I have a long-distance friend who I like to talk to over Marco Polo. She is so dear to me and we have a lot in common that helps makes the distance not feel so far. One of those things we have in common, is ANTS. Yes, you heard me right, we bond over ants. Not because we love them, but because we have both struggled with getting them out of our house.
“Well, I found ants on my counter again.” She says in her classic sarcastic voice.
“Ugh, KATIE,” I yell with enthusiasm “when will they leave you alone?”
“I hate calling the exterminator, he’s so expensive.”
I also hate calling the exterminator. Primarily because I am cheap…but also, I just hate having chemicals sprayed everywhere. I know they say your house is safe once the moisture in the chemicals dissipate, but something in the back of my mind isn’t so trusting when it comes to toxic messes in my house. If you are anything like me, and you want to get rid of ants the old fashion way, keep on reading.
Non-Toxic Methods to Get Rid of Ants
Before I begin, I will be upfront and honest. If you want ants gone from your house FAST, then toxic chemicals are the way to go. All the non-toxic ways I am going to share with you do in fact work, but its not going to be an over night cure.
Another suggestion I have for you is to get yourself a caulking gun. For most of us, we live in older homes that have settled and cracked over time. In my very first apartment, I found I had a trail of ants coming into my home from a crack in my baseboard in the middle of the hallway. Instead of calling the landlord, I was able to solve my own problem by caulking ever single crack I could find in my apartment. It took me a couple of hours, but it solved my problem overnight and I didn’t have to fight against ants anymore.
Now that you know that, here are my tried-and-true methods for keeping ants out of your house.
- Baking Soda
Baking Soda is safe around kids and pets and is dirt cheap to purchase. Mix some sugar and baking soda together with a little water and leave it in an area where you know the ants will be. The sugar will attract the ants, they will eat it, and shortly afterwards, they will die. Pro-tip, avoid granular sugar and use confection’s sugar instead. Ants can separate the granular sugar front the baking soda.
This doesn’t so much kill the ants as it does confuse them. The acetic acid in vinegar eliminates the pheromone trail that the ants use to communicate where to travel. If you know where your ant trails are coming from, simply spray the trail and the ants won’t know where to go. I recommend you do this every couple of days until you have dealt with the source of the problem.
Like vinegar, this doesn’t kill ants, but it will definitely deter them. Ants HATE crawling over chalk. Maybe they remember the sounds of the screeching chalkboards our teachers used to use in elementary school. Use chalk on any entry point of your house and you will be seeing a lot less ants coming in to say hello.
- Boiling Water
This is my mom’s personal favorite. The steps are straightforward but it does take a little bit of time to be effective. All you do is boil a good amount of water in a tea kettle and pour the boiled water down the ant hole. This takes some time because you need to know where the ants live. Once you find the home base for the ants, you will have to pour boiling water down their home for 1-2 weeks. Each day you will be killing the ants with the water and over time the ant hill will go extinct.
- Diatomaceous Earth
This one is especially vengeful if you wish to cause the ants some physical pain. Purchase some food-grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle a thick barrier around the ant hill. When the ants leave their home, they will have to walk over the earth. This is bad news for them because the diatoms cut through the exoskeletons of each ant and causes them to dehydrate and die.
- Cayenne Pepper
This common food spice won’t kill the ants but performs as a good deterrent against the little bugs. Ants don’t like the smell of cayenne pepper and it will cause them to turn around and look for food in greener pastures. Sprinkle the pepper around all entry points around the house, and you will be ant free in no time.
With all these non-toxic methods of pest control, you can rest well knowing that your pets and your kids won’t be exposed to dangerous chemicals in your home. Will this get rid of your ants over night? No. But will it keep you guys safe as you consistently apply these techniques? Absolutely. Plus, you have the added benefit of being able to choose whether or not the bugs have to die. If you are a sensitive soul who doesn’t want to kill, you have options for perpetuating life. If you are like me, and you are ok with the untimely death of millions of bugs (I’m not an evil villain, I promise), then you can go on a good old fashioned killing spree.