For more info, visit Insects in the City (TCES)
Boric Acid—An eyewash and antiseptic, boric acid also is used for roaches, ants, fleas and silverfish. Available for use as a dust, paste or bait station. It is toxic only when ingested. When applying boric acid dusts, wear a mask and avoid breathing in the dust. Dust lightly with a bulb duster. If kept dry and undisturbed, boric acid won’t need to be reapplied for a long time. It is a slow but effective and safe treatment.
Biological Controls—Some insects are natural predators of others. For example, lady bugs eat aphids, and beneficial nematodes kill white grubs.
B.t.i.’s (Bacillus thuringiensis ‘israelensis’)—Used in standing water to control mosquitoes. Available in powders, briquets and mosquito "dunks."
Diatomaceous Earth—This dust mined from the remains of prehistoric organisms has abrasive and drying characteristics that kill ants, bees, crickets, fleas, ticks and roaches in a dry environment. Wear a dust mask and apply to attics, in wall voids and around plant beds. Do not use swimming pool products. They are dangerous to breathe and do not work as well.
Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)—Cause sterility in adult insects and prevent insect eggs, larvae or pupae from maturing. Available in liquid sprays, aerosol sprays and foggers. Methoprene is one of the most popular growth regulators—available as Logic® for fire ants, Precor® and FleaTrol® for fleas and Gencor® for cockroaches. IGRs are generally quick and pose little threat to people and pets.
Insecticidal Soap—Non-toxic unless consumed in large doses. Controls soft-bodied insects like aphids, thrips, whiteflies and mites. Insecticidal soaps may be used indoors and are available in liquid concentrate or ready-to-use sprays.
Limonene/Linalool—These citrus peel extracts are toxic to fleas. Available in liquid and aerosol products for flea dips and shampoos.
Pyrethrums and Pyrethrins—Natural insecticide from chrysanthemums; used for ants, aphids, beetles, caterpillars, roaches, fleas, flies, leafhoppers, mosquitoes and ticks. Found in powders and sprays as well as in flea and tick products for pets. Pyrethrins can be toxic to cats.
Repellents—These repel pests. Examples are citronella candles and sprays made from onion, garlic or citrus. These vary in their effectiveness, so experiment!
Traps—Examples include yellow sticky bars to catch flying insects, light traps to catch fleas and "Tanglefoot®" or other sticky substances for crawling insects. Avoid placing sticky glues on bark to prevent tree damage.