Ants – these relentless pesky creatures can mess up your kitchen and cause a lot of heartache. And it doesn’t help they are extremely social too! An ant will not be content to gorge on your stash of sweets or your breakfast cereal by itself. Instead, it’ll leave a chemical trail to lead all its friends directly to your kitchen! That’s why once they find you, it can take some work to get rid of them. Of course, many ant repellants are available in the market but if you’re looking for a more natural way of dealing with these creatures, read on.
1. Seal Cracks With Caulk
When you see a line of ants marching into your home, follow them down to the point of entry and seal it off. Ants can enter your home through tiny cracks and crevices. Use caulk to seal all cracks, holes, and gaps – between floorboards, under the counter where the plumbing goes into the wall, between window frames. Also remember to apply weather stripping beneath your doors and windows.1
2. Keep A Tight Lid On Things
Carpenter ants are big ants that are black and red or plain black in color. They can eat into wood, leave tiny piles of sawdust, and cause structural damage to your house. You might need professional help for dealing with these guys!
Ants come into your home looking for food. Store foods that they like in jars with rubber gaskets or jars with tight lids to stop them from getting in. Make sure your counters are clear of food particles and wash out containers before throwing them in the garbage. Placing your pet’s dish in a shallow bowl of water will deter ants from getting to it as they can’t swim. If you remove sources of food, you’ll find that ants will soon leave you alone and go looking elsewhere.2
3. Use Soapy Water To Erase Their Chemical Markers
Bothered at home by ants that bite? Use a soapy rag to wipe up the ant trail. The soap will not only deflect them by wiping away the chemical marker that they deposit, which other ants use as a guide to make their way into your home.
4. Sprinkle Cinnamon Powder
Scientific studies have found that cinnamon can repel ants as well as kill them.4 Sprinkle cinnamon powder across window sills, door thresholds, and under cabinets if you’re plagued by ants. You can also place cinnamon sticks or powder in places where you find ants.5
id="use-some-clove-powder">5. Use Some Clove Powder
Cloves are another potent weapon against ants. Clove oil contains eugenol, eugenol acetate, as well as beta-caryophyllene which are toxic to ants. One study on red fire ants found that clove powder was able to repel 99% of ants within 3 hours.6 So get rid of ants by sprinkling some clove powder in areas frequented by ants and along paths that they take.
6. Apply Diatomaceous Earth To Cracks And Holes
Diatomaceous earth is made of finely crushed marine fossils which scratch the outer covering or “skin” of ants. This causes them to dehydrate and die. Apply this powder to holes and crevices that ants use to travel to get rid of them. Diatomaceous earth doesn’t have an expiry date and works as long as it’s dry. And it’s not toxic to pets or people though you should take care not to inhale it.7
7. Apply Natural Gum Resins Around The Base Of Vines And Trees
If your garden is overrun by ants and you find them on plants and trees, they might have been drawn there by nectar, ripe fruit, or honeydew that’s deposited on these plants by insects like aphids and soft scales. Covering the bases of trees with sticky natural gum resins, available in the market, can stop ants from climbing up as ants can’t cross the sticky barrier. If you have sensitive or young plants, make sure you wrap the base with fabric or paper and apply the gum resin on this to prevent injury to your plants.8 And if you’ve got flower pots inside your home, try applying a double-sided tape to the legs of your plant stands. The “sticky barrier” principle works here too!9
8. Make A Borax Bait
Borax is extremely effective at killing ants. Stir in ½ cup of sugar and 1 and ½ spoons of borax into 2 cups of boiling water till they dissolve. Transfer the solution to a jar. Soak cotton balls in the liquid and place them in jar lids along ant pathways. If your sweet cotton balls aren’t working, try adding a little vegetable oil to them as some ants prefer fat to sugar.
9. Sprinkle Black Pepper Or Chilli Pepper Powder
Much like cinnamon powder, black pepper and chilli pepper can also repel and kill ants. So sprinkle these around entry points and block ant pathways. If you have to choose one of these, go for chilli pepper. Research has found that chilli pepper is more effective than black pepper at killing and repelling ants. But do take care not to breathe in pepper powder while handling it.12
id="place-bay-leaves-in-food-jars">10. Place Bay Leaves In Food Jars
Do ants get into your food storage? If these pests are spoiling your bags of flour or your jars of cookie mix, adding a few bay leaves may give you some protection. You can also strew a few leaves inside your kitchen cupboards and your pantry. Though there doesn’t seem to be much research into the ant repelling property of bay leaves, they have a long history of use and seem to be effective. They’re safe to use around food as they’re completely non-toxic.13
id="use-an-orange-peel-and-vinegar-spray">11. Use An Orange Peel And Vinegar Spray
Orange peels contain a compound called d-Limonene which destroys the protective coating of an ant’s respiratory system due to which it suffocates. To make an orange peel ant repellant, peel around 6 to 7 oranges and fill a jar almost to the brim with the peels. Pour in white vinegar so that it covers the peels and let it sit for around 10 days. Then strain the solution into a spray bottle and you’ve got yourself an ant repellant as well as a cleaning solution.
You may want to dilute it when you use it for cleaning. But apply the solution full strength to crevices and cracks that ants use and spray it on ant pathways. Just the smell of the orange peels will repel them.14 15
|↑1||Got ants? Safer ways to prevent and eliminate this common home pest.
|↑2, ↑9, ↑10||Ants. Government of Canada.|
|↑3||Got ants? Safer ways to prevent and eliminate this common home pest. Oregon Metro.|
|↑4, ↑12||Mutalib, Nurliana Abd, Tun Mohd Firdaus Azis, Sarina Mohamad, Nur Izzati Azizan, Hamidah Jaafar Sidek, M. H. Roziana, and Zainab Razali. “THE REPELLENT AND LETHAL EFFECTS OF BLACK PEPPER (PIPER NIGRUM), CHILLI PEPPER (CAPSICUM ANNUUM) AND CINNAMON (CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM) EXTRACTS TOWARDS THE ODOROUS HOUSE ANT (TAPINOMA SESSILE).” (2006).|
|↑5||Benson, Pat. Thrifty Sister: Saving Ways for Black Folks. iUniverse, 2001.|
|↑6||Kafle, Lekhnath, and Cheng Jen Shih. “Toxicity and repellency of compounds from clove (Syzygium aromaticum) to red imported fire ants Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).” Journal of economic entomology 106, no. 1 (2013): 131-135.|
|↑8||Ants. University of California.|
|↑11, ↑13, ↑14||Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies: *Healing Cures from Foods and Herbs *Soothing Salves and Creams *Natural Solutions for Your Home. Harvest House Publishers, 2016.|
|↑15||Ants. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.|