Don’t you just hate it when you stumble into your kitchen after first stumbling out of bed, and before the coffee has had time to take proper effect – because you haven’t even made it yet, you spot that trail of, although very industrious, insidious little creatures that have staged an invasion while you quietly snored away in bed. What to do, how to proceed? More importantly, what to do and how to proceed without using toxic poisons that may harm the real babies or the fur babies?
Ants are actually a very important part of nature, so if possible, I prefer to deter them rather than kill them if at all possible.
Well here is a list of the 10 best ways to get rid of ants using natural remedies – many of which will make them go away without killing them.
Use White Vinegar To Get Rid Of Ants
Sometimes as a first step, you need to get the big guns out to stop a fresh invasion – but still use non-toxic chemicals. So to deal with an active ant outbreak situation, just make a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture directly on the ants for a fast but non-toxic kill. You can also use the solution as a spray deterrent around doorways, windowsills, or any other area the ants are invading. The acid in the mixture helps to break down the scent trails the ants follow so this is a very useful approach.
Use Lemon Juice To Get Rid Of Ants
This method doesn’t work as a fast kill, but just like the vinegar approach, lemon juice also helps break down the ant scent trails. Use a 1 in 3 parts lemon to water combo and use it in the same way as the Vinegar approach.
Strong Scents Can Scare Ants Away
There are several ingredients that can help keep ants away, and the thing they have in common is their strong scent. Ants and many other insects, don’t like strongly scented things, so it is a weakness that can be exploited to keep them away without using harsh chemicals or killing them outright. The theory is that the strong smells interfere with their own chemical signals they use.
Use Peppermint To Get Rid Of Ants
You can plant mint either in garden beds or in containers around your home, especially perimeters and entryways. I like to plant it in containers because whenever there is an outbreak of unwanted insects somewhere around the home or garden, I move the container close to the are to discourage the annoying little creatures.
Your best choice of mint is Peppermint because it has a strong repellant effect on insects. For that kitchen scenario, you can:
- Put some fresh mint leaves in a little bag made from an old pair of pantyhose or from some other kind of netting material and leave them near where the ants are tracking. You should renew the bags with fresh leaves every other day to keep the deterrent effect strong.
- Sprinkle peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and wipe the areas where you want to stop the ants.
- You can also leave a cotton ball with a few drops of essential oil on it, in the general area where the ants are tracking for good effect.
Peppermint essential oil gets liberally used in our household, especially in the chicken coop to discourage flies. We get this one (affiliate link) regularly from iHerb. It lasts quite well becasue you only need to use a few drops at a time. The great thing about either the essential oil or the peppermint plants, it smells delightful – unless you’re an insect or course.
Use Cinnamon To Get Rid Of Ants
Cinnamon is also good for deterring ants. Use ground cinnamon to sprinkle on the ants’ scent paths or around the opening of an anthill. In a similar approach to using the Peppermint essential oil, you can use Cinnamon essential oil instead. Just mix a few drops of cinnamon oil with water and proceed in the same way. You can also use the essential oil on inflamed skin to good effect. The last bottle we bought was from iHerb (affiliate link) if you’d like to try it out and you don’t already have some.
Use Cloves To Get Rid Of Ants
Actual cloves or clove oil can be used to discourage ants in a similar manner to using mint and cinnamon. You can use the same technique of putting some cloves in bags made of pantyhose and leaving them where the ants tend to hang out.
Use Bay Leaves To Get Rid Of Ants
For that slightly more savory scented approach, use some bay leaves in the homemade pantyhose bags instead. As an avid gardener, I can tell you for a fact that the things you can’t use a spare pair of used pantyhose for just aren’t worth mentioning. They are in high demand in our household – after they have served their initially intended useful life.
Use Lavender and Camphor To Get Rid Of Ants
Again, because of the strong smell, either of these are perfect for putting in closets or drawers where ants have decided to investigate.
Use Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper To Get Rid of Ants
Both cayenne and black pepper repel ants.
Cayenne pepper contains a chemical called Capsaicin. The good news for those frugal/natural types of us out there, is ants (and many other insects) really hate Capsaicin, ergo, they really hate cayenne pepper. If you don’t have any cayenne pepper on hand, black pepper will work almost just as well.
Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household. An alternative solution is to mix some pepper with water and spray the resulting solution at the ants. The pepper won’t kill the ants but it sure will deter them from returning.
Use Citrus Or Cucumber Peel To Get Rid Of Ants
Even though the smell of these peels might not seem as strong to our human noses as some of the other items on this list, ants count them in the ‘keep away from’ column. These peels laying around the house are effective but might look a little messy. I use this approach as an ant deterrent more outdoors or in the garden.
Use Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Ants
This is another heavy hitter that will result in the demise of our little ant friends while being totally harmless to anything non-insect. Diatomaceous earth (often just called “DE”) is amazing stuff. It comes from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. These remains contain silica which acts as an abrasive substance that kills insects by breaking down their exoskeleton. The nice thing is that is doesn’t hurt mammals or birds – in fact, you can even eat it – thus the “Food Grade” bit of the label.
Because ants are insects, they are killed by DE. Just add a very light dusting in the areas they are invading, such as windowsills, under the fridge, cabinets, garbage cans etc, and they become ant jerky – that’s a little joke because the DE acts to damage the ant exoskeletons and makes them lose moisture and dry out – just like jerky. Totally unrelated, but we dust our chickens in DE to control mites, and our doggy to control fleas. It is pretty useful stuff and so safe you can literally eat it. We get ours here at Amazon.
So there you have it. That is some ways you can deal with those troublesome ants without resorting to toxic chemicals. It is much better to approach things the natural way first, in case that nips the problem in the bud and it is unnecessary to escalate to the toxic chemical approach. Besides, having your environment smell minty or cinnamon…y is a very nice side effect. Good luck fighting off those pesky little invaders!