Everything You Need to Know About Keeping Mice, Roaches, and Other Pests Out of Your Kitchen

published Oct 27, 2019
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No lie: As I’m writing this story, my exterminator happens to be in my basement doing his annual fall check. (Hi, Bob!) I always get antsy when he’s here. (Pun kind of intended!) I never want to get bad news from him, but it’s obviously a good idea to have him come check on everything. The one year we forgot to have him come, we ended up having a mouse in the kitchen! So, with the change of seasons (and in honor of Bob’s visit), I figured I’d round up some of our best bug and rodent content that could help you — whether or not you have your own Bob.

1. Steel wool is key for keeping mice out.

Mice can squeeze through holes that are as small as a dime. And if a certain hole isn’t quite big enough, they can eat away at most materials in order to make the hole bigger. Steel wool is one of the few materials that’s impervious to a mouse’s sharp little teeth. Check the perimeters of your rooms and exterior walls (especially where pipes enter) and fill any holes or cracks you find.

Read more: 5 Things to Know About Mice in the Kitchen

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2. Not all mouse traps are created equal.

As far as we’re concerned, glue traps just shouldn’t exist. (If you’ve ever heard a stuck-on mouse cry or seen one gnaw its own leg off to get to freedom, you’ll likely agree.) When it comes to other traps, we have two favorites: the Authenzo Humane Mouse Trap and the Tomcat Press ‘N Set Mouse Trap. The former operates on a catch-and-release method, and the latter is all but guaranteed to kill the mouse upon catching. Pick whichever one aligns best with your personal views.

Read more: The Very Best Mousetraps You Can Buy on Amazon

Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn

3. You can DIY a super effective fruit fly trap.

While fruit fly season may be behind us, carved pumpkins can definitely attract the little buggers. Relief can be yours if you have a Mason jar and some apple cider vinegar. Even if you don’t have any carved pumpkins in your house right now, you’ll want to pin the post below so that you have it next summer.

Read more: I Tested Four DIY Fruit Fly Traps and Found One Clear Winner

4. Roaches like coffee makers and self-adhesive shelf liner.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the long list of things that cockroaches like. (It might be easier to name the things they don’t like?) But, if you’ve ever had a roach problem in your kitchen, you should definitely read these stories.

5. You can use cocoa powder or flour to kill roaches.

Also on the list of things cockroaches love: cocoa powder and flour. Mix equal parts of cocoa powder or flour with diatomaceous earth (you can find it at your local hardware store) and sprinkle it where you’ve seen the cockroaches. Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to pets and humans, but it kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons. The roaches will take the “bait” back to their nest and feed it to the other roaches, who will also die.

Read more: How To Get Rid Of Cockroaches

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Windex isn’t your best bet for killing bugs.

Maybe you’ve heard that Windex is a great bug killer? While it can technically kill small insects like ants, it’s not a suitable swap for tested insecticides. Windex could drown bugs, but the effect has nothing to do with the chemical.

Read more: Here’s the Truth About Using Windex to Kill Bugs

7. But vinegar can help keep spiders away.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is bad for spiders, so using a diluted vinegar solution will help you to safely and successfully repel the eight-legged creatures. Mix equal parts water and vinegar and then spray the mixture around your windows and doors.

Read more: You Should Spray Vinegar Around Your Windows — Here’s Why

Credit: Susanna Hopler/Dzm1try

8. The key with ants is finding (and eliminating) their food source.

Ants in the kitchen are generally going somewhere. While it can be hard to block them from coming in (they can fit through teeny-tiny holes or cracks!) you can find their food source (a spill in the pantry, a dirty spoon in the sink, etc!) and clean it up. This way, they’ll have less of a reason to come into your home in the first place.

Read more: 5 Things to Know About Ants in the Kitchen

9. You should store grains in the freezer for at least one week.

I’m a little squeamish so I’ll let this post explain how grain weevils end up in your pantry. But just know that you should freeze your grains for at least one week (or store them in the freezer all time) to kill any eggs.

Read more: How To Prevent & Get Rid Of Grain Weevils