Ants are a common springtime annoyance in most households. They may not be a problem in small numbers, but can be a nuisance and a health hazard if their population is left unchecked. Some species of ants can cause damage to your home, and most leave unsightly nests all over your yard. These natural ant remedies can help you control your ant population and keep them out of your house without the use of pesticides or other poisons.
Bear in mind that some of these may not work immediately, and different things work for different species event. If you don’t see results with one type of ant control, don’t be afraid to use a combination or experiment with other options.
Home hygiene practices that keep ants out
The most important part of keeping ants out of your home is making sure there’s no reason for them to want to be there. It sounds easy, to keep your house clean and crumb free, but it is a constant chore. Crumbs of pet food are also a powerful ant attractant. Make sure to clean up immediately after meals, clean sinks and ovens regularly, sweep daily, and vacuum or mop floors at least once a week. Wipe down the counters and other hard surfaces with a vinegar solution for a chemical-free way to deter many types of ants.
Like most other creatures, ants need a certain amount of water to survive. The dampness under your sink and around plumbing in the bathroom is more than enough for their needs. If you have pets, any water droplets around their water dishes can attract ants. Simply wiping down wet or damp spots as soon as you see them can go a long way to deterring ants.
Natural ant repellants
There are a number of non-toxic, natural ways to repel ants both inside and outside your home. These are a perfect solution if you don’t like commercial pesticides, have pets or small children in the house, or when something you can do without making additional purchases.
Most species of ants avoid aromatic herbs such as clove, garlic, rosemary, mint, basil and cinnamon. These plants have developed their strong flavors and odors specifically to discourage all manner of insects. Keep ants out of your house by planting herb beds around the outside perimeter. Sprinkle black pepper, cinnamon or ground cloves under your sink or in other such areas where ants may congregate. Use pulverized fresh garlic to plug cracks where ants are entering your home, as well as to dress the windowsills and door frames that are open to the outside.
Destroying anthills naturally
Getting the ants out of your house is the first step to ant control. Next, you may want to completely remove the nearby nests that make your home easily accessible to ants, and that can be damaging and unsightly to your lawn or garden.
The easiest way to get rid of an anthill is to stir it up and then pour about 1-2 gallons of boiling water over the hill. This will kill in the ants that are inside – most especially the queen – and make the space unlivable for other ants. The one downside, especially in the spring, is the boiling water will also kill the surrounding plants. This can leave bare patches on your lawn that are unsightly, and that leave exposed topsoil that can blow away. For these reasons, boiling water is best used on your sidewalks or driveway, or as a preemptive strike in the fall close to when foliage dies off.
Killing an anthill without hurting the surrounding plants takes a little more time, but might not be as difficult as you may think. Scatter corn starch or cornmeal over the anthill or around the outside perimeter of your house. Ants will still gather and eat these grains, but they can’t digest them. Any ants that eat them will die.
Remember that these natural remedies usually won’t work instantly. Unlike indiscriminate poison, many of these remedies leave the ants alive but discourage them from entering your home. Ants that are already in your home will remain until they die or are manually removed. If one remedy doesn’t work, try another – there are many species of ants, all with different attractants and repellents.