Ants are annoying pests that can ruin a dinner or party, indoors or out. One of the best ways to get rid of them is to be vigilant about finding the source. You also want to clean up any spilled food that can send the wrong signals. If that fails, and the scents of bug sprays are too overwhelming, there are a few natural ways to repel and kill ants.
Those grounds from your daily dose of java make great barricades against ant — they can't stand the smell and refuse to cross it. While you can mix it in some water and spray it around your house, that's a bit messy and high-maintenance. A better option may be to sprinkled the grounds around and on top of the anthills in your yard. This will prevent the ants from emerging, and they will eventually abandon the hill.
Another way to remove the ants' scent trail is to combine glass cleaner and dish soap. Simply mix a 1:1 ratio of the substances and spray where ants congregate. Afterwards, wipe down the area, leaving a residue that should keep ants away for a time. If glass cleaner is not natural enough, use the dish soap alone or combine it with some black or cayenne pepper.
Vinegar is a cheap, universal household item that's great for getting rid of ants. In addition to repelling them, it also masks the communication scent trail that ants leave behind. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water and spray it around hot spots. To add a bit more punch to the mixture, boil water and vinegar with citrus peel. Let the concoction sit overnight and use it to spray high-traffic spots.
Cinnamon is a well-known repellent often recommended by professionals. Ants don't like the smell, so they steer clear. However, when you combine it with cornstarch, it can eliminate the colony. First, use the cinnamon as a blockade to entry. Place a small mound of cornstarch in the vicinity, where the insects can easily access it. Ants will stay out of your space and, instead, carry the cornstarch to the nest. As they are unable to digest it, it eventually kills them.
Apart from being great for digestion, peppermint essential oil is a natural ant repellent, making it good for indoor areas. Peppermint oil disturbs this scent trail and deters their return. Combine 3 tablespoons of the oil along with a quart of distilled water and high proof alcohol, which helps to spread the oil. It’s a good idea to test it on a small area first, to see if it will discolor the surface.
Despite the name, borax is not boric acid. Both come from the element Boron, but borax is the mineral form — sodium tetraborate — while boric acid is more refined. While you can buy borax baits, it’s better to get the powder and mix it yourself in a 1:4-teaspoon ratio with some sugar. Add a touch of water to ensure the two substances mix together and the ants carry both back to the queen.
Lemon eucalyptus oil comes from the Australian gum eucalyptus tree. This extract contains p-Menthane-3,8-diol or PMD, which is effective against many insects, including mosquitoes and ants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is a generally safe bio-pesticide and can be used as a spray and in lotions. Simply mix a cup of rubbing alcohol and a teaspoon of the oil in a bottle and spray on a line of ants to kill them.
Neem oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree, and it's a natural neurotoxin for aphids, ants, and other insects. Combine a tablespoon each of neem oil and liquid soap with 10 ounces of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray on plants. This mixture gets rid of aphids and the ants that feed on their feces. Neem oil is available at many health food stores and online.
Diatoms are unicellular microalgae found in all bodies of water. When they die, they leave behind silica skeletons that make up diatomaceous earth. These microscopic particles form a white powder that pierces ants’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die. It’s safe, so you can sprinkle it around or combine it with water to make a spray. The powder is very fine, so it is a good idea to wear a mask when spreading it.
While boric acid can be an effective way to rid your home of ants, it requires precision and patience. Mixing it with food works if the food is moist enough and is attractive to ants. Additionally, concentration is key. If you use too much, the workers may pick up on the scent and refuse to pass it to the queen, in which case the method will fail to kill the colony. Use too little and it won't be potent enough to kill them. When you do find the right concentration, it may take a couple of months take effect. Note: When dealing with any boron compound, use gloves and mask.
Chalk is a surprisingly effective tool in the fight against ants. The calcium carbonate present in chalk disrupts ants' ability to follow their scent trails. By drawing chalk lines around possible points of entry, like windows or doors, you can create an effective deterrent. However, be aware that this method is temporary and requires regular reapplication, especially after weather events like rain, or if the chalk simply wears off from frequent use.
Cayenne pepper, a household spice, can serve as a potent ant deterrent. By simply sprinkling a line of cayenne at entry points or mixing it with water to create a spray, you can disrupt ant trails and prevent them from infiltrating your home. This method is particularly effective for those seeking natural solutions. However, always exercise caution when handling cayenne, as it can irritate skin and eyes if contact occurs.
A homemade ant bait can be made using equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. This simple yet effective solution works because the sugar attracts the ants, while the baking soda, which ants are unable to digest, eliminates them. This mixture should be strategically placed in areas where ants frequent. Keep in mind that this approach requires some time for results to manifest, as it relies on ants carrying the lethal concoction back to their colony.
