How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally | Best Natural Ant Killer Treatment


‘The ant train’ was one of the fascinating things that attracted most of us during our childhood! Tracking down the source of this ‘ant train’ was a silly bit of adventure back then. But now, it’s more likely to be considered a nuisance to watch that ‘ant train’ directed inside our home! That feeling of adventure has been turned into a sense of fear considering those ants attacking our belongings.

Let’s learn more about these insects in depth so that, we can easily be able to get rid of them.

What are ants?

Ants are six-legged social insects like bees who prefer to live in large groups or colonies.

Black ant
By Chris

They are very common to our household often seen to move around forming a single line, in a disciplined manner.  They can form their colony in trees, underground or in ground-level mounds. They have three categories of member in their colony viz. the Queen, females and males with each of them responsible for different kind of work. The ant queen is responsible to lay eggs and continue the race, the sterile females form the worker community and aim only at accumulating food, taking care of the nest, the offspring  as well as other duties whereas, the male population is responsible for mating post which they may die.

They eat anything and everything available to them with greater attraction towards sweet foods. About 10000 species of ants do exist worldwide out of which 25 species are infamous for infesting homes.

How do they look like?

Depending upon species, ants can measure from 2mm to 25mm. Their body can be divided into three major sections viz. head, thorax and abdomen. Like all other insects, they also have a pair of antennae. They have relatively narrow waist than termites in between their thorax and abdomen. Ants have larger heads and powerful jaws with them.

How to ants communicate and find food?

Ants use pheromones to communicate with one another. They can smell through their antennae. The reason why they move in a single line is because of the pheromone trail that each ant leave behind. When a food source is being located by an ant, it leaves a pheromone trail behind it while it returns to the colony. Next, the ant colony can smell the trail and reach the food source easily. In case of any obstacle in between, they try to find out alternative route to the food source thus creating a new pheromone trail. They also leave a different kind of pheromone when in danger or under any attack to bring more ants to the location for help. They can also detect the community of an individual ant with the help of pheromone. This way they can communicate within the colony. The active queen also produces a specific kind of pheromone, absence of which, the colony might choose a new queen ant for them. They are also known to communicate by producing sounds through their mandibles.

Some fascinating facts about ants:

  1. The jaws of an ant works just like a pair of scissors. They open and shut sideways
  2. Ants have compound eyes i.e. each eye is made up of several smaller eyes
  3. They can lift up to 20 times their own body-weight. They are one of the strongest creatures according to their size
  4. They cannot chew their food but swallow
  5. Abdomen of an ant has two stomachs. The food in the second stomach is to share with others
  6. They are very fond of sugar
  7. Sterile females form the workers and soldier community as well as the queen. Males or drones, just mate and die
  8. Some ant species steal pupae of other ant species and tame them to be workers in their colony when they hatch. Slavery still exist among them!
  9. Except Antarctica, ants are everywhere on Earth
  10. Some species of ants can even stay 24 hours underwater

How to detect ant infestation?

Ants are very popular in the United States for infestations. Once you find a single ant inside your home, you can be certain that there is a breeding colony inside your house or nearby. As ants communicate and move around by following the pheromone trails left by other ants, it means that the ant you just spotted is actually following some trail. It might be there for food hunt but it’s for sure that your house falls within the perimeter of the ant habitat. If your home is acting as the food source for the colony, then certainly, the infestation status is positive.

What do ants eat?

There is no single kind of food that ants prefer to eat. They almost eat everything that we humans eat. Again, the food choice also varies species to species but sugar being the favorite food for almost all of them. Some of the ant species like to feed on protein-rich things like even dead insects or even the live ones! Some prefer any fruit or vegetable, honeydew, cheese, breadcrumb, starch, meat i.e. almost everything. For drinking purpose they do drink water, juices or any other sugary liquid. They say yes to any kind of food and still there is no obesity at all!

Ant Life cycle:

It all starts with an egg! Ants undergo complete metamorphosis by passing through four distinct phases i.e. egg, larvae, pupae and adult. The whole cycle requires weeks or even months to complete depending upon the ant species.

ant eggs
By Sameer Goyal


The oval shaped tiny ant eggs are white in color and transparent too. Only the fertile females mate with the males and become the queen. They select a shelter best suited for laying eggs and thus they start the colony. Ant eggs are just about 1/2mm in diameter.


It requires the baby ant within the egg phase for about a couple of weeks to get converted into a larva. The ant develops no legs during this stage. The appetite at this stage is very high and the adult ants has to take care of their nourishment.


The next stage after the larvae stage is known as the pupae stage where the larvae sheds their skin and molts. Pupae looks more like the adults with slight difference in their legs and antennae which remains attached to the pupa body. Initially, the pupae appears white but with ageing, they acquire pigmentation like that of the adults.


Here, the pupae are fully grown with proper legs and color. They are then included in either of the three communities of ants i.e. the worker class, queen or the male community with different job description for each.

Types of ants:

Carpenter Ants:

Carpenter ants are pretty popular in the United States besides being common in Europe and

carpenter ants
By Bob Peterson

other parts of the world too. They are usually dark black in color but also have reddish and yellow colors among other species. The workers usually have larger mandibles. These ants are able to stay in both indoor and outdoor conditions. As their name suggests, they do reside in decaying wood with moisture content or hollow woods. They do not eat woods but use those to create their nest by cutting through those. Carpenter ants feed on sweets, meat and even other insects. Their size may vary from 3 to 13mm in length.

The queen can lay up to 16 eggs in the first year and lives for about 25 years. The winged male are usually observed by home owners during swarming. The workers are also noticed while foraging for food. They would firstly attack food exposed to moisture.  Any of these are signs including debris which forms while tunnelling through woods indicates that a well-developed colony exist nearby. They can even cause serious damage to wooden structures at homes.

Field Ants:

These ants can usually be noticed building their nest underground which appears like a mound of soil. Some other species of field ants also nest near building foundation, sidewalks, trees, parks and fields. Field ants are not known to infest indoors.

They do not bite unless disturbed. They belong to the genus formica. These ants can spray formic acid when disturbed which might result in a painful sensation which stays for about an hour.

They can grow up to 8mm in length. These ants could appear in yellow, black and red or even a combination of these. Ants just like humans, also tame other insects like aphids and mealybugs to feed on their sweet secretion. They also do feed on meat and other insects.

In order to identify field ants which are also known as thatch ants, one has to look around for any soil mounds or mounds made of plant materials etc.

Fire Ants/Red ants:

Fire ants are aggressive, reddish in color and can grow up to 5mm in length. They are

fire ants
By Marufish

common source of annoyance in the southern and northern United States. They are known to be omnivorous, equally feeding on vegetables and animal food source. They often feed on other insects, fruits, seeds, earthworms, honeydew and arthropod eggs.

They build their nest in the ground itself with visible mounds usually built to a height of about 20cm. These mounds become visible mostly after rainfalls. This is one way to identify fire ants. The colony size of fire ants are quite high sometimes exceeding even 500,000 members.

The queen of this colony might live till six years while the workers might live up to 180 days. It takes around a month for an egg to mature into an adult.

Citronella Ants:

Citronella ants appear yellow and fall within a range of 4mm to 8mm in terms of body length.

citronella ants with aphids
By NY State IPM Program at Cornell University

When they are crushed, they release a lemon-like strong odor and that’s why their name.

These ants usually nest in the ground but also choose staying under rocks, logs of wood and timbers.  They also infest indoors in areas consisting high content of moisture. So to get rid of them, the home-owners should rather focus in sorting out moisture problem in their homes. They are very common in the regions spanning at the north-west of Pacific as well as in Florida and Mexico.

Odorous Ants:

They are smaller in size measuring about 2-3mm in length. They are known to appear in

odorous ants
By Brian Gratwicke

black or dark brown colored bodies. Their thorax is uneven in shape unlike other species. When they are crushed, a smell of rotten coconut is released and hence their name.

They stay in both indoors and outdoors. During rainy weather, they are more likely to invade indoors. They also feed on honeydew, greasy foods and meats and sweet food items.

These ants reproduces mostly in the months of summer. Swarming activity takes place where the winged male mates with the females. The fertilized female then starts a new colony. Each colony might consist of over 100,000 workers. The metamorphosis process takes around 34-80 days approximately. Odorous ants do not bite or sting unlike the fire ants. When disturbed, they run quick in erratic motions by raising their abdomen into the air.

Argentine Ants:

They are small species of ants measuring about 23mm in length. Their body color ranges

argentine ants
By Matthew Townsend

from light to dark brown. They reside in moisture-laden areas.  They can live anywhere in soil, under debris and mulch or woods. Their colonies are relatively bigger with more than even hundred queens. Like other species of ants, they also prefer sweet foods and eat almost anything. One significant difference with argentine ants is that they do not swarm and reproduce inside the nest itself.  The queen establish new colony nearby the old one and also shares workers among both when required. The queen can lay up to 60 eggs per day. The eggs require about 74 days to reach adulthood.

Argentine ant species form massive colonies consisting of millions of members. It is hard to control them without the supervision of some professional.

Big-headed ants:

This species is commonly found in the United States. Their body color ranges from being

big headed ants
By Charles Lam

yellow to dark reddish brown. Interestingly, they have divided the worker section into two viz. major and minor workers. The major workers have bigger heads and hence their name. They are usually given the duty of protecting the colony from threats. The minor workers do the normal jobs like feeding and nourishing the colony etc.

