A large number of ants around the base of a door.

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Natural ant repellents: DIY ant control

Ants can be a big nuisance for home and business owners alike. More often than not, people try to control ant problems using home remedies and natural solutions first. The issue with most of these solutions is that they aren’t 100% effective and often lead to ants sneaking their way back into your home

Natural solutions such as baking soda, cinnamon, lemon, and vinegar will only get you so far in solving your ant problem and may not eliminate an entire infestation. The effectiveness of these solutions depends on their placement, which is why having knowledge about ants and their habits is beneficial. Natural ant repellents involving borax may do the trick, but the mixture can be harmful to children and pets. Some natural ant control remedies such as chalk do not actually work at all. They may deter the ants for a very short period of time, but ants are smart enough to find their way around it.

Our experts know what works and what doesn't because they have tested all of the DIY treatments. To avoid the headache and get rid of ants the first time, call 800-937-8398. Our ant control technicians will bring the tools to effectively eliminate ants.

Not sure how to treat ants? Let us take care of it!

Home remedies for ants

Ants like to forage and will search high and low for any source of food – including your property! So what are some natural ways to get rid of these crawling insects? Find out below.

Baking soda

Baking soda mixed with powdered sugar can be a powerful ant repellent. To make this repellent, mix equal parts of each ingredient in a bowl and place the bowl or sprinkle the mixture on your floors, counter, or window sills. The powdered sugar will attract the ants to the mixture, and since it has a similar appearance and texture to baking soda, ants won’t be able to tell the difference.

A glass jar and spoonful of baking soda.

Does baking soda get rid of ants?

This method actually does kill ants if placed near the nest. Once ingested, the baking soda mixes with the acid in an ant's stomach and within minutes can cause them to dry out and die. The key to this working and eliminating a full infestation is that the ant has to get the food back to the colony before it kills them, and the queen has to eat it, too. That doesn’t always happen.

Borax

More commonly known to be used as a household cleaner, borax can also be used as a natural ant control method. Combined with either sugar, jelly, or syrup, this mixture can be placed in areas of the home where ants frequent the most or outside of your home in your yard or near ant mounds.

A container of borax found in a lab.

Does borax get rid of ants?

Yes, but it can take some time. Borax is a slow-acting poison that will attack the ant’s digestive system and can then cause death. However, it can take a few days for this to happen and it is only effective if the borax is brought back to the ant colony and passed on to the larger population and, more importantly, the queen of the colony.

Chalk

A common home remedy for ants is to use a piece of chalk to draw a border around the common entry points for ants. It is thought that this works as ants won’t cross the chalk line, wanting to preserve the scent trail.

Two pieces of chalk on a blackboard

Does chalk get rid of ants?

No. Although it may disrupt an ant’s scent trail for a short period, the ants will soon find another way to continue on their hunt for food.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is often regarded as an effective DIY ant control option. It is believed that cinnamon acts as a natural repellent because ants cannot stand the smell. Also, if an ant inhales cinnamon, it can suffocate and die. Ground cinnamon can be sprinkled on an ant’s pathway for them to inhale. You can also soak a cotton ball in a solution of cinnamon essential oil and water and then wipe down common ant hot spots, such as doors and windows, to help repel ants.

A spoonful of cinnamon surrounded by cinnamon sticks.

Does cinnamon get rid of ants?

Well yes, to a certain extent. A study in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications revealed that cinnamon essential oil can be used to repel ants. The effectiveness of this DIY ant control solution depends on the concentration of the cinnamon oil, as well as the placement. For this home remedy to work, a high concentration of cinnamon oil must be used and it needs to be placed in the common areas where ants are entering your home. Identifying all the places where ants are exactly entering your home can be difficult without proper training.

Lemon

Lemon is another known home remedy for ants. The thought is that the acidic property of the lemon juice will mask the ants’ scent trails and, as a result, deter them. For this DIY ant control option, it is recommended to mix together one part lemon juice with three parts water and use it as an all-purpose spray. You can spray the homemade repellent around your door frames, window sills, and other common entry points for ants.

A bunch of lemons sitting on a table.

Does lemon get rid of ants?

No, not really. Although lemon juice may seem like a successful home remedy for ants, it is not a foolproof solution. Yes, it may repel them for a short period of time, but in the long run, it has little to no effect.

Vinegar

Vinegar is often a common home remedy for insects and ants are no exception. To use vinegar as a homemade ant spray, simply fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Spray the solution directly on the ants and then wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel. You can also apply this homemade ant spray to the common ant hot spots and places where food is kept, such as cupboards, windowsills, doorways, and work surfaces.

A bottle of vinegar with a sponge.

Does vinegar get rid of ants?

Only for a short period of time. It is suggested that the aroma from vinegar masks an ant’s scent trail, preventing it from finding food. However, once the solution has evaporated it will no longer be an effective DIY ant control method. Although it might help stop ants from finding food in the first place, it will have little to no effect on any infestation already in your home.

What's the best way to get rid of ants naturally?

The best way to get rid of ants yourself is by using correct prevention techniques. Ant prevention techniques are a great DIY solution as they help make your home less appealing to ants and reduce the potential for an infestation to occur in the first place.

How to prevent ants:

  • Clear up any and all food and liquid spillage.
  • Sweep floors regularly to get rid of crumbs and other food debris.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Block off any and all entry points by sealing cracks and crevices around your property.

Of course, the most effective solution to get rid of ants is to enlist the help of a pest control professional. Although some DIY ant control solutions and home remedies may give the impression they are working (especially in the short term), they are often ineffective.

Western Exterminator has a range of services and solutions to fully eradicate an ant infestation from your property and can also protect your home and/or business from any future infestations that might occur. Have an ant problem? Get in contact with Western Exterminator today!


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