How to Get Rid of Ants in your Home and Yard
Ants and their anthills are a continuous problem for homeowners. There are over 400 species of ants in North America alone. Ants build their nests under sidewalks, in cracks in foundations, under woodpiles, near stumps and compost piles. Ants play an important role in nature by disposing of dead insects, tilling the soil, dispersing seeds, pollinating plants, and decomposing dead animals. It is best to leave them alone if they are not in your way. However, if an anthill is in your yard, it is wise to find a control method to prevent children, pets or lawn caretakers from getting stung. Most ants found indoors come in looking for food. Once ants find a food source, they leave a pheromone trail for other ants in their colony to follow and soon there can be hundreds coming and going into your home.
Ants are social animals and the only way to kill the colony is to eliminate the queens. There are several methods for killing ants without using pesticides. It is important to keep children and pets away from any treated anthill, but these methods are less toxic to bees than commercial ant killers. Many natural methods will require repeat treatments or a combination of remedies. Some remedies will not kill all the ants but contaminate the eggs and living areas to such a degree that the ants will vacate the nest and relocate. The degree of success for each method depends upon the size of the nest and the type of ants in your colony. Apply remedies in the morning on a dry day.
Method 1: Pipe tobacco tea: soak a jar of pipe tobacco overnight. In the morning, discard the tobacco and pour the tea over the anthill.
Method 2: Soapy water: Mix one part dish soap with three parts hot water. Pour over the anthill.
Method 3: Boiling water: Pour a gallon of boiling water mixed with a cup of salt over the anthill. Note: salt will kill grass or other vegetation and takes a long time to leach from the soil; this remedy is best for sidewalks, gravel paths and driveways. Use boiling water without salt in areas with desirable vegetation. The grass will suffer damage but the roots will re-grow. Pour the boiling water on in the morning and again at night.
Method 4: Pour a bottle of window cleaner over the anthill.
Method 5: Pour a bottle of club soda over the anthill.
Method 6: Boric acid. Purchase boric acid in the health department of a drug or grocery store or in a hardware store. This is not the same product as Borax 20-mule team laundry detergent. Mix one cup of water with 2 cups sugar and stir in 1/2 cup boric acid. This mix will kill ants attracted to sugary foods. If you are not sure of the type of ants in your colony, stir a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter into the mixture. Place the mix on a saucer or plastic lid and the ants will take the poison back to their nest. You can also use a plastic tub (like for margarine) and cut pencil size holes around the rim of the container. Place the poison inside and put the lid on. Place one or more containers next to the ant hill opening. You will see a flurry of activity for a few days but after about a week the ants should be gone. Keep children, wildlife and pets away from boric acid. Take the containers inside overnight if raccoons are present in your area.
Keep your home as clean as you can. Sweep or vacuum up food crumbs everyday and wipe down your countertops. Rinse cans or bottles placed in an indoor recycling bin. Watch the ant trails to discover where the ants are coming in.
Place pet food bowls in another bowl slightly larger, creating a moat if ants are attracted to pet food.
Caulk or seal holes where they are coming into the home.
Wipe down the ant trail with lemon juice or window cleaner to eliminate the pheromone scent. Squirt a little on the outside entry point if you can find it.
Sprinkle cinnamon, clove or baking soda outside around the door or point of entry.
Use the boric acid mix described above. Do not disrupt their trails during this treatment as the ants will be attracted to the bait in large numbers for a couple of days. As they carry the poison to the nest, they will infect the colony and the ant problem will decline.
Content original works of kittycooks. Copyright 2011