They form their nest under logs or rocks or even under slabs. They are also known to form mounds around their nest opening. They do not intrude human habitat but occasionally they do while foraging for food source.

Harvester Ants:

This red colored ants can grow up to 10mm in length. They are known to reside outdoors in

harvester ants
By Bob Peterson

gardens and in the open but they might destroy vegetation. These red harvester ants are very aggressive when provoked. Their vicious bites can even cause allergic reactions. They also use pheromone trails to move around hunting for food.

A single queen in the colony is responsible for laying eggs and produce swarmer who carry on the mating activity after which the males die. There are different species of harvester ants also out of which the red colored ones are very poisonous but not all. Well, that doesn’t mean that their bites won’t hurt!

Ghost Ants:

These ants have dark colored heads and thorax but their legs and abdomen are pale in color

ghost ants
By USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

and are often difficult to see through human eyes, hence their name. They are tiny in structure measuring about 1.5mm maximum in length. Like odorous ants, they also emit a coconut like smell when crushed.

They are common in Florida and in tropical regions. They are more likely to reside in warm and heated buildings and greenhouses, besides stones, firewood piles etc. They also feed on honeydews and other insects. They might go indoors following any trails or even through trees and shrubs touching the house in any way and make nests within flowerpots, or wall cracks.

The eggs develop through the process of complete metamorphosis. These ants do not bite or sting unless their nest is disturbed. Their bites are not so serious and might not even have any effect on human body. But they might be carrier of disease causing organisms.

Pharaoh Ants:

They are a small sized species of ants measuring just about 2mm in length with yellow

pharaoh ants
By Animal Diversity Web

colored bodies along with red and black marks on the abdomen section. Infestation can be identified by noticing amber-colored small workers foraging for food. They might want to invade indoors to escape from the winter while in summer months, they can build up their nest outdoors. In indoor environment, they can build nests within the folds of clothes, within the crack of the walls and undisturbed dark areas.

The colony might have multiple number of queens and they can live till a year.  The eggs laid by the queens require about 38 days to completely grow as an adult. They do not swarm but they create new colonies by budding.

Pharaoh ants are menace to places like hospitals due to their capability to breed indoors. They also carry disease spreading organisms.

Thief Ants:

Thief ants and pharaoh ants appear similar in their appearances. This species of ants also grows to a maximum body length of 2.2mm. Their antennae have 10 segments in them while the pharaoh ants have 12. They appear in a color range from yellow to brown. There are no spines in their thorax.

They feed on protein rich and greasy foods like cheese, nuts and sweets etc. They also do target dead insects for food. They are known to steal food from other nests and hence their name.

The eggs from the queen need 50-60 days to fully develop as adults. They infest indoors inside wall-cracks, behind baseboards or cabinet voids etc. and use trails from the food source back to their nest which is easily traceable.

Pavement Ants:

They grow up to 3mm to 4mm in length. They can be of brown or dark in color. They are

pavement ants
By NY State IPM Program at Cornell University

more popular in North American regions. They have a visible pair of spines on their back along with grooves on their head and thorax. They also do feed on honeydew, sweet food items, breads, meats nuts etc.

Pavement ants also has the habit to build their nest under logs, stones and bricks and in the open etc. They also build their nests indoors for e.g. within walls, under floors and dark corners. Same as other ants, the eggs has to undergo complete metamorphosis to develop. A colony might have several queen ants. The new broods are taken care of by the workers and kept away from temperature fluctuations.


Ant bites and its remedy:

The one who believes and preaches that ‘Size Matters’ should be bitten by fire ants! Well, ants might look tiny and helpless, but when bitten by the poisonous one, things can really

ant bites
By Bart Everson

turn very distressing and discomforting. Sometimes the pain itself remains for hours not to forget the itchiness which becomes uncontrollable. Below are some remedies which are very helpful in providing relief from ant bites:

  1. Salt: Make a paste of salt and water and apply it on the affected area. This acts as a saline mixture and fights against any sort of infection. Leave a coat of that paste which will also prevent you from itching that area and control swelling as well.
  2. Applying Ice: Swelling can be easily prevented by icing the area. Ants release histamines under the skin which causes swelling and this gets controlled by ice. The pain will also minimize.
  3. Toothpaste: Not just any toothpaste but the ones with peppermint and cloves are more helpful in acting as anti-histamines and thus can reduce the discomfort and swelling.
  4. Alcohol: Drinking it will reduce your sense to feel the pain, nothing else! Instead, apply alcohol or alcoholic containing product like mouthwash on that bitten area and rub it thoroughly and repeat the same process repeatedly. In that way you will get rid of that discomfort and still be at your senses!
  5. Vinegar: It’s good to apply vinegar in the area if you’ve scratched that area by mistake. This will reduce the chances of any bacterial infection.
  6. Aspirin: Aspirin tablets ae popular for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving nature. But in case of ant bites, you can form a paste of aspirin and water and pally it on the ant bite area. This would also give you comfort and prevent further swelling and itching as well.
  7. Calamine: Apply this lotion generously on the ant bite area. This will reduce the itching sensation to give comfort.
  8. Soap Bar: Press and rub soap bar on the affected area to create a coat of soap on the skin to prevent bacterial attacks and reduce itchiness and swelling.
  9. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel also helps in reducing the swelling and pain sensation. Apply it on the skin and leave it to dry. Repeat the same if pain persists.
  10. Tea bag: Tea has tannic acid in it which helps in reducing discomfort caused due to ant bites. Moist the tea bag, cool it and press on the bitten area with the bags. Even tea tree oil will also work.
  11. Baking Soda: Form a paste of baking soda and apply it on the bitten area. This will prevent any infection and reduce discomfort.

Home remedies for ants/How to get rid of ants naturally?

Dealing with insects doesn’t always require chemicals. There are home remedies to get rid of ants too. Below are few tested methods to kill ants:

  1. Vinegar: Use vinegar to get rid of ants. It’s a very common ingredient in your kitchen. Pour vinegar in a spray bottle and spray vinegar at all the suspected points and over the trail route through which ants enter your home. Vinegar diminishes the pheromone scent and eventually ants would keep out of your home.
  2. Chalks: Draw lines around the perimeter of your home. Ants seem to know their limits too! They are observed not to cross the chalk lines. Chalks are widely available and is cheap way to get rid of ants.
  3. Lemon Juice: When life give you lemons, you ought to squeeze those! Lemon juice acts as natural ants-repellent. Spray the juice around all entry points and this will also help you in keeping ants away from your home.
  4. Soapy water: Make soapy water solution at home using either bathing soap or dish-washing soap and spray the solution all over the trail as well as over them. Repeat it after some time to get rid of ants.
  5. Diatomaceous earth: Use food grade diatomaceous earth to sprinkle it around your house. This might take some time to provide visible results but it works. Make sure you do not wet the substance or else it might not be effective.
  6. Baby Powder: Sprinkle baby powder over the entry points and you’ll see ants not crossing those points.
  7. Coffee grounds: Ants do not like coffee smell. Place coffee grounds at all entry points which will keep them away from your home.
  8. Salt: Prepare salt solution and spray or simply sprinkle it over all significant locations like wall-cracks, window-cracks and similar possible entry points and this will be a deterrent for the ants.
  9. Essential oils: Oils like peppermint, lemon or tea tree oil are very effective in getting rid of ants. Make a water solution with these oils and spray it over the suspected areas to see positive results.
  10. Borax-Sugar mixture: Make small balls of this mixture and place it at places where you’ve seen ants to roam around. Sugar will attract them but borax will kill them.
  11. Baking soda & sugar mixture: Same as the one mentioned above, make small balls of this mixture in the ration of 1:1 and leave those in strategic locations for the ants to consume it.


How to get rid of ants with chemicals?

If you’re not ready to experiment with the DIY methods and rather want some chemical which will instantly help you in getting rid of ants from your home, then there are ways to do that too. But, few things to be remembered before using insecticides to kill ants are that, chemicals should be kept and placed in secure locations beyond reach of small children and pets. Secondly, baits would encourage and allow ants to consume it as well as carry that to their nests. So, the probability of infecting the whole colony stays high while insecticides would kill some on spot but may not the whole colony. Below are few ways to kill ants by chemicals:

  1. Using pyrethroid: This is an effective method to eliminate even big nests of ants. You might require to dilute the chemical with water and then apply. It’s better to follow the instructions mentioned while using it. For e.g. bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, phenothrin, deltamethrin etc.
  2. Talstar granules: This is ant bait which can be spread around the home. When one is attracted towards it, more will follow and get infected within hours.
  3. Boric Acid: Boric acid can be mixed with syrups and sugar containing ingredients to make ant baits. When some foragers get attracted to the bait, they carry it to the nest which kills the queen even. Once that is done, the demise of the nest becomes inevitable.
  4. Insect growth regulators: There are chemicals like methoprene and pyriproxyfen which inhibits the growth of ants. This will keep the population under control. But it’s very toxic and thus whould be disposed of carefully.
  5. Neonicotinoids: This chemicals directly attack the nervous system of the ants and is used especially to get rid of indoor ants in the form of gels and liquids. For e.g. Clothianidin, acetamiprid, Imidacloprid etc. are some of the pesticides falling under this category.
  6. Hydramethylon: To be used in the form of granules, gels or liquids. This is very effective against fire ants, argentine and carpenter ants. It hampers the fetus and reproduction process of the ants.
  7. Fipronil: It’s a dangerous toxic chemicals effective against argentine and carpenter ants. It’s even toxic to humans when exposed.
  8. Indoxacarb and fenoxycarb: Very effective against fire ants. These are available in the market in the form of granules.
  9. Aerosols and foggers: These can be sprayed over the nests to kill ants but spraying these also pollutes the air and inhaling these might be harmful to humans. For e.g. limonene, eugenol or clove oil, cinnamaldehyde etc.

