Ants make for terrible roommates. They don’t have a key so they creep in through cracks; they raid your food; and maybe worst of all, they invite hundreds of friends over every night. When you’ve got an ant infestation, it’s hard to get comfortable.
Luckily, there are a few tricks to evict these pests from your home and put them back into the garden where they’re better served. While you may think you know the best ways to eliminate ants, you’ll find some new tricks among these 18 clever methods!
By the time you’ve spotted an ant in your home, you’re already too late: that guy is one of the millions from a nearby nest! But while getting rid of ants can be tough, it’s not impossible…
1. Kill the queen: No, not that queen. The ant queen! She lays all the eggs and creates the worker ants invading your home. She gives the orders. But she never leaves the nest! So how do you get to her? There are a few ways…
2. Identify the worker’s paths: Worker ants find food and bring it back to the queen. To find her then, watch the ants for a bit and see where they’re coming from. Find the path they take to and from their colony. Then?
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3. Set out bait: It’s tempting to seal up the entrance to the colony, but doing so won’t kill the queen! Instead, lay out store-bought ant bait stations along the path you already identified.
4. Borax traps: Also known as sodium borate, Borax kills ants. Mix it with three times as much powdered sugar and place it in bottle caps along the ant’s path in lieu of store-bought traps.
5. Observe: Be patient and wait while ants bring the poison back to their colony, and thus, to the queen. It’ll be tempting to squash them, but doing so means less poison for the queen and her ilk!
6. Make the outdoors nicer: Aphids, insects that live on plants, excrete honeydew. Ants love honeydew! So make sure you aren’t killing aphids outside, and take care to eliminate aphids on houseplants.
7. Use lemons: Ants don’t like the smell of lemons. So, mix some lemon juice in a spray bottle with water and spritz it in all their usual nooks and crannies.
8. Keep them outside: Seal up around windows and doors; eliminate gaps where cables, pipes, or wires enter your house. Ants are tiny little fellas. They’ll squeeze in anywhere if you let them.
9. Upset their entrance port: Have you found where they’re coming into your house? Put petroleum jelly, adhesive tape, or baby powder over the entrance port (not yourself). Then spray it with white vinegar, lemon juice, or peppermint oil.
10. Homemade traps: Like the last slice of pizza attracts a bad roommate, a squirt of honey in the bottom of a bowl will attract ants. When they go to take some, however, they’ll get stuck—and be at your mercy.
11. Get medieval: Though a bit barbaric, try funneling boiling water into the mouth of the entry hole of the colony. With a bit of luck, the water might take out the elusive queen.
12. Gather natural herbs and spices: Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, mint, and bay leaves send ants running. Scatter these spices in their paths!
13. Eliminate moisture: Ants often set up in damp areas—around showers, windows, and basements. Replace water-damaged materials and plug all leaks to make your home less appealing.
14. Forego a cup of joe: Ants despise the smell of coffee, so scatter grounds in corners, cabinets, and along their walking paths. You might miss out on some coffee in the future, but hey, it’ll be worth it!
15. Crack open the apple cider vinegar: When mixed with warm water, the vinegar serves as an effective cleaning agent—and also repels ants. Kill two birds with one stone. Clean your counters and get rid of pests.
16. Rely on sage: When you’re finished warding off evil spirits with sage, place the green leaves into cabinets or closets. Ants, like ghosts, will avoid the smell of it.
17. Another homemade repellent: Mix peppermint and clove essential oils with water and spray it everywhere you’ve seen an ant. This has the added benefit of making your house smell like Christmas.
18. Avoid ants in the first place: Keep your house clean. Wipe away crumbs and clean up after cooking. Wash out cans that once held food, bottles, and containers. Let the ants know, there’s nothing for you here!
In the end, take a deep breath and remember ants are a nuisance pest—nothing more. They won’t transmit diseases or damage your house. At the very least, you’re safe as you mercilessly remove them from your home…
Ant infestations might seem impossible to get rid of, but there’s hope. Surely, one of these tips can eliminate the pests—you just have to find the right one for you!
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