As soon as spring arrives, the ants come marching in, meaning into your home. Ant infestations are typically only a minor annoyance but they can sometimes become a serious health problem. Or in some cases, cause significant home damage.
Likewise, getting rid of ants can be a relatively straightforward and easy task to a problem best left up to the professionals if an infestation has progressed far enough. For these reasons, it is best to take care of any ant problems as quickly as possible to prevent them from becoming any worse.
Home Remedies: How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
There are many effective natural methods to eliminate ants. There is no reason to be afraid of commercial products if used correctly, but there is no reason to avoid giving natural methods a shot if they are your preference.
The first things you should do when you notice ants are more geared towards preventing an ant infestation.
- Kill any advance scouts that you see. If you get these guys quickly enough you can avoid any problem in the first place.
- Clean any food debris up, wash all dishes, and vacuum/sweep floors.
- Ensure that any trash bins are sealed and inaccessible.
- Ensure that all food is sealed.
- If you can detect the entry points the ants are using, seal them off. Silicone caulk works very well for this.
Similarly, you can use natural ingredients to create barriers ants won’t want to cross. Of course, you need to create a continuous line, but don’t be concerned with creating a really thick line, as it simply isn’t necessary. Examples could include using:
- Black pepper
- Diatomaceous earth
Killing Ants Naturally
Perhaps the most effective and popular method, boric acid is also very easy to use. You can usually find boric acid at any pharmacy. Simply mix the boric acid with something like maple syrup or honey and place it in the vicinity of the ants. The boric acid will kill them when they ingest it. Unfortunately, you want to keep this out of the reach of children and pets. It is toxic and care should be taken when handling. People often try using borax, but the concentration of boric acid in borax formulations is often quite low and ineffective.
Ants in the Kitchen
Ants in the kitchen can really be dealt with like ants elsewhere in the house. This is really more of a problem with prevention, you need to eliminate any food sources so that the ants have no reason to in the kitchen in the first place.
After that, either use natural methods or pickup a ready to go commercial solution at any home and garden store.
Pet Friendly Methods for Killing Ants
Unfortunately, many methods of ant control and elimination can’t safely be used around pets or children. After you have done what has been previously mentioned and ensured that you don’t have an ant friendly environment, you can eliminate ants by spraying them with a mix of soapy water. This will also have the benefit of ruining their chemical trail.
We can also recommend a product called Orange Guard. It is organic and nontoxic, safe for pets. You can spray it directly on ants to kill them or spray around the house as a deterrent.
Getting Rid of Ants in the Garden and Yard
Ants do a lot of good for the environment and kill a lot of other pests. If they aren’t directly causing a problem there is no need to take any action.
However, if you do need to get rid of them the first step is to remove any trash piles or any organic waste lying around. After that, diatomaceous earth can be spread around as a deterrent and placed inside any nests where it will kill the ants. Alternatively, you can pour a vinegar concentration into nests where it will effectively kill the ants. Try to avoid using anything that would damage the environment unnecessarily.
Specific Types of Ants
These are tiny blackish brown ants with an orange tint to them. They are no bigger than an inch big and tend to invade areas that contain sweet plants, decaying matter, and sugary areas.
You find these ants mainly wrecking havoc in the kitchen invading your unsealed cookie jars, sugar containers, sticky honey jars and opened fruit snacks on the counter top or table. You can also find these ants on sticky surfaces such as floors, chairs, stovetops, or wherever else crumbs and sticky stuff seem to spill onto. This is because these ants main diet is sugar, as their name alludes to.
However, in a forest or woodland area the main job of these insects is to eat away at decaying matter. The males and females from the sugar ant colony have wings and mate in mid air to create new little insects for their colony.
We have created a specific guide to eliminating these guys.
These one inch sized ants love eating decaying matter and other insects, which is why they mainly invade rotting wood areas within a home. These particular ants are damaging to a house because they can hollow out the studs and beams that create the structure of a home.
The ants tend to be deep black in color, but there are over a thousand species around the world. Carpenter ant males and females have wings and fly in mid air while mating. Once the mating is complete the males die and the queens discard their wings and search for a new area to nest that is safe for laying her eggs.
Have a carpenter ant problem? You can follow our guide to kill these specific ants.
Fire ants vary in size though they are on the small side at 2 to 6 mm. Homeowners typically encounter fire ants in the mounds they build on lawns. These mounds have no center opening that is usually found on other ant nests. These mounds are generally only a few inches tall, but they can grow to over a foot in height if left undisturbed.
Fire ants are quite aggressive compared to many other ant species and known for their painful bite. A single fire ant sting usually is nothing to be concerned with though and bites are only mildly painful. Unfortunately, it is common to receive multiple stings and rarely hundreds to thousands, which can be life threatening.
If you need to remove fire ants, we’ve created an in depth how to guide.
Video: Ant Control Tips
Killing Ants: Common Questions
How to kill ants with borax?
Borax can have some effect, but what is more effective is concentrated boric acid. Boric acid is a refined version of the mineral. Borax is not considered a pesticide/insecticide while boric acid is.
Note: You must use boric acid properly, as it is toxic.
Does vinegar kill ants?
Distilled vinegar can be used to kill ants.
Does cinnamon kill ants?
Cinnamon can be used to repel ants, but it won’t effectively kill them and they won’t take it back to the colony.
Does bleach kill ants?
Bleach is toxic and kills ants, but it is not a great solution. You may kill some ants but not likely the whole colony.
Does salt kill ants?
Salt is not very effective at killing ants. There are many other more effective and practical methods.
Does baby powder kill ants?
Baby powder might be useful as a barrier, but is not a great solution to an ant infestation.
Does cornmeal kill ants?
Many incorrectly believe that ants can’t digest cornmeal or that it causes them to explode. Avoid this method.
Does Windex kill ants?
You could spray enough Windex on ants to kill them, but the ants you see are only part of the problem.