It’s suggested that you employ multiple methods to get the best results. DIY methods would not cost you more that $500-$600 per year, but seeking professional help in case when none of these methods work, can cost you even more than this depending on how big your house is and the level of infestation.

How to prevent ants at home?

Getting rid of ants at once from your house doesn’t mean that they won’t come to invade your home ever. Even after killing all of them, you have to make sure that you are able to prevent them from entering your home once again.

  • Always try to keep your house clean.
  • Maintain a non-messy kitchen. Always clean it after cooking.
  • Regularly sweep the floor and keep food items in covered containers
  • Avoid unnecessary moisture to accumulate inside your home
  • Clean trash cans and empty those in regular intervals

How To Kill Bed Bugs | Bed Bug Treatment Naturally Or Chemically



“Baa baa bed bugs, have you any blood? Yes sir, yes sir one human full!”

Well, that’s how terrifying it is! With so much of bed bugs everywhere, sleeping on a mattress is like turning yourself into their buffet!

They are the real life Dracula never missing a chance to suck out your blood! Most of us have gone through this experience with bed bugs regardless of how spotless and perfect our homes are. Once the bed bugs find their way inside your house, they are quick to find their hiding spot. They can choose anything to hide from luggage, mattresses, furniture and couch etc. These crawlers can choose to hide at the tiniest crack in your house which you might not even notice! Bed bugs can easily be transported via beddings, luggage or clothes.

Isn’t it so frustrating when you are bitten by bed bugs and the very next moment they vanish? Moreover, these bites will leave red and pink marks on your body with lots of itching! Getting rid of them might be very difficult and the increasing anxiety and number of restless nights are just unbearable.

So what are bed bugs?

Bed bugs
By Gilles-San-Martin

These are tiny insects which fall under Cimicidae family. These parasitic insects has been there since ages and they feed on human blood which is the only source of nutrition for them. These wingless bed bugs appears flat and oval in shape resembling an apple seed. These bed bugs are specialized in staying very close to their prey but not far from their hiding point. So, they hide inside the beds and at night they attack the host and hide in no time. A recent survey reports that about 98% chances are there for mattresses getting chosen for infestation while 94% for baseboards and 93% for box springs. Warm blooded animals like human beings are their primary choice of food.

Where do bed bugs come from?

There is no such place where these bed bugs can’t happen to exist like dorms, used mattresses or furniture, hotels, hospitals, buildings or apartments, vehicles like buses and trains etc. Bed bugs can also be found in dark corners of the room, behind picture frames, in pillows, under furniture, inside crack and crevices etc. All of these spots are good for the bed bugs to infest the whole house. You need to monitor all these places at regular intervals.

How do bed bugs look like?

Bed bugs are oval shaped, wingless, flat bodied, appear reddish brown in color with six legs like any other insects along with a head, thorax and abdomen. Their body color right after hatching appear white and turn to brown by the time they grow as adult.  They appear significantly red after feeding on their hosts. The younger ones look more like poppy seeds.

Why bed bugs should be killed?

Bed bugs bite their prey and with the help of their beak-like mouthpart, suck our blood from the host body. These bites form ridge like structure on the body which results in itching. Allergic people face the worst scenarios when bitten by these bed bugs. Hypersensitive reactions can also lead to asthma or similar medical conditions. The anxiety caused by these bed bugs might drastically reduce the hours of sleep which might impact the overall health of a human being.

Why it is hard to eliminate bed bugs?

Considering the size of the bed bugs, eliminating them might not look very tough but reality speaks the other way round! These tiny brown bed bugs by virtue of their size, can hide anywhere they like away from human reach. They become active during the nights and avoid coming out in daylight in a way limiting their chances to get caught. Moreover, these bed bugs although can’t fly or jump around, but they are very quick in moving from one spot to other.

The female bed bugs can lay eggs at a very high rate about 5-7 eggs every week which refers to the fact that they can form a colony in a very short span of time. Bed bugs can stay without food for almost a year! If you think, moving out of your home for a certain period of time would get rid of these bed bugs, then you’re very wrong to think so. Chemicals, which most of the people would think to use and get rid of these bed bugs. But, this isn’t always fruitful.

Firstly, considering areas like mattresses, pillows and clothes which are mostly infested by bed bugs, it isn’t suggested for anyone to use harsh and strong chemicals as human beings would also be at risk. Secondly, these bed bugs are also evolving through generations and they might also be resistant to some chemicals. So if you think that you would buy certain chemicals and you’re done with bed bugs, you might be wrong! For these reasons, it is hard to eliminate bed bugs.

How to detect bed bug infestation/ signs of bed bugs?

Take out your torch and start inspecting all those tiny cracks and crevices and all other areas mentioned above where the possibility of infestation is high. Additionally, keep an eye especially on your beddings. When you’re the host, bed is the best place to attack for the bed bugs. So look out for any tell-tale signs within your beddings. Search for any spots of blood or fecal matters (they might excrete while feeding which leaves black specks) and shredded skin (exoskeleton) of the bugs. Any of these on your bedframes, bed sheet or pillow or any bite marks on your body after you wake up from your sleep, is a confirmation of bed bug infestation.

How do bed bugs feed themselves?

Bed bugs are hematophagous i.e feeding on blood. They are mostly active during nighttime and they simply hate sunlight. The warmth of the host body and carbon dioxide guide these bugs to their prey. They prefer exposed skin areas to attack. With the help of their strong beaks also called as rostrum, they penetrate the skin, introduce anesthetic substance so that the host doesn’t feel anything along with an anticoagulant agent to ensure free flow of blood and suck out the blood. It takes around 5 minutes for a bed bug to be fill its stomach. The aftereffects of the bite various person to person. This might produce just a swelling in some people and for some there might be itchiness with red spots on their skin.

Types of bed bugs:

There are around 90 different species of bugs present and out of those about three types are known to feed on human blood.

The common bed bug or the household bed bug: These are the most common species found at homes located in temperate climate regions. These species target human as their prey and thus they’re very much adapted with human habitats. Different species of bed bugs might appear the same, the differences has to be identified by magnification. But for people who are looking to get rid of bed bugs from their homes, just to identify whether common bed bugs are there or not, is all that is actually required.

The tropical bed bug: The ones which prefer to stay in tropical regions. As per the feeding habit, even this species feed on mammalian blood.

Bat bugs: As the name suggests, bat bugs are more likely to feed upon bats but can shift to human blood too. This species are there in both temperate and tropical regions.

Chicken bug: The Mexican chicken bugs mostly feed upon poultry birds and domestic birds. This can often be confused with common bed bugs.

Swallow bugs: This species can also be mistaken with that of common bed bugs. They live in swallow nest but they can target humans also.

Life cycle of bed bug:

Eggs: Like every other living organism, bed bugs also begin their journey from an egg. The eggs of bed bugs are white in color and measures just about 1mm. A female bed bug can lay up to 5 eggs a day and about 500 in a lifetime. That is too much for such a tiny insect! The eggs are very carefully placed within tiny cracks literally unreachable. These eggs hatch within a period of two weeks and right from that moment, the newborns starts their feeding.

Nymphs: The younger bed bugs are called nymphs. Five molts and these nymphs get matured. The nymphs appear whitish in complexion although the older nymphs appear brownish. Nymphs are not sexually mature. In order to pass through each molts, these nymphs require a blood meal. Considering room temperature, a nymph takes around five weeks to turn into an adult.

Adult: After attaining adulthood, bed bugs become sexually active, appear reddish-brown in color. They have a life span ranging from 4-6 months or even more considering optimum surrounding for a bed bug to thrive.

Bed bug bites treatment:

Do bed bugs bite? Hell Yeah! As mentioned earlier, the bed bugs use an anesthetic agent

bed bug bites
By louento.pix

while sucking blood out from human body which results in raised red bump on the body with an accompanied itching and bed bugs rash. These might look like mosquito bites. Bed bugs cause harm only to the surface of the skin however, Sensitive skins might have some allergic reactions to it but with no major issues. Experts say that there is no exchange of pathogens been carried out by the bed bugs and thus the chance of spreading diseases is minimal.

Bed bug treatment:

Although there is less chance of any disease being transferred but skin irritation and itchiness can be relieved through medications. Application of topical creams would do well in the treatment for bed bug bites. Scratching should be prevented as much as possible because it is this way how an infection can occur. If that happens, then some oral antibiotics will help. Although rare, but in case of some serious allergic reactions such as fever, blisters, swelling of tongue, difficulties in breathing or irregular heartbeats, it’s better to consult a dermatologist. In normal situations, it might require a couple of weeks to resolve bed bug bites.

So, now as we came to know pretty much everything about bed bugs, it’s time to get our hands dirty and seek revenge! So just as the Hollywood actor Liam Neeson said, “Find them, and Kill ’em.” We would begin with some natural ways of eliminating bed bugs from our homes.

How to get rid of bed bugs naturally?

Below are the best ways to kill bed bugs and some home remedies for bed bugs which you should try.

