Ants have and important role in the ecosystem, but when they get into our houses, and especial our pantries, they can wreak havoc. If you have ever had an ant infestation, then you will know what a pain it can be to get rid of them, and to keep them away. Luckily, there are many natural remedies to keep ants at bay, which is especially useful considering that you don’t want to use all kinds of harmful chemicals in your house and near your food.
When you see one ant, you can be sure that there are more to come! Thus, the sooner you tackle the problem, the less effort it will be to get rid of them. Here are some great ways to keep ants out of your house.
Peppermint works well as a general insect repellent, so you can use it on ants, mosquitos, and other insects. Take care however to keep oil away from pets. They can get quite ill if they are exposed to it, specifically cats. To make a repellant solution, take 2 cups of water and add about 10 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil to it. Now use this solution to spray the areas around your windows and other places where the ants might get in.
This usually works best for large groups of ants. Pour cornstarch over the group, and then add water to it. The water/cornstarch mixture will effectively smother the ants. You can then vacuum this up (if your vacuum cleaner in capable of handling wet mixes) and then dispose of the messy mixture outside. Note that cornstarch and corn flour are not the same thing, so remember to use the correct one.
Borax is harmful to children and pets, so do not put out this bait in areas where children or pets will be able to reach it. It is important to note that borax and boric acid are two different substances, so don’t get confused between them. For this bait, mix about ‘n half a teaspoon of borax with 8 teaspoons sugar, and add to a cup of warm water. When the mix has dissolved, saturate a few cotton balls and leave them out as bait.
The nice thing about this is that you have to drink coffee first! When you have brewed your coffee, don’t throw the grounds away. Instead, use them to sprinkle around surfaces where ants might enter into your house, or around things ants are attracted to, such as your dogs’ food bowl. You can replace the grounds often, since they tend to lose their potency over time.
You can use white vinegar to both repel and kill ants. To do this, make a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar, and use this either to wipe the ants away or wipe surfaces where their might enter your house. The vinegar scent quickly fades for the human smell, but luckily not for ants, since the ants can still smell the scent for a long time and it will keep on repelling them.
Similar to borax, you can use tea tree oil to both repel and kill ants. To make a sprayable tea tree oil mixture, combine about 10 drops of the oil to about 2 cups of water. Spray this wherever you see the ants or where they enter your house. You can also saturate cotton balls with this mixture and place them around the house wherever you see the ants. But try to place them in such places that are out of reach of pets, since they can get sick when exposed to the oil.
Try to use full-strength neem, since it seems to work much better than diluted neem. The oil comes from the neem tree (Azadirachta indica), a species that occurs naturally in India. Neem oils is used more for repelling ants and not so much for killing them, so use this in combination with some of the other methods. Spray the neem oil wherever the ants enter into your house.
Interestingly, lemon eucalyptus oil is not the same thing as oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE). OLE is a refined version of lemon eucalyptus oil, but both of the oils are derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree (Corymbia citriodora). Both trees are native to Australia, however. Lemon eucalyptus oil is a great natural bug repellent, and contains the familiar substance citronella. To use as a repellant, saturate a few cotton balls with the oil and place them wherever you the ants. As with other oils, don’t allow children or pets get hold of the oil.
Most of us know diatomaceous earth by the affectionate name of kitty litter, since this is what it’s mostly used for. It is a type of silica and is actually made up of diatoms, which are fossilized aquatic organisms (hence the term “diatomaceous”). Diatomaceous earth works by absorbing the oils in the exoskeletons of the ants, which basically dries the ants out. It is best to avoid contact with it, due to this drying effects. Sprinkle the powder wherever you encounter the ants.
Boiling water can be used to kill ants immediately. This is usually done by pouring the boiling hot water down the holes of ant hills. Remember that although the ant hills themselves are not very big, the colonies below them are, which means you will not be able to kill all the ants. As such, the instant effect of boiling water on ants makes it great to use in combination with other methods.