Although they play an important role in the ecosystem, ants can easily become pests and harm crops, plants, and even be dangerous to humans. If you want to know how to get rid of ants instantly, one of our recent posts suggests a series of homemade remedies, including baking soda, peppermint fragrance, dish soap, and boiling water, water and vinegar, lemon juice or garlic extracts.
We can’t deny the fact that ants represent a valuable source of proteins, and a delicious meal to a wide array of other insects, reptiles, fish, and even mammals or birds. However, their presence in our houses is not welcomed.
They live in large colonies and are constantly looking for a spot with enough food to support all members. Thus, you’ll rarely see just one ant inside your house. Most of the times, ants will send a scout, looking for the next place to call home.
They use pheromones as a tracking system, leaving a trail that alerts the other ants about the location of the scout. In other words, once the scout has identified a good spot to move the colony, the rest of the ants will quickly follow.
So, what can you do to prevent turning your home into a pest paradise? Although there are plenty of chemical substances that can successfully kill ants in just a matter of seconds, most of them are not only dangerous to your health but also to the environment.
Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with all the necessary ingredients to remove pests from our house and garden, without the use of strong chemicals. Here are some of the home remedies and natural repellents that will keep pests away.
Baking soda and powdered sugar
Sugar can be used in combination with boric acid or baking soda to create a delicious, sweet trap for various insects, including yellowjackets, ants, and cockroaches. All you have to do is mix these ingredients, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil or water.
Baking soda will interfere with the ants’ digestive abilities and will kill them instantly. You’ll have a similar reaction with boric acid.
All you have to do is place the trap where ants are most likely to find it, while also keeping it away from your pets and children. However, don’t forget that the purpose of this remedy isn’t to kill as many ants as possible but to kill the scout and prevent other ants from moving their colony on your property. As you already know, it is always better to prevent instead of treating, so make sure you kill the right ant to avoid a full invasion.
Similar to baking soda, vinegar is a universal product that can be used in a million ways around the house. It can clean and sanitize kitchen counters, floors, remove limescale, clean windows, and also keep pests away.
If you want to efficiently get rid of ants, all you have to do is mix equal amounts of water and vinegar (preferably apple cider but white vinegar works too), and pour the solution in a spray bottle.
Apply it on the ant hills in your garden or inside the house on the sink, windows, countertops or near doors. The strong scent of vinegar will keep away ants but make sure to reapply the substance as often as possible for at least 3-4 days in a row.
The third most common ingredient in the household used for a variety of purposes is lemon juice. Similar to vinegar, it has cleaning and antibacterial properties but it can also work as a bleacher, in homemade cosmetic products, to remove limescale or as a natural insect repellent.
Squeeze as many lemons as you can and apply the juice in different areas around your house. The strong smell of citrus will deter ants and prevent them from navigating through the surroundings of your property, looking for a place to colonize. A few drops of lemon essential oils will also work magic.
Citrus peels can be used similarly. Simply peel off citrus fruits like grapefruits, lemons or oranges and use their skin to cast away insects. The peel contains high levels of D-limonene, an ingredient that has a strong odor that will kill sensitive ants, and prevent others from coming inside your house.
Plants with strong smells
Certain plants from your garden will not only make delicious and spicy ingredients for your dishes but can also keep ants away. Studies have shown that plants such as peppermint, garlic, rosemary or cayenne pepper will prevent pests from coming near your crops and your house.
Plants with strong odors will destroy the signals ants use to communicate, preventing them from moving their colony to another location. You can combine cayenne pepper with turmeric powder and sprinkle the mixture on the exposed parts of your house and garden to keep away most insects, including ants.
As for garlic, you can either grow the plant or simply peel two cloves of it and place them at the entry points of your house such as on the windows and around the doors. They might make your house smell funny but they will also keep ants away, which is what you wanted in the first place.
Another item you can use to prevent an ant infestation is chalk. The powdery texture of it will spoil the pheromone trails used by insects to communicate with each other, preventing other members of the colony to find your location and move there.
Rubbing alcohol doesn’t only have sanitizing and antibacterial properties but can also be used to keep most annoying insects away.
It represents a natural alternative to chemical insecticides that, even though they instantly get rid of ants, they can also pose a threat to your health and the environment.
All you have to do is mix one teaspoon of rubbing alcohol with the same amount of dish soap in a spray bottle with water. Apply the solution on entrance points and trails around the house to get rid of ants once and for all. You can also use this homemade remedy for garden soil, as long as you reapply it after the rain.
This particular ingredient contains eugenol, an essential oil that is extremely powerful against ants, killing them on contact. Thus, clove oil is one of the key elements of many homemade insecticides that will get you rid of pests quickly.
The efficiency of clove oil increases when you combine it with other essential oils such as citrus oil or peppermint extract. Mix a few drops of these oils with enough water and add the mixture in a spray bottle. Use it under the kitchen cabinets, near appliances, countertops, and around baseboards to kill common household pests.
Don’t forget to reapply the substance frequently until you get rid of ants completely and try to aim directly on the insects whenever you can.
What else can you do?
Sometimes, these natural remedies won’t be enough to help you kill ants. So, if you want to avoid turning your house into a thriving colony of pests, the best way is to keep it as clean as possible.
Ants will mainly scout for new sources of food, and what better way to organize a feast if not with crumbles and food scraps? If you want to prevent this, you need to keep your house and garden as clean as possible.
Take the trash out every day and use cleaning agents to mop the floors and vacuum the carpets. Don’t keep food on the table or other ingredients that might attract ants such as opened candies, cakes or cans.
Wash the dishes after every meal and store your food supplies in dark, cool rooms. In time, all these small measures won’t only keep ants away from your house but will also help you enjoy fresher air, less dust, and a clean environment for you, your children, and your pets.
If everything else fails, you’ll need the help of professionals. Hire pest control professionals to get you rid of ants, wasps, ticks, fleas or any other annoying and dangerous insects. However, since the products they will use are mainly based on strong chemicals, you will want to stay away from the house at least 24-48 hours after to prevent putting you and your family at risk.