I have lived in the north, south, east, and west – and ants find you know matter where you live! I have tried all sorts of different organic sprays and urban legend tinctures. Most things work a little bit and then the ants come back.
So how do you get rid of ants? Here’s what I’ve found that works best:
In The Home
First off, you have to trace your ant trail as far as you can trace it. That means across the windowsill or the floor, through the window or door, and outside. If they are coming through a crack in the wall or ceiling, you may not be able to do this, but at least follow it to the crack. If they’re coming through a wall, you may be able to go around to the outside of your house and find where they’re coming in.
Then you’ll need to get rid of the trail. If you only kill the ants you see, more ants will return in their place, following an ant trail established by scent. The best way I have found to get rid of the ant trail is to spray it with orange oil cleaner (which you can find in any health food store – try to find one that isn’t dyed orange, and is a natural color). I spray the entire trail inside with a hefty dose of orange oil cleaner, and leave it there for several minutes. Then I wipe it clean, go outside, and do the same.
After I’ve gotten rid of the trail, I spray the orange oil cleaner into the entry point on the outside of the house (if I can find it). That means every crack, crevice, window, or doorway where they are coming in. Don’t wipe the spray clean – just leave it.
In a pinch, you can also use straight vinegar in a spray bottle. In my experience this does not last as long – the ants find their way back a day or two later. But if you need to take immediate action, this will help. You can also combine it with shaking some ground cinnamon into the corner or crevice where the ants are coming into the house. It may look a little weird, but the ants will not cross the cinnamon. Baking soda can work as well, though again, not as well as the orange oil.
In The Garden
In the garden, I leave ants alone because they help break down the nutrients for plants – they’re a natural part of the garden ecosystem. However, if you have a serious infestation (sometimes ants will bring in aphids), or if you want to get rid of fire ants, you can deter them. Try scattering ground cinnamon, wood ash, and/or diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of your beds.
Anyone else have any organic ant deterrent tricks?
This post was inspired by a comment from Charlene – thanks for asking, Charlene!