Let me start this post by saying that I’m a huge fan of ants. We all should be; life simply wouldn’t exist as we know it without them as they play many critical ecological roles. However, there are times when these little lovelies invade our homes and become a nuisance, and then it’s time to try a natural ant killer.
Before you turn to killing, however, may I first encourage you to take preventative steps to avoid ant intrusion? Make sure your kitchen countertops are clean and attractants, like crumbs, aren’t left out to tempt them.
Also, if you are able to trace the ants back to their entry point, take action to seal up any cracks or holes they are using to come into your home.
If preventative action hasn’t worked, you can step up your game to discouragement-type activities. This includes wiping away their scent trails and disturbing their nest daily.
If you just pour water down into their nest a few times a day for the first day and then once a day for a few days further, the ants will likely look for safer real estate.
However, if none of that works and you are suffering intolerable infestations, then here are some natural ant killer recipes to try.
Recipe#1 – Vinegar Vengeance
Mix together vinegar and water in equal parts then add some essential oil such as peppermint or lavender. These oils not only help to cover the smell of vinegar, they are a natural deterrent for ants also. Use this mix to wipe down any ant trails, to spray on the ants themselves, and to pour down into the nest if you locate it.
Recipe#2 – Death By Dish Detergent
Put about 2 tablespoons of dish detergent into a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Like recipe#1, this can be used to wipe down the trail, but it can also be sprayed on the ants directly to kill them.
Recipe#3 – Borax Bait
Borax is natural, but this certainly doesn’t mean that it’s harmless. If you choose to use borax, be sure to keep it away from children and pets and place the bait in sealed plastic containers; a cream cheese container for instance with some holes drilled in the side.
Ants will either be interested in sweets or proteins and so you may want to test which food your ants are most interested in before baiting with the borax.
Sweets: Mix together 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and 2 tbsp of boric acid. Place in small saucers or in plastic sealed containers where you’ve noticed the ants.
Protein: Mix together 2 tbsp boric acid and peanut butter. Set out in small saucers or plastic sealed containers.
It’s best if you replace the bait daily to keep the attractant fresh. Remember not to wash away the ant trails and resist the temptation to squish them on sight as you want the ants to take the bait back to their nest.
If you find the ants aren’t taking the bait, you may need to decrease the borax at first to establish it as a food source and then increase it slowly once the ants get used to it being a dependable grazing ground.
Recipe#4 – Ants In Hot Water
For some reason, this treatment seems particularly unpleasant, though it’s obviously one of the most natural methods out there.
Add ¼ cup of liquid dish detergent to a gallon of boiling water and pour this down into the nest. You might have to do this a few times, but it won’t take very long before the ants are gone for good. However, be aware that this will likely kill any surrounding plants also so perhaps it’s not the best treatment in the midst of your prize winning dahlias.
Recipe#5 – Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is essentially the calcareous skeletons of diatoms long dead. It is a non-toxic (though I wouldn’t recommend inhaling it) and completely natural substance. The fine white powder we see is actually thousands of spiky, sharp skeletons when magnified. The sharp edges cut into the exoskeletons of the ants, causing them to dehydrate and die. If you sprinkle the diatomaceous earth where the ants are likely to walk, such as the entrance to their nest, then you will slowly kill them off.
Hopefully some preventative and discouraging action on your part will help avoid the need for a natural ant killer. However, if not, hopefully one of these treatments will do the trick. Good luck!
Here’s one further natural ant killer recipe that involves alcohol and dishsoap…should the others fail: