7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

It’s a compliment, I’m sure . . .

The way ants are descending on my kitchen. The sticky sweet smell of homemade strawberry jam is irresistible if I do say so myself. But after watching them take an afternoon dip in mycoconut oil I’m not feeling very hospitable.
I draw the line at coconut oil, y’all.
There are certain spices, such as cinnamon and turmeric, that are thought to repel ants, but I haven’t had much luck with them. So this year, I dug around on some university entomology pages for effective alternatives to synthetic pesticides – here’s what I turned up!

7 Ways To Get Rid of Ants Naturally
Credit: mommypotamus.com

7 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants Naturally


1. ESSENTIAL OILS

When a forager goes out and discovers food, it marks the path from the food to the nest using a pheromone trail. Other ants, who smell with their antennae, then follow the path. Certain botanical scents interfere with these scent trails  – here are a few of the most effective ones:

Peppermint Essential Oil

Not only does this one really work, it smells great to boot! It’s often used to support alertness and mental clarity. Not a bad oil to have around, huh?
To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a peppermint-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree is a great all-purpose oil to have around. I use it as a disinfectant in homemade cleaners and a general antiseptic.
To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a  tea tree-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

Clove Essential Oil

In addition to disrupting scent trails, clove oil kills ants on contact.
“Eugenol is a component of clove oil. It is a fast acting contact insecticide that is effective on a wide variety of household pests such as cockroaches, ants, dust mites, flies, wasps, spiders, crickets, and fleas. It is also used on some ornamental plant pests such as armyworms, thrips, aphids and mites.
Eugenol has little or no residual activity [meaning it’s effectiveness fades quickly], although the scent of cloves will linger. Products based on eugenol are considered minimum risk pesticides with very low risk of damage to the environment or user.”
To use: Clove oil works best when mixed with another oil. It is very strong, so I recommend using it in small amounts. See recipe below for ideas.

Lemon Or Orange Essential Oil

Citrus oils contain d-limonene, which is toxic to ants. It also masks their scent trails. (Orange, lemon and grapefruit essential oils all contain d-limonene)
To use: Place a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe on baseboards and other entry points. You can also leave a citrus-infused cotton ball in cabinets and other areas as needed. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone, or see below for how to use it as a spray.

ANT AWAY SPRAY

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup purified water
  • 1/4 cup vodka (Used to help suspend the oil in the water. If you don’t have any available you can just use water and shake often)
  • 15 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 15 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 7 drops citrus essential oil (orange, lemon, grapefruit, etc) OR 1-3 drops clove essential oil

Instructions:

Pour all ingredients into a small spray bottle.

How To Use The Essential Oil Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. If you’re spraying on a food surface, omit the tea tree oil and add 15 drops peppermint oil. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

2. FOOD GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH

Just one teaspoon of boric acid can be fatal to children, so I prefer not to keep it around. (Instead, I use diatomaceous earth (DE), “an off white talc-like powder that is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. When sprinkled on a bug that has an exoskeleton (such as bed bugs, ants or fleas) it compromises their waxy coating so that their innards turn into teeny tiny bug jerky. But it doesn’t hurt mammals. We can eat it. ”
And in fact many do. It is rich in silica, which is good for hair and nails, and is thought to help clear parasites and bacteria, heavy metals, etc.
It’s also odorless and non-staining, and can be used safely indoors.

How To Use Diatomaceous Earth:

Gently sprinkle a thin layer in places ants are likely to be: on windowsills, beneath the fridge, under cabinets, garbage cans, etc.

3. VINEGAR

Like essential oils, the smell of vinegar repels ants and also masks their scent trails. It is best used with another repellent, like citrus peels or essential oils.

How To Make Vinegar Spray:

Add 1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup water to a spray bottle. Add 30 drops of one of the essential oils listed above, if desired. (If you are using clove oil, I recommend using just a few drops as it is very strong)

How To Use The Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

4. CITRUS PEEL SPRAY

Waste not, want not, right? This is a great way to use leftover lemon peels from your most recent batch of gummy stars or lemon jello.

How To Make Citrus Peel Spray:

Add peels to a pot, then pour in enough water to cover them. Or if you prefer, add 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. Heat water/vinegar until steaming, then turn stove off. Allow to steep overnight, then strain and pour the liquid in a spray bottle.

How To Use The Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

5. DR. BRONNER’S SOAP

Like diatomaceous earth, soap also dissolves the waxy coating on the outside of the ant.

How To Make Bronner’s Soap Spray:

Fill a 1 quart spray bottle almost all the way to the top. Add 1/4 c. peppermint castile soap, attach nozzle, and shake gently to mix.

How To Use The Spray:

Shake bottle, then spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

6. BAKING SODA & POWDERED SUGAR

Apparently, the powdered sugar attracts the ants and the baking soda kills them. Mix 1 part sugar with 1 part baking soda and then place your mixture in shallow lids wherever you see ants.

7. LEMON JUICE

Works for the same reason as vinegar. It is best used with another repellent, like essential oils.

How To Make Lemon Juice Spray:

Add half lemon juice and half purified water to a spray bottle. Optional: Add 15 drops of essential oil for every 1/4 cup. If you are using clove oil, I recommend using just a few drops as it is very strong.

How To Use The Spray:

Spray around baseboards, entry points for ants and just about anywhere you’ve seen ants. Repeat every few days until ants are completely gone.

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