Ants are truly fascinating creatures that have captivated the interest of scientists for many years. From the way they are perfectly organized between drones, soldiers, and a queen, how thousands upon thousands of them can work in perfect sync and coordination using chemical trails to meet the needs of the colony, to their ability of lifting objects many times their body weight, they really are incredible creatures. They are also the most numerous non-microorganisms on this planet; estimates of the number of ants on planet Earth have ranged anywhere from 100 trillion to 10,000 trillion and that the total weight of all the ants on the earth are at least equal to that of the total weights of humans (although with humans getting fatter and fatter, we may have surpassed them).
Ants become far less fascinating however, when they decide that your home is an ideal place for them to build their nest and your food scraps being targeted as the colony’s food source. Then their large numbers and organizational capabilities become the bane of your existence; all it takes is for a single scout ant to find a scrap of food and after it signals the colony, hundreds more appear, forming a neat orderly line all the way back to the colony. Now while there are many pest prevention solutions on the market today, most of which are highly effective if correctly used, such as commercial ant traps, which are usually poisonous gel substances that the ants will carry back to their colony, some people feel uncomfortable with the use of too many chemicals in their home.
For those people, not to worry, safe and natural remedies to kill ants are an option as well. While we rate them as not as effective on their own as the commercial products (we believe a combination of the two is the best way to get rid of ants), they can still definitely help with your ant problem. Without further ado, we present to you 9 natural remedies for fighting off that pesky ant invasion in your home and getting rid of them forever.
- Vinegar – You can use regular table vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Mix the vinegar and equal parts water in a spray bottle and spray it over the known travelling paths of the ants. The strong scent of the vinegar is a highly effective ant-repellent, however keep in mind that you will be able to smell it too! Also, make sure that you allow the vinegar to properly dry.
- Table Salt – Cheap and effective. Simply add salt to boiled water, put in a spray bottle and spray it into places where the ants travel. Just like vinegar, it is an effective ant-repellant, minus the smell.
- Pepper – Pepper adds spice to our lives but disgusts ants. Another powerful ant-repellant, you can use either black pepper or cayenne pepper. You can choose the sprinkle pepper directly on affected areas, or like the salt and vinegar, mix it with water in a spray bottle.
- Lemon – Do you like putting in a slice of lemon in your water? Do you find it refreshing? Well, unlike you, ants hate it. Spray lemon water over affected areas to repel the ants.
- Soap – Soap coats the exoskeletons of ants, causing dehydration and preventing respiration (i.e. suffocation; a little known fact is that ants breathe through holes in their body called spiracles which become blocked by the surface tension of the soapy water). Mix soap with water and spray on ants’ entry points or even directly on the ants themselves.
- Mint – Another natural ant repellant; place some mint tea bags or crushed mint leaves at entry points. A liquid option is peppermint essential oil, made with one part oil and ten parts water. Or just repel ants starting at your garden itself by growing pennyroyal mint. One thing is sure: it definitely smells better than vinegar.
- Perfume – Use cotton balls soaked with perfume as another ant repellant. Do keep in mind that this might get a little expensive though.
- Baby Powder – This kills the scent trail of ants, causing disorientation and eventual death. Coat some baby powder at the entrance points to create the Great Powderwall of China.
- Cornmeal – Ants love cornmeal and will gladly eat it. Unfortunately for them, cornmeal is indigestible and will cause the ants to slowly starve to death. If you have located the colony’s entrance, place a plate of cornmeal next to it; the ants will be so grateful at such a near and abundant food source that their own greed will be their downfall.
We hope you found this article useful and educational; you can even mix some of the solutions above for maximum effectiveness e.g. vinegar, lemon, pepper, salt, with water for an extra powerful repellent.