Best Organic Ant Killers
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.
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.
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 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
- Mix these ingredients together to form a paste.
- Spread the paste on a small bit of cardboard or plastic.
- Use small plastic covered container (like a margarine tub), place the paste in the tub.
- Cover the container with the lid.
- Poke small holes in the bottom sides for the ants to get into the tub.
- 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.
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 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 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 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:
- Fire ants
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.
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.