Ants can be found anywhere and everywhere: inside your home, in your yard, walking along the walls, on the ground, targeting your kitchen, pantry and more. There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the globe. Each species has its own unique characteristics while the bites of some can cause allergic reasons in people.
If you are worried about a major infestation of ants outside your home, there are ways of reducing their numbers without affecting the other residents such as the elderly, your kids or pets. Here are a few tips to help you out. Keep in mind that white ants or termites are not the same as regular ants and will require a different treatment altogether.
#1 Essential Oils
Ants are foragers. Wherever they go, they will leave or follow a scent known as pheromones. This scent marks the trail from their nest to the food and back. Some essential oils can interfere with the ant’s pheromone trails. In the case of clove oil, this essential oil has the ability to kill ants on contact.
These scents can be used to discourage ants from eating your plants or invading other parts of your garden. Examples of effective essential oils include:
- Peppermint oil
- Tea tree oil
- Clove oil
- Oils from lemons or oranges
Using these essential oils is easy. All you need is a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball. Rub the baseboards and other commonly infested areas with the oil. You can also leave the moist cotton ball on shelves, inside closets and cabinets among others. Repeat every few days or so until you stop seeing the ants.
#2 Ant away spray
A mixture of some of these essential oils can discourage them from invading your garden and home.
To create the spray, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup vodka (optional)
- 15 drops of peppermint oil
- 15 drops tea tree oil
- 7 drops of oil taken from citrus fruits or 1-3 drops of clove oil
Place all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before using. Spray the scented liquid on any surface where you have seen ants. If you need to spray the liquid on a food prep surface, replace the tea tree oil with another 15 drops of peppermint essential oil. Spray every few days until the ants have disappeared.
#3 Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth or DE is made from crushed marine phytoplankton. When it comes into contact with ants, the fossilized remains absorb any moisture on the insect’s exoskeleton. As a result, the ants slowly die from dehydration.
DE is tough on ants and other insects such as bed bugs and fleas but gentle on people and mammals. You can safely use the white talc inside or outside the home without the risk of affecting any of person or pet inside your home. The powder is odorless and does not stain clothes either. This makes it a safe way of treating insect infestations.
You can apply DE as a powder or mix it with water to create a spray. As a powder, you can sprinkle a thin layer over areas where there are plenty of ants such as around the window, underneath the fridge, inside cabinets, trashcans and more. When you mix it with water, the spray can be use on baseboards and other similar surfaces.
Take note that there are two types of DE: pool grade and food grade. Food grade DE is safe to breathe and use inside the home. The powder can also be sprinkled on plants without affecting their growth. It can also be mixed with pet food to clear their internal organs of parasites or bacteria.
#4 Boiling water and dish soap
Reducing ant numbers can be as simple as boiling some water. Fill up a spray bottle with boiling water and mix a few drops of liquid dish soap. Spray the soapy mixture on areas where you find ants outside your home.
You can also pour boiling water directly into ant colonies. It’s a natural yet easy way of eradicating the ant colony. Boiling water also works on weeds. Simply pour it directly over the weeds popping up along sidewalk cracks to kill them.
#5 Baking soda with sugar
This pet-friendly ant repellent can be made with ingredients that you can readily find in your home. Sugar attracts the insects, encouraging them to carry some of the powder to their nest. While transporting the sugar, they will also inadvertently carry some of the baking soda as well. The baking soda will kill the insects but will not harm your plants, pets or kids.
To make this natural insect poison, all you need are equal parts of both ingredients. Mix the two together and sprinkle the sweet powder directly on the ant colony or where you find their trail.
Pest extermination companies offer a variety of ant pest control services to suit your needs. If you have pets or kids, ask what their program is when it comes to reducing the ant population in your home. There are businesses that use specially designed pest control products, which can safely deal with your ant infestation issue without harming your pets, plants or the other residents in your home. Call your local pest control today to learn more about their natural pest control methods.