There are so many things to love about the summertime, like the warm weather, the longer days, and the delicious seasonal produce. But even summer has its drawbacks, and one of the biggest ones (in my opinion) is all of the BUGS! And while flies, mosquitoes, and other bugs are certainly annoying, no other type of insect can quite compare to the tenacity of ants. Ants can appear in and around your house seemingly out of nowhere, and boy do they come in droves!
We’ve been lucky enough to avoid major ant issues at our house, but a couple of years ago, my daughter Britta dealt with an ant problem in her apartment’s only bathroom. On Day 1 it was just a few ants, but by Day 3 it had become a full-on infestation! That just goes to show how quickly ants can infiltrate just about any space. So to help you avoid a similar situation this summer, I’ve put together a helpful guide on how to get rid of ants. You’ll learn prevention techniques, what to use to deter ants, and common household products you can use to kill ants too. Armed with these tips, even the most organized and tenacious of ant colonies won’t stand a chance! :-)
How To Get Rid Of Ants
1. Practice Cleanliness
Ants love to take advantage of spills, crumbs, garbage, and pretty much any mess that humans create. So the best way to keep ants away from your house is to practice cleanliness, and avoid attracting them in the first place! For the exterior of your home, sweep up any crumbs and use your hose to spray down spills. Inside the house, make sure all your food is stored in sealed bags and containers. Also, make sure to clean your kitchen regularly, and wipe up any drips or residues on the sides of bottles and containers.
2. Deter The Ants
Another way to get rid of ants is to drive them away. Ants find the smell of peppermint overpowering, so you can use peppermint essential oil to deter them. Add 5-10 drops of peppermint oil to a small spray bottle of water, then spray it around your baseboards (or anywhere you’ve spotted ants in the past).
White vinegar is another great ant deterrent. Ants don’t like the smell, plus it masks the scent trails they use as signposts for other ants to follow. To use vinegar as an ant deterrent, just spray it anywhere you’ve spotted ants.
3. Kill The Ants
Preventing and deterring ants is great, but what if the ants are already an issue? In that case, you’re better off using a method that will kill them. Here are a few solutions you can use:
Ant Killer #1: Homemade Multi-Purpose Cleaner & Ant Killer
Add 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap, and 5 drops each of lemon essential oil and peppermint essential oil to a spray bottle. Shake to mix, then use the spray to clean any surfaces where ants tend to congregate. Castile soap will start to dissolve the waxy exterior of the ants that come into contact with it, eventually killing them.
Ant Killer #2: Cornmeal
Sprinkle cornmeal wherever you’ve spotted ants. They can’t digest cornmeal, so they’ll eventually die off. If you have pets or babies at home, this is an easy and safe solution to use.
Ant Killer #3: Borax
Borax is another easy-to-find ingredient that will poison ants. In a small bowl, stir together a spoonful of peanut butter, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of borax. Stuff the mixture into a plastic drinking straw, then cut the straw into 1/2” pieces. Place the straw pieces near ant trails. The sugary peanut butter will attract the ants, then the borax in the mixture will kill them relatively quickly.
Ant Killer #4: Baking Soda
Stir together equal parts of powdered sugar and borax, and sprinkle the mixture along ant trails or any cracks where ants are coming inside. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, but they’ll eat the baking soda too and die off.
Ant Killer #5: Diatomaceous Earth
And finally, you can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants. It compromises the ants’ exoskeletons, so they will ultimately die of dehydration after coming into contact with it. Sprinkle it along known ant trails, and along windowsills, baseboards, and other ant hideouts. (To learn more about diatomaceous earth and ways to use it, check out my blog post on the topic at the link below!)