How To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally Using Homemade Recipes
Wondering how to get rid of ants? We’ve all had a home invasion of pesky little ants. They might be tiny, but when there’s hundreds of them running around your home, the invasion threat feels a little bit too real. And somehow they have a way of always returning – you block off one entrance, they find another one a day or two later.
Before we look at different ways of dealing with an ant infestation, let’s answer another question: what attracts ants in the first place?
Why Do Ants Come in the House?
No, they are not really planning a home invasion, they are just looking for something to munch or drink. Sometimes they just want shelter from the harsh outside world, hence a big influx in the winter time. You might not even have to worry about getting rid of ants, just cut them off at the source by keeping your kitchen surfaces clean.
But they are persistent little buggers, once they have set up camp in your garden, their colonies will spread rapidly. Check out this fascinating YouTube clip of what an ant hill colony looks like if it were to be excavated:
They are creatures of habit, so they will follow the same path from the food source back to their home. You can follow their trail when you are ready to launch an attack. The problem is that you might be keeping your kitchen counters clean, but if they find a way into your pantry, you have a big problem.
Another problem is that they are not only attracted to food, they want water as well. If you can, try to eliminate any freestanding water sources. Even a wet napkin on your kitchen counter can be enough to beckon them closer.
Types of Ants
Before getting into the technical details of how to get rid of ants, you need to figure out type of ant you’re dealing with. Different types of ants come from different locations and enjoy different food sources, so figuring out the type might provide you with a better way to get rid of them.
You’re probably most familiar with those tiny black ants. Carpenter Ants and the Little Black Ant (yup, that is their proper name) look very similar. Carpenter Ants will invade your home after a flood or a leak in your house. Unlike termites, they won’t eat the wood, they just like excavating it and creating their own little cozy spot inside the walls of your home.
The Little Black Ant will come inside your house to scavenge for food, but their colonies are outside in the garden. They have a knack of finding their way into your home, through tiny cracks in the wall or wherever else they can squeeze their little bodies through. You will have to try follow their escape route to keep them out of your house.
Another type of ant, Pavement Ants, will build their colonies under your porch or any concrete slabs surrounding your home. They love sweet stuff, so if they find a way into your pantry, they will set up camp and carry the spoils back to their colony. These ants can also build their colonies inside walls and under your floor boards.
Thief Ants or Grease Ants are more sophisticated in their food search, they prefer high-protein snacks such as meats, grease and fats. They will set up camp outside your home, so you will have to follow their trail to figure out where to launch your attack on them.
Lastly, Odorous House Ants are less picky, they will eat the sweet stuff or drool over the steak you left on the kitchen counter to defrost. If you crush them, they will stink, hence the name. They will build their colonies right under your nose inside the walls or under the floor boards.
Steps to Get Rid of Ants
As mentioned, one of the best ways of keeping ants out of your house, is to keep your house clean. Even just a small morsel of food left on the kitchen counter after cooking, will set off the signal for the ants to launch a scavenging party.
If you are wondering how to get rid of ants successfully, follow these two basic steps to get rid of the ant colonies surrounding your home.
Step 1: Eliminate the Ant Nest
You can use the ants’ natural system of carrying food into their colonies against them. This is why it’s important to figure out what type of ant you are dealing with. If you set out a protein-based bait for the Pavement Ants, they will just pull up their noses and walk around it.
Using the baiting technique must be attempted with caution if you have pets or small children. The best natural ingredient for baits, is Borax, but if ingested in large dosages by a dog or toddler, it can be harmful.
To cover all your bases, put out both solid and liquid baits. You want to get rid of all the ants one-shot – adult ants only eat liquids, while larvae eat solids.
Directions: Prepare three bait stations along the ant trails. Don’t be alarmed if it seems that the infestation is getting worse, the more ants you have taking the bait into the colony, the bigger the chances are of killing all the ants. It’s the worker ants that do the scavenging, inside the colony there are other types of ants as well.
Protein-based bait: prepare a mixture of 25% borax and 75% peanut butter.
Liquid-sugar bait: melt down a cup of syrup or honey in the microwave. Add a quarter cup of borax.
Solid-sugar bait: 1 part borax added to 3 parts powdered sugar.
