Q. Is there anything natural that I can use to keep away ants, roaches, flies and bees? I don’t like using pesticides if I can avoid them.
A. Readers of this column have offered a variety of remedies to keep away insect pests: “I was at a child’s birthday party and wasps and bees were flying all over while the food was out. Someone said to get self-sealing zippered plastic bags, fill them with water and put them on the table. The wasps disappeared. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes I never would have believed it.” Another said you need to put a shiny penny in the plastic bags, fill them with water and hang them so that the sunlight reflects off the bags.
Some people maintain that cinnamon can deter ants. One reader wrote, “I have always used toothpaste to repel ants. Just put a dab where they seem to be entering.”
Another advises, “Sprinkle baby powder to prevent ants. Ants will not cross the powder and it seems safe for animals. Dried cucumber peel deters roaches. I put it in kitchen drawers and behind appliances.” Other readers suggest that dryer sheets, such as you would use in the clothes dryer, may repel roaches.