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Best Organic Ant Killers

Updated on February 13, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Ants are likely to invade your kitchen at least once during the year and often more than that. Any time it gets rainy, the weather gets cooler, or too hot it seems that those pests invite themselves and two thousand of their closest relatives into your pantry, trash, and even your laundry basket.

It is frustrating and expensive when you have to throw out four pounds of sugar or three boxes of cereal because they are filled with ants. It is even worse if you are dealing with fire ants because not only are they pests they will bite and create painful blister type welts where ever they decide to chomp down on your skin.

Organic ant killers are a better option that the commercial, chemical pesticides that you find at the home improvement store. They are usually safe to use around children and most pets (sometimes fish and birds need to be removed from the area before treating) and they are better for the environment as a whole. Best of all, many of them can be made with items you already have on hand.

used under license
used under license | Source

Ant Killer Types

Before you decide what to use it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the variety of natural ant killers available. Each works slightly differently and one may work better than another in your situation.

Ant Traps

Traps have ant bait inside of them and small entrances that encourage ants to climb inside. Once inside the ants can't get back out. Because the bait is inside the trap it poses no threat to your pets or your children.

Boric Acid

Boric acid has long been used to kill ants, roaches, and other pests.Although it is safe to use in most cases it is not an organic option. It is toxic in large amounts and can harm both pets and the environment if enough of it is released into the environment. It would take much more than you would probably use to cause harm, however.

Powders and Granules

Powders and granules are hand sprinkled around the mound outside of the house. The worker ants grab the poison and carry it back to feed the colony, including the queen. This is an effective way to kill off an entire mound. The difficulty with this method is that you can't be sure that the ants in your kitchen are coming from this exact mound. It is hit and miss at best when the problem is inside.

Homemade Ant Killers

Homemade ant killers can be just as effective as the commercial versions and are usually much less expensive.

How to Make a Homemade Ant Trap

Ant traps work best inside your home, allowing you to kill ants without a large mess.

You will need:

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part yeast
  • 2 parts molasses
  1. Mix these ingredients together to form a paste.
  2. Spread the paste on a small bit of cardboard or plastic.
  3. Use small plastic covered container (like a margarine tub), place the paste in the tub.
  4. Cover the container with the lid.
  5. Poke small holes in the bottom sides for the ants to get into the tub.
  6. Place these where you have seen ants.

You can also just use the bait on a piece of cardboard and keep it under the refrigerator or similar out of the way places.

The ants eat the paste. Once inside the ant the yeast begins to absorb the fluids in the ant's body and swell. This happens quite quickly and will not get rid of an entire ant community since it isn't being fed to the queen.

Another option is to put boric acid mixed with sugar in the traps.


Grains work much like the paste mixture you put in the traps. You can spread grains like grits, cream of wheat, cornmeal, or other tiny grains around the ant mound. The ants take the grains back to the queens as well as eating them. The grains absorb the fluids inside the ant and swell.

Diatomaceous Earth

There are two kinds of diatomaceous earth. One is for pools and is not helpful as pest control. The kind you want can usually be found in a bag at your local garden shop. Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around your house to kill ants and other pests.

Herbs and Essential Oils

  • While herbs and essential oils will not kill ants they will discourage them from coming into your home.
  • Add 10 drops of peppermint essential oil to a small spray bottle of water and spray around the house and where ants are getting in. You can do the same thing with tea tree oil.
  • Hot sauce and cayenne pepper spread in front of entry points will sometimes keep ants away.

Another Recipe for Organic Ant Killer

Commercial Organic Ant Killers

Large garden and home improvement centers will usually carry organic pest control supplies but if you can't find them locally there are many sources online.

Ant Eater

Ant Eater is an organic ant killer which is made from diatomaceous earth with clove oil added. It is effective for several months and will kill roaches, silverfish and other pests as well as ants. It is safe for use in kitchens and other areas of the home, is completely non-toxic to humans and pets, and has a nice smell.

