The Most Effective Ways to Kill Ants Using Natural Ingredients
Ants rarely come into your house in ones and twos, but they can infest your home in their hundreds. Getting rid of ants with natural, homemade insecticides is fairly easy and effective. In fact, killing off ants with natural ingredients not only works quickly, but it helps to look after the environment and keep your family members and pets safe.
Natural home remedies to eradicate ant infestations generally use safe, natural ingredients that are toxic to ants but won’t harm family members and pets. For example, ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, cornmeal, and coffee grounds are food items that you probably already have at home, but are great natural ant killers. Other natural remedies use diatomaceous earth, boric acid, or essentials oils to help repel ants naturally and eliminate them at their source.
So, if you notice ants marching through your home, before reaching for a chemical pesticide, why not try using some of these natural ingredients to kill ants naturally.
How to Kill Ants Using Natural Ingredients
Let’s look at some of the best natural ingredients that you can use to effectively kill ants. Some of these home remedies help to repel ants and disrupt the chemical (pheromone) trail that they use to get to food sources. Other natural remedies are toxic to ants and help to kill them off for good.
Get rid of the whole ant colony
One of the first steps to getting rid of ants for good from your home is to find their colony or nest. This is where the queen resides, and destroying the source of the ant infestation will permanently eliminate ants from your home.
According to the University of Minnesota, different species of ants have various preferences where to build their nests. Some like to nest outside in soil and decaying wood. Others prefer to build colonies in houses behind baseboards, countertops, and moldings. Ants usually take their food back to their nest, so by carefully observing where they take your food is one of the best ways to find and then destroy the ant nest along with the queen.1
Kill ants with food grade diatomaceous earth (DE)
Use food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants from your home and garden. DE is a naturally occurring mineral which is an effective pesticide against all kinds of insects, including ants, but is safe to use around humans and pets.
A study into the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth for insect control found that it is an effective and natural method for killing insects.2
Diatomaceous earth works by drying the outer shell of ants, fleas, roaches, bedbugs, and other creepy crawlies, causing them to dehydrate and die. The ants also carry the diatomaceous earth back to their colony where it destroys the ants at their source.
To effectively exterminate any kind of ants that are in your kitchen and other areas of your home, sprinkle diatomaceous earth where you see them.
Diatomaceous earth is only effective in dry conditions. So, if you use diatomaceous earth to kill ants in the garden, always make sure that the ground is dry. You can safely sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth in your home on carpets, tiled floors, and small cracks and crevices where ants are traveling or entering the building.
You need to be aware of these things when using diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide:
- Diatomaceous earth powder is very fine, so you should use a good vacuum cleaner to remove it from carpets and bedding.
- Always use “food grade” diatomaceous earth for ant control and elimination.
- When sprinkling diatomaceous earth powder on carpets, make sure there isn’t a draft or a household fan working because this will blow the powder onto other surfaces which can be difficult to clean.
Did you know that diatomaceous earth has more uses than just for killing bugs? Find out how to use DE for healthy skin and hair in my article about the many uses and benefits of diatomaceous earth.
Boric acid and honey ant trap
Boric acid is a natural ant killer which will help get rid of your ants quickly. You can make an effective ant trap by mixing boric acid and honey. Boric acid is a naturally occurring mineral which is toxic to ants and will destroy them fast when they ingest it. The sweetness of honey attracts ants to the deadly trap and they take the honey mixture back to the colony where the others feed on it and are poisoned.
Please be aware, that boric acid is toxic to humans and pets, and should be kept out of reach. Also, make sure and place the traps where pets or children don’t have access to them.
To kill off ants in the house, especially sugar ants and flying ants, make a thick paste with boric acid and honey. Mix 2 tbsp. honey and 2 tbsp. boric acid in a small bowl. Smear some of the natural ant bait on a piece of cardboard and leave in strategic places around your home where you see the ants. Replace the traps regularly until you no longer are pestered by ants in your home.
Instead of honey, you could use sugar to attract the ants to get rid of them. Mix 3 parts of sugar and 1 part boric acid together. Place this in the path of the ants (but in places where pets and children can’t reach) to help quickly rid your home of an ant infestation.
Baking soda and sugar ant trap
Baking soda is another natural remedy which is toxic to ants but safe enough to use around the home. It is one of the many reasons to keep baking soda in your kitchen.
You should mix baking soda with sugar to help attract the ants to your trap. There is much anecdotal evidence for using baking soda to help kill off ants. Just like with boric acid, the ants take the baking soda back to the colony where they ingest it and die.
You can also sprinkle baking soda directly into ant nests to exterminate them at their source.
