Few houses are entirely free from some pest, and the housekeeper has always to be on guard; absolute cleanliness and great vigilance are necessary if one expects to be entirely free from any of them.


Make a solution of turpentine, three parts water to one of turpentine. Pour this in to the drain-pipes once a week. This will drive out the bugs to be killed when they appear, but will not kill them. Cucumber skins will scare away water-bugs and roaches. Keep away all crawling things from sink and pantry by little cakes made of corn meal and a strong solution of borax.


Alum or carbolic solutions are both disagreeable to ants, but our grandmothers used a remedy close at hand - leaves of pennyroyal or tansy spread on the window ledge and shelves. To rid a place of red ants, take a plate greased with lard and set it overnight where the ants are troublesome. Place three or four sticks to lead up to the plate so that the ants can get to it easily; in the morning it will be covered with ants. Immerse the plate in boiling water. If troubled by ants, fill a sponge with water and sprinkle with sugar; when it is fully inhabited kill the ants by scalding. Washing shelves in strong alum water will often drive ants away.

Flies are one of our most dangerous pests; they carry disease germs on their feet, and cause typhoid fever and other infections. Therefore, it is very important to screen the house well. Often this does not keep them all out. Oil of lavender sprayed about the room will drive them away; or one teaspoonful of formaldehyde in a cup of water placed in saucers about the house will kill them.

Mosquitoes are as dangerous as flies and have caused much disease. Yellow fever, malaria, elephantiasis, and blood poisoning have been traced directly to them. To keep off mosquitoes, apply equal quantities of oil of cedar and citronella sparingly to the face, hands, ankles, etc., or use the mixture with an atomizer.

Cockroaches may be driven out by a hot alum solution bath in all the cracks and crevices, or by the free use of a solution of carbolic acid. It may require several applications to be effectual.

Rats And Mice

Rats are dangerous as being hosts for fleas. With infected fleas they cause the bubonic plague. Fill up all the holes with plaster of Paris, or the big rat-holes with mortar and glass. Often a small mouse-hole can be filled with kitchen soap. Sprinkle sulphur about in bureau drawers, closets, and around the rat-holes in houses, sheds, or barns, and there will be no further trouble with either rats or mice.

Moths And Buffalo-Bugs

Brushing, beating, and airing garments both winter and summer are necessary. Once no one ever thought the moth worked in the winter. But the heated houses keep these little creatures warm; so now they work all the year round. Always kill every moth miller found flying about the house; this will save more trouble than we realize at the time. If moths are found in a garment or in furs, take out into the air, brush well with a whisk broom, saturate with formaldehyde solution, and hang on the line. This kills not only the moths, but the eggs as well. If there are indications of moths or buffalo-bugs about the house, it would be advisable to wash the closets, the floor, and all the cracks, with a carbolic acid or turpentine solution. When moths are found in carpets, sweep the carpet well, and go over one breadth at a time with a sponge dampened in a turpentine solution made of three tablespoonfuls of turpentine in three quarts of cold water.


The quickest way to get rid of this pest is by the use of naphtha, but this being very inflammable makes it a dangerous process and not one to be generally recommended. Thorough fumigation with sulphur is effective. Eternal vigilance, with chloride of lime or even kerosene applied generally and frequently, will do the work. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to tear off the wallpaper and use either enameline or paint, and to stain or paint the floors and all the furniture. By doing this one can be sure the pests are exterminated; but it is always best to keep a strict watch, for one can carry them in clothes, and they are to be found in the trains and electric cars.

An Excellent Bug Poison

One half pint each of turpentine and alcohol, and one ounce of sal ammoniac; mix all together, let stand in a warm place for a few days, and the mixture is ready for use.