Perfectly Practical #109 - Natural Bug Repellents

Lavender is a natural pest deterrent fresh or dried

Just when I think, "What could I write about that is a practical tip" a good question or two pops up from readers, friends, or and/or family.  Thank y'all for the inspiration!

The latest questions were, "How do I get rid of pantry moths" and "can I use mothballs in the pantry?"

To be quite honest, I had never heard of such a thing as moths in the pantry but my answer to the mothballs questions is categorically no. 

Here's why:

Mothballs emit a noxious fume thus killing the moths.  They are intended to be used in closed spaces (like Rubbermaid tubs) so that the air is filled with said fumes. 

Not only do they smell horrible but any food in the pantry that is stored in boxes or plastic bags will soak up the smell of the mothballs and make your food taste bad if not bad for you.

We keep bugs including moths out of our drawers and pantry by using all-natural pest control.

Chrysanthemums are good bug repellents fresh or dried

  •  We plant flowers and herbs that natural deter pests since they will be our first line of defense from any creepy crawly getting in the house.  Some beneficial plants are citronella, lavender, bay, chrysanthemum, rosemary, peppermint, marigold, and cedar (they are equally good if used dried).
  • We encourage geckos and anoles (both lizards are prolific around here) since if the bug has a particularly high tolerance for our plants, the lizards will take care of them on the spot.
  • We like bats and birds and predatory insects like praying mantises so that nature takes its course outside instead on the floor of my kitchen.
  • I use a natural bug spray that lists peppermint oil as the active ingredient.  If I spray it in my kitchen, I don't have to worry that the spray got on any of the flat surfaces.  Plus, it doubles as a room freshener.  ;)
  • In my drawers I have sachets of dried lavender.
  • In my tubs of off-season clothes, I have cedar blocks.
  • To keep bugs away from my food, I have dried bay leaves scattered around.
As for bugs in the pantry here's what I would do:
  1. Take everything out of the pantry.  If you see moths emerging from a particular item, throw it away. 
  2. Wipe down the shelves and vacuum out the bottom of the pantry.
  3. Anything that can be repackaged into a jar or canister, should be.  Moths like fibers (cloth, paper, etc.) so take those away and the moths have no reason to get into your pantry.
  4. Put some dried bay leaves on each shelf.
  5. Put everything back in the pantry.
  6. If all else fails, get a cat, he will love taking care of the moth population for you.  :)
Don't forget to enter to win a copy of S.A.S.S.! Yourself Slim or a Rubbermaid Hidden Recycler.
This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Peppermint spray is a great deterrent for bed bugs, too. Hubby carries some in his luggage so he doesn't bring those nasty buggers home from business trips!

    1. What a great idea for frequent travelers! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pantry moths feed on grains. Anything containing flour, corn meal, rice, etc is vulnerable, and they can even be brought home with you from the store. they re especially problematic here in the south. We have had a problem with them for some time, so we seal all the grains we buy into plastic zipper bags. It takes a bit longer, but the bags are reusable, and can be purchased cheaply at the dollar store. We will try adding the bay leaf idea to our routine.

    1. I hope your moth situation ceases soon. It's really frustrating to bring unwanted guests home with you from the store.


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