It is actually pretty easy to get rid of ants naturally and stop them getting back into our homes going forward.
It only takes six simple steps.
But we must follow them carefully.
And I’ll also share the best natural DIY ant killer recipes you can make fast from household ingredients.
Let me know how you get on and shout if you need more help.
Table of Contents
How To Get Rid Of Ants In Your House Naturally
The six must follow steps to getting rid of ants naturally are :
- Destroy Ant Scent Trails Inside
- Quickly Kill Any Ants You See
- Dispose Of Dead Ants
- Clear Food Which Attracts Ants
- Block Key Entrances With Natural DIY Ant Repellents
- Destroy Problem Ant Nests
Destroy Ant Scent Trails
Ants leave scent trails telling all their mates: “yummy food this way guys“.
So step one in getting rid of ants is destroying those scent trails.
Luckily, loads of common kitchen ingredients will block their scent:
- Lemon juice
- Peppermint oil
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Tea tree oil
DIY Ant Spray
You can make an instant DIY ant repellent wipe by brewing up a strong tea of any of the above.
Strain it, add a little cool water and a good dollop of dish soap and then use with a spray bottle or simply dip a cloth in your DIY ant repellent.
Wipe around anywhere ants are coming in PLUS kitchen :
- Food cupboard doors
- Dishwasher door
- Compost crocks.
Pick the best scent in your cupboards but the key is to act fast so go with whatever you have.
Repeat this quick wipe round morning & evening for a week.
If you have essential oils in any of the above scents you can use them.
Quickly Kill Off Obvious Ants
As your wiping away ant scent trails kill off obvious ants by :
- Spraying them
- Or splatting with your wipe cloth.
The dish soap in your DIY ant repellent kills ants by suffocation but they may need an extra squidge.
Thoroughly spray, wipe & squidge in any area you have seen ants.
But then you must do step 3 in getting rid of ants naturally which is to dispose of all dead ants.
Dispose Of Dead Ants
The smell of dead ants will attract more ants – it is part of the ant colony’s defence system – so we must dispose of dead ants fast :
- Sweep up dead ants manually
- Do NOT vacuum up
- Wrap ants in newspaper with a dollop of dish soap to block scent
- Put dead ants in outside bin.
OK we are now ready for step 5 in getting rid of ants which is to clear away any food which attracts ants.
Clear Away All Food Which Attracts Ants
Ants are attracted by food full stop so put away or wipe up anything not cleared whilst destroying scent trails.
Going forward be religious about :
- Clearing up straight after meals
- Rinsing dishes pre-dishwasher
- Emptying compost crocks daily
- Storing open packs in containers
- Wipe up split food in cupboards.
And pay extra attention to sugary, juicy fruity food in summer :
- Don’t leave jelly or jam on counters
- Wipe round jelly, jam & honey jars
- Store most fresh fruit in fridge (which also keeps fruit flies out)
- Rinse out empty juice bottles
- Put in outdoor bin packaging for :
- Lollies & popsicles
- Ice cream
- Fruity desserts.
If ants are attracted to pet food stand pet food bowls in a container of soapy water the ants can’t cross.
And watch out in summer for sweet splodges on the kitchen floor. You don’t have to scrub the whole floor daily but do spot clean splodges!!
We’re now ready to stop any more ants getting in with quick DIY natural anti repellent.
Block Key Entrances With Natural DIY Ant Repellents
You can quickly make natural DIY ant repellent with household supplies.
We just need 2 ingredients :
- Barrier powder
- Ant repellent scent.
For barrier powder you can use :
- Baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
- Ground up kids chalk
- Talcum powder
- Used coffee grounds (last resort)
- Or best of all if you have it diatomaceous earth (see below).
The fine powder gets into ants’ exoskeleton and clogs up the spiracles with which they breathe.
Combine your powder with any of these natural ant repellent scents :
- Ground cloves
- Cayenne pepper
Add a teaspoon of ant repellent scent to a cup of ant barrier powder and apply where ants coming in.
If they are literally trotting over your doorstep put down an inch wide – 1/4 inch deep barrier line.
This repellent barrier will only kill a few ants but critically will keep ants out of your home whilst you destroy problem ant nests outside.
Natural diatomaceous earth is super useful for controlling pests inside & outdoors including slugs, fleas and roaches but is safe around pets.
