Although ants can be beneficial pests and have an important role in the natural world, they can become a nuisance when they invade your home. According to Pest World, ants are considered the #1 nuisance pest in the US. They are not only a nuisance, but they can also be dangerous. Some species of ants can sting or bite, and others can contaminate your food. In addition, ants can reproduce quickly, so it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible.
While ant traps and ant poisoning are the tried-and-true pest control methods, they are not always the safest, especially if you have children or pets. Thankfully, some natural ways to get rid of ants are just as effective as pesticides without using chemicals that could harm the environment and your family. In this guide, you’ll find the top 5 natural ways to exterminate ants that are easy on your wallet and overall safer for your kids, pets, and the environment.
Why You Need to Get Rid of Ants
Ants are social creatures that live in colonies that can number in the thousands. So, if you see one ant in your home, there’s a good chance there are many more where that came from.
Ants are typically less alarming than other pests, such as roaches and rodents. However, some species of ants can cause serious problems. Below are some species of ants that you should be especially worried about:
Carpenter ants: These ants can be concerning for homeowners because they can cause structural damage. Carpenter ants do not build like carpenters, but they excavate wood and can be harmful over time if not appropriately managed.
Odorous house ants: Although they are not as harmful as carpenter ants, odorous house ants can spread bacteria and contaminate food. They get their name from the unpleasant smell they release when squished. Also, their presence can signal other pest problems, such as a roach infestation.
Fire ants: Fire ants are not typically found in houses but can be a problem in yards. They are one of the most dangerous species of ants because they can sting. A fire ant sting feels like a sharp burning sensation and can be extremely painful. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to fire ant stings, which can be life-threatening. Fire ants can pose a serious threat if you have young children or pets. They are very aggressive when protecting their nests and will sting anyone or anything that gets too close.
Pavement ants: Pavement ants are not dangerous but can be nuisance. These ants are attracted to sweets and can contaminate food. They get their name from the fact that they often nest in cracks in the pavement.
Top 5 Ways to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
There are several natural ways to get rid of ants and their colonies. While you may need professional pest control for serious ant problems, these natural solutions can help eliminate ants without harsh chemicals.
Cinnamon is a natural ant repellent that can be used in several ways. When ants inhale cinnamon, they suffocate and die. To eliminate ants, you can use cinnamon oil, ground cinnamon, or cinnamon sticks.
To use cinnamon oil, mix ten drops with ½ cup of water. Then, put it in a spray bottle and spritz any areas where you’ve seen ants. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe it on door frames, windowsills, and other places where ants might enter your home. Sprinkling cinnamon around an anthill opening will also help get rid of ants.
Peppermint has the benefit of repelling ants and can be used as a mosquito repellent. Ants hate peppermint because it smells like a predator, which they’re programmed to avoid. Mint is one of the strongest predators in nature and has a scent that will make them move out of its way! Like cinnamon, it can be used in several different ways. You can grow peppermint plants around your home or use peppermint oil.
To use peppermint oil, mix 15 drops with 1/4 cup of water. Then, put it in a spray bottle and spritz any areas where you see ants. You can also put a few drops on a cotton ball and wipe it on door frames, windowsills, and other places where ants might enter your home.
Vinegar is a strong ant repellent that will also kill ants on contact. Vinegar smell will cause ants to stay away from it or permanently leave the house. In addition, a vinegar solution can interfere ant’s pheromones, which is how they communicate. This makes it difficult for ants to find their way back to the nest, so they eventually give up and leave for good.
Mix 50/50 water and vinegar in a spray bottle to make a vinegar solution. Spray it anywhere you see ants or around places where ants might enter your homes, such as door frames and windowsills. You can also soak a cotton ball in vinegar and wipe it on these areas.
Lemon juice is another natural ant repellent that will also kill ants. The citrus smell is refreshing to humans but repulsive to ants. It has an acidic oil that is toxic and disorienting to them. The research found that a mixture of soap and d-limonene (found in orange oil) can kill fire ants effectively.
Try sprinkling lemon juice around the perimeter of your home or wherever you see ants. Putting a lemon slice in front of an ant hole is also a good way to get rid of them.
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is one of the most effective ways to exterminate ants naturally. It might also be the world’s oldest pest control method. DE is a gray, chalky rock extracted from geological deposits. These deposits are made up of fossilized diatom shells.
After mining, the DE rock is ground into dust for various purposes, one of which is pest control. In terms of how they work, DE does not poison the ants. Instead, they work by irritating the insect’s outer skeleton, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Use a plastic squeeze bottle, a bulb duster, or a condiment dispenser bottle. Fill the bottle no more than halfway with DE, and then dispense a thin layer of dust in areas where pests have been found or may be hiding.
Ants are annoying pests. They not only ruin your picnics but can also get into your food and contaminate it. But don’t worry, there are several ways to get rid of ants naturally. To repel and kill ants, you can use cinnamon, peppermint, vinegar, lemon juice, or diatomaceous earth. Choose the method that works best for you and say goodbye to ants for good!