No chemicals: 10 natural defenses against ants in your home
Outdoors, there's no doubt that ants are useful creatures, but indoors they are most definitely out of place. Should these creepy crawlies ever invade your home, then the following 10 tips could help you drive them out — without calling pest control or resorting to chemicals.
1. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is one of the most effective substances for scaring ants away. The pungent smell disturbs the sensitive sense organs of the ants to such an extent, that they can no longer communicate with each through scents and no longer rediscover their "paths", which they also mark out with pheromones.
Either place fresh lemon juice on a cloth and wipe it over places with ant infestations, or mix lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and spray the mixture in areas where the ants are found.
2. Cucumber peeling
The fact that ants bolt at the sight of cucumbers is either down to the smell of the green vegetable or — what's more likely — due to a substance in the skin, that protects the plant from pest infestation and, accordingly, can be poisonous to ants. Whatever the reason, you only need to lay out a few pieces of cucumber peel in order to scare the ants away.
3. Essential oils
Most of the methods listed here are based on the principle of dispersing the ants with the help of strong odors — essential oils such as bayleaf, clove of tea tree oil are naturally, perfectly suited to this. Either apply the essential oil of your choice, diluted, to the floor tiles or soak cotton balls in the oil and place them at the infested sites.
Diluted cinnamon essential oil can be applied with a cotton swab or a cloth to the places where the ants show up. Alternatively, you can mix a little over five quarts of water with two tablespoons of cinnamon and a clove in a spray bottle and spray the mixture over the necessary places.
Of course, you can also leave out pure cinnamon, but if you do, take care that your dog or cat doesn't nibble at it, as this can be harmful for them.
5. Baking powder and icing sugar
If you don't just want to drive off the ants, and in this case, other insects, you can get rid of them once and for all — by mixing baking powder and icing sugar together in equal quantities and leaving it out as bait.
The body chemistry of ants cannot cope with the sodium bicarbonate in the baking powder, and the insects will perish as soon as they eat the mix. As they will probably first carry it back to the nest, this could endanger the whole colony. Therefore, you should only use this method in exceptional circumstances.
A method equally as ruthless as the previous one involves cornmeal. When the ants eat it, it disrupts their digestion processes so they starve a few days later.
Again, it's self-evident that harmless methods are preferable.
One such harmless and moreover extremely effective method is vinegar, as its strong odor drives the ants away. The simplest application is to pour the vinegar directly on to the places where the ants emerge. You can also wipe your floor with vinegar-based cleaner or vinegar water so that they no longer dare to set foot on it.
Instead of spreading different products about in your home or garden, you can also try to get the ants to keep their distance from the house with aromatic plants like eucalyptus, basil, peppermint or thyme.
9. Baby powder
Baby powder can also keep ants away, less because of the smell and more because of the talc the powder contains. It's assumed that the insects dehydrate as soon as they come into contact with it.
Baby powder or other talc-containing products sprinkled around can therefore function as a kind of protective wall that the ants can't cross. You can achieve the same effect with diatomaceous earth.
As well as odors that are unpleasant for ants, you can also make their lives difficult using insurmountable obstacles. Instead of sprinkling baby powder, you can simply draw a chalk line that the ants are unable to cross, as the following picture shows: a chalk circle has been drawn around one piece of bait, and not the other.
You too can rid your house or apartment of ants using natural methods, so they stay where they belong and continue to do their useful work.