  1. Always start with a deep inspection in all the areas of focus as mentioned earlier. Start by vacuuming. They’ve sucked a lot, now it’s payback! Suck them up in your vacuum machine from all the hidden areas. Check out the curtain edges as the legs of the bed bugs would help them to firmly grip themselves on the curtains. Use a stiff brush if you need.
  2. Bed bug heat treatment: Wash all your clothes even the unused ones to make sure these bugs aren’t hiding there. Also try to keep the temperature as high as possible as these bugs cannot bear with a temperature greater than 120 Fahrenheit or 50 degrees.
  3. Once you disturb the hideouts of these bugs, they might want to change their location quick. Meanwhile taking advantage of this chaos, you can ambush them with the help of some paper towels or sticky tape. But if the infestation level is high, then this process might not be so handy. Please note that isolating them for some time won’t help to eliminate them as we all know that these vampires can ‘stay hungry and not foolish’ for a long time too!
  4. Kidney bean leaves: Kidney bean leaves has been used for a long time to trap bed bugs by spreading them all over the floor. Due to the presence of trichomes (hooked hairs) on the leaves, once the bed bugs step on these, they get trapped on the surfaces despite of their struggle.
  5. Diatomaceous Earth (Silica Dioxide): This rock powder when used on the bed bugs can destroy the exoskeleton of the bugs and dehydrates the bed bugs to death. This is very effective when used in a dry environment. But make sure you use the food grade one as it is non-toxic.
  6. Pyrethrum: This is a natural chemical extract from dried flower heads of chrysanthemum and coccineum. The insecticide is called pyrethrin which attacks the nervous system of the bed bugs thus killing them.
  7. Oil treatments: Oils from tea tree, oregano oil, cedar oil, orange oil or manuka oil are all effective in eradicating bed bugs. Few of these oils like orange oil and cedar oil will work upon contact. These can be used as bed bug spray over suspected areas.
  8. The mighty Sun: Exposing beds and mattress or furniture under the sun for a long time can also help in getting rid of the bed bugs
  9. Sealing cracks and crevices: Use caulk to seal tiny cracks and crevices in the house and any form of gaps within the furniture to prevent bed bugs from infesting.
  10. Using scented dryer sheets is also a good option. Place these sheets on your couch or sofas and even between box springs and surfaces of mattresses. These act as repellant for the bugs
  11. Dispose: In case of heavy infestation and when you know that the eggs are beyond your reach, it’s better to dispose those belongings of yours. It isn’t always possible to throw away costly belongings but sometimes it’s unavoidable depending upon the level of infestation.
  12. Using bleach and lavender as cleaning agents is growing in popularity these days. Bleach consists of diatomaceous earth agent and thus can dehydrate the bugs and kill them. While lavender scent repels bed bugs and keeps them away.
  13. Use of alcohol: No, you don’t need to get them drunk! Just spray alcohols on walls and cracks and this will dehydrate the eggs of the bed bugs. But before you do so, try spraying it on small portion of furniture or walls just to check any unfavorable reactions caused.
  14. You can also seal mattress with the help of plastic covers which will prevent them to infest.

Don’t directly jump for bed bug removal by using chemicals, instead try out these home remedies to get rid of bed bugs.

Chemicals to kill bed bugs/ how to kill bed bugs chemically?

Chemical treatments should always be performed under the surveillance of experts. Chemicals falling under the category of pyrethrins, pyrethroids, desiccants, pyrroles and IGR (Insect Growth Regulators) are effective in killing bed bugs. But with children at homes, these chemicals should be only used by professionals. Additionally, one needs to know about the mode of action of all the chemicals before applying them as it is different for every chemicals.

Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are commonly used at indoor areas. Although it might happen that the bed bugs generate resistance to these. In that case, you might want to switch the class of the chemicals.

Desiccants after coming in direct contact with the bed bug, can destroy the exoskeleton and dehydrate the bug and eventually kill it. Diatomaceous earth and boric acid falls under this category. Interestingly, as these are contact killing chemicals, the bugs cannot create resistance against these.

Biochemical like cold pressed Neem oil are very good pesticides to eliminate bed bugs.

Pyrroles are comparatively complex compounds which impacts the cells of the bed bugs thus killing them.

IGR: These affect the growth of the bed bugs. Some of these might hamper the exoskeleton of the bugs and some might directly stop the bug from growing.

These all are some effective products to kill bed bugs.

You can find some good bed bug killer pesticides to kill bed bugs from these links:

Prevention of bed bugs infestation:

Prevention is always better than cure. So try the below steps to keep these vamps away from your home.

– Inspect any second hand beddings or furniture before buying. Although it’s better not to buy those

– Check your belongings if you’ve stayed in a hotel or motel etc. before entering your home

– After returning from a trip or cruise, do wash your clothes and belongings well at a higher temperature and dry those carefully

– Use garment steamer to dry out your clothes

– Attach double sided tape around the bottom of your bed, sofas or couch. Once they get stuck in that tape, even your kitten could kill them!

When to call for a professional?

Well, following all these steps and learning a bit about these bed bugs can really be helpful in killing bed bugs. Try the natural methods at your own and even if the problem persists, consult a professional for help with using chemical methods to remove them. It’s better even to consult a professional to inspect the infestation level based upon which you can decide whether you want to give it a try or just allocate the job to the professionals.

Myths about bed bug extermination:

  1. The DDT myth: DDT is not always the good option to choose. It might happen that the bugs are already resistant to DDT. Besides, considering the harmful effects of DDT usage, it’s better not to go for DDT alone.
  2. Foggers are not the best solutions against bed bugs. Reports say that these can’t reach deep into the harborage.
  3. Bed bug sniffing dogs: This might dig a deep hole into your pocket. Moreover, the efficiency is a question.
  4. Moving out of the house would kill the bed bugs: As already mentioned, these bed bugs can stay without feeding for a long time. So even going out for a vacation won’t help getting rid of these bugs.
  5. All you need is a pesticide: That is not always the correct statement to make. Rather, you should attack bed bugs with a combination of methods. That would actually be very impactful.

Hope you’ll get the right method to overcome these bed bugs forever and save your healthy blood!

How to get rid of roaches Fast | Kill Cockroaches Naturally Or Using Chemicals



Entering the kitchen at midnight can turn out to be real scary with roaches running everywhere. It’s just like a war field with landmines planted everywhere. You have to mind your steps out there!

Cockroaches has been there since ages and through several generations of evolution, made them very adaptable to this planet. It’s pretty much confirmed that they have learnt the art of living as well as the art of annoying humans!

Identifying roaches/ what do roaches look like?

Cockroaches appear to be oval in body shape with 2 inches in length and flat. The outer body of the roaches are oily to touch. The head is small with two antennas and covered by a shield-like structure biologically known as pronotum. The mouth is directed downwards. Like other insects, they do have six long legs, but spiny, which help them to run quickly regardless of the surface type. They can also climb up walls and ceilings easily. Some of the species have wings but not all of them use those for flying. Brown and reddish are the most common body colour but the young ones might appear a bit pale in colour. In size, the female roaches are bigger than their male counterparts.

Cockroach facts

Cockroaches fall under the order of Blattodea similar to termites. Their ancestral origin is present since the era of dinosaurs. About 4600 species are reportedly living on earth. Cockroaches can live in various climatic conditions from Tropical heat to Arctic cold. They can live without food for about a month and half a month without water! Roaches can manage to run up to 3 miles in an hour


What do roaches eat?

Roaches are scavengers and feed on anything from flesh to fruits i.e. omnivorous. They can eat any organic form of food. Decaying wood, sewage, hair, books, meat, starch and sweet are still half of the catalogue.

Life cycle of roaches:

Like all other insects, the lifecycle of roaches include eggs > nymphs > adult phases respectively.

Eggs: The females lay the eggs which are enclosed within oothecae (a strong protein case). These cases can contain different ranges of nymphs inside and this number differs species to species. Generally it takes around 25-28 days to hatch but the hatching period is also dependent upon parameters like environment conditions and species type etc.

Nymphs: The nymphs look somewhat similar to the adults with some differences like size,

roaches nymph
By Matt Reinbold

colour and absence of wings. Initially they might appear very light in colour. They require to undergo several phases of molts to mature completely. After maturing, their body colour turn darker.

Adult: The adult has all the evolved body characteristics like flat wings, dark body colour and increased body size. They also become capable of reproduction at this stage.

Does roaches cause diseases?

Roaches are scavengers and might feed on sewage, garbage and decaying substances etc. Additionally they might even dwell in rotten and waste deposit areas. Roaches can turn themselves into carriers of various harmful diseases and can transmit the same to human beings. Medical conditions like allergies and asthma might get triggered in sensitive individuals and children. Hence, you should really consider getting rid of roaches seriously.

How does roaches enter your house?

There are plenty of ways how roaches can enter your house and you may never know until they have settled in properly. If you come across a single one, chances are high that your house is already infested. Due to the warm temperature, availability of ample food supply and water, our homes are a very apt place for the roaches to breed. Roaches might enter our home through drain pipes, sewer, vents, cracks and crevices and even through bags or boxes we bring to our home.

Detect roach infestation

Roaches in house are nocturnal beings. Most of the activities can be noticed only during night. They also prefer dark areas to breed. You might want to check areas like drain pipes, sinks, stoves, bathrooms or kitchen and big appliances etc. for infestation. Some of them might appear in broad daylight and that might be the result of over-crowding or in need of food or water. You can also keep an eye for checking out droppings which is also a good way to identify roach infestation besides identifying that musty odour they spread in the premises.

