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    Use a vinegar trap. A vinegar trap is especially useful for fruit flies. To create a vinegar trap, pour some white or apple cider vinegar into a bottle (even a small amount will do). With the cap of the bottle removed, stretch plastic wrap across the top the bottle and secure it with a rubber band or hair tie. Poke holes through the plastic wrap using a toothpick or similar item. The smell of vinegar attracts flies, who enter through the holes. The flies then either drown in the vinegar or are unable to get back out of the bottle. [8]
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    Use a more specific trap. Stores like Home Depot and Walmart carry a wide selection of traps, made to target all kinds of insects from hornets to stinkbugs. If you have a bug you can't get rid of, make a trip and select a trap that is made especially to attract and kill the pests in your home.

Method 4
Stopping an Infestation

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    Target the problem area. Sometimes, a bug problem can be more than just a few bugs; insects can quite literally take over an article of furniture or an area in your house. In these cases, it is most effective to tackle this specific area, which is where bugs and their larvae are living.
    • Fleas infestations often occur in carpeting. If there is a flea problem in your house, vacuum the carpet multiple times, disposing of the vacuum bag each time outside of the house. [9]
    • Bed bug infestations occur mostly, as the name suggests, in mattresses. To kill bedbugs in your bed, purchase a mattress cover made specifically for bed bugs. You can find such covers at Walmart and Target. Even though these covers are also intended for prevention of bedbugs, they work by isolating the bedbugs which will eventually kill them. [10]
    • There are several types of insects that target house plants and can cause an infestation. There are many preventative measures to stop this from happening in the first place, such as using sterile soil as opposed to garden soil and immediately removing dead leaves and stems. If the infestation has already happened, the best method of elimination may depend on what kind of insect is afflicting it. Identify the insect with a magnifying glass and do your research. Many insects are killed with insecticidal sprays so if in doubt purchase and use an insecticidal spray to spray your plant. [11]
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    Clean your house and belongings. After you have targeted the area of infestation, it is important to clean the surrounding area as well as anything that may have come into contact with it. Although it is likely that you have killed most of the infestation, it is likely that a few insects have spread to surrounding areas and could cause another wave of infestation.
    • Vacuum the area around which you've already cleaned. This includes the carpet as well as any cushions or soft objects. After vacuuming, make sure to immediately dispose of the vacuum bag outside of the house, as bugs may be present inside.
    • Wash and dry clothing. This is an essential step, as many times insects like bed bugs spread and live in your clothing. To kill bedbugs, do a wash of all of your clothes, making sure to dry every item for at least 30 minutes on high heat. [12]
    • Wash your pets. Pets are often the carrier of bugs, especially fleas. Combing your pet with a flea comb as well as washing and drying your pet's bedding can eliminate pests. [13]
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    Use a bug bomb. A bug bomb, also known as a total release fogger, works by releasing a cloud of pesticide into a single area. This type of treatment should only be a last resort, because bug bombs can pose health risks to humans as well as being toxic to insects. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label, and to only use a bug bomb in an area with adequate ventilation.[14]


  • The best way to avoid further bug problems is prevention. Keeping your home clean is the most important method of preventing future pests from invading. Clean up after yourself (especially in the kitchen) and make sure not to leave food, even things like sugar, on the counter. Take out the trash and dispose of over-ripe fruit. This will go a long way in ensuring that you do not have any future problems. [15]
  • You don't have to kill the bug. If there only seems to be one bug and you feel comfortable doing it, it might feel more rewarding to catch it.
  • If you have tried some or all of these methods with no success, it may be time to turn to professional help. There are many services out there who specialize in destroying bug infestations. If you are feeling overwhelmed and the problem has gotten out of control, it may be best to put it in the hands of professionals.


  • Orange oil is "non-toxic" externally, but just like most essential oils, make sure you do not swallow it or get it in your eyes. Also be sure to avoid prolonged exposure to the oil or vapors by using with adequate ventilation.[16]
  • Even non-stinging insects (flies, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes) can be vectors for diseases that can lead to serious health risks (bacteria/virus, tick fever, malaria, lyme disease, sleeping sickness, etc.) Some of these are more prominent in hot or tropical areas. Be aware of the health risks of the pests in your house and consult a doctor if you are worried about your health. [17]

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Categories: Pest Control