So you've found ants in your house, and you want to get rid of them. You've decided, however, that professional pest control, Raid, and other chemical poisons, aren't the way to go. Perhaps you're worried about making your pets or children sick, or you're worried about how these things affect the environment. So what do you do to get rid of the ants? Check out these five eco-friendly methods for making your ant problem go away.
Vinegar's a great resource for more than just cooking, and it's quite eco-friendly, so it won't harm the environment. It also won't make your pets or children sick if they happen to come into contact with it.
How do you use it to get rid of ants? Natural website Everyday Roots says that using vinegar can disrupt the scent trails that ants use to show each other the way to food sources. All you need is one part white vinegar, one part water, and a clean cloth or a spray bottle (or both). Simply wipe down and/or spray all the areas where the ants are getting into your house. Then make sure that food sources are sealed up, to ensure they don't come back.
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Lemon juice is another substance that disrupts ants' scent trails. Both the scent of the lemon juice and the acid work to accomplish that, so spray it where you see ants coming into your house. You should also use it to wipe down all your door and window frames, and you may want to look outside for the colony, and spray it on all the paths they're using out there.
You can also use an eyedropper or Q-tip to put a few drops inside the hole(s) where they're getting into your house.
Diatomaceous Earth (horticultural grade)
The Vegetable Gardener recommends horticultural-grade diatomaceous earth as a way to get rid of ants wherever you'd prefer they not be. There are several different grades, so be sure of what you're buying if you're buying it to get rid of an ant problem. Food grade will work too, and is also safe.
Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to you, your pets, your kids, and the environment (though you may want to wear a dust mask when you apply it), but it gets rid of ants at their source. Author Chris McLaughlin doesn't quite know how it does that, just that it does work, though it may take several days. It's cheap, and since it's so eco-friendly, you can spread it liberally around the outside of your house, in your garden, on your patio, and even in the backs of your cupboards and pantry if need be.
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This is actually a three-part mixture of baking soda, powdered sugar, and dry, active yeast. The powdered sugar is the lure, and the yeast and baking soda are the poison. An article on e-How says to sprinkle the baking soda everywhere you see the ants, because they won't cross those lines (you could also try chalk for this part). The point of that is to direct them to where your baking soda-sugar-yeast mixture is.
Once they're there, they'll consume some of the mixture, and they'll carry it back to the nest. Baking soda and yeast are poisonous to ants, so this method should help to kill the whole nest, and eliminate the problem. This, also, won't happen instantaneously, so be patient and remember that you might have to renew your mixture every few days
Ants can't digest cornmeal, but they do try to eat it. They also take it back to their nest to feed the queen. If their primary food source is cornmeal, then they'll starve themselves to death, according to gardener Susan Patterson on Gardening Know How. However, this method can take awhile; as much as a week can pass before you see any difference in the number of ants.
Because of that, cornmeal is best used outside at the source, with a deterrent like one of the above used inside to keep them away from your food and pets.