Natural Solutions for Home and Garden Ant Infestations

Foto: CC0 / pixabay / Hans

In summer, ants are actively seeking food and often find their way indoors, attracted by what’s in our cupboards. We’ll show you how to keep these unwelcome guests at bay naturally.

Fighting Ants with Natural Household Remedies

Ants are useful insects, performing the role of nature’s sanitation officers. As long as they limit their beat to forests or fields, no one has a problem with them. The tune quickly changes when they start to make themselves comfortable in our homes and gardens. In these spaces, such unwelcome guests can quickly become a plague. Some types of ants will even climb up an entire six-floor walk-up!

You can find a variety of products to fight ants in stores, most of which contain poisonous chemicals. There are, however, just as many natural home remedies and simple tricks you can use instead – things that are at least as successful at beating back the ants and simultaneously more environmentally friendly.

Here we present the best home remedies for fighting ants in your home and garden.

Chemical-free Home Remedies for Indoor and Balcony Spaces

Baking powder is the classic solution to an ant infestation. Most people don’t know, however, that this causes the ants to suffer painful deaths. The baking powder expands in their stomachs until they explode — effective, but brutal. Instead, it’s better to interrupt the trail of ants or to relocate the ant colony.

Tape: Tape over part of the ant trail with scotch tape. The unwelcome guests lose the scent trail left by their comrades and cannot make their way to the food source.

Chalk works using the same principle. Use lines of chalk to interrupt the ant trail.

Strongly scented substances: place garlic, cinnamon, lavender, lemon, vinegar, or essential oils along the ant trail – that confuses the insects and soon sends them packing.

Remove their food source: Ants are often attracted to balconies by the sweet secretions of aphids on plants. Remove the aphids, and you will soon find yourself ant-free, too. The same rule applies to any sweet food source stored indoors. Always close open packages tightly!

Flooding their nest: Ants who’ve made their home in flower pots and window boxes can be forced out through regular overwatering with a watering can.

Garden Ants: Relocation Is Key

Relocation: No worries – the ants, not the residents! The easiest method is to fill a flower pot with wood shavings and place it top down on the ant trail or ant colony. Soon the ants will bring their pupae into their new home and abandon their old colony. Once the move is complete, find a better location for this colony – as far away as possible (at least 10 feet) from their old home — and place them there.

Ant barriers: Even in the garden, scented natural home remedies are just as effective. A scent barrier comprised of essential oils like lavender, cloves, or thyme, or even vinegar or lemon peels placed around entranceways or terraces can do the trick.

Caution: If it appears the pests have gotten out of hand, do not hesitate to seek professional assistance – especially when it comes to pharaoh or carpenter ants, which can cause measurable damage in a very short amount of time.

— By Katharina Bliem

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