Types of cockroaches:

There are different types of roaches co-existing on this planet. Few of the most popular types of roaches are as below:

American cockroach:

By Mr.TinDC

They are also known as water bug, water roaches or palmetto bug. It is said that they were introduced by a ship from Africa very long ago. American roaches are probably the biggest in size being able to grow up to 50mm in length. Currently they are the major pest in the states.

American roaches appear reddish brown coloured with yellow coloured bands behind their heads. They reproduce and grow quick. It takes around 5 months to convert to an adult from egg. American roach egg cases are about 38mm in length and are dark-reddish or brown in colour.

They are known to be able to fly when they turn into an adult. They do not breed on human homes rather they choose to stay outdoor like on trees, flowerbeds and under mulch etc. They are only known to infest indoors only in search of food or water. They feed on leaves, wood particles, fungi and algae, small insects and left over foods.

Good way to identify infestation is to look out for droppings which are similar to mouse droppings but are blunt at  the ends. These roaches are dirty by nature and are also known to spread diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, plague, dysentery, typhoid and polio etc.

German roaches:

By Sarah Camp

They are one of the most commonly found roaches in houses, hotels, restaurants and hospitals etc. They can grow up to 13-16mm in length. They appear reddish or light brownish in colour. In spite of having wings, they are unable to fly. The nymphs do not possess wings and are smaller in size. The two dark parallel lines from the back of the head till the wings are clearly visible to human eyes.

They like to breed on warmer locations. They are very active at night but hide during daytime in dark places. They reproduce and grow rapidly. Eggs of this species are about one-fourth of an inch long. The eggs require about a month to hatch.

The life span of an adult female is about 8 months. They reproduces about two generations per year. These roaches produce odours which gets stronger when the population grows and that might impact the flavour of foods. They can also cause viral and bacterial diseases.

Brown-banded cockroach:

They are not so known to infest indoors and they like to stay in warmer temperature areas, even warmer than places where the German roaches want to breed. They can also be founded in offices other than apartments and homes. They like to feed on starch rich substances like office glues. They can also be found in kitchens, hospitals and non-AC environment.

The males are able to fly but not the females. When disturbed, the natural tendency of males is to fly the hell out of the place! The females are capable to reproduce more than 500 roaches a year.

Oriental Cockroach:

Oriental Cockroach
By gailhampshire

They are sometimes known as black beetle. Unlike German roaches they prefer cooler surroundings to stay. They prefer dark places like trash cans, garages, drains and basements etc. They are also not known to be able to move that fast like the other species.

They are also not able to climb up smooth and vertical surfaces. They get easily trapped in smooth sinks and tubs for that very reason.

The eggs of this species are about 3/8 inches in length and appear reddish-brown in colour. They cannot lay more than 200 eggs a year, unlike brown-banded roaches. To transform into an adult, a nymph might need about 1 or 2 years or even more.

Albino roach:

By slappytheseal

White roaches i.e. the white colour associated with roaches are considered to be albino roaches but the facts state different. The new molted cockroaches are the ones stated as albino roaches. The reason being the molting phenomena. After molting the roaches not only shed the external shell but also loses pigment and thus appear white in colour. Within few hours the process of coloration starts and again turns the cockroach darker.

Wood roach:

By NY State IPM Program

Pennsylvania wood cockroaches are by far the most known species of cockroach. Adult male wood roaches grow about 22 to 30mm in length while the females up to 20mm in length with shorter wings comparatively. Adult males can fly with the help of big wings but the females can’t. They prefer to stay outdoor and do not infest homes but during their mating season i.e. the month of May and June, they follow the pheromone secreted by the females and can follow the scent anywhere, even inside our homes. However, the female lays eggs in outdoors.

Turkestan cockroaches:

They are relatively new specie into existence and are often confused with other species. The females are often mistaken with that of the oriental species of roaches. To identify them from others you have to note if there is any cream-coloured marks along the edges of their heads and wings. Males can be identified by their small size with yellow-tanned wings with strips of cream colour along the edges. Biologically, they are similar to the oriental species. The nymphs of turkestan roaches appear in black and red.

Field roaches:

Mostly confused with German roaches but they appear to be more olive in colour with black coloured strips between their eyes. They prefer to live in outdoors but tend to move indoors in hot conditions. They can be found in plant debris. To transform in to a mature adult, the nymph requires about 3 months of time.

Surinam cockroaches:

This species is special in certain areas. They are mostly found in tropical areas. They can grow up to 25mm in length. They prefer dark and moist locations to breed. The females have black heads and light coloured wings. The females can produce offspring without the fertilisation process i.e. parthenogenesis. The eggs are hosted inside the female abdomen and hatch there itself unlike other species. They are not able to produce numerous eggs either. They are destructive by nature and can damage greenhouses and gardens. They do not usually infest indoors.

Sand cockroaches:

They can be found in the deserts and sand hills. They live in sand dunes but still they are not able to burrow deep into the soil. They feed on roots of desert shrubs. The small ridges in the sand can confirm their presence. The females stay within the burrow in daytime to avoid light. They are dusty brown in colour and wingless too. They do not breed indoors and hence not a problem to human.

Florida cockroaches:

Special character about this species is that when they sense threat, they release a liquid very foul in smell. They are mostly found in woods under palmetto leaves. They are large in size measuring up to 4cm in length. They are black in colour and quite similar to oriental roaches. They are very rarely known to infest human habitats but they might do that in search of warmth. Most commonly, they are found in coastal regions of Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. They are also not that popular for laying massive number of eggs.

Death Head Roaches:

It got its name from the mark resembling a skull on its thorax. Their wings are black in colour. Like florida roaches, they also emit strong odour as a part of their defense mechanism. They are not able to fly.

Smoky-brown cockroaches:

They can be found in garages, woodpiles and sewers etc. They might also infest indoors. The nymphs of this species appear dark brown in colour and have distinctive white segments at their abdomen and back region. The eggs can hatch within 24-70 days. The total transformation requires about 3 months.

Asian roaches:

Mostly found in south-eastern part of Asia. They infest indoors. They are also omnivorous like most of the other species. They can also spread disease and can cause harm to human. Summer and spring time are best for their reproduction process. The adults grow to 16mm in length. They are light brown in colour and can be identified by the presence of two parallel lines behind their head. They can also fly well. Primarily they tend to stay outdoors till the time they get moist and shady area to stay. They also do get attracted to light sources and can fly towards that.

Green cockroaches:

Found mostly in tropical regions like Central America, South American regions, they can grow up to 24mm in length. They also do have well developed wings and are able to fly very well. They are also known as Cuban cockroaches. They like to feed on sugary substances like fruits and sodas. The adults are green in colour while the younger ones appear to be brown or black. They can also get attracted towards light source and might also travel towards it. They do not infest indoors.

Now the question is, how to get rid of roaches? Here, we would be discussing about how to kill cockroaches.

Home remedies for roaches/How to kill roaches naturally?

  1. Soapy water or fabric softener:

If you can spray strong soapy water or a solution of water and fabric softener in the ratio of 2:3 on the lower part of the roaches directly, it can keep them away for sure. You can even use your bathing soap to form the solution and use it. This solution blocks the breathing pores of the roaches leading them to death by suffocation.

  1. Baking soda and sugar:

Mix both of these in equal ratio and sprinkle the mixture over the areas infested by roaches. Once they consume the mixture, the baking soda will take care of the roaches. This is more popularly known as the roach bait.

  1. Pepper, Onion and Garlic Solution:

Add one tablespoon of pepper powder, one pasted onion and a garlic clove in a liter of water and wait till an hour to add one tablespoon of liquid soap and spray the mixture on their nest, on all the areas they happen to invade or directly on them.

  1. Bay leaves:

Almost common to every Indian household as a cooking ingredient. The bay leaves are fragrant and this helps in keeping roaches at bay! Place bay leaves on all the suspected areas and also near their nest. Soon the cockroaches will leave your house to you! This is a good method for people who don’t want to commit the sin of killing roaches!

  1. Use petroleum jelly trap:

Take an empty jar and apply petroleum jelly on the inner rim of the jar and place some fruit peels inside the jar. Leave it open through the night near infested area. The fruit peels will attract them to go inside the jar, but the petroleum jelly won’t let it pass through it. Once you catch them, drown them in a soapy solution and you’re done killing roaches.

  1. The water trap:

Adult roaches can be caught using the water trap. Place a half-filled water jar nearby the walls. Once they enter the jar, they won’t be able to swim through the water. Clearly, they aren’t much of a swimmer. The next day you can dispose the dead bodies.

  1. Using cucumber trap:

You will require an aluminium can to place cucumber peels and pieces of cucumber in it. Cucumber reacts with the metal to form a smell which the roaches aren’t that fond of, thus, will keep them away from infesting.

  1. Roach Trap:

This is readily available in the market. The trap has a bait and adhesive materials. Once the roaches goes near the bait, they get trapped by the sticky material. Leave it for a week and then check the results. If needed, you can repeat the process again.

  1. Starvation:

Starvation could also help in getting rid of the roaches. Not leaving any food item in the open and storing all food items in tight containers might do the trick. Also do not leave left over stuffs in the trash can or perhaps seal those items carefully before disposing. Empty the can daily.

  1. DIY cockroach killer bait balls:

Make small balls by adding bacon drippings, powdered sugar, borax, water and flour. Keep these in places where the roaches are most likely to hang around. Once they consume this bait, they’re simply dead. Water the balls to keep these fresh to be able to attract roaches.

  1. Baking soda bait:

Make balls with baking soda and sugar in equal proportion with water and place these in your premise. Once cockroaches consume the bait, this will impact the digestive system thus killing them.

