Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Ants Without Poisons

In warm climates and during the hot summer months in other parts of the country, ants are always on the lookout for water and food to bring back to their colony. Pesky ants can enter your abode through tiny cracks in your exterior walls and open windows, making it easy for these pests to come in scouring for delicious scraps. While there are thousands of species of ants in the world, the U.S. has seven types that you'll see the most, according to Joshua's Pest Control; these include fire, Argentine, pharaoh, thief, pavement, carpenter, and odorous house ants.

Not so surprising is the fact that ants have a penchant for sugary foods, just like humans. Dr. Michael Bentley, an entomologist and director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), told Today, "Ants have a sweet tooth, just like many of us, which leaves our kitchens particularly vulnerable to an infestation. In addition to the crumbs and spills we leave behind, our sinks provide a water source, which ants need to survive." If you don't want to get rid of them in cruel ways, consider a natural treatment to deter ants from even entering your home in the first place. We've gathered 21 ways to avoid an infestation, and you may be surprised to learn that many of these remedies are items you already have stocked in your pantry.

1. Diatomaceous earth (silicon dioxide)

Diatomaceous earth is an excellent way to rid your home of an ant infestation. Sprinkle it where you notice the ants, as well as on floors, baseboards, window sills, and any open cracks in your walls. This versatile substance is an easy solution to ant invaders and it's relatively inexpensive!

2. Black or red (cayenne) pepper

Here's an idea that's easy because you probably already have these items in your kitchen pantry. Black and red cayenne pepper are spices that these tiny yet mighty creatures detest. Sprinkle it where you notice them entering your home. You can also make a spray with water and pepper for similar results.

3. Fresh mint

If you want to repel ants and make your home entirely unappealing for them, consider leaving some fresh mint near their entry points or any small cracks in your walls. Ants dislike mint, so naturally, this can work wonders. Another bonus... mint helps to keep mosquitoes away as well, so this plan works double-duty on pesky insects.

4. Tea tree oil

Ants detest the smell of tea tree oil so much that if you put it near the entrance areas, they will immediately go the other way. If they come in contact with this essential oil, they could die. To make a spray bottle, you can mix tea tree oil with water to treat and apply it at the entrance areas.

5. Take away food sources

Since ants are after your delicious food, the easiest way to eliminate these pests is by taking away their food sources. That means regularly checking spots around your home for crumbs and doing a deep cleaning to get rid of every last drop! Vacuuming your carpets and scrubbing your tile floors usually do the trick.

6. Baking soda

You most likely have baking soda sitting in your pantry, which just so happens to be another effective way to get rid of ants. It could be sprinkled on the entrance areas, or you can create a homemade spray by mixing baking soda with water and vinegar.

7. Baby powder

Baby powder is another everyday household staple that works as a deterrent against ants coming inside your home. You can sprinkle it anywhere in your house, including in front of small cracks in your doorways and windows to keep these critters from entering.

8. Neem oil

Using raw neem oil will eliminate ants because it contains Azadirachtin, per Plant Care Today. If they end up eating it, neem oil can make it so ants no longer want to eat, and it can even cause fertility issues, so the females can't lay eggs. Another bonus? Neem oil is not harmful to pets or humans.

9. Borax

Borax is an ingredient found in many common household products, from disinfectants to cosmetics. For ants though, this ingredient is toxic to their digestive systems, which is why it's an excellent option for getting rid of these unappealing intruders.

10. Lemon eucalyptus oil

Another brilliant idea is using oil from a lemon eucalyptus tree. For those of you that live in USDA Zone 9 (Texas, central Florida, and southern Louisiana), you can grow this plant as an annual or perennial. Otherwise, it can be grown indoors in a pot. Ants hate this oil, as do other insects, because it has citronella.

11. Glass cleaner

Glass cleaner works, too. You can spray the ants directly or use the cleaner at different entry points as a way to ward off the smell of food. Any brand will suffice, or you can go with a popular brand like Windex.

12. Cornstarch

Most people have a box of cornstarch in their pantry, which can be employed against your ant infestation. For a cement-like antidote to your ant problem, add water to cornstarch only until you have a thick consistency, which is sure to stop ants in their tracks... literally.

13. White vinegar

White vinegar is another standard household product that — you guessed it — can deter ants from coming into your home in search of water or a meal from the crumbs you've dropped. You'll want to grab an empty spray bottle, do a 50/50 split of white vinegar and water, and spritz around their entrance points.

14. Cinnamon

Another affordable option to deter ants is cinnamon. The powder is the least effective option, however, it can help. For a more powerful solution, dip cotton balls into the essential oil version and place them where these pests enter your home. Likewise, place whole cinnamon sticks at entry points, a more potent alternative to typical powder.

15. Boiling water

Boiling water can take care of the ant invasion issue. Not only is it free, but it can be effective in getting rid of many ants in the colony. You'll want to use between two and three gallons of boiling water for it to work, just know before you do that water this hot can negatively affect your grass or plants.

16. Soapy water

Pesky ants can be killed with a mixture of about 4 ounces of dish soap and water, which is an easy solution to make since it's something you likely have on hand. Just pour this combination into a spray bottle and start spraying; you'll notice quickly that it's pretty effective.

17. Water from the garden hose

Another way to get rid of ants is by making their colony unlivable. One way to do this is by flooding it with water from the garden hose. To ensure this plan is effective, check for ants after a day because you may have to do another round of flushing.

18. Flour

Here's another pantry staple you can use to rid your home of a pesky ant problem. A line of flour can repel marching ants from entering your house and, shall we say... crossing the line!

19. Citrus

Lemon peels can work wonders for deterring ants, as well as the peels from other citrus fruits like limes, oranges, or grapefruit. The magic ingredient here is d-limonene, which is found in the peels, explains The Kitchn. It is strong enough to completely throw off their scent trail to the food source.

20. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are a household staple in many homes and a significant deterrent to ants. You can sprinkle them in all of the entrance areas of your home to keep the pests away since it affects their scent. To kill ants with coffee grounds, you'd have to mix it with something more potent, like boiling water or Borax.

21. Sugar

If there's one thing that ants and humans have in common, it's our love of sugary treats. You may find that, despite your best efforts, your house is still a haven for sweet crumbs. When that's the case, use it to lure the ants to their demise with sticky traps.