All Natural Ways to Repel Ants
With Summer comes grilling, lounging by the pool, picnics in the park, and ANTS. The last part is not so fun!! I hate ants– they really creep me out because once they get inside you can’t get rid of them!
I’ve tried all sorts of sprays and repellents, I keep the counters and floor clean, vacuum CONSTANTLY…. but they keep coming back! I hate the idea of having all of those chemicals near Little Man and our pets! So, today I share with you some all natural ways to repel ants. Make sure you also check out 8 Plants to Repel Pests for keeping mosquitos, roaches, and other yucky bugs away.
Disclaimer: I’m not a pest control expert– I leave that stuff for my brother. I simply hate pests and have done the research and have used these best practices in the past to kill/repel ants.
Now, different things work for different ants….I don’t know why but all ants don’t like the same things…weird I know. So, I do the trial and error approach when dealing with those pesky critters. For example- last Summer using grits worked on the ants that got into our kitchen but this Summer it did nothing for the sugar ants that we had but coffee grounds did the trick. But, I didn’t have to resort to chemicals so that’s good!
Grits are my go to first approach when dealing with pesky ants! The idea behind grits is that the ants will take them back to the Queen and they’ll eat them- then the grits will expand inside them and boom– no more ants. Gruelsome but it works….and if my toddler eats the grits I leave sitting out it’s no big deal because he eats them for breakfast anyway. So go for it– let your toddler help with this one– I let Little Man take the bowl of grits and throw them all over the porch and entry way. After I give the ants a few hours to get their fair share I vacuum up the remaining grits and go about my day. If this worked you should see the ants disappear within a day or two.
2. Coffee Grounds
So, I’m really not sure how exactly the coffee grounds work– there’s conflicting stories. Some say that coffee repels the ants- others say the caffeine is toxic to them, it gives them all heart attacks. I don’t know who’s right but I just tried this trick when nothing was working and the ants were gone in just a few hours! I like this too because it’s completely safe for Little Man– other than I have a SUPER hyper active baby when he decides to taste the coffee grounds and then decides he REALLY likes the taste— REALLY?! Oh, toddlers!
Mix 50% vinegar with 50% water and spray down the trail of ants. Vinegar is supposed to remove the scent trail the ants are leaving so they can’t find their way back into your home. In order for this option to work you have to do it every few hours and every time you see a new ant. I usually use this trick in conjunction with one of the others. No sense in killing them all if there’s still a scent trail for others to find– you most likely have more than one colony living in your yard.
4. Baby Powder
Sprinkle baby powder around any openings. The talc in the baby powder will deter ants and keep them away. This is a no kill solution so you will still have a colony living outside and they can potentially find their way in another way but you’re bringing no harm to them.
Another natural deterrent is mint. Peppermint oil to be exact is helpful in warding off ants– they hate the smell and this should keep them away. Sprinkle some near doorways and windows every few days and your ant problem should go away.
Garlic has been useful for larger ants. I’ve taken whole garlic cloves and pealed them– then just leave them out wherever you’re having an ant issue and this will keep them away. I also use this trick for picnics or when we’re eating outside. I’ll toss a few pealed garlic cloves on the table and keep the ants away from the food!
Cinnamon is another natural deterrent for ants. Many people recommend using it in the sandbox to keep ants away. You can also sprinkle it along door jams and window sills– it can get a little bit messy– but I’ll use whatever to keep them away!
Just like grits, cornmeal is another great option for killing off the whole colony. If you find that your ants don’t like grits (which mine apparently didn’t this Summer) try using cornmeal. It’s completely safe if your toddler or cat or dog decides to try a bite but it too will cause the ants to go BOOM!
9. Vacuum them up! DON’T SQUASH THEM!
This tip comes straight from my brother (the real pest control expert). Whatever you do DON’T SQUASH the ants– they will just send reinforcements. When you squash ants they release a pheromone that signals the need for help and more ants will arrive. So use the vacuum cleaner and vacuum them up– and I always immediately empty the vacuum and take the trash OUT.
10. When all else fails break out the Borax.
When I’ve tried EVERYTHING and I’m faced with some determined ants I’ll break out the Borax AFTER Little Man has gone to bed. For those super pesky, don’t want to give up ant, I take out ALL of my aggression– I mean seriously, by now they should know that the Welcome Mat is no longer out– really they’ve just brought it upon themselves. Mix 50% Borax with 50% table sugar in a plastic container. Make sure you SEAL the container if you have pets or children around. Then poke several holes in the top of the container and leave it in the path of the ants overnight. The ants will consume the Borax with the sugar and the Borax will basically break down their exoskeleton. You just don’t want your child or pets to be exposed to the Borax because it is a poison if injested.
And there you have it– 10 All Natural Ways to Repel Ants!
Make sure you check out these 8 Plants that Repel Insects and Pests.
Do you have any tips/tricks to getting rid of pesky ants??
Monday 6th of May 2019
When all else fails? Break out the flame thrower! ? Seriously... I've found window cleaner works pretty well. Kills them on contact, and keeps them away for a couple weeks. I'm sure it's the ammonia, but it's not too "little guy friendly" I'll have to try some of these other ways you list. Those darn sugar ants are persistent. Thanks for the info! ?
Tuesday 26th of July 2016
The herb Tansy helos. Lay it around the perimeter of your house . Also on the counters. Also eucalyptus and rosemary essential oil wors great too.
Monday 29th of June 2015
I like how everything in the list could be found inside the house. It seems like it can also fall under the category of" immediate solutions for ant problems. " Thanks for this Jennifer!
Hannah @ eat, drink and save money
Thursday 14th of May 2015
Great tips! I've used the peppermint oil before and it worked!
Thanks for linking up on Share the Wealth Sunday!
Sunday 17th of May 2015
And it doesn't hurt that it smells good too!! ;) Peppermint is always my first line of defense now.
Kristina & Millie
Tuesday 12th of May 2015
great hints and tips! Summer is the worst for ants sneaking in the house! we have used the cornmeal and vinegar and they do work. I can't help myself and squish them though every time!
Tuesday 12th of May 2015
Oh I know what you mean...I always squish them and then remember that I'm not supposed to!