Here’s how to get rid of ants naturally!
Oh no, its spring time again and you’ve started to notice some not-so-friendly neighbors moving into your house. The ants have woken up from their long winter’s sleep and suddenly they have moved into your kitchen, drawn in by the warmth and sugary crumbs.
But before resorting to the commercial insect repellents found on the hardware store shelves that will simply spread dangerous chemicals throughout your house, there are many equally effective natural solutions. These natural solutions are much less expensive than anything available in the store, they are environmentally friendly, and safe to use around children and pets. Better yet, you likely have many of these solutions in your kitchen pantry.
What’s Wrong with Residential and Commercial Insecticide?
Although many people realize the trickle-down effects of using harsh agricultural insecticides, this often doesn’t translate to acknowledging that residential use of similar chemicals can also cause environmental damage. The more chemicals used, the more they begin to end up in places they were never intended to be, like into our soils, our gardens and eventually into our bodies. Although insecticides are meant to target a very small creature, they eventually will be left to disperse into the atmosphere. By using chemicals like these in your home, it means there are fewer steps between application and ingestion or absorption by the body.
Once someone has been exposed to pesticides and insecticides, there are many risks associated with long term exposure. The Food and Drug Association (FDA), has clear evidence linking these chemicals to cancer, nervous system disorders, and reproductive issues. Although they haven’t made their use illegal they have definitely put regulations in place that monitor and restrict their use. When these chemicals are used indoors, they are far less likely to disperse and far more likely to be absorbed by the body, or settle onto the soft material surfaces to be absorbed later. In fact, pesticides have been found deep within carpets or other fabrics years after their initial use.
According to the United States Environmental Agency, the level of chemical insecticides found within homes is 2-5 times higher than outside. Why resort to simply adding more chemicals into your home, increasing your risk, when you can easily use all natural methods to remove unwanted insects from your home.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally without Harsh Chemicals
1. Borax and Powdered Sugar
For odorous ants, or those ants attracted to delicious scents and good food crumbs left around your kitchen, use a mixture of Borax and powdered sugar. Although attracted by the sugar, they will be eventually killed off by the borax. The mixture should be one part borax and three parts powdered sugar. Place small amounts of the mixture into bottle caps or small container lids, and put them into the pathways of the ants. Or, if you can locate where the pests are coming into your home (maybe a doorway or window) place the containers in these areas as well. The ants will carry the food back into their nests to eat, and the Borax will eventually kill them. Keep out of reach of children and pets.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth (food grade DE) is ancient algae that has turned to dust over time while being subject to immense pressure. Although completely safe for human use, it is deadly for insects. It is thought that the earth has one of two effects on ants, fleas, and bedbugs. First the earth may cling to the small hairs and scales on the insects and slowly suck the moisture out of their bodies, killing them. Alternately it may also get between the scales on their body and cut them microscopically. Either way, it can be sprinkled inside cupboards, around doorways, and other high traffic ant areas and kill any ant that happens to wander across it. It is safe for use around children, pets and won’t damage any surfaces.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils are a great option for targeting the entry points of ants because ants use their sense of smell to travel and locate food. If you are able to disrupt their pathway, then they will be forced to move on. They will also not be able to follow the pathway of the ant that went before them. Some scents are especially good at counteracting ant-scent-locators, including clove essential oil, peppermint and tea-tree oil. These oils can also be insect irritants (just like they can irritate human skin if applied directly without dilution). Simply add a few drops of essential oil of your choice to a cotton ball and wipe along the baseboards, doorways and other entry points. This should deter the ants from making any more moves into your home.
Much like essential oils, the scent of vinegar can deter ants from continuing on their path. However, if you are sticking to strictly vinegar, than its suggested to have a few other methods on hand. You can also make an easy to use spray mixture out of ¼ cup vinegar (white works best), mixed with ¼ water and your choice of essential oils listed above. Typically, only 4-5 drops will be sufficient. Use this spray to target the entry areas for the little intruders, and it will begin to interrupt their pathways while also being an irritant to their exoskeletons.