Natural Ways to Eliminate or Repel Ants in an Eco-Friendly Manner

GardenBy Jul 08, 2024

Why Are There Ant Colonies in Your Home or Garden?

Ants are attracted to food sources, whether it be in the garden or in our homes. They are omnivorous insects that enjoy a variety of foods, including honeydew produced by aphids and scale insects, nectar from flowers, dead or alive insects, insect eggs, and fruits. In our homes, they are attracted to sugar, fats, meats, pet food, crumbs, and other food residues.

Preventing Ant Infestations

To prevent ants from entering your home, it is necessary to eliminate all food sources:

  1. Store food in airtight containers.
  2. Regularly clean countertops, stovetops, and dining tables where crumbs and food debris tend to accumulate.
  3. Avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher for too long.
  4. Vacuum or sweep regularly, especially in main living areas.
  5. Take out the trash and recyclables promptly.
  6. If possible, store pet food in the refrigerator or place pet bowls in a plate filled with water to deter ants from accessing the food.

Additionally, reduce entry points for insects by sealing gaps in skirting boards and resealing silicone joints.
In the garden, control aphids and scale insects, as they attract ants. Regularly inspect your plants and dislodge unwanted pests with a stream of water. If there is a severe infestation, use a natural insecticide by mixing one tablespoon of liquid soap or black soap in one liter of warm water. Spray this solution on the affected parts of the plants in the late afternoon when the sun is not directly shining.

Creating a Chalk Barrier

Chalk has a texture that prevents ants from crossing over it. By drawing a line with chalk, you can effectively block their path and prevent them from accessing their entry point. This natural and non-lethal method only repels ants. Keep in mind that ants are intelligent creatures and may find new openings, so it may be necessary to draw multiple barriers a few centimeters apart to keep them out of your home or protect a specific plant.

Using Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural and pet-safe insecticide. It is made from the grinding of sedimentary rock composed of fossilized microscopic algae. It comes in the form of a fine powder. When in contact, it acts as an abrasive on small creatures, eliminating ants. To get rid of ants, sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth along their paths, such as on baseboards, door thresholds, and window sills.
Always use food-grade diatomaceous earth and avoid using it in areas prone to rain, as moisture makes it ineffective.
Remember that diatomaceous earth is not selective and may harm other non-pest insects. It is recommended to use it sparingly and as a last resort in your garden.

Sprinkling Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile and natural product. However, it is toxic to ants when ingested, causing digestive problems that lead to their death. To create an effective ant trap, mix baking soda with an equal amount of white sugar or powdered sugar in a small dish. The ants will be attracted to the mixture and consume it without discrimination. The effects should be visible within a few days.

Using Double-Sided Tape

Double-sided tape can create an impenetrable barrier for ants. Install it at entry points to block their access. However, be cautious as the tape may also trap beneficial insects or small animals. It is recommended to use it sparingly and prioritize its use indoors.

Placing Used Coffee Grounds

If you are a coffee lover, you can reuse coffee grounds to repel ants. Sprinkle them in areas where ants frequent. Coffee grounds are often considered as a repellent due to their strong smell, which disrupts the ants’ olfactory cues. Some believe that coffee grounds act as a poison, causing ants to die after ingestion.

Grandma’s Remedies against Ants

There are many natural remedies handed down by grandmothers to get rid of ants. While they are eco-friendly, their effectiveness may vary:

  1. Repellent plants: Mint, sage, basil, or lavender are often recommended to repel ants. However, some gardeners have observed that ants may still climb on these supposedly repellent plants to feed on their nectar.
  2. Citrus fruits: The smell of lemon or grapefruit is said to repel ants due to their acidity. Placing a used lemon near ant entry points may deter them by interfering with their pheromone trails.
  3. Essential oils: Essential oils such as peppermint or cinnamon are sometimes effective in naturally repelling ants. Place a few drops of oil on pieces of cloth or tissues at entry points or use them as a spray. Ensure that these oils are used in the absence of pets.
  4. White vinegar: Once again, the acidity of white vinegar is believed to repel ants. However, its odor dissipates quickly, requiring frequent reapplication if used only for cleaning countertops.
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I'm Jennifer. My hands are often covered in soil, and my heart is full of passion for nature. Through my writings, I share my personal gardening journeys, tips, and the joy of cultivating both plants and a community of fellow garden lovers. Every plant I grow adds a story to my life, and I love sharing those tales with my readers.