Dealing with an ant problem? Even if you’ve got good ants on your property, you may need to kill the ones that have entered your home. Don’t make a trip to the hardware store yet, though — you may have the ingredients at home to treat your insect problem. Use these seven household products to kill ants without pesticides.
Vinegar mixed with water can repel and kill ants. It’s also not dangerous to humans unless you have an allergy. The only drawback is the smell it leaves behind.
Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Then spray the mixture on any entry points that ants may use to gain access to your house, such as windows and doors. This is effective for all ants in general as a preventive measure to repel them. You can also spray it directly on the insects to kill them, though this won’t help you target a colony or queen. This mixture is nontoxic and totally safe to use indoors.
If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice instead. This offers the same benefits as the vinegar recipe with the added bonus that lemon juice and water will be far more palatable if accidentally consumed. The lemon juice will also leave behind a much better smell. Add one part lemon juice to three parts water. Spray directly on ants to kill them and on entry points around your home to repel them. This works for all types of ants.
Image via Flickr by AtomicP
Do you have oranges, lemons, or grapefruit around the house? These fruits offer a nontoxic way to kill ants. Prepare yourself a smoothie or snack, but save the peels from the fruit. Simply blend the peels into a puree and pour the mixture into ant hills outside. This can kill any type of ants plaguing your home. The mix isn’t dangerous to humans in any way, unless you have a sensitivity to citrus. Since only fruits are needed, the mixture is nontoxic and smells wonderful.
If you don’t have citrus peels, you can also kill ants by pouring boiling water into an ant hill. You can do this with a funnel or a watering pot for flowers, but be mindful of the heat. Another approach is to turn a flower pot upside down over a hill and pour the scalding water through the hole in the bottom.
This method is only effective if the water stays hot enough to travel through the ants’ tunnels and reach the queen. The water will cool quickly once you pour it on the ground, and you’ll also have to get the hot water from your kitchen to the yard quickly before it cools and become nonlethal to the ants. This trick may not work on large or well-constructed hills.
Using boiling water is another nontoxic method of killing ants, but dealing with such hot liquid can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin.
Diatomaceous earth may not be a common household product, but it’s useful for a variety of purposes. It’s found in deodorant and toothpaste, and some people use it to make their own facial scrubs. Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be consumed with a glass of water as a detox solution.
To use diatomaceous earth for ants, simply sprinkle it around areas likely to attract the insects, such as cabinets, window sills, and door. You can also sprinkle some directly onto hills. This method works to kill any type of ants — the mixture dries out insects’ exoskeletons, so it’s an effective solution for ants and critters like lice and roaches.
Diatomaceous earth is nontoxic and totally safe for humans. It can even be consumed. In fact, some people use it to purify water and treat gastrointestinal problems. You may want to wear a dust mask when sprinkling it around the house, however, to avoid breathing it in and aggravating your lungs.
Dish soap and water is another effective solution for a variety of insects, including all types of ants. It’s also safe for humans and won’t lead to any serious problems if consumed. Prepare your DIY solution by mixing equal parts dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Ants breathe through their joints, and by coating them with soapy water, they suffocate. This trick also treats the chemical ants leave behind for others to follow.
Since this solution will only kill ants by contact, it’s best used in conjunction with a method that targets the queen and will eliminate entire colonies.
If you’ve had to deal with roaches or ants in the past, you may have some boric acid in your home. This is a primary ingredient in roach traps and sprays that people may use around their properties for pests. Some people also use borax and boric acid for things like homemade laundry soap.
If you have boric acid on its own, you can make a DIY ant trap. Just mix the material in a soda or soup can with sugar or a similar ingredient. The ants will harvest the tainted sugar and take it back to their colony. This can kill any type of ants you’re dealing with. Another trick with boric acid is to mix it with cornmeal and leave it out on a paper plate or piece of cardboard. Worker ants won’t eat the cornmeal, but they’ll carry it back to feed larvae in the colony.
Boric acid kills ants, but it’s toxic to humans if ingested. Side effects include vomiting and other stomach-related problems. It will irritate the skin and is far more dangerous if it comes into contact with your eyes.
These solutions are easy to prepare and can be done with a few simple ingredients you likely have around the home. Plus, excluding boric acid, they’re nontoxic and will just leave a bad taste in your mouth or some minor skin irritation if eaten or touched. Try these out the next time you’re dealing with ants or want to fortify your home before any of these insects invite themselves in.