Top 16 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Ants

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Top 16 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Ants



Photo – Wikipedia, lic. under CC 2.0

Ants are one of the most successful lifeforms on planet Earth. They have colonized almost every part of the world, except Antarctica and a few small islands.

Most of what they do, we do not see. But there are way more of them than we generally realize: Ants make up an astonishing 15 to 25% of the biomass of land animals!! A great part of their success is attributed to the high level of organization of the ant colony. They work tirelessly and are tremendous team players. We could learn a few things from them.

You know how it goes: First, you see one ant. One ant would not be a problem… Except for the fact that this little guy is a scout. Their job is to explore and find new food. When they find something tasty, they alert the team, who then follow their scent trail in large numbers. The next thing you know, it’s a full-scale invasion.

Just eating a few snacks would be one thing. But some species of ants, such as the Pharaoh Ant, are blamed for spreading dangerous bacteria, including Staphylococcus.

One of the most popular methods of getting rid of ants involves using poisons – however in addition to the cruelty of this kind of chemical warfare, it may mean bringing highly toxic substances into your home. One of the common ingredients in ant poison is arsenic. If you use such products, you will be introducing small amounts of arsenic into your home and garden.

If you’re committed to the natural way, you will of course want some alternatives. Here’s what we’ve managed to uncover:

16 Natural ways to get rid of ants

A: Prevention

1. Empty out the trash frequently.

2. Keep your place clean – especially pay attention to food debris (in particular anything sweet).

3. Don’t leave unwrapped food, partially consumed food, leftovers and bagged food (they can get in!) laying around. Keep food supplies in jars – my favorites are the “Fido” brand big food jars with the seal and the metal clip on the lid. No plastic!

4. Wipe down countertops regularly, using a natural cleaner such as a white vinegar solution. Clear up spills of anything sweet – honey, syrup, sugars etc thoroughly – and be sure to clean out food cupboards – a favorite place for ants to raid.

5. Fix broken screens, seal cracks and other places where the ants get in. Note this may not be totally effective – many doors simply don’t seal properly and will allow place for them to squeeze through.



6. If you see ants, see if you can figure out what they are eating. While you’re at it – follow the trail in both directions and find out where they are getting in. Removing the food source will force them to look somewhere else. They’re pretty good at finding stuff – but if you truly have nothing for them, they will move on.

B: Deterrents

7. Barricades. Numerous substances can be used to make lines that ants don’t like to cross. Here is a list of some that have been suggested: turmeric, cinnamon, chili / cayenne pepper (the hotter the better!), crushed cloves, cucumber slices (has anyone tried this one??), chalk, Vaseline, diatomaceous earth (use food-grade DE, not swimming pool), thin strips of sticky flypaper.

8. Essential oils. Essential oils such as lavender, camphor, peppermint, clove, bay laurel. Add to spray bottle of water, perhaps with a few drops of liquid soap as an emulsifying agent, shake and spray around areas where ants are known to get in. Cinnamon essential oil is another one that gets good feedback in this application. It’s also said that the ants will not cross a line drawn with a Q-tip dipped in pure cinnamon essential oil – so you can use this wherever an effective barrier is needed.

9. Plants. Try growing mint, lavender, Pennyroyal and citronella (either in the ground or in pots) in places where you want to deter the ants.

10. Lemon juice. Spray pure lemon juice around the areas they get in – the smell is said to scramble their tracking system.

C: Substances that are highly toxic to ants but low toxicity in the human environment

If the “good karma” methods aren’t cutting it, you’re just going to have to up the ante. (Pun intentional) :)

11. Boric acid. Add 2 tablespoons of boric acid and half a cup of sugar to a cup of warm water. Soak cotton balls in it and place in areas frequented by ants. Or, mix boric acid with syrup and leave out for the ants.

12. Soapy water spray. Add some liquid soap to water and spray!

13. Raw cream of wheat powder. They will eat it but apparently it expands in their stomachs and finishes them off.

14. Coffee grounds. According to some, they will take it home and eat it and the caffeine kills them. According to others, if the grounds are dumped on anthills, the rich aroma overpowers their scent trails and therefore breaks their communication system, forcing them to abandon ship.

15. Baking soda mixed with powdered sugar.

16. Cornmeal. Said to be a good one – and very safe for use around kids and pets.

Note – These solutions are for the “ordinary” little ants that get in cupboards and eat your snacks. If you have carpenter ants, termites or fire ants, you have a much more serious problem and will need a professional solution asap.

Can you think of any more? Let us know in the comments or on our facebook page!

Info Sources / further reading:

http://www.getridofthings.com/pests/ants/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant

http://www.naturalantkiller.blogspot.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/28/how-to-get-rid-of-ants_n_1385182.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Ants-Naturally

http://lifehacker.com/5817218/how-to-get-rid-of-ants-naturally

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42 Comments

  • By Carole Edminson, May 14, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

    I use baby powder. Kills them right away and if you sprinkle around where they are getting in it keeps them away.

