Oh man, its the first really chilly day of the season and guess what- ants! Yes, these little guys were found in our cupboards and along the baseboard this am. I am not very pleased but I have secret- I know how to get rid of ants naturally and quickly so they won’t drag all their buddies back!
How to Prevent Ants From Getting In Your Home
The first step to remove pesky ants from your house is to try and find the source of what I call “the breach”. It is a window sill, door jam, sliding door, or a way back corner in the your laundry room where the ants have discovered giving them access to the indoors.
Look for this spot and patch it up. Sometimes this means adding new door sealing or fixing loose window sills or ledges, but its a necessary step to ensure your ant invasion won’t return.
Ants usually will come into a home for only a few reasons- to find a water source when its dry out, to hunt for food, or to come inside when the weather is bad out.
Look for where the ants are going. If they are going towards your kitchen or bathroom sink, then you know they are looking for water and its possible you have a leak under there so be sure to check it out.
If they are getting in your cupboards, then you most likely have food they are hunting. Ants love sugar! They will search out sweet, sticky, ooey gooey treats and devour them.
Left open Halloween candy is like a big green light for them. Remove the source of the food and they will begin to dissipate.
12 Ways How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
Ants can be a real nuisance, especially when you find them crawling in every inch of your house. It might seem impossible to get rid of these tiny creatures but with the help of the amazing natural techniques mentioned below, you can wave ants goodbye pretty soon.
Cinnamon is a good way to get rid of ants – its strong scent helps to repel them. Apply grounded cinnamon powder in corners where ant trails appear usually, such as on windows, cracks, and doors. You can also use cinnamon essential oil.
All you have to do is to mix cinnamon oil with a little water and it can be used as a spray to repel ants or you can also place a few drops of cinnamon oil on some cotton balls and dab it on the infested areas. (This is great to use during the winter months cause it makes your house smell good too!)
Use vinegar to get rid of ants by using a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water.You can try one of recipes for homemade cleaner with vinegar and essential oils as well. Put the mixture into a spray bottle or damp the cloth with the mixture. Use the mixture at least twice or thrice a day for a better and faster result.
Don’t forget to wipe out the dead ants with a damp cloth. Ants hate the smell of vinegar and also hate the fact that their trail gets disrupted. So, vinegar is certainly an effective way to repel ants.
Mint is another one of my favorite ways how to get rid of ants. You can use mint in the form of essential oils dabbing it around your house. If you’re using the oil, pour a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe the infested areas or you could choose to place the cotton balls in the suspected areas.
The strong and cooling smell of mint is detested by ants and it slowly kills them. The plus point of using mint as an ant replant is that it leaves your house with a pleasing minty fresh smell.
4. Coffee Grounds
To some of you, it may come as a shock that coffee isn’t just used as a drink but it is also useful as an ant repellent. The strong aroma of brewed coffee helps to get rid of ants from your garden and any other infested area in your house.
However, coffee isn’t the most effective ant repellent compared to other natural remedies. You might see those little fellows again but it that’s all you have in the house- give it shot until you can try the others!
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice works wonders when it comes to getting rid of ants. This solution is the easiest to make and it barely consumes any time. All you need is one whole lemon and quarter of a glass filled with water.
Mix both ingredients to make the solution and then continue by spraying it on the infested areas. Lemons juice causes ants to lose their sense of tracking, hence it is an easy and effective way to get rid of them immediately.
6. Cayenne Pepper
You can use Cayenne pepper by sprinkling it all over the infested areas of your house. You can also use it as a spray. Mix pepper with water to create the solution and spray it all around the corners and into the holes from where the ants usually come out.
Cayenne pepper or black pepper won’t kill the ants, but it acts as a barrier by ensuring no return of ants inside your house ever again and is a great way to get rid of ants the natural way.
7. Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar
Sugar is one of the main ingredients that attract ants. You can apply this method by mixing powdered sugar with baking soda. Pour the mixture into a container and place it near the infested areas. It is obvious that ants will try to eat the mixture.
