While we have nothing against ants, it’s undeniable that having ants around the house can be problematic, especially when they begin working on your pantry or around the kitchen.
Apart from insecticides, there are some other ways to repel ants from your home safely and more healthily. Mind you, and it won’t make sense to compare these methods to insecticides, because they’re not made from the same chemicals that are used in pesticides at all.
Silicon dioxide or diatomaceous earth can reduce the spread of ants and kill them slowly as they are exposed to it. Though this can be an irritant (don’t breathe it in), it can be sprinkled in moderate quantities without risk to people.
What silicon dioxide does is it dries out the insects that walk over it, eventually weakening and killing them. To kill ants, you will have to find food grade diatomaceous earth.
Also, it would be a good idea to have your gloves on when handling silicon dioxide, as it can also irritate the skin. You can either sprinkle the powder where you see the ants lining up, or you can put the dust on a small cup and add some food there to attract ants nearby. Either way, it is going to work because dried up insects are useful as gone.
Dish soap and glass cleaner
These are two of the best materials you can use to remove the tracking trails that ants leave behind to guide the rest of the ant army in their relentless search for food. Simply combine equal parts of dish soap and glass cleaner and some water and put the resulting solution in a spray bottle.
Give the spray bottle a good shake and use it to spray areas where ants usually congregate. What’s interesting about this solution is that once you have sprayed it, the chemical trail is reduced or eliminated, and the ants can no longer find their old paths.
As a result, they will convene elsewhere instead. It may take a few days of consistent spraying to remove the scent of the old trails, but it will work. Another combination that you can use is pure bleach, water, and dish soap. Use any kind of spray to spread this cleaning solution where ants are usually seen, and it will take care of the scent trails for you.
Detergents and hand soap
Since everyone probably has a stock of antibacterial wash and cleansers at home, you can use solutions made with soap to deter ants as well. This is an option if you don’t like using glass cleaner or bleach.
It will probably be slightly less effective without the bleach or glass cleaner. Still, with sufficient application, it will eventually deal with the ant pheromones that these insects use to communicate with each other.
You must deal with the ant pheromones first because the ants will just keep coming if you don’t.
Ants pick up the pheromones from other ants in the same column and colony, which would explain the uniform movement and why ants return to the same area repeatedly despite your best efforts. Don’t worry: ant pheromones are no match for chemical cleaners and detergents!
Cayenne pepper or black pepper
While not adequately studied, there is some anecdotal or experiential proof from homeowners that cayenne pepper and black pepper can be used to deter ants from entering a home. Pepper can be used in dry form or as a solution that you can spray where ants congregate.
As for the dry form, you can sprinkle cayenne pepper or black pepper behind backboards and around the house if you please. The smell of the pepper will mess up the ants, and they will keep away.
While this isn’t the most permanent solution of them all, it might work for folks who don’t have the patience for mixing more complex liquid solutions. You can also use this as an emergency remedy if there is a considerable ant invasion at home, and you need something to repel further ants who want to enter your home.
Tea tree oil
Apart from being a fantastic anti-fungal and antibacterial agent in facial wash and lotions, tea tree oil has another unique capability: it drives away ants, and it can also kill ants and other insects on contact.
One of our favorite methods of driving away ants and other insects is by suturing cotton balls with tea tree oil and placing the cotton balls where we see ants coming out.
These entry points can be easy to find if you pay attention to the ant columns themselves. Ant columns will have an entry and exit point. Try to find out where they are coming from, so you know where to put the cotton balls.
Additional Methods of Killing Ants
Clean your home with white vinegar
White vinegar naturally repels and kills ants. White vinegar combined with water will also take care of pheromone trails throughout your house, which would deactivate any tracks. Without these chemical trails, and traffic will be reduced significantly in your home, and ant cleanups will be reduced substantially.
This is probably the simplest method to kill ants, though it is not sure if hot water can completely eradicate the pesky ant pheromones in your home. Use this method, perhaps when there is a large infestation, and you need a fast way of killing thousands of ants at a time.
We also recommend this method when you see ants in colony building mode – when they are creating an extension of their colony inside your home. This is usually easy to see when there are mud and sand where you find them.
Brewed coffee grounds
This is another natural remedy that is similar to the pepper fix we discussed earlier. Don’t throw away your used coffee grounds. Use them instead as a dry deterrent for ants around your home.