  • By Jane Clarke, May 14, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

    I’ve tried the mint and it doesn’t work. I have 2 mint plants here and they crawl all over both of them. I also heard mint was good for keeping away bees. Wrong, they land and crawl all over the mint also. I’m going to try the cinnamon and see what happens. Thanks for the tips though, I read them all the time. :)

  • By Helen elson, May 14, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    Don’t like the idea of killing ants,best to use a barrier to stop them getting into your house.

  • By Vaneta, May 14, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    I have used cucumber peel, it works! We found the little kitchen ants coming in a window, laid cucumber peel on the sill and the ants left. We had to lay them the length of the window otherwise they skirted around them.

  • By patricia, May 14, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

    I also use talcum powder, it doesnt actually kill them but stops then getting in anywhere where the talcum powder is sprinkles.

  • By Carolina Lady, May 14, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

    Baby powder does work beautifully! Kills other bugs, too.

  • By admin, May 14, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    Sounds good Helen. I’m hoping also to try to persuade people not just to poison them but to try to keep them outside wherever possible.

  • By admin, May 14, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

    Thanks for the verification Vaneta, that was one that I was not sure about! :)

  • By Yoli, May 15, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    Salt is as good as baby powder.

  • By admin, May 15, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

    Kills plants though – don’t use outdoors!

  • By amcken3, June 1, 2013 @ 6:31 am

    So far cornmeal is NOT working…its been 3 days.

  • By Joanne, June 27, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

    try using borax laundry soap, mix with powdered sugar, 50-50 mix. I did this and put in a lid and after 3 days haven’t seen an ant!

  • By rahlquist, June 27, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

    When my wife was pregnant years ago I didn’t want her exposed to poison and we had a problem with sugar ants. I found that a mix of 50% rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl) and 50% water in a spray bottle killed them just fine and was a nice way to clean them up and wipe away the chemical trails they would leave behind. Of course this is best for hard surfaces.

  • By Ellen, June 27, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

    I tried boiling water, cornmeal, homemade orange oil & they just kept coming back (fire ants) The boiling water kills the grass though. Finally I had enough & put all of that plus cinnamon, black pepper & crushed red pepper flakes & so far they seem to be gone after a week. Guess the combination got them! lol

  • By Liz, July 27, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

    I’m getting ready to try the cinnamon. I’ve been using rubbing alcohol to wash any area I find the ants in, then follow that with a vinegar wipe. Works good for about a week then the ants are back. So far they’re only in the bedroom. They seem to love my cat’s treats. Have put them in double sealed (2) baggies to keeo the ants out. Jars are next…

  • By Tammy S, July 27, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

    Helen elson: Apparently you’ve never had ants swarming your kitchen.

  • By Ellen, August 9, 2013 @ 5:04 am

    Fine ground black pepper makes an excellent deterrent or barrier

  • By Andrew, September 3, 2013 @ 3:14 am

    My mother always had a blunt method for getting rid of anthills. She would put on a teakettle, and just pour the boiling water down the anthill. They didn’t come back from that one.

    A little harsh, but no chemicals required.

  • By Diane, September 6, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    We have citronella ants. What would you suggest for that? They come in through the heating ducts in the basement, so we have them from November/December – March/April.

  • By yvonne de vivo, September 18, 2013 @ 3:17 am

    Okay just tried the Chili Powder idea and they ran for the hills ;) thanku ive thrown away 4 boxes of Cereal that does not include food theyve gotten into.

  • By Joey, September 18, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

    We have little ants that like savory treats nothing sweet, they are a pest at the pet food dishes, I’ve placed the food dishes inside a flat plastic plate, added water to the plate ans now they drown when they try to get to the pet food, but they don’t stay away!

  • By Patsy E., October 11, 2013 @ 12:34 am

    Baby powder after you’ve seen them. I sprinkle it on them, and wherever I see them coming from. It will scratch through their waxy, protective coating, and kill them.

  • By Donna, October 27, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    A natural alternative for Fire Ants is to sprinkle Grits on the ant mound. The ants eat the grits then dtink water thereby expanding the grits & killing them, this method requires repetative applications.Not sure how this works on other species.

  • By James Gallimore, November 19, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

    The off brand fabric refresher(febreeze) from the dollar store works great. kills them instantly and doesn’t smell bad

  • By clyde, November 19, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

    I use wD40 to block them

  • By sylvia de lazo, December 6, 2013 @ 12:53 am

    I use coffe grounds, which works, but cannot drink enough coffee to keep up with them! Will try boric acid mixed with coffee grounds, chili peppers and cinnamon leaves for my compost area (8 meters x 5 meters for the moment–would help if worker would turn the damn pile daily) and the baby powder to protect my plants near the house. I have an area of about 5 acres that is infested. We have even goneafter them with torches and gasoline. Are there any plants that repell them like marigolds repell nemitods?

