Written by Bernie Carr
As the weather gets warmer, there is a good chance you will find ants in your kitchen one of these days. I know, I have found them in many apartment units I’ve lived in. Sometimes I find them in the pantry, trying to get into cereal boxes, or along the kitchen sink. No matter where they appear, they are a great nuisance, resulting in having throw out foods that have been infested by ants. Many apartments offer pest control, but I don’t really want these insecticides being sprayed all over my home. You may also have pets or young children who may be affected by poisonous sprays. Let’s look at non-toxic ways to get rid of ants as well as some helpful tips to help you succeed.
Find the ant trails
Before using any of the non toxic remedies, you need to locate where the ants are coming from. Follow the trail of ants from where you find them back to their entry point. Ants like to nest in warm, moist, and dark spaces, such as . kitchens, bathrooms, basements, attics, crawlspaces, and foundations. You may also need to inspect under and behind appliances, furniture, cabinets, and walls.
Clean all areas thoroughly
Even a tiny grain of rice that was left in the counter is a feast for ants. Don’t leave food particles anywhere. Scout ants will get attracted to them and will bring the rest.
Non-toxic ways to get rid of ants
Vinegar is very effective in getting rid of ants. To repel ants, mix half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar (white or apple cider) and spray the solution on ant trails: entryways, countertops, sink, and windows.
Diatomaceous earth is a type of sand that is comprised of fossilized remains of algae called diatoms. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the areas where ants enter or congregate. It will kill ants by drying them out.
Chalk contains calcium carbonate, which repels ants. Spray some powdered chalk in the areas that are the entry points of ants or draw a line of chalk at all entrances.
Pepper is an ant repellent. It doesn’t kill them but will keep them away if you sprinkle it around the areas where you see ants entering your home.
Cinnamon repels ants and kills them as well. Sprinkle powdered cinnamon around anthills, across their entry points, trails, on kitchen countertops and along floorboards. You can also use cinnamon essential oil – mix 10 drops of essential oil with a cup of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray in all their usual hangouts.
Lemon juice is another natural ant repellent. Squeeze lemon juice around the areas where you see ants entering your home.
Baking soda can be used to get rid of ants by disrupting their sense of smell. Mix baking soda with sugar and place it in areas where you see ants.
Ants are repelled by cucumber, so why not save your cucumber peels and place them in their entry ways and trails? You’re getting use out of peels you would have thrown away and driving away ants at the same time.
Cornmeal is another natural ant repellent. Sprinkle cornmeal around the areas where you see ants entering your home.
Essential oils such as peppermint oil, tea tree oil, orange, lemon and eucalyptus oil are natural ant repellents. Mix 10 drops of one or a combination of these essential oils with a cup of water and spray the mixture around the areas where you see ants along trails and entry points.
I’ve used several of the above mixtures and have had good success, especially with essential oil sprays.
You do have to reapply or they come back. During the spring and summer, reapply at least once or twice a week to keep ants away.
What is your favorite non-toxic pest control method to get rid of ants? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments.
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About the author
Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Bernie’s latest e-book, FRUGAL DIY has just been released on Amazon. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and Clark.com, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.