Discovering ants in your home can be a nuisance, but fear not, as we've compiled a comprehensive guide to help you naturally eliminate and repel these unwanted guests. From common household products to essential oils, we've got you covered with effective strategies that not only tackle the issue but also prioritize safety around pets.
Are Ants Harmful?
While the majority of the 12,000 ant species worldwide are harmless, some can carry bacteria, posing potential health risks. A 2019 animal study revealed that certain ants, like Monomorium ants, can carry pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, the pharaoh ant, a type of Monomorium ant, was implicated in respiratory allergies in a 2005 study. It's essential to address ant infestations promptly.
20 Natural Ways to Eliminate and Repel Ants
1. Diatomaceous Earth (Silicon Dioxide)
Diatomaceous earth, made from fossilized aquatic organisms, acts by absorbing oils in ant skeletons, leading to dehydration. It's a non-toxic solution effective in eradicating ants without harming the environment.
2. Glass Cleaner and Liquid Detergent
Create a mixture of glass cleaner and liquid detergent to remove ant pheromone trails. This disrupts their map and discourages reentry into your home, providing a safe and simple solution.
3. Ground Black or Red Pepper
Use black or red pepper as a natural ant deterrent. Sprinkle it around baseboards and appliances to create an inhospitable environment for ants.
Harness the power of peppermint essential oil, a natural insect repellent. Create a solution with water and spray it around baseboards and windows to deter ants effectively.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Similar to peppermint oil, tea tree oil can be an efficient ant deterrent. Mix it with water and spray around areas frequented by ants or saturate cotton balls and place them strategically.
6. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree, this oil contains citronella, known for repelling insects. Saturate cotton balls with the oil and place them where ants are prevalent.
7. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)
Different from the essential oil, OLE contains PMD, an effective insect repellent. Use it to deter ants by placing it in areas they frequent.
8. White Vinegar
A cheap and effective solution, white vinegar kills and repels ants. Use a 1-to-1 vinegar/water mixture to clean surfaces and deter ants without leaving a lasting scent.
9. Boiling Water
Pouring boiling water into ant holes near your home effectively kills many ants. Repeat the process to address multiple ant holes and reduce the ant population.
Employ cornstarch to smother ants in two ways: pour it over ants and add water, or cover them with cornstarch and vacuum them up.
11. Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Compounds in cinnamon leaf essential oil, such as trans-cinnamaldehyde, can kill and repel ants. Saturate cotton balls with the oil and place them strategically.
12. Neem Oil
A natural insecticide extracted from the neem tree, neem oil is effective in repelling ants. Use it around plants and areas where ants are present.
13. Coffee Grounds
Brewed coffee grounds act as a deterrent. Sprinkle them on disposable surfaces and windowsills to discourage ants from congregating.
14. Boric Acid
A poison for certain ants, boric acid erodes their outer shells and stomachs. Use it cautiously, keeping it away from pets and children.
15. Borax (Sodium Tetraborate)
Equally effective as boric acid, borax helps in killing ants. Use it by creating a solution and saturating cotton balls, placing them strategically.
Spray or wipe lemon juice to remove pheromone trails and mask food scents, deterring ants naturally.
17. Check Your Houseplants
Inspect houseplants for ant swarms, indicating nests underneath the soil. Discard infested plants and surround soil with citrus rinds to prevent ant colonization.
18. Keep the Outdoors Outside
Maintain a clean yard by removing debris and cutting vegetation touching exterior walls. This prevents ants from finding entry points into your home.
19. Cut Off Sources of Food
Deter ants by sealing food tightly, washing dishes promptly, and cleaning up crumbs daily. Eliminate pet food scent by removing bowls immediately after use.
20. Eliminate Ant Entrances
Seal cracks, treat wall cracks with ant repellent, and mend window screen rips to prevent ants from entering your home.
How to Stop Kitchen Ants
The kitchen is a prime target for ants due to its proximity to food. Keep it ant-free by cleaning surfaces daily, washing dishes immediately, and using natural repellents.
When Natural Options Aren't Enough
If natural remedies fall short, consider using bait traps containing pesticides. These traps attract ants, which consume the bait and bring it back to their nests, effectively eliminating the colony.
Non-toxic commercial sprays like Raid can also be effective. Ensure to check the ingredients before purchase and follow safety precautions.
For persistent ant problems, hiring an exterminator may be necessary. Opt for professionals committed to using the least toxic products, especially if you have concerns about children, pets, or respiratory conditions.
Ant infestations are common but manageable with the right strategies. By adopting these natural methods and maintaining a clean environment, you can effectively repel and eliminate ants. If needed, commercial products and professional exterminators are available for more stubborn cases. Stay proactive, and enjoy an ant-free home.