Turns out that spilled sugar and a sticky molasses jar attract ants like…well, like spilled sugar and a sticky puddle of molasses!
The microwave cabinet where I keep my sweeteners (since I don’t use a microwave anymore) was taken over by ants, the little kind that don’t even feel gross when you smash them with a fingertip.
That was my first line of defense: kill any visible intruders on sight. My poor kids had to wait 10 minutes for their breakfast because I was a focused maniac: “Paul, go by the sliding glass door and see if there are any more ants coming in the house. You see one? Kill it! Get him with your hands! It’s okay, we’ll wash hands before breakfast…”
Even the 2-year-old got in on the fiesta and has a kill shot to her name.
Before we could eat, I also sprayed down the entire unit and all along the baseboards of the kitchen, especially in front of the slider (where I know the ants get in the house) with my homemade natural insecticidal spray.
Homemade Natural Method to Kill Ants in the House
I’m not going to put out poison in my kitchen (unless the ants and earwigs take over completely). My mom copied this recipe down out of something she was reading once at my house, and I am sure glad I was able to find it last week when the ants first came marching in. Imagine my glee when not only ants but earwigs, too, my most hated nemesis that hide in every washcloth and towel in our house, died within 60 seconds of being squirted.
Added bonus: this home remedy is so simple to mix up, my husband could do it:
1 tsp. dishwashing soap (not detergent)
1 tsp. cooking oil (we used virgin olive)
1 qt. water
Mix in a spray bottle. Spray on any soft-bodied insect that invades your house or garden: ants, earwigs, aphids, whiteflies, mealy bugs, etc.
Also spray a barricade line where ants might be entering your house. The only drawback is that it doesn’t work once it’s dried, so if you really want prevention, you have to spray often throughout the day or use other strategies below. This is a good first wave of terror on the bug world, though.
Other Natural Home Pest Control Methods
A few years ago I was visiting a friend and we decided to wage war on the ants in her house, naturally. A quick Google search netted us many home remedy options for natural pest control for the ants:
- Make a line ants can’t cross with:
- chili powder
salt(use your yucky white stuff, not the real salt) UPDATE 2012: I have watched tiny ants crawl right over my thick salt line. Don’t bother with this one – but they will NOT go near the cinnamon, so even if your daughter says, “Mom, you’re wasting food!” just do it. Make a cinnamon line so they can’t get on your counter.
- cayenne pepper
- chalk (reader in the comments says this doesn’t work)
- baby powder
- black pepper
- UPDATE 2012: try food grade diatomaceous earth, found on Amazon, sprinkled around the exterior of the house or even inside as a line ants can’t cross.
- Squirt the ants with undiluted vinegar.
- TO REALLY GET RID OF THEM AND NOT JUST KEEP THEM OUT: Make a homemade ant poison trap with corn syrup (or any sticky sweetener) and borax (one major reason I won’t use a homemade dishwasher detergent made of borax). Put a dollop on an index card where you know they’ll find it.
With my friend, we attacked those we could see with straight vinegar with mixed results, and we decided to cordon off the pantry with a thick line of cinnamon. When the kids got up in the morning and discovered the strange line of brown powder in the kitchen, they and their active imaginations decided there were ghosts in the house. If you try it, make sure to leave a note for others!
For me, the homemade insecticidal soap is the most effective thing I’ve ever seen to kill ants on contact.
The Bee Story
In summer 2012, we had a bee’s nest the size of a softball in the corner of our garage door (outside). My husband was ready to turn to Raid, but the store was closed…I begged him to try dishsoap in a hose-end sprayer. I figured the dishsoap would kill the buggers and the hose would give him some distance. He still wore long sleeves and a hoodie in 90-degree heat, but he also said it was the most amazing thing he had ever seen.
He strongly emphasizes that the power of the water gave him an advantage over the bees, who were stunned and then died before they could chase him. If you try it, use maybe 1/4-1/2 cup dishwashing liquid in a hose-end sprayer and blast with water as soon as the suds begin. Good luck!
Important note: if you have HONEYbees, which are small and grey (Google for a photo), please call a beekeeper. There is a honeybee crisis right now and we need all the bees we can get or we won’t have any food left!
Fruit Flies, Too?
Aren’t I lucky? Along with our friends the little black ants and the terrifyingly pervasive earwigs, we also have been bombarded with fruit flies in the past 24 hours. I absolutely understand how primitive (and not so primitive) peoples in history assumed the fruits like melons were actually full of fruit flies. It’s incredible how quickly they appeared en masse after I cut a cantaloupe!
If you’re as lucky as me, you might want to read last year’s post on How to Naturally Get Rid of Fruit Flies in your House.
And if you need a snack after all that insect fighting, check out the 30+ recipes in Healthy Snacks to Go.
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
Photo from dbgg1979
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Herbal Nurturing and will earn commission if you purchase – so thank you!