Filed under: How To
When ant battalions march into my home, my first thought is to grab a commercial insecticide and spray the critters into oblivion. But then I worry about the toxic effects of insecticides on other living things in my house, like my dogs and my husband (not necessarily in that order).
These days, I use natural ways to repel or get rid of ants foolish enough to cross my threshold.
How to Keep Ants Out
The best ant cure is an ounce of prevention that keeps the insects outside, where they belong.
1. Ants are attracted to food and water, so keep counters and floors clean and dry. Tightly cover food you leave out, and don’t let dirty dishes sit in your sink.
2. Plug holes where ants enter your home, like in foundations, around windows and heating vents, and through rips in window or door screens.
3. Create natural barricades out of common household products ants don’t like to cross. Around window sills and baseboards pour a line of salt, cinnamon, coffee grounds, cayenne pepper or spearmint leaves. Place a scented dryer sheet on window sills, which will repel ants too.
4. Ants hate the scent of lemon. So clean with a lemon-scented commercial solution, or make your own by adding the juice of one lemon to a spray bottle containing water or vinegar.
5. Treat the ground around your house with a solution of one cup of water with 10 drops of either peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils. Repeat after rain.
6. To prevent ants from getting into pet food, place bowls in a soapy water moat.
7. To prevent ants from marching down the same line, spray the path with vinegar, which removes the ant scent.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
I love all things large and small. But ants in my house must die. Here’s how.
Sugar lures ants, while borax poisons them. So, make a solution of ½ cup of sugar, 1½ tablespoons of Borax and 1½ cups of warm water. Moisten cotton balls with the solution, and set the balls sitting in jar lids around the house. (Use caution if you have children or pets in your home. See the video below for another way to do this safely.)
Need a quick fix? Suck up ants with a vacuum, then immediately empty the canister or bag outside.