Ants are quick to venture indoors in search of food when their own resources are scarce. Depending on where you live and the type of home you own, you may have experienced one or more ant invasions over the summer.
Baits, traps, and pesticides are common methods used to control these invasions and can be effective when used properly. However, both of these methods involve the use of chemicals that some homeowners may not want to use. Baits can be harmful to small children or pets when left unattended and the overuse of pesticides can have negative effects on everyone in the home.
So what should you do if you’re unable to use conventional methods of ant prevention to address an ant problem? Luckily, there are a few natural methods to get rid of ants that are just as effective.
- Clear Away Food Sources
First and foremost, you should clear away any sources of attraction to prevent an invasion of ants. These sources may include food left out in the open, spills and crumbs, dirty dishes, and open bags of pet food. If you don’t give the ants anything of interest, they’ll be much more likely to leave you alone. Keep your kitchen tidy, clean up food residue, and keep all pet food sealed in an air-tight container.
Vinegar is a natural ant repellent, as it interferes with their scent trails. To make a vinegar solution, mix three parts distilled white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. Next, locate the areas ants are making their way into your home. Spray liberally around these entrance points and reapply daily until you no longer see any evidence of ants.
- Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (FGDE)
Even though it sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, food-grade diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that’s harmless to mammals—but very harmful to ants. It’s easily found in most home improvement stores or even on Amazon. FGDE is commonly used by farmers to kill off insects in grain storage, so chances are you’ve actually ingested some over the years.
Simply sprinkle it around entrance points or ant hills to get the job done. Also, be sure to purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, as the non-food-grade option is harmful to breathe.
Does cornmeal kill ants? Yes! Cornmeal is a safe and natural way to destroy a colony of ants. Most ants are attracted to cornmeal, but their bodies are unable to digest it. This makes it a highly-effective pesticide that’s safe for household use.
Spread cornmeal liberally around where you see any type of anthill or evidence of an ant colony. The ants will eat the cornmeal or take it back to their colony to eat later. However, instead of getting a free meal, it will kill off the ants due to their inability to digest the cornmeal. It does take longer to work than a pesticide, but it’s safe to use in a house with small children or animals.
Similar to cornmeal, you can use cornstarch to kill ants. Simply sprinkle cornstarch liberally around any spots you notice ant activity. Once the ants start to pick up the cornstarch, lightly mist them with water. The combination of water and cornstarch will make a cement-like material that will quickly kill the ants.
- Essential Oils
The smell of certain types of essential oils can stop an ant dead in its tracks. The best oils to use as an insect repellant are eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, and citrus. Mix a spray bottle with equal parts water and one of these essential oils. Spray down any entrance points and repeat the process a few more times once the mixture has dried to create a solid barrier.
- Herbs and Spices
Similar to essential oils, there are several herbs and spices that can be used to deter ants. Powdered cinnamon, cloves, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper, mint, and bay leaves all have the ability to repel ants as they work their way into your home. Sprinkle some around entrance points to keep ants away.
- Borax and Sugar
Borax and sugar can be combined to make a deadly ant bait. In a bowl, mix together two cups of sugar, one cup of water, and two tablespoons of Borax. The sugar will attract the ants while the Borax will slowly kill them as they wander back to the colony. Place the mixture in small saucers around the house or near any entry points.
- Boiling Water and Soap
Fill a medium pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stove. Once it’s boiling, stir in a cup of biodegradable liquid dish soap. Pour this mixture onto any anthills you find. The mixture should flush out most of the colony, but repeat these steps as necessary if you notice ants returning.
Schedule Pest Services Near Rockford, IL
Have you tried these steps without any success in stopping the ant infestation? Pearson is here to help. We provide professional pest control in Rockford, IL, and the surrounding Illinois communities.
Call our team today at (815) 398-8312 for a free pest service estimate!