Last Updated on February 27, 2021 by Grow with Bovees
Ants can be quite a big nuisance and not just in your pants! Long lines that extend from your kitchen to your garden, colonies in your closets and just running around, ants can make your skin feel like it’s crawling (generally because there are a few ants making their way up your arm, too!).
Additionally, though it may be easy to dismiss them because of how minuscule they are, ants can be quite damaging to your house, such as carpenter ants. Some ant varieties can be damaging to you, too, such as fire ants and harvester ants that can neatly rip a chunk of your flesh out!
Ants are also quite unhygienic—they may be good for the eyes but ants crawling over your food are a possible sign of contamination since they bring bacteria from all over the place to the food and other surfaces they’re crawling over.
If you’re currently waging a battle with ants in your house, here’s a list of natural remedies (stay away from the synthetic, folks!) to help you win this battle!
Is there anything that lemons and other members of the citrus family aren’t good for? From natural cleansers to mark removers to bleaching agents to being healthy, lemons are great for a range of things!
What they’re also great for is keeping away the ants—it’s as simple as adding in a splash of lemon juice into the water you use to mop your floors or placing lemon peels at the entrances these little guys use to enter the place.
Like their cousins, oranges have amazing ant-repelling capabilities. A paste of orange peels and warm water will work wonders in keeping the ants away. Put this on the kitchen slab and any points of entry. Wipe it off after a while and you’ll see the strength of this natural ant deterrent, and once you’ve finished with it, you can compost the citrus leftovers!
White vinegar is another natural substance that has multiple varied applications. A solution of water and white vinegar, in equal parts, along with a few drops of essential oil (white vinegar doesn’t have the most pleasing smell!), will help you with your ant woes. Apple cider can also help to get rid of chiggers and preventing their bites.
Just sprinkle a few drops, or soak it into some cotton balls and leave it at the ants’ entry points, once every day and you’ll see that the ants won’t enter your space anymore.
You can also spray this solution around doorways, windowsills and other areas where the ants are generally found.
Cinnamon and Cloves
Cinnamon and cloves aren’t just great for your coffee—they’re great for keeping away the ants, too. Additionally, the fragrance keeps your house smelling earthy and fresh. It is believed that the strong smell of both these spices is what keeps the ants away. If you’d like to, you can even a few drops of essential to powdered cinnamon—a double whammy in terms of strong smell!
The humble table salt can keep ants away—and it won’t take more than a few dollars to do so. Remember, it’s ordinary table salt you want and not any of the fancy Himalayan salts or with-extra-vitamins-and-minerals-added stuff!
Boil water, add a large amount of salt to it, and ensure that the salt is fully dissolved. Pour this into a spray bottle and spray away to keep the ant colony away.
Ants hate pepper. Pepper in your house keeps away the ants. Simple.
Sprinkle a little pepper at possible entrances—cayenne and black pepper are detested in equal measure by our friends. Remember, you don’t want to cause a sneezing fit, so don’t put finely powdered pepper around the house, especially near the windows and doors. Instead, make a pepper-and-water solution and spray it around the cracks.
Your used coffee grounds are good for more than trashing—sprinkling them outside the house and in the garden not only enriches the soil after decomposition but also keeps the ants away. Coffee grounds are also good for getting rid of sugar ants.
The strong smell of the coffee repels the ants and—surprise, surprise—cats! Pro tip—if you’ve got felines wreaking havoc in your backyard, coffee grounds are the way to go!
Peppermint is a popular ingredient in the insecticide world and accordingly, can help you easily get rid of ants. Ants hate the strong smell and will stay clear of areas with so much as a trace of peppermint. A solution of peppermint essential oil and water will help keep the ants away, sprayed twice a day.
Other Measures To Deal With An Ant Infestation In Your Home
If none of the above measures work for you, here are a few other steps that you can try, either separately or in combination with the above:
Vet the Plants For Ant Trails
Keep an eye on the plants around your house. Ants could form nests under these and you’ll know if they have by all the ants swarming up and down the plants. You could uproot and discard such plants or you could just throw citrus-fruit peels around the plants for a gentler ridding method.
Keep the Food Source Away
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, just like it’s better to remove all chances of ants ever invading your home than trying to get rid of them post-invasion.
A surefire way to do this is to get rid of any food sources that are available to them. This means tightly sealed containers, safely keeping the sweet and starchy substances away (especially honey, sugar and cornmeal), cleaning up crumbs (especially around appliances, your couch cushions and other eating areas) and safeguarding your pet’s food (a good idea is to build a moat around the bowl or removing the bowl as soon as your pet is done and rinsing it).
Out Is Out!
Keep your card clean. This means getting rid of any ant-infested vegetation and vines, especially ones that lean against your house, as this makes it easier for ants to enter.
Block All Entrances
While it’s impossible to seal every possible entrance, you can seal the larger ones, especially any near the radiators and floorboards. You can either use repellant or fill these holes up.
If the natural repellants haven’t worked and you’re ready to rip your hair out in exasperation, don’t. Opt for a non-natural method and don’t beat yourself up too much over it—after all, your safety and your family’s, are paramount.
Additionally, non-natural does not always equate dangerous—not every non-natural method is extremely harmful or dangerous. Materials such as chalk, baby powder, borax, hand soap, cleaners, and detergents are everyday objects that can get rid of ants and other bugs around the home.
If you’re looking for something more potent, diatomaceous earth, a type of silica, is a good bet. This isn’t a poisonous substance—it kills pests by sucking the oil out of their bodies and drying them out. Diatomaceous earth is an irritant, though, so avoid breathing it in or coming in contact with it.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to get rid of ants, many of which aren’t covered in our list—eucalyptus oil, neem, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, boiling water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, cornstarch, and boric acid are also possible options for a solution to your ant problem. If all else fails, bring in the exterminators!
Remember, ants may be a nuisance but they’re as much a part of the planet as we are. As far as possible, try gentler methods to get rid of these single-minded workers—after all, like us, they’re just trying to get the job done and live.