What can I do to get rid of ants without killing them?
There are a number of effective ways to get rid of ants without the use of poisons or ant killers. We recommend using some or all of these solutions:
1) Mix one tablespoon of each borax and sugar into 1/4 cup water, heat until thin. Pour the mixture into an unopened plastic animal cracker container, make sure you leave some space for it to expand. Cut off the top with a small hole in it and put this near your ant problem. The ants will enter this trap thinking there is food inside then go back out a trail carrying bits on their backs that traps any other ants in the colony who follow them then join these others back at the main colony. It’s an easy process to watch, just don’t get too close! The borax and sugar draw ants in, after they eat it they carry the extra bits of food back with them on their backs making a trail that also leaves poison behind as they go.
2) Nearly everyone has heard of putting a bit of apple in with your garbage can lid to stop fruit flies from getting inside but there are many other uses for apples around the house. One great way to get rid of ants is by removing an apple core and hollowing out the center then adding two teaspoons of honey into this space along with some cinnamon powder (you can buy a small container at any supermarket or health store). Replace the top and put this into your garden or somewhere outside where the ants are doing damage, wait a few days and come back to remove it.
3) Making a mix of equal parts Borax liquid soap and cayenne pepper will kill both ants and their eggs very quickly. This is mixed by dissolving half a teaspoon borax into two tablespoons of hot water, then stirring in one tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of mild liquid soap. But this must be stirred well as the slightly acidic properties of lemon juice can cause problems otherwise when blended with Borax. Then add in just enough water to make four cups total with the rest being made up of Cayenne pepper which you should slowly stir in while wearing rubber gloves (I found out that Cayenne pepper is a very good bug killer after learning about it in one of STTM’s first newsletters). Borax can cause kidney problems if consumed on a regular basis so you want to make sure no children drink this mixture. You can get more information on the dangers here.
4) Another way to rid yourself of ants naturally that’s also very inexpensive is making your own sprays and solutions. One great recipe for ant spray that works really well is combining equal parts boric acid (can be purchased at any pharmacy or health store), white vinegar and water then spraying this around your home where needed. However, you may need to reapply some of this solution every week for maximum protection as often ants will build new nests quickly each time the old one is destroyed. Another great spray you can try is combining one teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (you can get this from most supermarkets) with two tablespoons of water, then mixing in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil into it to make a liquid mixture. Spray on the places that ants are getting into your home including cracks and entry points around windows or doors etc…
5) Cinnamon sticks also work well to keep ants away as they don’t like anything about cinnamon including its smell. You can crush six cinnamon sticks up fine and put them in a small container and place this near ant trails, where you often see them crossing areas of bare ground or even little holes outside. They’ likely won’t go over these crushed up pieces of cinnamon as it’s too intense for their little ant noses and will keep them away. Another cinnamon based solution is to boil one cup of water with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder in it, then strain in a strainer into another container, but you can do the same thing by using two cups of apple juice instead and adding this amount of cinnamon powder for the same results.
6) Tomato leaf tea also works very well as an insect repellent against ants as they hate both the smell and taste of tomatoes including their leaves which are easily accessible around your home or garden. Steep some fresh tomato leaves in tea overnight or for a few hours until it has turned dark green and smells like a fragrant herb tea that’s bitter tasting. Then mix together equal amounts of this tomato tea and water, before spraying around doors or windows where you often see ants coming into your home. It’s best to apply this in the evenings so that it isn’t hot when sprayed around windows and doors as this will help it stick better and also keep from getting any of its sticky green solution on anything.
7) You can also try mixing together equal amounts of soap suds with vinegar then spraying around areas where you see lots of ants at your home or place of work but remember not to spray directly onto plants or grass otherwise, the damage could occur. Spray both outsides (along walls near entry points etc…) but also inside cupboards for good measure…this is useful if you mix up a large batch like 100mls and keep it handy in a bottle with you.
8) Diatomaceous earth or DE is an amazing natural way to combatants naturally that can be very effective especially if sprinkled around the ant nests (be careful not to disturb nests otherwise they will swarm you and attack). It kills them by drying up their bodies from the inside out which is why this method works so well, as it targets them on a cellular level making for great eradication of ants.