How to kill roaches chemically?

  1. Diatomaceous earth:

Ensure to use the food grade diatomaceous earth in order to get rid of roaches. You need to sprinkle these silica particles in all the area you suspect. Cover all the hidden areas with care. This material is non-toxic to human. Diatomaceous earth usually kills the roaches within 48 hours of its application by dehydrating their exoskeleton. Once the cockroaches are infected with this substance, they will hunt for water. So, you would also have to ensure that you don’t leave any source of water accessible to them.

  1. Boric Acid for roaches:

Boric acid is a very common and result oriented method to kill roaches. This is a very popular cockroach bait being used by people. When roaches come in contact with boric acid, the chemical get stuck into their legs. Roaches get killed. Once they consume this toxin. To make it possible, you can also try making a dough by adding boric acid, water and sugar. Sugar will attract the roaches and make them feed on it. This is a very effective solution to control roaches but, boric acid is harmful and should be used cautiously. Wash your hands after using it and keep it away from children and pets.

  1. Roach Spray:

To spray insecticides like Cyfluthrin, choose areas where the cockroaches enjoy to stay like drainage, trash can, cracks and vents etc. Spray this chemical carefully as it is toxic to human body.

  1. Roach gel:

This gel treatment is the latest method in trend. It’s easy to be implemented. The process involves applying the gel in the entire area specially focusing on strategic locations. It’s a non-messy process. The gel acts as a bait to the roaches which consists of edible ingredients particularly they like the most. When roaches get contaminated with the gel, it has a cascading effect to contaminate others too ultimately killing them all within 24 hours. With this method in place, you won’t even require to empty your kitchen. It’s non-smelly and completely safe for children n pets. Make sure to repeat the process after 3 months depending upon previous results.

  1. Ammonia solution:

It can be used with water to clean kitchen area and wash-room to keep roaches away.

6.Bleach and pinesol:

A solution of these in equal ratio can be applied to infested areas for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, when you do that, you have to keep ventilation turned on as the strong smell of this chemical mixture would be unbearable. After 30 minutes, you can clean off the chemical.

7.Roach Fogger:

Fogs are efficient to kill cockroaches but cannot enter through crevices and cracks. The level of penetration is low. Although the chemicals are good to kill roaches but they might have generated resistance to these chemicals to some extent. Moreover, fogging is not so friendly to your furniture and might also cause health hazards. So, you need to be careful while doing this.

Other chemicals like fipronil, abamectin, hydramethylnon, diatomaceous earth dusts are also good for getting rid of roaches. But these are harmful chemicals and therefore you would require to use them very carefully and try keeping pets and children away from the area where you’ve applied those chemicals.



When to call for professional help?

First of all, give a try to the DIY natural roach killer methods. Wait and observe the results.  Please note that you can combine several approaches for better results. If you find them still pestering you, try the chemical means of roach killing. And if you feel that the level of infestation is too high or the infestation is impacting health conditions, then you should call for a professional help.

How to prevent roaches:

  1. Do not leave food items and left overs in the open. Always keep your home clean
  2. Removal of all kind of wastes like decayed wood, plants etc.
  3. Try locating any nest and destroy that with chemicals
  4. Always empty trash cans daily
  5. Proper sealing of cracks and crevices so as to remove any possible breeding grounds for roaches

How To Get Rid Of Moths Problem | Moth Infestation & Identifcation | Types Of Moth & Treatment Guide

No one can deny the fury and anger that boils under your skin when you pull out your favourite woollen sweater just to discover that it has been withered by evil moths.

Well, the good news is that you don’t need to quit your job and adopt a lifetime goal of killing these moths or burn down your house to get rid of those hungry moths and start a clean, fresh life!

However, the bad news is that moths are silent dwellers and might munch away your clothes and other materials without leaving any significant clue behind for us to find out.

Owning a luxurious wardrobe with lots of furs and expensive silks might be sending out an invitation for moths to infest. They are attracted to anything from silk, food grains, wool or any other fabric. Moths are usually attracted towards light sources.

Moth Appearance: How do moths look like?

By Mark Turnauckas

The body size of moths may vary species to species. There are massive sized moths as well as tiny ones. The sizes can vary from the tip of a pencil to some small chirping bird.  Some might appear in metallic colours while some might appear dull brown or grey in colour.

Signs of moth infestation

The signs are easy to catch only if you know what to.

  • Pull out clothes from your closet and look out for tiny, irregular holes in those. Do take a close look especially on items made up of wool, fur or silk.
  • Look out for smelly cloths which appear discoloured.
  • Carefully inspect the corners of the closets for infestation. Moths usually like to infest and lay eggs at damp, dark and undisturbed places. Look out for cocoons, droppings and webbing left by them.
  • To find out moth infestation in food items, look out for stickiness which happens due to moth secretion as well as food appearing stale even before its expiry.
  • Most importantly, presence of crawling caterpillars just confirms moth infestation.

Where do moths come from?

These silent intruders are often introduced through our food grains. That is one reason why our pantry should be inspected at regular intervals. Birds and rodents are also a medium through which these moths can make their way to our home.

Moreover, some specific breed of moths feed on coniferous tree leaves including leaves of oak trees, walnut, rose, maple and willow etc. These trees suffer heavy damage by these moths. Healthy ones are able to withstand the damage but the younger trees aged between 1 and 3 years can’t withstand the same after heavy defoliation by the moths.So, if you have any of these trees nearby your house, you shouldn’t be surprised to see moths paying you a visit at your house. Moreover, these can also fly through an open door or window.


What do moths eat?

Furs, leathers, woollen stuffs, silken clothes even cotton are all in the list of foods these moths like to munch on. Moths can attack blankets, pillow, carpet, rugs and fabric materials to get access to the attached dirt, salt from sweat, stains from food spilled like milk or coffee etc. Dirty woollen clothes are more susceptible to moth attack. Some of these moths are also known to attack crops and vegetables like tomatoes and cabbages which is very damaging. Moths also do feed on bird droppings, fruits, pollens and animal dungs.

But you might be surprised to know that the larvae and not the adult, is disastrous and do all the chewing to your belongings! These adults, by using their proboscis (the long tube attached to their mouth) drink nectar from flowers to get their nourishment.

Life cycle of moths

The fertile adult females can lay up to 300 eggs. Within a period of a couple of weeks, the larvae hatch and starts feeding. The eggs are laid on or nearby the food materials. After these moths attain full growth, then the pupation begins. The formation of cocoon starts during this phase. The moths usually select cracks, crevices, ceilings like places to start spinning the cocoons.It takes around 30 days for these to emerge as full grown adults. Temperature plays a vital role in completion of the whole process. Optimum temperature boosts the process.

Different types of moths and how to identify them?

According to a report, there are about 11000 species of moths found in the US! And in the UK, moths are reportedly of 2400 species according to

Webbing clothes moth:

These are very common in the US throughout all its states. These moths are of beige in colour with reddish hairs on their heads. The metallic brown coloured wings when extended appears about half an inch in size. Adult males has the ability to fly but the female counterparts are not much of a flyer. They can only afford to fly inside houses and not more.

Life cycle:

The larvae seems to undergo drastic biological change in its cocoon which makes the adults capable of laying eggs on the same day it surfaces out of its cocoon. Fifteen days to thirty days is the normal lifespan for an adult. A female lays approximately 45 eggs or more. The eggs of webbing clothes moth are of ivory colour and tiny in size. The process of hatching is quicker in summer than in winter.

The larvae of this breed of moths are white in colour and half an inch in length. The larvae has to go through multiple molts to develop completely. Parameters like food availability, optimum temperature and relative humidity impact the overall development process a lot. After this the larva spins a silk pupal case and starts its pupal stage of about 10-40 days. The total life cycle may vary from 50 days to even 4 years at maximum.

Clothes moth or Brown House Moth:

clothes moth
By David Short

This is one of the tiny species of moth sizing about 6 to 8 mm in length. These moths prefer to stay in dark places like your attics, closets or within the fold of your favourite fabrics in an undisturbed way. This type of moths are not so known for flying too much. The notorious cream colored larvae destroys our clothes and fabrics and anything which has keratin protein one of the constituents. The larvae can grow up to 18mm in length. These larvae similarly like butterflies then undergo all the development stages like pupa and then to adult.

Case making clothes moth

This particular species of moth is not so common like that of the webbing clothes moth and mostly found in the southern part of the US including other parts as well. The brown coloured case making clothes moth are about half an inch in length while the larvae of the same extends about three-fourth of an inch. This moth unlike clothes moths, make regular holes in fabrics.

This moth has 3 identifiable dark spots on the wings.The larva spins and carries a silken case along with it while it feeds, hence its name. When it approaches its correct time to pupate, it seals off both the open ends of the case and pupates.

Pantry moth or Meal moth

If you find your food grains are under moth attack, then you’re more likely dealing with the Indian meal moth or the Mediterranean flour moth or the Angoumois grain moth. How would you feel when you find something wriggling in your food? Creepy isn’t it?

meal moth
By David Short

When your food is infested by the larvae, you will notice webs and white larvae with brown heads in your food.These moths are relatively easy to identify as the outer part of the Indian meal moth’s fore-wings would appear copper brown and that of the Mediterranean species would be pale gray with black lines whereas the third one is of beige color with pointed pair of hinds. All of these species are bigger in size than the other species of moths.

