There are more ants on Earth than any other type of insect. In fact, there are so many ants that they weigh more than all the other insects combined! These tiny creatures are commonly found in almost every home, which isn’t surprising considering just how many of them there are in the world. With over 10,000 species worldwide, ants are known for their remarkably structured communities and colonies.
Considered to be very strong for their size, ants can lift objects up to 50 times their own weight. They’re also collaborators. In a colony, each ant has a specific job to do in the colony. The queen ant has one duty, which is to lay eggs. On the other hand, the female ants work in the colonies while the male ants mate with the queen. The social organization that defines ant life makes these tiny insects quite fascinating. Unfortunately, it also makes them very effective at invading our households.
Natural Ant Repellants
While insecticides may be an effective way of ridding ants from your home, don’t reach for your chemicals just yet. Some household ingredients may do the trick, and these repellents are both natural and kinder to our ant friends, who really, are just trying to feed their very large family.
Ants are survivors. They can adapt well to almost any environment they find in. Therefore, it can be effective to attempt to ward them off rather than kill them. Below are several natural repellants you can use.
Ants loathe cayenne pepper. The smell of the hot spice irritates these creatures and can clear them from your home. You’ll need to locate the source of the infestation in your home and sprinkle the powder around it. This will prevent the tiny creatures from crawling into your space. If you don’t have cayenne pepper, you can substitute it with black pepper.
Ants are not coffee lovers. If you have some leftover coffee grounds, you can use them to ward off these insects. The smell of coffee is repulsive to ants, so much so that they may move their entire colony away from the coffee. Therefore, placing coffee grounds at the entry points and the trails can end your ant infestation.
Additionally, if you have plants that attract ants, you can sprinkle coffee grounds around the stem to repel them.
Another home remedy for ants is lemon. Lemon has a handful of household uses, and repelling ants is among the top. The pungent smell is disliked by ants, and they tend to avoid it. Locate the entry points, and spray lemon water over them. This will ward off the colonies.
Another way to safely rid ants from your home is by using peppermint. Peppermint acts as a natural repellant for insects and can ward off mosquitoes too.
Make a mix of peppermint essential oils and water, and spray it over entry points and windows. Allow the mixture to dry on the surface and repeat as necessary.
Natural Ant Extermination Methods
Although co-existing with insects is a great goal, seeing them continue to enter your house may be too much. If the ants don’t seem to be getting your message through your attempts at repelling them, consider attempting to exterminate them with these household ingredients.
Baking Soda and Sugar
Baking soda is quite harmful to ants. It kills ants by drying out their bodies after ingestion. However, the clever insects can tell the smell of baking soda and will try to avoid it. A better way of masking the smell is mixing baking soda with sugar.
It is advisable to target whole colonies instead of individual ants for better results. Nevertheless, as ants scavenge for food, they pick up the powder mix and return it to their colonies.
If you run out of household supplies, a cup of boiling water can clear away an ant invasion in your home. Simply bring water to a boil, locate an ant colony and dump it. It may create a messy situation, but it does the trick.
Borax, Sugar, and Peanut Butter
Borax is another inexpensive way of getting rid of ant infestations. The powder is both good for laundry and warding off ants in your home.
Since ants love sweet items, mixing borax with sugar and peanut butter initially attracts more ants. Keep in mind that borax is poisonous and harmful to pets and humans when ingested. It is best to place the mixture out of reach.
The smell of cinnamon may appeal to you, but it’s the opposite for ants. Cinnamon contains a compound known as trans-cinnamaldehyde. When inhaled by ants, they suffocate and die.
An easy solution is to sprinkle cinnamon powder along ant tracks. Alternatively, you can use a mix of water and cinnamon oils. Spraying the liquid mix on windows, cracks, and doors will effectively rid your house of ants.
Diatomaceous Earth (Silicon Dioxide)
If your household solutions don’t work, you can explore extermination using diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is a silica powder made from the plankton remains known as diatoms. While silicon dioxide is not harmful to humans or pets, it is a killer poison for ants. The silica absorbs oils from ant skeletons, drying them up from the inside.
As you season your food, spare some to ward off ants naturally from your home. All you need to do is boil it in water. Make sure to add a large amount and stir it until it dissolves. Then you can let it cool and add the liquid into a spray bottle, spraying it over areas ants attack the most and concentrating your efforts on their entry points.
Soap and Water
Ward ants off and distract colonies using a simple solution of soap and water. Using liquid detergent and warm water, fill up a spray bottle. Then, shake the mixture and spray it on any visible ants. The soap solution will suffocate the ants by coating their bodies. Additionally, it clears their scent trail, confusing the colonies.
Vinegar and Water
Vinegar kills ants by destroying their pheromone trails. Try mixing water and vinegar in equal parts inside a spray bottle. You can carry out a simple experiment by spraying it around a few ants. You will immediately notice a sense of confusion as the ants wander aimlessly.
When to Call For Help
If the problem seems to be bigger than you can handle on your own, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. Ants are pesky little creatures, and they can quickly take over an area if left unchecked. So before things get out of hand, contact professional exterminators and let them help you take care of your ant problem for good.