9) Ants also don’t like eucalyptus oil at all which is something I’ve found out after talking to people who work at pharmacies here in Australia while researching natural methods for stopping moles worms etc… They have told me that eucalyptus oil should be diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil (about 12 drops to 1/4 cup of oil). You can then spray this around your home or outside near entry points where you often see ants crossing.
10) You can even try using sweet baits against them by putting out the following mixture: three parts water, one part sugar and 50 mls molasses. Mix well together and then place in little shallow containers along ant trails… Make sure to check these regularly otherwise ants may take over them!
11) Boric acid also works very well against ants both inside and outside your home. It’s highly toxic to most insects but doesn’t harm pets or humans who ingest it unless large amounts have been consumed. However, you should be careful if children or pets are around the area you plan on applying this to as it can cause problems for them if they consume any.
12) Soapy water will also work against ants by killing them directly on contact, but we suggest that you mix together equal amounts of nitric and sulphuric acid into a bowl with some ordinary soap. Pour this mixture along the ant trails where you often see large numbers of ants crossing. It’s best to spray with cinnamon oil or powder and water so that you can spray around doors, windows etc…
13) You could try using a combination of crushed eggshells with the white removed which will cut through the bodies of ants as they walk over it much like diatomaceous earth does. However, unlike diatomaceous earth, this doesn’t dehydrate them from the inside out making for an unpleasant death. This is still very effective for killing off ants though so although not as effective as DE, for example, it’s still a good method to use and one I highly recommend if you can get your hands on some eggshells!
14) Another substance that works against ants naturally is peppermint oil which lots of people keep in their cupboards at home around to do this in the afternoon so that when they cross the solution it’s not hot and uncomfortable.
15) How about trying cinnamon powder which I’ve mentioned above as an excellent repellent against ants due to their hatred for cinnamon. You could even make up a spray yourself out of cinnamon and water and spray it around your home to repel ants naturally.
16) Water is very important for making ant mounds dehydrate as this will make them unable to survive in the long run, so try spraying with lots of water when you see them crossing trails or nests etc… Also, sprinkle some metho over their hills outdoors…remember not to use this indoors though as it’s incredibly flammable! Placing a small amount of vinegar on top of anthills also works well.
17) I want to share with you another great repellent that has been shared with me recently by a reader. He told me that nearly all ants hate the smell from the native Australian plant called Acacia dealbata (silver wattle). He tells me that you can make a spray from crushing the leaves of the plant along with other natural ingredients he’s included below:
– Soak ten dry crushed Silver Wattle leaves in 1 litre of hot water for 24 hours.
– Add one teaspoon full of liquid soap and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to the solution.
– Strain and then add two teaspoons baking soda or bicarb soda, 2 teaspoons of eucalyptus oil and three teaspoons fine sugar.
18) You can also try mechanical barriers to stop ants from gaining access to your home if you have a problem with these little creatures indoors. Most people seal cracks and gaps in the foundations of their homes to stop them from coming in through the outside walls which is important as it’s hard to kill off an entire nest once they’ve gained a foothold inside your home! If you’re having problems with ants inside, make sure that you do this first before even thinking about using any chemicals or natural remedies on them!
19) One key tip when handling ants is to make sure to wear gloves as they will bite if they feel threatened! Of course, most people prefer to avoid coming into contact with these pests so I’d recommend gloves anyway for keeping your hands clean.
20) I want to end with a few words about prevention so that you don’t have ants in your home in the first place. The best way is to avoid them completely or at least as much as possible! However, if you’re worried they will infiltrate your home and not just come inside a couple of times but rather make their nest from it, then here’s what you can do:
– Make sure that all food waste is disposed of properly away from windows and doors where ants go foraging.
– Disinfect areas near walls that are regularly visited by ants such as rubbish bins etc…
– Clean up spills and crumbs immediately. Don’t leave food lying around on tables or worktops where ants are likely to be attracted.
IF we have missed your favorate method then let us know in the comments below