Step 2: Repel and Eliminate Ants
The "how to get rid of ants" project should now be well underway, the bait takes about a week to properly infiltrate the colony. The next step is to make sure the survivors don’t return. You can use an essential oil mixture to trace the route they usually followed to enter your house.
Spray the solution on crevices around the house foundation, doors, windows, pipe penetrations and air vents. You can even spray it on the outside, for instance on the window sills, so that they can’t enter again. If you find the main entrance spot, you can douse a cotton ball and push it into the hole where their trail started.
- 6 to 8 ounces of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder.
- 15 drops of peppermint oil and 15 drops of tea tree oil.
How to Get Rid of Ants with Homemade Repellants
When investigating how to get rid of ants, there are many products that you probably already stock in your pantry that can help you to kill ants, or at least deter them from plotting a home invasion. Ants are sensitive little creatures, so it doesn’t take much to frighten them away.
Ants hate the strong smell of cinnamon. Using cinnamon essential oil will make sure that the ants won’t enter your home. Otherwise you can place ground cinnamon or a whole clove at the entry points to discourage the ants from entering.
Cinnamon oil mixture: add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil to a cup of water.
Application: soak a ball of cotton in the mix and wipe all the entry-points, such as windows and crevices. Repeat once a day until the ants are gone.
Another smell ants can’t stand. When figuring out how to get rid of ants, there’s an important point to keep in mind – ants find their way around by leaving scent trails. By spraying a white vinegar mixture on their usual routes, they will lose their direction.
White vinegar mixture: equal parts white vinegar and water.
Application: spray the mixture around entry points such as windows and crevices and along baseboards. Wipe up the dead ants with a damp paper towel. Repeat once a day until the ants are gone.
Use the white vinegar mixture on your floors, windows and kitchen countertops to keep the ants at bay.
Although the ants are attracted to it, Borax is toxic to them. So they will gleefully munch it up, but it will kill them in the end.
Borax mixture: to make it even more enticing, mix the Borax and food jelly, in equal amounts.
Application: place the mixture on a plate along the ant trail that you’ve discovered.
Alternative option: mix borax with granulated sugar, a 1:3 ratio. Slowly add water till you create a syrup-like consistency.
Application: Place the paste along the ant trail.
Great ingredient for ant-proofing your house, it’s another combo of an unpleasant smell for ants and its acidic properties destroys their scent trails. When you are looking for creative ways of how to get rid of ants, you can protect your pantry by adding a few drops of lemon essential oil onto cotton balls and leave them in the cabinets.
Lemon mixture: one part lemon juice to two parts water.
Application: spray on all entry-point. Repeat once a day until the ants are gone.
If you’re searching for an organic solution to the frustrating problem of how to get rid of ants, peppermint is a great natural insect repellent, the intense smell will cause them to become disorientated, unable to figure out how to get to any food sources. You could even consider growing a peppermint plant in your garden to keep the ants away.
Peppermint mixture: 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to a cup of water.
Application: spray the mixture on all the entry-points. Repeat twice a day, until the ants are gone.
When dealing with the problem of how to get rid of ants, you can try this age-old trick. Who knows why, ants hate the taste of cucumber. They will try nibble it, but quickly change their minds and retreat. The more bitter the cucumber, the better.
Application: place cucumber peels at entry-points and along ant trails. Replace the peels daily. Repeat until all ants are gone.
As you’ve noticed with all these natural plans of how to get rid of ants, smell plays a very important part in the little ant’s life. Mess with their sense of smell, and you’re on your way to winning the battle of getting rid of them.
Cayenne Pepper mixture: equal amounts of cayenne pepper powder and turmeric powder.
Application: Sprinkle the mixture in any areas where you’ve noticed the ants making little trails. If you can discover the entry-points, you can create an unpleasant barrier that the ants can’t cross.
Liquid Dish Soap
If you’re getting fed up with figuring out how to get rid of ants in your house, you can strike a more aggressive attack on them and suffocate them. This mixture can work on cockroaches as well.
Liquid Dish Soap mixture: one part of liquid dish soap and two parts of water
Application: spray the mix along the entry-points or straight onto the ants annoying you.
Hope you win the battle against the antsy home invasion. Which natural product have you tried out? When figuring out how to get rid of ants which one do you think is most successful?