Nothing can ruin a perfect picnic faster than having ants overwhelm it. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your picnic safe from these foraging creatures. The next time you’re planning a fun or romantic picnic outside, make sure you follow these tips to keep the ants away.

Try to Avoid Sticky or Sweet Food

Image via Flickr by KFoodaddict

Ants love sticky and sweet foods just about as much as you do. Items like grapes, melons, fruit juices, and sodas remind them of nectar from flowers, which is their favorite food. They can easily detect the sugars in these foods and will immediately start to track them down. If you simply can’t stand the thought of having a picnic without your watermelon or sweet drinks, make sure you keep them in tightly sealed containers so the ants can’t smell them.

Watch Where You Set Up

Before you set up your picnic, take a look around the area and see how many ants you spot. If there are plenty nearby, it won’t take them long to find your food. You should also try to set up at least 50 feet away from any trash cans. These are ant magnets. They likely already have plenty of the little creatures swarming around and gathering food from scraps and trash left behind.

Use Natural Scents to Repel Them

There are also plenty of natural scents you can turn to when you want to keep ants away from your picnic. Ants hate the smell of vinegar. It also breaks up an ant’s scent markings so it can’t communicate with other members of the colony or find its way back to food. Rub some vinegar over your tablecloth to keep ants away.

Lemon does the same thing and smells much better, so consider bringing some lemon juice to rub on your picnic table. Ants also don’t like the smell of mint, so consider spraying yourself and your table with a little mint mouthwash. Finally, ants also don’t appreciate the smell of rosemary or garlic.

Give Yourself a Barrier

While ants are persistent in trying to get to your food, you can stop them in their tracks by putting up a barrier around your picnic area. If you’re eating at a picnic table, put the feet of the table in wide containers filled with water. Ants don’t like water and won’t cross it to get to your food. If you’re out on a picnic blanket, sprinkle a ring of chalk or talcum powder around. Ants also don’t like climbing over these substances.

Distract Them With Something Else

Before you begin your picnic, put a plate of watermelon rinds or a bowl of sugar water several feet away from where you’re eating. When ants find these sweet treats, they’ll focus on collecting this food and won’t bother the items you brought for your picnic.

When you’re heading out for your next picnic in the park, make sure you keep these helpful tips in mind to stop those pesky ants from ruining your perfect afternoon.