  • By Rhonda Gray, December 6, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    Tried coffee grounds, and also tried Tapioca but neither were effective.

  • By Sasha, December 6, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

    To my knowledge, ant are lured by mint, they like it.

    You can use 1-cent coins, as they do not like copper.

    Mint is used to repulse mice.

    Hope that helped ! :)

  • By James, December 8, 2013 @ 5:20 am

    20 mule team borax in out of the way places around the house takes care of Cockroaches. Also keeping the food supply away will work on many pests.

  • By abdul massi, December 30, 2013 @ 5:31 am

    how to get rid of Mouse

  • By muhammad hanif khatri, December 30, 2013 @ 7:16 am

    baking soda works nicely

  • By CR, December 30, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    I have used mint tooth paste like caulking around the tube work good to, Baby power works,vinegar will kill weeds and grass,flower, plants so be careful, also wash your fruits and veg in apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes will take wax and pesticides, dirt off, Grits work on bull ants best they eat it a blow up inside and fed to the queen she will die so will the rest,it a slow killer but it works in about 2 week all be gone. For carpets and fleas I use borax laundry booster 100% mule team and Iodine table salt, salt kills eggs and pupa & larva’s and the borax laundry booster 100% mule team will kill the adults, they all bleed out and dry up, DE earth work but low never use pool grade. I Have so many things I do use 99% safe. I been trying to right a home self do it book on home all natural Help Remedies. been doing this for years. over 200 Remedies I have right now,I am also learning how to make cheese, butters,soaps,I Made home tooth paste, with mint oil, 2 drops and water baking soda. it a little salty but works great. Oh all most for got Hot bowling water works on ants and also malted aluminum can very hot,pour on ant hill carefully and watch what happens let cool dig up aluminum rinse off dirt on the harden aluminum and clean well and you have ant art so cool. Ants be gone and got a cool ant art to boot, aluminum can be recycled to or malted again.

  • By Beaugrand, January 1, 2014 @ 4:52 pm

    Correction: “Except for the fact that this little guy is a scout”

    The “little guy” is a “little gal.” The only male ants you will ever see are the ones with wings. The worker ants (and soldier ants, and nursery ants, and scout ants, etc) are all sterile females.

  • By Josie, January 17, 2014 @ 2:42 am

    Cinnamon works wonders

  • By Margaret Fannen, February 9, 2014 @ 10:21 am

    Tried everything and nothing worked, even professional help. In despair I tried the borax, sugar and cotton wool and their were dead bodies by the hundred in certain places, toilet, bathroom, corner of bedroom, kitchen to start with, and still happening. New insulation through house and walking in by dozens so had no option.

  • By Carrie, March 14, 2014 @ 2:50 am

    I’ve had great luck with Citra Solv. They were coming in the kitchen window, I just sprayed the window sills and they stopped coming in. Took a couple of days applying it in the morning and at night. Smells good to me, but the ants did not like it.

  • By Nicola, April 6, 2014 @ 5:56 am

    I love these home remedies! I suffer terribly with allergies and almost everything makes me sneeze 10 million times a day. These natural alternatives don’t do that to me. So far I found using sea salt as a barrier works and I pour it on the ants nests as well as break the soil around the entrances of the homes and replace it with salt. I’m going to try the vinigar solution to get rid of weeds.

  • By Brenda, April 13, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

    I always use Generic Spearmint gum place where ants are sited….barely open wrapper leave until gum is hard and no longer smells…so far works everytime

  • By Me, April 18, 2014 @ 5:08 am

    Garlic oil spray works great on fire ant hills in the yard. we bought garlic oil to spray for mosquitoes and found out it also works perfectly and getting rid of fire ants. We used mosquitobarrier brand.

  • By Surya Tejaswini, April 28, 2014 @ 6:25 am

    During summers it is truly a typical task to handle the ants. They will trouble us like anything.So following some home remedies is always the best thing. The way you have mentioned ” toxic to ants but low toxic to humans” drawn my attention because many of the tips we follow to survive from ants,flies,mosquitoes will damage our health more than damaging theirs.Nice lines……. :)

  • By admin, April 30, 2014 @ 3:28 am

    Thanks for your great comments and your kind support Surya <3

  • By claessens tony, May 24, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

    -If you put a copper coin or copper in any form on the ants trails or hive the ants pick up their belongings and move away ! copper forms a oxide thats very poisonous,its very common and peaple are very familiar with the green on bronze statues for example ! its the copper in the bronze thats oxidizing,so never lick a bronze statue :)

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