Wondering how to naturally get rid of ants in your house? A homemade natural insecticidal spray for hand-to-hand combat, a homemade ant trap to catch them all, and various “lines ants won’t cross” to keep them out or contained are all found here!
I killed 50 ants today in 10 minutes.
Turns out that spilled sugar and a sticky molasses jar attracts 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 Method to Naturally Kill Ants in your 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.
Getting Rid of Ants Long-Term: Natural Ant Poison
If an initial on-contact kill with the spray doesn’t get rid of all your ants, you need to give them something poisonous to take home to their friends.
Make a homemade natural ant poison trap that will kill the ants but not be toxic to your family. (You still don’t want your kids to eat it on purpose, but it’s not like toxic chemicals.)
- Cut an index card in half.
- Mix about a 1:1 ratio of corn syrup (or any sticky sweetener) and borax (one major reason I won’t use a homemade dishwasher detergent made of borax).
- I just use a spoon or my finger and do it right on the card; then I don’t have any ant poison dishes to wash.
- Put the index card where you know they’ll find it, even on carpet (see above).
Check out my non-toxic ant poison video to see how SIMPLE it is to make this stuff – it takes 45 seconds!
Note: the sweetener will dry out in a day or two, so when the ants stop feasting, replenish with new sweet poison to make sure they are really gone.
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:
- cinnamon – they will NOT go near 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. 😉
- chili powder
- cayenne pepper
- chalk (a reader in the comments says this doesn’t work)
- baby powder
- black pepper
- 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.
- A reader tells me lavender and mint sachets in closets, drawers, pantry, etc. repel ants (add bay leaves to take care of moths and other insects). I think that’s so cool! (and simple!)
- Make a line ants can’t cross with:
Hi! I’m Katie, and I’m the chief mess-maker around here trying to journey to better stewardship of my family’s health and the environment – while balancing a budget and limited time (did I mention I have 4 kids?).
I’d love to share more of our family-friendly recipes, science geek research and uber-practical tips with you, and I have a mini eBook with our family’s favorite “party recipes” just for you.
If you like what you’ve read so far, I hope you’ll strap on your seatbelt and join us for the ride:
- My friend Heather has such a great post with SEVEN natural ways to kill ants in the house!
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.
If you happen to have a bees’ nest (or more likely, a wasps’ nest), check out our 2013 method for getting rid of a wasp nest.
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 my post on How to Naturally Get Rid of Fruit Flies in your House.
Don’t miss How to Naturally Control Bugs in the Garden.
And if you need a snack after all that insect fighting, check out the 30+ recipes in Healthy Snacks to Go.
Photo from dbgg1979