Certain plants can also serve as natural ant repellents. Mint and tansy, in particular, are known to deter ants due to their strong scents. Planting these herbs around your property creates a living barrier against ants. Moreover, crushed leaves from these plants can be used as a natural ant deterrent when sprinkled at entry points or problem areas. It's a natural and environmentally friendly way to keep ants at bay.
Ants are put off by the scent of bay leaves, making them an effective natural deterrent. Scatter crushed bay leaves in areas where you've noticed ant activity. This method is especially useful in kitchen areas where food is stored, as bay leaves are non-toxic and safe for use around food. This simple yet effective solution not only deters ants but leaves your space smelling pleasant.
Cream of wheat, or any grain that expands when it absorbs liquid, can be used to effectively kill ants. The grains are carried back to the colony, where ants consume them. Once ingested, the grains expand and cause the ants to die. Although this method may seem cruel, it can be a last resort when other natural deterrents fail
Salt barriers can also deter ants. Sprinkle a line of salt at entry points or around the perimeter of your home to create a barrier that ants will hesitate to cross. Despite its simplicity, this method can be effective, particularly for small-scale infestations. However, bear in mind that this may not be a permanent solution and may need frequent reapplication.
Yeast can be used to create a homemade ant bait. Mixed with sugar and water, yeast will attract ants that will carry the mixture back to their colonies. Similar to baking soda, ants are unable to digest yeast, resulting in their elimination. This is a more natural alternative to commercial ant baits, but it does require patience as it works over time.
For those seeking ready-made solutions, there are various commercial natural ant repellents available. These products, often derived from plant extracts, can effectively deter ants without the use of harsh chemicals. While effective, they can be more costly than homemade solutions. Always follow product instructions to ensure safe and effective use.
Keeping your home clean is key to preventing ants. Always clean up food spills immediately and seal food items properly. Regularly taking out the trash and sealing cracks around the home can also deter ants. Keep plants trimmed and avoid moisture build-up, as both can attract ants. Remember, prevention is always easier than dealing with an infestation.
Understanding ant behavior can help in dealing with an infestation. Ants follow scent trails to locate food sources and communicate with their colony. Disturbing these trails can effectively disrupt their activities. Also, most ant colonies have a queen, and eliminating her can effectively destroy the colony. Always tailor your approach based on the ant behavior you observe.
Different ant species exhibit different behaviors and may require different strategies to control. Some are attracted to sweets, others to proteins. Carpenter ants, for example, burrow into wood, while fire ants are known for their painful stings. Identifying the type of ant can help determine the most effective approach, whether it's bait type or the best repellent.
While many minor ant problems can be managed at home, significant infestations require professional help. Signs of a serious ant problem include large numbers of ants, sawdust-like material indicating carpenter ants, or painful, repeated stings from fire ants. If over-the-counter solutions aren't working, or if the infestation is large or involves harmful species, it's time to call a professional.
Ants possess an uncanny ability to detect even the smallest morsels of food. Their keen senses lead them straight to forgotten crumbs or unnoticed spills. To deter these tiny foragers, it's essential to maintain impeccable cleanliness in areas where food is prepared or consumed. Wipe down surfaces diligently after every meal, ensuring no residue remains. Store food items, especially sweets, in airtight containers. Remember, a spotless kitchen isn't just about aesthetics; it's a formidable defense against these persistent pests.
Ants, with their diminutive size, can exploit the tiniest of openings to invade our homes. Periodically inspect your home, paying close attention to windows, doors, and the foundation. Even the smallest crack can serve as an entryway for these determined creatures. Using caulk or other sealants, close off any potential access points. By fortifying your home's exterior, you not only keep ants out but also create a barrier against other unwanted pests.
Your garden, while a source of beauty and relaxation, might inadvertently be a gateway for ants. Plants, especially those dripping with sweet nectar, can attract ant colonies. To mitigate this, ensure that shrubs and trees are trimmed, keeping them away from your home's foundation. Additionally, mulch, if not maintained, can become a haven for ants. Regularly turn over mulch and consider using stone or gravel in areas close to the house. A well-maintained landscape is not just pleasing to the eye but also an effective deterrent against ant invasions.
Derived from the Melaleuca tree, tea tree oil is renowned for its myriad health benefits. However, its potent aroma is less than pleasing to ants. By mixing a few drops of this essential oil with water, you can create a natural repellent. Spraying this mixture around areas frequented by ants disrupts their pheromone trails, causing confusion and deterring further exploration. Beyond its ant-repelling properties, tea tree oil leaves behind a fresh, invigorating scent, making it a dual-purpose solution for your home.
Ant baits are a strategic solution, targeting not just the visible worker ants but the entire colony. These baits cleverly combine attractants with slow-acting pesticides. When foraging ants consume the bait, they don't die immediately. Instead, they transport the poisoned food back to their colony, sharing it with others, including the queen. Over time, this results in a significant reduction, if not elimination, of the colony. When using ant baits, patience is key. It might take a while to see results, but the outcome is a comprehensive solution to your ant problem.