How Do You Get Rid of Ants Without Killing Them?

As far as pests go, ants aren’t so bad. They don’t spread disease like mosquitoes and they don’t leave dangerous dropping like mice.

They’re actually more helpful than harmful – ants are helpful gardeners, helping to turn soil and aid in decomposition, as well as great for natural pest control since they feed on the eggs and larvae of more bothersome pests like flies, fleas, bed bugs and roaches. Not to mention that they are nature’s little cleaners, tirelessly working to tidy up their immediate surroundings.

But that doesn’t mean you want them in your house. Yet, you don’t want to kill the little critters either.

So do you get rid of ants without killing them? We got you covered – here are 7 natural ways to repel ants from your home and discourage them from coming back!

Lemon Juice

You’ve seen how the ants go marching one by one on those little ant highways of theirs. Ever wondered how they manage to keep such straight lines to whatever out-of-sight destination they’re traveling toward?

Well, it’s certainly not by sight – ants have pretty poor eyesight. Instead, they release pheromones to guide them from their homes to a food source and back.

This is where lemon juice comes in handy – the citrus acids mess with the ant’s ability to sense the pheromone trail, effectively wiping out the road they use to find their way into your home.

To use lemon juice: Spray pure lemon juice around ant trails, openings and where ants are most likely to enter. Also use it to wipe down countertops and surfaces close to food sources.

Vinegar

Another way to disrupt the pheromone scent trails leading ants into your home is to use good old vinegar. This old school remedy makes it difficult for ants to re-locate whatever food source highways they’ve built into your home.

To use vinegar: Mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part water – plain white vinegar works great for this – and use the ant repellent solution to mop floors, clean counters, and spray along openings and ant trails.

Essential Oils

Love the yummy baked goods scent of cinnamon? How about the super fresh scent of peppermint?

While most of us love these scents, ants can’t stand these strong smells and they will go to great lengths to avoid them, making essential oils one of the most effective natural ant repellents.

To use essential oils: Peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, clove oil – these are all potent ant repellents. Use one or a combination to prevent ants from coming in your home. Here’s how:

  • Make a spray by filling a spray bottle with fresh water and dropping in essential oil – since this won’t go on your skin, feel free to use a lot of the essential oil. A mixture of 50% water and 50% essential oil is potent and will do the trick. Spray it on windowsills, doors, countertops and floors.
  • Dip a Q tip into the essential oil and draw boundary lines across entryways so ants can’t get in.

Spices and Herbs

Don’t have essential oils on hand? Spices and herbs will do the trick as well – cardamom, cinnamon, clove, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, and black pepper will keep the ants away. Salt, though, does not work.

To use spices and herbs: Sprinkle ground cinnamon, clove, peppers, or bay leaves in a line to block entrances and openings into your home.

You can also use salt water to clean the countertops and surfaces close to food sources.

Chalk

It’s true – ants won’t cross a line of chalk. So simple, so effective.

Except it doesn’t seem to work for all ants – some ants will absolutely refuse to cross a chalk line while other simply don’t give a damn. But it’s worth a try – who knows which side of the chalk line the ants in your house will be on?

To use chalk: Grab some good old fashioned white chalk and start drawing a line across all entry points into your home.

Coffee Grounds

Everyone with a coffee habit winds up with loads and loads of this – instead of throwing it away, put it to good use by lining the perimeter of your house with this stuff. Ants don’t like it and won’t cross it.

To use coffee grounds: Sprinkle it around your house to secure the perimeter or at entrance points.

Talcum Powder

Talcum powder is yet another ant repellent that these little critter don’t like to cross but we’re also not crazy about this method since talcum powder can be dangerous if inhaled. If you’re going to use it – don’t sprinkle it anywhere where there’s wind or where it can get easily disturbed and airborne.

To use talcum powder: Sprinkle it in cracks and crevices in corners to block off ant entrances.

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