Natural Ant Control for the Home
The warmer weather can bring unwanted pests, including ants, into homes and apartments. Conventional pesticides and ant traps can be toxic to humans, pets and the environment. This season, consider using one of these safer ant-control alternatives.
Keep Counters Clean
First and foremost, maintain kitchen counters and floors free of food particles. Tightly seal food containers, wipe countertops with soapy water, sweep the floors and avoid leaving standing water overnight. If there are no food sources around, the ants will lose interest.
Stop Entry Into the Home
After cleaning, the next line of defense is to keep ants from entering the home in the first place. One of the most effective, toxin-free methods is to spray cedar oil outside, around the perimeter of the house. Mix one ounce of cedar oil in one quart of water (or four ounces per gallon) and spray the solution three feet up the outside walls and on the ground, six feet out from the edges of the house.
Use Natural Repellents
Numerous natural repellents work well inside the home. Place one or more of these in the kitchen or wherever the ants are entering: cucumber peels or slices; tea bags of mint tea or dry, crushed mint leaves; cloves; cayenne pepper; citrus oil soaked into a piece of string; lemon juice; cinnamon; or coffee grounds.
Confuse Ants Traveling Back to the Nest
As worker ants travel from their nest to forage for food, they leave a sex hormone (pheromone) scent in order to find their way back to the nest. These invisible trails can be washed away with a mixture of one-quarter cup of white vinegar, two cups of water, and 10 to 15 drops of peppermint, clove, eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil.
Use Natural Ant Killers as Last Resort
A serious ant problem might require more drastic measures that kill the invading ants. These two options employ non-toxic ingredients.
n Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic, talc-like powder made from the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on ants, the powder causes them to dehydrate.
n Cornmeal left out in small piles where ants are visible is another option that poses no threat to pets or little kids. The ants will eat the cornmeal, but because they can’t digest it, they will perish.
Photo credit: Joel/AdobeStock.com