Vinegar to repel ants
Vinegar is one of the most effective natural ingredients to repel ants from your kitchen, bathroom, or other areas of your home. The powerful smell of vinegar helps to prevent most species of ants from invading your home and becoming a nuisance. You can also use vinegar to get rid of fruit flies and gnats from your kitchen.
Making your own vinegar ant spray is very easy. Just mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. First of all, spray the vinegar solution directly on the ants to kill them. Then use the spray on the ant pheromone trails along floors, countertops and other places where they travel.
To prevent ants getting into your home, use the vinegar spray around entry points where the ants enter from outside. The vinegar helps to disrupt the ants and prevents them from infesting areas in your home.
You need to repeat the process every few days because the vinegar dries and loses it pungency. Eventually, the ants will stop getting into your home.
Get rid of ants with soapy water
A soapy water spray is an effective way to get rid of flying ants, fire ants, carpenter ants, and most other ant species. In fact, it works so well as an insect repellent that you can also use it to repel cockroaches naturally. The soapy water sticks to the legs and wings of ants rendering them useless and it also washes away their chemical trail.
To use soapy water as a natural ant repellent, put a few drops of your regular dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle filled with warm water. Spray directly on the ants and along their trails to help get rid of ants for good from your house. Reapply every few days until you no longer have any ants in your home.
Lemon juice to keep ants away
Lemon juice is another effective home remedy to help resolve your ant problem. Lemon juice has many health benefits and its acidic properties also help to repel ants. Similar to using vinegar to get rid of ants, lemon juice helps to confuse the ants and destroy their trail.
Use lemon juice to get rid of sugar ants, flying ants, and other types of ants coming into your home by making your own homemade ant spray. Put equal amounts of lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the lemon ant solution on the ant trails to repel them and mess up their sense of tracking. The acid in lemon juice also kills ants naturally, so you can spray this directly onto the ants.
The benefits of using lemon juice for ant eradication is that lemon juice is also a non-toxic way to sterilize and disinfect surfaces in the kitchen. It will leave your kitchen smelling fresh and free from ants.
Coffee grounds to prevent ants
Use your old coffee grounds as a non-toxic way to naturally keep ants away and stop them entering your home. It’s not known exactly what makes coffee grounds so effective for reducing the number of ants in your home, but many say that they are effective natural ant repellents.
All you have to do to help get rid of ants naturally is to sprinkle used coffee grounds in areas around your home where you see ants traveling. You can also check the outside of your property where ants may be entering and put your old coffee grounds there.
Essential oils as natural insecticide
Many essential oils act as a natural insecticide to repel and eliminate all type of ants from your home.
Peppermint oil. Studies have shown that peppermint oil is an effective natural ant repellent. For example, the Malaria Journal found that peppermint oil is one of the most effective essential oils for repelling insects.3
Cinnamon oil. The International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications found that cinnamon oil is effective at both repelling ants and terminating them. They concluded that cinnamon oil has “positive insecticidal and repellent activity on ants.”4
To make your own natural insecticidal ant spray you need a spray bottle, water, some dish-washing liquid and essential oils. Fill a spray bottle with 3 parts water, one part dishwashing soap and 10-15 drops of peppermint oil or cinnamon oil. Spray the ant-killing remedy directly on the ants that are flying around your kitchen or traveling along floors or worktops. Repeat the process daily until the ants have completely gone.
If you are able to locate the ant nest, you can spray the natural anti-ant remedy onto the nest to get rid of them completely.
You can also try adding some drops of antibacterial tea tree oil, lavender oil, cedarwood essential oil, or citronella oil as an insect repellent to the ant spray. All of these essential oils have proven results in eliminating and repelling insects.5, 6
How to Prevent an Ant Infestation in Your Home
Because ants are so tiny, it can be difficult to prevent all of them from entering into your home. One of the best ways of preventing an ant infestation is to destroy the nest and the queen along with it. However, you should always make sure that you have nothing in your home to attract any kind of ant.
Here are some practical ways to effectively prevent ants from getting into your home:
- Keep all food items sealed and away from kitchen tables and worktops.
- Sweet foods and drinks like honey, jam, and sodas attract ants and other insects, so make sure all sticky residue is cleaned from surfaces.
- Carefully examine your house to seal up any cracks where ants may be entering the building.
- Keep pet food in the refrigerator overnight to prevent ants being attracted to it during nighttime when they are most active.
- Regularly clean work spaces with either vinegar or lemon juice to repel ants from those areas.
Read my other related articles:
1. How to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home, Garden and Pets
2. How to Get Rid of Wasps Naturally
3. How to Get Rid of Flies Naturally
4. How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally
5. How to Get Rid of Spiders Naturally
6. 10 Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes
7. How to Get Rid of Frogs – The Best Natural Ways