Got ants?

A recent ant invasion at our house had me talking with friends and googling ideas for affordable, natural ant repellants.  Here are a few you might like to try if the ants are marching one by one into your house.

  • Ammonia or vinegar —  pour into a squirt bottle, and spray on hard surfaces like countertops or vinyl floors.
  • Cinnamon, black pepper or cayenne pepper — use this near doorways, and at the edge of carpet wherever ants like to come into your house.
  • Boiling water — dump it directly into the anthill and with luck you’ll kill the queen and finish off the colony.

Do you know any other good natural ant deterrents?

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  1. Whole cloves. Do with them as you would the other spices you mentioned. Supposedly Borax too, but if you get a box there’ll be a disclaimer saying they can’t endorse that use anymore (I think especially in homes with small children and pets). But, it does work.

  2. they don’t like pennies or lemon slices–put either in the midst of their trails and they make new plans.

  3. My mother taught me that liquid dish soap wipes out the scent trail. I think that’s the basic strategy behind all these. I’ve used cinnamon before and will leave it sprinkled in the pantry , etc. but you don’t really want to leave that out on your kitchen counters! Wiping a bit of dish soap on the counters, walls, floors–wherever their trail was.

  4. I really like a product called Terro Ant. It’s like syrup with borax in it. Here’s a link to their website. I buy it at Walmart, but it’s available many other places as well.

  5. This one is more for ants outside, but if you see an ant hill – sprinkle some grits on it and the ants will eat the grits and carry them back to the queen and then explode when they try to digest the grits (because they expand). We always used this method back home and never had an ant problem. We moved to Texas last year (who knew they had so many fire ants??) and you can bet I’ll be pouring grits all around my yard this year.

    I think heard something about onions once or something like that??

  6. We’ve tried the recommended spice before and the ants seemed to like them…

    The ammonia killed on contact. The ants gave up after a 2-3 rounds of that.

  7. I just heard the other day that Mint plants help! We’ve tried EVERYthing natural we can think of and those blasted creatures keep coming back in! We’re getting some mint plants this weekend. If that doesn’t work, we’ll have to step up measures b/c my toddler is scared of them and won’t go potty (where there are ants — WHY the bathroom?!) or sit at the table to eat if there’s a chance an ant will be walking by… ::eyeroll:: lol!

    • Our pest control guys says the ants are looking for water and that’s why you always see them near sources of water in the bathroom or kitchen.

  8. We have such a problem with ants every year. I have been using Borax. For whatever weird reason we get ants in the dishwasher. I just put some Borax in the bottom and let it sit there until the next time I run it. Ants go in, eat it, die. It’s fine for your dishes/dishwasher and helps get them clean as well.

  9. I just saw on TV the other day that ants will not cross a line of salt. Not sure why, but they did a demo, and it really worked 🙂

    Have a great weekend 🙂


  10. Food-grade diatomaceous earth (fossil shell flour) works very well and is CHEAP. We’ve used it for years. It is the microscopic skeletons of diatoms – it works to kill ants by cutting their exoskeletons, then they dehydrate and die. It has a lot of other uses as well, and pets and people can even take it internally. Earthworks Health has information and the best price (although I purchased it from them through Amazon).

    I also had fire ants on my laundry line, so I put a big glob of petroleum jelly (actually it was A&D ointment) on each end, and it kept them off!

  11. It’s not natural, but Baby powder. Seriously.

  12. Like someone else said, Terro – basically borax. It rocks and takes care of the ants like nothing else I have ever tried! Though . . . I might just have to try the grits after reading about the exploding ants – my kids would LOVE to see some of that action!

    (Also, once my toddler son got into some Terro. I called poison control. The lady said it wouldn’t hurt him, just wash his hands really well. Yay for that!)

  13. We had a bad case of ants last summer. One tip I got halfway through the summer was to put the cat food bowl in another bowl of water so the ants couldn’t reach it. Our cat is a nibbler and without that, every night we would have a big swarm of ants enjoying a free meal. It was such an easy fix that I felt quite silly for not thinking of it myself but maybe some of you haven’t either!

  14. I’m a Terro fan too.

    Question about diatomaceous earth, though. Is it a problem for other creatures like worms. We do a lot of gardening, and we don’t want to endanger our natural aerators! 🙂

    • DE will not harm worms in the earth, but it will harm slugs, spiders and all insects that crawl through it. It is given to cows to worm them and it is in some dog foods even. If you had a lot of DE on the ground and the worms came up, they might get into it, but as they only come up when it’s damp and dampness cancels out the DE, I’d think you would be safe.

  15. Gonna go ahead and chime in on the Terro. NOTHING works like it. I mean, sure ants will not cross a chalk line etc. but this is completely effective. I won’t bother with anything else now. We live in Oregon and ants are our primary insect problem so I’ve tried everything.

  16. Another thumbs up for Terro. We get little ants every spring and that does the trick. FWIW, we have mint growing all around the back of our house and it doesn’t repel the ants. I really wish it would…..OH….and we sometimes go wild and use a pesticide ant spray around the perimeter of the house. Not organic but our house had carpenter ants once upon a time and we don’t want to see them again.

  17. I’m another Terro user. It works great. I also wanted to warn Terra that if she plants mint, she should put it in containers. I planted mint in the ground and it spreads like crazy. You can’t make it quit!

  18. lol, definitely going in containers, Laura! 😀 Thanks! I had a friend tell me that even w/ my brown thumb, I CAN’T kill this stuff, lol (encouraging, but still, lol) 🙂

  19. I mix powdered sugar and Mule Team Borax together and sprinkle it in the area where ants reside. Mine seem to like the kitchen sink area. The p-sugar attracts them, they trek through the borax and take it home with them!

  20. Jacqueline Strawder says:

    Listerine sprayed works well, also.

  21. I hate ants. My husband thinks I’m funny but I think they could take over the world with how smart those suckers are. I have had many many ants, my biggest combat is finding out where they come and boiling them to pieces. 🙂