However, after they eat it, their bodies will start to dry and deteriorate. Baking soda and sugar are said to have a strong substance that poisons ants. It is one of the most effective and easiest remedies you can apply to get rid of ants and you just need to do it once.
8. Soap and Water Solution
Soap and water solution is one of the simplest ways how to get rid of ants naturally. You can make this solution by adding a little bit of liquid dish detergent into a spray bottle, filled with warm water. Shake it well and spray the mixture directly onto the ants.
The mixture throttles the ants and helps to wash away their scent trail. Repeat this method twice or thrice a day to get rid of the ants faster. I use this method to clean up their trail.
9. Cucumber/Citrus Peels
Cucumber and citrus peel consist of a toxic fungi that kills ants. Leave cucumber or citrus peels around the infested areas. However, because of its poisonous feature, some species of ants avoid feeding onto the cucumber or citrus peel but they will avoid it.
For a better result, use citrus-scented cleaners or any product that contain pure citrus or cucumber. For example, you can use cucumber oil.
Chalk can prove to be an effectively yet simple method to get rid of ant trails. Draw chalk lines on areas where the ants are most expected to come. The lines prohibit ants from entering into the area beyond the line and cause them to lose their trail scent.
Another reason why chalk acts as an ant repellent is the presence of calcium carbonate in chalks, which ants cannot stand. Make sure to keep redrawing the lines when they start to fade away. This is a great method for outdoors with pavement ants.
You can use salt to get rid of ants by sprinkling it onto the infested areas or drawing a straight line. Make sure the areas are completely dry. An alternate way to use salt is by making its solution. All you need to do is add a large amount of normal table salt into hot boiling water.
Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it onto the most suspected areas. Do this at least twice a day for a better result.
You can make a paste of Borax mixed with sugar and water. Apply the paste onto small pieces of cardboard and place it near the infested areas.
Borax helps destroy the ants’ skeletons and digestive system, resulting in their death. Hence, Borax is one of the most effective and efficient ant repellents.
Once you have your natural remedies placed around the areas of your home and are seeing results, you will want to want to wipe the ant trail away. Ants rely on pheromones to create a chemical trail from their nest to potential food sources.
I will wipe down the previously-infested area with water and dish soap to destroy the scent and then place a cotton ball with a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to ensure they don’t return.
Ants are Usually Not Harmful To Humans
Although ants are seldom carriers of disease or transmission, their sheer numbers can be very frustrating for homeowners because they prefer to invade living areas with moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. The ants are often attracted to food items as well and become unwelcome guests in homes.
Rarely will an ant harm a human or attack unless the are the aggressive red fire ant which can cause a painful itchy bump from their bite. Many ants actually have a stinger on them but only a few species of ant will use it for anything but protection.
Some ants can bite and some can sting, while others, such as the fire ant, can both bite and sting. Below is a list of ant species commonly found in or near homes in states all over the US.
Common Species of Ants
Ants aren’t the easiest of insects to distinguish due to their tiny size. Below are a some of the most common species of ants that one may encounter in their home or backyard.
The carpenter ants are large with a heart shaped head. They are probably the most destructive ant species for homeowners as they can destroy wooden structures. The will build and burrow into the wood causing serious damage.
They are also found in many states and usually are found outdoors near old trees or wood stacks. Typically they have a black (with a mix of red) body appearance.
Odorous House Ant
These ants are also found in most states and are largely known for producing a foul odor when they get crushed. They typically have a dark brown or black body. They will construct their nests near sources of moisture.
These guys are more of a nuisance ant, with many queens and many homes making them tough to completely eliminate. You can usually find them under pieces of wood or debris in the backyard.
These are the ant you used to play with as a kid I bet. They earned their name for the erratic way they move. Instead of marching in a line like most organized ants, crazy ants move in a non-predictable pattern.
These type of ants are the ones that if you dropped a rock or piece of food down, they would run all over the place.
Crazy ants are reddish-brown and about one-eighth of an inch long and are most common in Texas, Florida and throughout the South. They have a taste for sugar and prefer the warm indoors if given an opening – even near electrical devices.
Pavement ants will nest under rocks or pavement and can be one of the trickier species to eradicate. You will know you have these types of ants as they mine the sand and soil from under concrete slabs, patios, sidewalks, driveways, or even in basements.
These ants are fairly small but do possess a stinger. A person is not stung easily unless they are in their territory and step on them or cover the ants area.
These ants will also forage into homes or on food items and will eat anything sweet or greasy. (think picnic ants)
Also known as sugar ants, Argentine ants are typically found in the U.S. along the coast of California. Argentine ants are typically medium-sized and dark brown and usually nest outside.
They love sugar however, so if you leave out some food with easy access- these are the guys that will come knocking!
There may be times when you see large numbers of the ants indoors and then times when you don’t see any around. Often they come inside in spring when it’s rainy and they’re looking for dry places to move their nests.
Fire ants are more commonly found in the southern states and can leave quite a painful sting. Those who get bitten by a fire ant may experience intense pain and itching. If you are allergic, you need to be extra cautious of these guys.
Fire ants will create nests in the ground. They prefer open, sunny areas, such as meadows, pastures, parks, playgrounds, lawns and golf courses, as well as agricultural land. Fire ants can also swim so hosing them will not kill them!
Q: Are citrus peels effective against ants?
A: Absolutely! Citrus peels, especially from oranges and lemons, can deter ants due to their strong scent. You can place dried peels or create a citrus solution by boiling the peels and spraying the cooled liquid in ant-prone areas.Even if you use just one or two of these natural remedies, you will help yourself get rid of the stress of having ants constantly invading every corner of your house.
Q: How does cornmeal affect ants?
A: Ants are attracted to cornmeal and see it as food. However, they can’t digest it. If they consume enough, it can be fatal. Sprinkle cornmeal in areas where you see ant activity, and they’ll carry it back to their colony.
Q: What is the importance of keeping my kitchen clean in ant prevention?
A: Ants are primarily attracted to food sources. By keeping your kitchen clean, ensuring food is stored in airtight containers, and promptly cleaning up spills, you reduce the attraction for ants, making your home less appealing to them.
Q: How does diatomaceous earth help with ant control?
A: Diatomaceous earth is a natural insect killer. It’s made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. When ants walk over it, the sharp particles cut through their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.
Q: Will soapy water kill ants?
A: Soapy water can indeed act as an ant killer, and here’s how it works. The protective oils that coat an ant’s exoskeleton are disrupted by the soap, leading to dehydration. Additionally, the soap can create a film over the ant’s spiracles, the tiny openings they use for breathing, effectively suffocating them.
Some soaps also have chemicals or fragrances that can be harmful to ants. If you’re looking to use this method, simply combine a bit of dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Directly spraying ants will kill them, and applying the mixture to ant trails and their entry points can disrupt their pheromone trails, deterring them from returning.
However, while this solution is effective for individual ants and cleaning up trails, tackling a large infestation or the entire colony might require more robust measures.
Q: Does Coffee Attract Ants?
A: No, coffee itself does not typically attract ants. In fact, used coffee grounds are sometimes recommended as a natural ant repellent. When sprinkled around plants or entry points to homes, the grounds can deter ants and disrupt their scent trails.
However, if the coffee is sugary or contains sweeteners and creamers, it can attract ants because they are drawn to sugary substances. If you spill sweetened coffee or leave a cup with remnants lying around, it could become a target for ants in search of food.
While applying any of these methods, you have to pick the one that best suits your situation. For example, if you have just started to notice ants coming into the house, you should use the essential oil repellents.
However, if the infestation has gotten out of control, you should opt for a method that kills the existing ants. So, inspect your house for any ant infestations and use a method that helps you live and sleep stress-free.