It is very cheap and definitely worth stocking for non-toxic pest control.
Natural DIY Ant Killer Recipes To Destroy Nests
We can kill ants with our DIY ant spray but sometimes we need to destroy the ant nest itself.
We can destroy clearly visible nests e.g. on patios with boiling water but otherwise need an ant killer.
These natural ant killer recipes can be made with kitchen ingredients :
Baking Soda & Sugar
Baking soda (bicarb) kills ants and if we disguise it with sugar they’ll take it back to the nest to kill the colony.
To kill ants with baking soda simply :
- Combine 1 spoon of bicarb
- With 1 spoon of icing sugar (aka powdered sugar)
- In a jar lid
- Put outside on a dry day
- Or under table
- At least a metre from your door
The ants will descend on the ant killer. But then you must be patient.
Typically it will take 24 – 48 hours for any ant killer to destroy a nest.
This is why it is critical to destroy ant scent trails and use the DIY ant repellent whilst destroying the nest.
*Small amounts of baking soda should not be toxic for pets but you can put a plastic bottle with top and bottom removed around the jar lid.
Corn Starch / Cornflour
Simple corn starch can be used as a natural ant killer to destroy nests :
- Put a little cornflour next to any ant trail you can see outdoors
- If the ants take it sprinkle along trail
- If NOT mix 1 spoon of corn starch
- With 1/2 spoon of icing sugar
- Plus a teaspoon of water
- And put in a jar lid.
As with all ant killers be patient. It can take 48 hours to destroy a nest.
Cornmeal & Polenta
Ants are attracted to cornmeal & polenta but it damages digestion.
To use cornmeal or polenta as a DIY ant killer sprinkle along ant trail.
It takes 24 hours to a week to destroy ants nest so be sure to follow the first 5 steps of getting rid of ants naturally whilst killing the ant nest.
Can Borax Kill Ants?
Borax can be used like baking soda in natural ant killer recipes but even small amounts of borax can be toxic for pets and children so only use if you are certain they cannot access it.
To use borax as a natural ant killer :
- Mix 1 spoon of borax
- With 3 spoons of powdered sugar
- Put in a jar lid or in a plastic lidded tub with holes pierced in it so ants can get in but pets can’t.
How To Keep Ants Off Plants In The Garden
Ants are super valuable in gardens for soil quality. We do need them!!
And most commercial ant killers are toxic for soil and other wildlife.
But ants can seriously sabotage our grow-your-own efforts, especially :
- Fruit trees
- Young salad leaves.
So we need natural ant repellents for plants that are wildlife friendly.
The best natural ways to keep ants off plants in the garden are :
PLUS tree grease & glue bands to get rid of ants on fruit trees naturally.
Attracting ant-eating wildlife into gardens keeps ant under control.
Aphids & Ants
Ants farm aphids – who knew? – to do their dirty work for them!!
The aphids secrete honey dew after eating fruit which ants gorge on. In exchange for which ants defend aphids from predators like ladybirds.
So the best way to keep ants off plants is tackling aphids :
- Knock non-flying aphids off
- Spray with Castile soap & water (dish soap can damage garden)
- Apply DIY garlic spray in evening
- Or this garlic & mint version.
Powdered Sugar Bait
A spoon of powdered sugar in a jar lid tempt ants from target plants.
If you have a problem ant nest you can add baking soda to it to make this DIY natural ant killer recipe.
Natural Ant Repellent Companion Plants
Positioning natural ant repellent companion plants around fruit trees, canes & bushes and vegetable beds repel both ants and aphids.
How To Get Rid Of Ants On Fruit Trees Naturally
Two simple natural ways to get rid of ants on fruit trees are :
Tree Grease To Stop Ants
You can use tree grease to stop ants climbing fruit trees. Apply grease all round fruit tree trunk so there is no way ants can climb to fruit.
You can use tree grease to stop ants climbing fruit trees. The tree grease can be applied directly all round the fruit tree trunk so there is no way the ants can climb to the fruit.
Glue Bands To Keep Ants Off Fruit Trees
Sticky glue bands can be tied to fruit trees to stop ants climbing to fruit.
And there you go, a big guide to how to get rid of ants naturally from your home and garden. I hope it helps.
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