How Do I Get Rid Of Ants?

Simple, environmentally friendly tips and tricks to get rid of ants and keep them out of your home for good.

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Matt Anderson's Take
Ants are a fact of life and while they are annoying little creatures, they're also very useful to have around. At least, outside. You don't want them in your house eating your food and possible attracting other bugs that will then feed on the ants.

So, if you need to deal with an any problem follow our simple, eco-friendly tips to get ants out of your home and keep them out for good.

White Vinegar


Ants do not like the smell of vinegar and it also masks their scent trail. To use this eco-friendly solution, just mix equal parts water and vinegar into a spray bottle (add a few essential oil drops if you want). Now spray the solution around entry points (doors, windows) as well as baseboards and even the outside perimeter of your home. Vacuum dead ants a few hours later (inside anyhow) and repeat daily until they stop coming in.

Diatomaceous Earth


Diatomaceous Earth, or DE for short, is a powder like substance that is actually the remains of marine phytoplankton. DE is human friendly, and in it's food-grade form even edible, but kills ants and other bugs (including some scorpions). How can that be? The DE has microscopic, razor like edges that cut the ants exoskeletons and cause them to dry out and die. Sprinkle it around the foundation of your home, on window sills, under cabinets, etc. Repeat every day or two until ants are gone. Do not get the DE wet as it won't work when wet.

Boarax


Borax has many uses beyond the slime craze of today (see How To Make Homemade Slime), it's also toxic to ants. Ants are attracted to Borax but it kills them when they ingest it. Mix a one part borax with three parts sugar, not add just enough water to make a syrup consistency. Add a few drops of this to a piece of paper or cardboard and put it where you see ants. Always keep Borax away from pets and children as it is toxic.

Coffee Grounds


Sprinkle used coffee grounds along the outside perimeter of your home. Ants don't like the smell and won't cross over the grounds. Many other bugs will stay away as well and even cats are said to be repelled by it. Try sprinkling it in your garden too! Unless you brew a ton of coffee at home, your best bet is to run to your local Starbucks and ask for some used grounds. They will happily give you a giant garbage bag full of the stuff for free. Bonus: it makes the outside of your house smell quite nice!

Cleanup


Once the ant problem is under control it's time to clean things up. Ants love to feed on pretty much any food item they can find, especially sugary items. Any colonies send out scouts to search for food and when they find it hundreds of worker ants will follow the scent trail of the scouts to their loot (aka, your food). Consider getting a Roomba (see also: Roomba Tips For A Cleaner Home). And don't forget to clean your kitchen well, especially that dirty microwave (see Easy Microwave Cleaning).

Keep your house clean and free of open food. Clean up spills right away. When you're done with a meal clean up your plates and at the end of the day take your kitchen trash out to the garbage cans. Keep food in airtight containers or your refrigerator as needed rather than out on a counter. Got pets? Try an ant proof pet bowl.

Seal Up


The next step is to make your house as unfriendly to ants as possible. While you likely can't stop ants from coming in, you can certainly slow them down and discourage them. Make it difficult, keep a clean house, and they'll likely go elsewhere. Make sure all of your doors and windows seal properly and caulk any holes, cracks, and gaps. Look for any entry points outside your house like places where your cable TV line comes in as well as where plumbing and electrical lines come in and caulk those as well.
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