In the summer months ants can be a real pest around the home and garden. Here are some natural remedies using household ingredients to keep them at bay. Ants come into our homes in their search for food.
Apart from the obvious advice of covering food, clearing up spillages and having garbage bins with lids here are some natural ways of beating their advance without using any harsh chemicals.
1. Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar
Mix together an equal amount of powdered sugar (also called icing sugar) and baking soda (formally called sodium bicarbonate). Place small amounts against the walls or in other areas where you would not normally walk but where you would normally see the ants. The ants will be attracted to the sugar and will eat some of it and collect more to take home to feed others, so all of them will get their share.
Powdered sugar is essential, larger grained sugar will not work. This is because the sugar and baking soda powders are similar in size and, once mixed together, the ants cannot separate the two items, so, as they eat the sugar, they will also ingest the baking soda, which they would otherwise avoid.
Once the ants eat the baking soda it will react with the formic acid in their stomachs and cause gas. The bodies of ants are unlike humans and they cannot eliminate gas so it will build up inside and eliminate them.
Classic vinegar is effective in getting rid of ants. Simply spray their entry paths with vinegar and they will be repelled by the strong odor. Include corners, counter tops, sinks and window ledges. Allow the vinegar to dry.
Apple cider vinegar can be mixed in equal measures with water and spray as before. This does not kill them but it will stop them returning.
Adding a few capfuls of vinegar to your floor cleaner on tiled floors also helps in keeping them at bay. A more fragrant option is to mix vinegar, dish detergent and a few drops of peppermint oil. Usually spraying this once around the affected zones should leave these areas ant free for a season.
3. Salt Or Pepper
Table salt is the one of the best and the cheapest way to get rid of ants. Use ordinary table salt not health boosting Himalayan salt. Simply boil water and add a fairly large amount salt to it, stirring until it is dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and spray where you usually see the ants. This also works with cayenne and ground black pepper.
Regular dishwashing detergents are very harmful to ants. The soap components break down in waxy layers of the pests’ exoskeleton, causing dehydration. Mix soap with water and spray it in the entry points.
Lemon juice is the enemy of ants as the acid interferes with their internal tracking capabilities. Either pure lemon juice can be sprayed around the entry points, or mix some fresh lemon juice with water and spray around the affected zones in your kitchen.
There are several household products that repel ants as opposed to killing them. By using these at entry points you will create a repelling barrier that they will not cross. These include :
- cinnamon (both ground and in oil form)
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper
- baby powder
- black pepper
- ground coffee
- food grade diatomaceous earth
- lavender and mint sachets in closets, drawers, pantry, etc. repel ants
By trying one of these, or even a combination your home should be ant free.
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