How to Kill Ants Without Pesticides
If, like me, you’d prefer not harm everything in your garden, then knowing how to kill ants without pesticides is a key homeowner’s essential. Not only do pesticides kill the harmless (relatively) creatures, but they also smell bad and are a threat to the safety of pets and children. Here are a few tips to get the job done casualty free (or casualty laden- depending on the level of Buddhism that you adopt).
1- Keep food stuffs in sealed containers or in the fridge. A tidy and clean home is an ant free home! Regularly wipe down surfaces with detergent. Also plug any entrances that you think ants are entering through. Should doorways etc be ‘unpluggable’, use deterrent substances to line the entrances. Talcum powder is a fairly inert substance and is relatively effective in deterring ants. Scents such as vinegar, citrus, cinnamon, pepper and cloves, have been reported to be reasonably successful.
2- First interrupt their trail. The first port of call is to interrupt their trail: ants use pheromones to inform the rest of the colony of the route to a food source. Firstly, remove the food source, and then clean up the trail of ants and the surface that they are marching on with a household detergent, or block the path with a puddle/ thick line of lemon juice. Similarly, a scout or solitary ant, although not seeming to be too much of a threat, will report back to the colony once it has found food. Relocate or destroy (please don’t!) solitary ants.
3- Use cornmeal for them to take back to their nest. Should you wish to use a natural and inert substance that will be delivered to the nest, use cornmeal as bait. Ingestion of water following ingestion of cornmeal will kill the ants.
4- Use boiling water over repeated days to kill a nest. Should you wish to rid yourself of a located nest, the simplest and cheapest means to destroy a colony is through the use of boiling water- tunnels may be blocked by wet soil preventing the boiling water from reaching the queen, so re-visit the nest every day to check for activity. If you don’t want to hurt the ants, spread pureed orange peels in and around the anthills. They detest the scent of citrus and may relocate on their own.
5- Address the root of the problem. Again, I stress, ants are actually beneficial to your garden and home in that they rid you of other more harmful pests, so I highly discourage destroying an ants’ nests. Should you feel otherwise however: Firstly, prevention is the best form of defence against ant colonies. Do this by treating your garden for aphids (a much loved ant food) during the spring and summer months, and the ants will be less inclined to nest in your garden.
If you already have an ant problem but don’t wish to kill them and are having little luck with other methods, place an open jar of honey up a tree about 10 metres away from the nest. The ants will be quite happy to feast on this for months and would most likely not bother infesting your home for scraps.