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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
United States


Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

Keep Pests at Bay with These All Natural Repellents


O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


Keep Pests at Bay with These All Natural Repellents

Chelsea O'Donnell

I don’t know about you, but this early summer seems worse than ever for pests of every kind. Homeowners are struggling with ants in the house and even my yard has more chipmunks than I’ve seen in recent memory. Lots of people I speak to are determined to get rid of their newfound neighbors, but many don’t want to resort to environmentally damaging chemicals or toxic ingredients in the home. So what can we do?

Let’s get those pests in check! I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorite all natural repellents and deterrents to reduce the unwanted company in and around your home without putting toxins or pollutants into the environment. Let’s check them out.

Hot Pepper - for unwanted garden bugs, hot pepper is a fantastic solution. Simmer three tablespoons of red chili flakes or five finely chopped fresh jalapenos in a large pan of water for 15 minutes. Let it sit for a day and then strain the mixture into a spray bottle with a few drops of dish soap.

Coffee - did you know that coffee is fatal to ants? If you can find where they are entering your home, you can use recycled grounds to deter them. Simply place them in a shallow bowl or bag right at the entry point. One sniff and they’ll be doing a one-eighty.

Mint and Garlic - this is another garden concoction that you can use as a plant spray. Blitz a few garlic cloves and mint leaves in a food processor and then boil it with some cayenne pepper. Add a few drops of dish soap to the spray bottle and pour in your solution for a simple, effective plant spray.

Cornmeal - if you have pets, cornmeal is an easy non-toxic remedy for ants. Put a small dish or a plastic cover full near their entry point and the ants will soon start to carry it away to their colony. They love to eat it, but can’t digest it. Problem solved.

Rosemary - I love balmy summer evening in the backyard but I can’t stand mosquitoes! Citronella is a common natural deterrent but if you don’t have any handy, try throwing some rosemary or sage on your firepit. It smells wonderful to us but mosquitos can’t stand it.

Basil - if you get flies coming in and out of the house every time someone opens the door, trying potted basil. The flies will immediately retreat in their tracks and you’ll have plenty of fresh leaves for a delicious pesto. If you’re worried about pots getting kicked over and making a mess, a vital of basil essential oil will do the trick too.

Cayenne pepper - this is probably your best bet for a chipmunk problem. Just like other pests, chipmunks are very sensitive to the smell and taste of hot peppers and they’ll go out of their way to avoid it. A generous spray of cayenne and water or oil solution around your immediate garden should help to deter them from hanging around.

Do you have a favorite all-natural solution that gets rid of the pests at your home? I’d love to hear about it. Email me or send me a message on Facebook at

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.