Carpet moth or Tapestry moth:

carpet moth
By Mike

These are very popular and has the potential to cause heavy damage. The wingspan of these moths is about 14-18mm. To identify this species you have to check whether the moths have front third of the forewing to be black in color or not along with the rest of the wing as white with few gray dots. The head of an adult would be white in color. These can complete multiple number of lifecycles in a single year. The speed of this whole process depends entirely upon the temperature, food quality and availability and humidity etc.

White shouldered House moths

These moths unlike the clothes moth are not that of a damaging by nature. These white headed moths appear 6 to 10mm in length with mottled wings. The cream coloured larvae generally grows up to 12mm in length. The larvae has red-brown head and are usually found in unheated buildings. These feed on a wider range of foods.

Gypsy Moth:

Gypsy moths are commonly found in the South-eastern regions of Canada and north-eastern parts of the US. These moths are mostly seen during the summer. The deciduous trees get impacted the most by the gypsy moth.

gypsy moth
By Greg Schechter

The larvae emerges from the eggs during the spring. These larvae attacks the tree leaves and are mostly active at night. The Gypsy moths are known to change their appearances while they grow. The younger ones of 0.6cm in length, would appear brown or black.The matured ones might grow as long as two and a half inches about 6.3cm. The larvae undergo several molts and then enters the pupal stage and completely transforms into an adult.The brownish gray males can fly but not the bulky whitish females.

These moths reproduce only ones after that both the male and the female moths die.

Tussock moth:

tussock moth
By John Flannery

The tussock moth as its name suggests has clumps of bristles on their back. These appears like a toothbrush! But when in contact might leave you with rashes. These moths look brown or white in colour. The larvae grows about 1 inch in length. The cocoons are constructed densely with silk and setae in undisturbed places like furrows, tree cavities and under barks etc. The adult females are flightless. This species have been observed to defoliate big trees also. The young larvae feeds on leaves and leave holes on the leaves. An US report stated that millions of dollars goes into controlling these moths.

The Luna moth:

Luna Moth
By John Flannery

This species of moth is considered to be mystical and spiritual. These moths are said to signify new beginnings and rebirth. The lifespan of these moths are very less. Once these come out of the cocoons, these last for about a week!

Moreover, these moths in their adult stage, do not eat as these have no mouth to do that. The Luna moths are mostly seen in the evenings and are most attracted to the moonlight and other light sources.

Natural ways to kill moths

Vacuum to start:

Once you spot a moth, get ready with your vacuum. With no time to lose, you must immediately start cleaning the moth eggs and larvae also. Do not leave any crevices, walls, shelves, carpets, closets or any cracks. Discard any food in the open as these might be already infested with the larvae. Vacuum vigorously at regular intervals to ensure zero eggs and larvae.

Set sticky tricky traps for moths:

Once you’re done with vacuuming, you can set up pheromone traps to attract moths and trap them.You can use flypaper and fish oil to set up the trap and keep it somewhere obvious for the moths to appear. These are no less than a sticky graveyard for the moths! Once moths get trapped, you can throw these away from your home.

Using Lemon peels:

You can use dried lemon peels along with your clothes while you keep those in the closet.This works well against pantry moths too.

Mint Leaves:

Similarly like lemon peel you can also use spearmint or mint leaves within your closet and drawers etc.

Bay leaves:

These are even a better option than eucalyptus tree leaves.


Using cedar is a good option to safeguard your clothes from moths. Cedar is non-toxic to human and repels moths with its aromatic characteristics and successfully keeps moths away from your favourite clothes.

Lavender Buds:

This is one of the best thing to use against moths. The aroma is a lot friendlier and it really acts pretty impressive against the moths.


You might find out no way to rescue from the scent of aroma from your clothes but interestingly, you can put cloves to protect your clothes from moths.

Cinnamon Sticks:

I am although not a great fan of how these smells, but yes, these are effective in fighting moths. You can surely give it a try.

Extreme temperature:

The larvae and the eggs are not so capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. So, you can put infested garments wrapped up in a bag in a freezer and leave it for about 4 days. This will kill both. Similarly, when you machine dry or iron any item, it would also kill the eggs and larvae instantly.

Shake that cloth, not booty!

You won’t mind doing this bit of exercise, would you? You don’t need a pair of strong forearms to do this. All you need is to shake your clothes which will jerk off any larvae if present within the folds of the clothes. Next, you can also keep those clothes under the sun. Even this would knock off the grown up larvae from your clothes.

Moth proof all your home entrances:

Ensure there remains no useless gaps when you close your doors. To fight against moths, you need to start thinking like a moth! Inspect all around your home to find possible entrances and seal off those areas.

Do not keep it humid inside:

Try to maintain a relative humidity inside your home around 50% else it would be an optimum condition for moths to start their own family!

Use predators:

Thanks to the food chain that there are predators for these nuisance moths. Deer mice, tachinid flies and braconid wasps are very effective to eat the meat out of these moths! For pantry moths, you can set trichogrammawasps free to destroy the eggs.

Creating herb mixture:

You can make a mixture out of rosemary, lavender buds, lemon peels, peppermint, cedar chips and keep small fabric envelopes containing this mixture in places prone to moth infestation. Just check regularly if the aroma still persists or not. If not, then refill with fresh ingredients. This will deter moths from starting a family!


Mostly in kitchen, while getting rid of pantry moths, scrub everywhere properly with a solution of vinegar and water with steel wool. This will help in removing the eggs.

How to kill moths with chemicals?

Insecticide sprays:

There are several sprays available for you to use against these moths. Insecticide sprays with pyrethrins acts quick to kill moths. For clothes moth, you just need to be sure about using the product on fabrics. Oil based sprays might leave stains after using. To check that, you need to go through the manual carefully. Also keep these out of reach from children.

Chemical repellant and fumigant:

Mothballs in different formats are available in local stores but these contain toxic elements even if these are coated with lavender or cedar to give out a pleasant aroma. We are very familiar with naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene which is a very common repellant used in households but it is a very toxic substance to handle and can even cause health hazard to sensitive individuals.

Camphor based mothballs which acts as both repellant and fumigant is also toxic and should be used carefully against moths. Children should be kept away from these.

Biological pesticides:

These contain living organisms like bacteria and virus which the moths need to consume. When applied on the larvae before it develops completely, the males get blinded by the chemical and fails to find female to reproduce.  Especially to get rid of gypsy moths, a biological pesticide named nucleopolyhedrovirus or NPV is widely used.

BT or Bacillus thuringiensis is widely used even against other pests. This when inhaled by the pest, it paralyzes the host and kills it by starving them. These are equally risky for human.

Some effective pesticides can be found from these links:

How to prevent moths?

  • To keep away moths, check all food grains, rugs, carpets, clothes, closet, and furniture regularly for infestation
  • Seal off all the potential entry points for the moths
  • Use freezer to keep food items for about 4 days before you use those
  • Use air tight containers
  • Maintain the humidity level, ensure all doors and windows are closed properly before switching on the AC
  • Use fumigants and repellents carefully
  • Always clean your clothes and regularly check you kitchens and eatables
  • If you come across large egg masses, then soak these eggs into kerosene or water or even burn those
  • Do not store discarded woollen or any garment for long time
  • Always clean your clothes before storing them

How to Kill Termites Natural way or by Chemicals | DIY Termite Treatment Guide


Sometime it’s even better if your house is on fire! You know what to do, how to do and you get immediate results. On the contrary, when your household is under termite attack, it’s for sure that you won’t get immediate results and majority of the people tend to know very less about how to get rid of termites effectively.

Termites are slow destroyers and the damage done is almost irreparable, permanent and unforgivable. So, when you’re sure that your property is infested with termites, you should start strategizing your plans to destroy those termites before it’s too late. According to a recent survey report, termites have reportedly infested over 500,000 homes in the U.S nearly.

Since you’re here reading this, you’ll be able to get a much-elaborated view of how to get rid of termites. There are always two options for killing termites, i.e. you do it yourself or you ask professionals to do it for you. However, there is no reason to panic and immediately rush to some professional as the costs would be unbelievably high! Moreover, termites are very slow eaters (although that depends on the size of the colony) and certainly your property won’t be ruined immediately.Again, ‘Rome was not built in a day’ and similarly, you can’t get rid of termites in a jiffy. It takes time and patience to conquer those pesky invaders.

Termite infestation should be seriously considered. The major problem is that it isn’t so easy to kill termites as it sounds. Experts say that for killing your enemies, you need to know them very well and it’s no different in the case of killing termites. More you know about termites, easier it becomes to get rid of them.

What Are Termites?

Termites are insects very small in size and eusocial just like ants and bees forming colonies of their own. They secretly invade our homes by attacking our furniture, house foundation etc. without our knowledge. They can easily find their food in our homes and in the process destroy our properties. Now all the termites might look the same for you and the moment you spot them, you would simply find out ways to get rid of termites but before that you should know more about them and that would help.

Some Basic Facts About Termites

Termites are silent dwellers. They might be secretly staying for long within your property and eating up those without giving any prior sign of damage being done. Termites are detritus feeders i.e. they feed on dead and decayed dead plants or trees and woods. Cellulose is the primary food for termites and almost all homes can provide this to the termites, thus attracting them to infest. Termites are easily attracted to furniture, wooden racks, supports, shelves and even books or clothes.

