How to deal with houseflies, cockroaches, ants and other so-called annoying insects that appear in our homes?

Though they are small, mosquitoes are also sentient beings. If we whop them, we are breaking the precept of no killing. Instead of harming them, we can use mosquito nets to keep them away. We can trap cockroaches by using plastic containers (swiped with a layer of oil) and then release them outdoors. By praying, dedicating merits and communicating sincerely with them, we can help to lead them to a good place as well as reducing our own attachment and aversion to these so-called annoying creatures.

Due to our past karmic connection, we are meeting these sentient creatures now. We should use this opportunity to create positive karma, while exhausting any previous negative karma. We can practice charitable giving to the ants by giving them food, while sincerely communicating with them and asking them to move to a more suitable place outside of our home. By praying and dedicating merits to them, we can exhaust our past debts to them, practice “no killing” and refrain from creating further negative karma.

Extracted from Venerable Xue Cheng’s “Doubts and Clarifications on Buddhism”

Master Sheng Yen gives a Buddhist perspective on taking the life of household insects and pests

I like one of his quote:

Now, the mosquito just wants a drop of your blood, and you want to take its life, this is not fair - it is also a living creature.

如得法师 gives advice on this topic:

Some practical tips:

  • use a net to catch the insect (e.g. cockroach) and release it elsewhere
  • make the environment clean so that it is not conducive for pests

慈诚罗珠堪布 explained that these pests are bugging us because of their survival needs. He emphasized that if we are practicing buddhists, it will take more effort or even going out of the way to live with these pests, example keeping your house really clean so as not to attract these pests or catch them and release it elsewhere.

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  1. Learn how to prevent
  2. Communicating to the pests through supplication
  3. Removing them without harming them
  4. Removing them with the lowest intent in killing (including repentance)
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