Eco Smart

Eco Smart is an effective spray that kills ants and roaches when sprayed directly on them. It has 100% natural ingredients including:

  • Canola oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Mineral oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Wintergreen oil

Orange Guard

Orange Guard is made from an extract from the peel of an orange. It is an effective ant killer and also repels ants and other pests including:

  • Aphids
  • Fleas
  • Fire ants
  • Roaches
  • Silverfish

A Word about Fire Ants

Fire ants are hard to kill and you may have difficulty finding an organic option that works quickly. Diatomaceous earth works the best but it can take a year or two to completely rid your property of these fierce pests.

Of the commercial fire ant killers the orange guard seems to be the more effective. While it is always important to try to use non-toxic options fire ants can be dangerous to your family, especially if you have small children. If the organic killers don't work then consider calling a professional or using one of the chemical killers.

Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to ridding your home of ants. Treat the areas where ants have been seen on a regular basis and continuing treating these areas even after you no longer see ants. Use ant killers both inside and outside of your home – sprinkling grains, granules or diatomaceous earth around the foundation and around the ant mounds that you can see. It is also important to clean up spills, crumbs and messes as quickly as possible so as not to encourage ants.

It can take awhile but with consistent work you can rid your home of these pests.


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    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      I thought that your Hub was interesting. Since I rent, and my landlord was supposedly spraying outside and it did not seem to do any good I get bugs of all types and I use different natural ways of all types inside. I use cinnamon powder inside for the ants.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Wonderful hub. Voted up, Useful, Interesting and shared.

      I use the stinking powder outside. I have some special stuff inside.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      5 years ago

      I am against pesticides 1) because of their smell; 2) because of the chemicals and 3) because they do not work. So when the ants show in the kitchen, besides grabbing the pathfinders with tissues, I just pull out the cinnamon powder and and deter their paths until they leave.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This one is timely!!! Summer coming . . . outdoor food . . . hot & dry weather & they will come inside for water (here in Texas, at least). I will keep this one handy so I can tackle the little critters in ways that don't cause other harm. Ants surely have a good purpose somewhere - I know they aerate the earth, and they're good role-models or something. But still . . .

      Love the new profile pic, Marye!!!! And thanks for this hub!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This information is perfectly timed for the ant invasion that is happening at my house. I have sprayed and sprayed with chemicals and wanted to find a more organic solution to the issue. Thanks so much for the detailed methods you shared here.

    • t08c15 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very useful and nicely done hub. Many thanks.

    • rwelton profile image


      6 years ago from Sacramento CA

      Marye - I never liked the chemical solution to garden and household pests...I have a homemade wasp killer trap and use dandelions, spray soap and red pepper flakes in my garden, but didn't have these recipes for ants. thnx


    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I never would have thought to make an organic ant killer. Thanks for the useful information!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These are great tips to use at home. Ants are pests especially in the kitchen. Thanks.

    • katrinasui profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing natural solutions to get rid from Ants.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Vinegar sprayed along wherever the pesky little buggers are coming in is the method I've always used, but a friend swore by beer in a dog dish (because of the sloping sides). Just be sure to keep Fido elsewhere when using this method! ;D

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Great hub! I love it that you gave so many natural solutions. Thanks.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I thought about using boric acid, borax, but then I read about how it can be poisonous in large quantities. I guess I will have to try other methods that are more natural.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      This is very useful, since just today I found some pesky ants in my house! I have used white vinegar in my kitchen to keep them out, but I like some of the other organic measures you mention to get rid of them for good. Thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Good information on several different ways to effectively keep pests at bay using organic methods. Fortunately we have never had a problem inside of the house with ants, but constantly have to be on the alert outside so that they do not take over the yard. Thanks!

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 

      6 years ago from United States

      Good to know, I don't use pesticides of any kind in my home. Luckily I don't have too much of a problem with ants and my two cats do a good job of keeping down the spiders.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have bookmarked your hub for future use as I really like your homemade ant trap. I usually use Raid ant killer but I always worry that my dogs will somehow come into contact with it.


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