Types Of Termites

The colonial pests are primarily of the following types:

Drywood Termites:

Dry wood Termite
drywood termites
Family Kalotermitidae by Don Loarie

Drywood termites are the most common type of termites which consume furniture at home. Subterranean termites is roughly estimated to comprise about 90% of the termite population in the U.S.A whereas Drywood is 10%. They form comparatively smaller colonies and do not have connection to the soil. You’re most likely to find them in structural woods, fence, doors or windows etc. The alates of this type of termite has a double set of wings. But the alates shed their wings after swarming so you might see the bodies of the swarmer without any wings. The soldier group has teeth with large mandibles. They are of a bigger size than the subterranean soldier and worker groups i.e. about 12mm in length.


Dampwood Termites:

Pacific Dampwood Termite
Pacific Dampwood Termite: Zootermopsis angusticollis by Don Loarie

You’ll most probably find them in decaying or damp wood. Even this type of termites do not have that much of a connection with the soil, they form colonies inside the damp wood itself. These are usually of 20-25mm in length with large mandibles on their front and with wings. There are no worker groups in this termite family though unlike other types.



Subterranean Termites:

Isoptera subterranean termite Alate
Isoptera subterranean termite Alate by Bill & Mark Bell of Flickr

These are by nature more damaging than any other type of termites. They establish their colonies in the soil and enter homes commonly through foundation of the building making their way upwards. To reach their food, they form a huge network of tunnels. These termites require moisture for their survival. Alates of this family might appear of any color ranging from dark brown to black with two pairs of wings almost equal in length. Their body length appears mostly to be 3cms approximately. The workers are smaller than the alates in length and are cream colored. The soldiers of this type are also cream colored but their heads are brown with strong jaws and no wings.


Formosan Termites:

Formosan termite
Formosan termite by Travis of Flickr

Similar to subterranean species, this one also builds colonies in the soil. But they do not require moisture often as they are able to build their structures which retain moisture. These are usually tough to identify from other termite types. But the soldier of this termite family appears oblong at their heads unlike the rectangular headed subterranean types. The alates do appear brownish-yellow in color, has small hairs on their wings and of 2-3 cms in length.

Termite Life Cycle

The winged male n female termites leave their colonies for reproduction.The swarming winged males n females capable of reproducing leaves the colonies and begins a mating flight and procreate. Thus, a new colony starts. n

Termite eggs:

Termite Eggs
Termite Eggs

These are white in color and ovoid in shape and are easily visible through naked eyes. The eggs laid by the queen then hatch into larvae. The larvae then grow into a worker, a soldier or a reproductive termite called alate. Each of these three types has different roles and physical appearances. The workers are responsible for the construction of the mud tunnels and also feeding other termites. The soldiers are responsible for combating. The alates born with two pairs of wings are responsible for mating and reproducing. These are usually darker in color.

The queen termites are the longest to survive with a lifespan of nearly over a decade whereas the workers and soldiers each has a lifespan of about two years at maximum.


Termite Larvae:
These are of the same size that of the eggs. It takes typically a week to hatch. From this stage, the larvae goes through several phases of molts and finally evolves into a member of the colony.


Characteristics And Nature Of Termites

Termites are detritus feeders. They feed on dead woods and plays a significant role in balancing nature.

They are difficult to spot by human as they rarely come out in the open. Reports state that termites cause damage estimated over $5 billion every year in the U.S.A Sometimes people mistake termites as ants or flying ants and often ignore them.


The drywood species of termites are very common in the southern part of U.S.A while the subterranean termites are widespread throughout the country. Drywood termites are less cold tolerant that the subterranean ones.

The subterranean termites tends to enter the property through the foundations cracks on the damper areas and move along whereas the drywood ones build their colonies in damp and loose soil and create tunnels which is a sign for humans to suspect infestation.

Flying Termites:
Termites capable of reproducing fly to leave the colony and later shed their wings and starts forming new colony. These are different from flying ants and can be identified by their straight sided waist where ants have a constricted one.

Signs Of Termite Infestation

Before you start preparing for exterminating the termites, you need to be sure enough about termite infestation. A common way to notice such infestation is when you see winged varieties of termites trying to fly and escape your property mostly during the spring time. Termites are capable of feeding on multiple areas like the floors, ceilings, and wooden furniture. You’ve to inspect all of these with great details because termites are hard to be identified before considerable damage already done!

Outward signs of a possible subterranean termite attack might be swollen floors, swollen ceilings clipping wood etc. and also visible mud tunnels mostly near the foundation of the house.

Drywood species can be found inside the walls, furniture or within wooden furniture. But the damage is not visible at its early stage. While they create brown cylindrical tunnels they also leave their feces behind like small pellets also known as frass which is noticeable and confirms their presence. If you see these structure, then prepare yourself for the hunt immediately.

If you notice that paint at some areas appears cracked then it’s an indication that termites are done feeding off the interior and the damage is almost done.

Due to infestation, solid woods might sound hollow if you tap on them. Wooden supports might even fall apart if you touch them. You can also use a screwdriver to poke inside the woods or tunnels to see how much of the damage is done!


Natural Way To Kill Termites

There are several natural methods from which you can choose to get rid of termites from your property. These are:

Using Nematodes to kill termites:

These are actually worms that feed on the larvae of the termites and destroy the hosts. You can buy this from any local garden supply and place them in the garden but remember not to expose them under harmful UV rays.


Termites are vulnerable to heat. Thus exposing termites to strong sunlight could be your second option to kill termites. Simply exposing infested furniture under sunlight might do the trick.

The famous cardboard trap:

Cellulose, the primary ingredient of cardboard, attracts termite the most. You can place a cardboard, preferably a damp one, near an infested area and wait for the termites. You can then burn the cardboard to get rid of the termites. But that would possibly not kill the whole colony, so you might want to repeat the process.

The Boric acid bait:

This is again a good way to kill termites. Boric acid directly attacks the nervous system of the termites and dehydrates their bodies. All you need to do is place wood mixed with boric acid in places where termites most possibly be present and wait. Do not forget to keep a tap on these stations regularly.

Using orange oil:

Orange oil is another natural way to get rid of termites. Orange oil that is extracted from orange peels if inserted in the tunnels or within the wood or furniture through the process of drilling, kills termites on contact or by starving them to ultimate death.

Flooding the soil:

Termites can’t swim and if the infested area can be flooded with water, it will eventually kill those termites within the soil. You can do it in some outdoor area after locating probable termite colony.

Termites doesn’t like salt:

One very easy way to get rid of termites is to pour salt into the nest and around the house covering all cracks and crevices on the walls and floors. You’ve to repeat the same within an interval of 3 months to permanently get rid of the termites.


Termites when exposed to heat above 120 Fahrenheit for more than 30 minutes, they can’t withstand the temperature and die. But in doing this, you might require professional help and a helping hand in removing all your gadgets out.

Aloe Vera:

You can use Aloe Vera gel with water in the ratio of 1:5 respectively and spray it in the infested area. This will kill the termites.

How To Kill Termites With Chemicals:

Arsenic dust:

This is pretty effective as it can kill termites just when in contact. Termites in due course of time with interaction to other termites, passes this poison which results in more death. But to possess this, you might need to have a license or perhaps ask a licensed person for help.

Permethrin dust:

Other liquid pesticides can also be used with caution and as directed.These pesticides should not get mixed with the water system which might even pollute drinking water and the treatment would also fail.


Bifenthrin solution:

Bifenthrin solution spray is another way to kill and also prevent termite infestation for several years. The solution comes at a very economical price. You can visit some pesticide store for it.


Termidor foam:

This is reportedly a very successful product in killing termites. Foams can be easily made to enter the cracks and crevices of the woods proving very effective.


Freezing termites with liquid nitrogen:

Termites can be frozen to death as they can’t survive at temperature below -20 Fahrenheit.

Method of electrocution:

Termites can also be killed by passing electricity to them. You can get such devices from the market but you’ve to be very careful while using those. You can drill the wood in order to make this process more effective.

Cost of Termite Treatment

Cost of termite treatment depends upon several parameters. If the colony is big and you want to hire professionals, you can anywhere expect an expense of about $400 and more annually. For heavy infestation the price is more likely to make a bigger hole in your pocket. DIY method to kill termite would be cheaper indeed under $100. The analysis of the infestation and the choice of whether DIY or hire professionals is definitely yours.

How To Prevent Future Termite Infestation:

There are several precautions you can take to keep termites away from your property.

  • Surround your property with salt and sand by digging the boundaries around it. Sand will prevent them from making quick progress and salt would destroy them.Instead you can also use chemicals like Termidor SC or Fipronil liquid solution etc. around the perimeter of your house
  • Make sure you’re maintaining a dry apartment and avoid damps and moist areas to prevail for long
  • Seal all leaks, cracks and crevices and remove any standing water inside as well as outside of your home. Remember, you can even get rid of mosquito larvae which also thrive in dirty standing water
  • Avoid storing wooden logs with moisture content which attracts termites more. Remove wooden mulch or stumps. These are the main attractors for termites and even if you need this, try to store these at a distance which can limit the termite infestation at your home
  • Always keep a check on leaking faucets, pipes, wooden fences, vents and try keeping lumber or paper i.e. remove moisture and food sources away from reachable points for these crawlers
  • You can apply petroleum jelly or a mixture of white vinegar and olive oil on your dried wooden furniture and polish those to avoid termite attacks on these

When To Call A Professional To Kill Termites?

In case you think that the property is too big for you to handle or you feel that the infestation wouldn’t be that easy for you to control, then you can contact several professionals and perhaps perform a qualitative comparison as well as price checks.Make sure you have a legal agreement in between and services like periodic checks are offered free by the service providers.