It is mid-summer, and Ants are as prevalent as ever. Those who own pets and are cautious about chemicals may feel they have no choice on how to keep the ants out. Here are ways to keep the ants and harsh chemicals out of your house.
Many of us have had an ant infestation at one point or another, and while they may seem impossible to get rid of without chemicals, it is not. Once infested, you want to take care of it fast, the colonies build up, and the never-ending stream of ants haunts your kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, and living rooms, never seeming to disappear no matter how many ants trap you place. According to the National Library of Medicine, the Monomorium ant in North America can carry harmful bacteria, becoming carriers of disease, inducing bronchial asthma, respiratory allergies, and even death.
Natural Ways To Reduce, Repel and Eliminate Ants
While a professional exterminator may be necessary, there are numerous ways to kill ants, but not yourself or your pets. According to local expert Cj Casale, professional exterminator at Bugs Bee Gone, here are some pet-safe ways you can kill or repel ants from your home using items from home or bought from the local store and online:
Ants leave a scented pheromone trail behind when they walk, which acts as a map. This method can remove the scent and deter the ants from reentering your home.
- Here is how to do it:
- Mix dish soap into a clean spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture on areas where ants seem to enter from or congregate around.
- After spraying, then wipe down the area and leave a light residue.
- Repeat the above steps as often as needed.
Ground Black or Red Cayenne Pepper
A natural ant deterrent as insects finds the smell irritating. This method requires nothing but a sprinkle of pepper around baseboards and behind appliances. Our local expert Casale in his experience has seen this work, although results may vary.
White vinegar, available at all grocery stores, is a cheap and effective way to kill and repel ants. It is also a natural cleaning agent.
Try using a 1-to-1 vinegar/water mixture to clean hard surfaces, including floors and countertops, wherever ants are likely to travel. If you see ants, spray the mixture on them or wipe them up with a paper towel.
Ants can smell the vinegar after it dries, but the scent doesn’t remain long for most people.
Bring a large pot of water to a full boil and pour it down any and all holes where you notice ants are coming out. While this may not kill the entire population, it will reduce their colony to great effect.
An old farmers trick, get cornmeal from your local grocer and generously pour in areas where ants congregate. The ants die because they think this is “food”, and the ants cannot digest it. They bring it back to their colony, where they consume it and die off.
Cornstarch is an item many already have in their home. It’s an effective way of killing large numbers of ants quickly and safely.
There are two different ways to employ cornstarch to kill ants:
- Take your cornstarch, pour it over the entire group of ants and finish by adding water on top, killing all the ants.
Another method is to cover the ants with cornstarch, vacuum them up, and dispose of them in a sealed vacuum bag, far outside your home.
Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
A 2005 study discovered compounds in cinnamon leaf essential oil, including trans-cinnamaldehyde, could be effective at killing and repelling ants, including biting red ants.
- Saturate cotton balls with the undiluted-cinnamon leaf essential oil.
- Place the cotton balls in locations frequently spotted with ants.
- Replace the cotton balls weekly with newly cinnamon leaf oil-treated ones.
You can find cinnamon leaf essential oil at your local health-food store or online.
Neem oil is a naturally occurring insecticide extracted from the neem tree, native to India. For gardeners, it is recommended to use neem oil around plants, especially where aphids or ants congregate. Ants farm aphids are small sap-sucking insects. Using the neem oil not only reduces ants but other pests as well. Do not use diluted products, as they do not work nearly as well. You can find neem oil at many health food stores or online.
Brewed coffee grounds detract ants. Sprinkle the freshly brewed coffee grounds on disposable surfaces, like index cards, pieces of paper, or cardboard boxes, and leave them in areas where ants like to hang out, such as pet bowls, kitchens, or crevices. Also, this works on windowsills and places the grounds there generously. The potency of the coffee grounds diminishes once dry, so change them every day with every pot you make.
Lemon juice can be sprayed on surfaces or wiped down to detract ants by removing pheromone trails that mask the scent of food. Also, putting lemon rinds in your cupboard works as a deterrent to keep ants out.
If you have an extreme infestation, Casale our local expert from Bugs Bee Gone, recommends to call your local exterminator.