There’s nothing worse than opening your favorite batch of cookies and finding them covered with ants. No matter how diligently we clean our homes or how many sweets we stash in sealed containers, those pesky pests still make their way into our homes and our foods. So, what do ants hate, and how can you use that information to keep ants out of your home?
Knowing what attracts ants often helps isolate the problem. Removing what ants love should not come at the cost of sacrificing our beloved treats. Ants act on two basic principles: taste and smell.
The best way to get rid of ants is to use a tactic that applies these two weaknesses. Setting an ant trap laced with natural ant killers means the worker ants will bring this toxic food back to their colony and stop the problem at the source. Using scents ants find too intense or overwhelming is another way to prevent an ant invasion that also leaves your house smelling great!
Use What Ants Hate to Keep Them Away
What Smells Do Ants Hate?
Some natural ways to repel ants is to fill your home with smells they hate. Common ants like fire ants and black ants make their nests in mounds outside the home. Carpenter ants, however, make their homes inside the wood panels and frames of your house.
While using baking soda within the home may prevent ant invasions, certain smells also expel ants from your home. Using essential oils to repel ants has numerous advantages.
Beyond their ability to keep ants away, the pleasant fragrances will leave your home smelling fantastic! Some can even be watered down into a solution and sprayed on the body as an insect repellent.
Do Ants Hate Cinnamon?
Ants tend to stay away from cinnamon. Like many smells that ants hate, cinnamon gives off a strong odor that repulses the ant. Applying cinnamon oil to cotton balls and placing them in areas where ants may enter is an example of how to keep ants out of your house.
To use, start with six drops of cinnamon oil and soak the cotton balls. Cinnamon is strong, so ease your way into adding more drops over time.
This option is much more beneficial when you have a small ant problem. If it is a full-blown ant infestation, this deterrent may not be enough.
Does Peppermint Oil Repel Ants?
The typical answer to “what do ants hate?” is peppermint. Ants find this scent overwhelming and avoid it as often as possible. As a bonus, most insects don’t seem to like peppermint and it’s one of the smells stink bugs hate, too.
Much like cinnamon oil, adding drops of peppermint oil to cotton balls deters ants on principle of smell alone. An excellent addition to your home remedies, peppermint essential oil can also be used as a natural ant repellent spray for use in the home and on your skin.
Combine the water with witch hazel in a spray bottle. Some recipes suggest adding vodka along with witch hazel. In this case, add one tablespoon of witch hazel and an equal amount of vodka.
Add the drops of peppermint oil to your solution, then spray the affected areas of your home. Spray the mixture on your skin as a natural repellent for most bugs, including mosquitos.
Does Lavender Repel Ants?
Lavender is another scent ranked high on the list of “What smells do ants hate?” Placing lavender plants in the garden stops ants from entering your home.
This deterrent can also be used by adding dried flowers to cabinets, doorways, and other entry points ants may frequent. Wiping down areas with lavender spray or oils also destroys the scent trails left by ants.
What Do Ants Hate When It Comes to Protecting Your Pet’s Food?
Storing pet foods in a sealed container, instead of leaving them in the bags, is a simple solution to reduce the presence of ants in cat food or dog food. While this protects foods before they are eaten, this does not help dry foods that have been left out for pets.
Prevent ants from getting into your pet’s food by creating a barrier around the bowl using ant deterrents. Ant’s leave scent trails that help them and other ants find their way back to the located food source.
This method of communicating becomes disrupted by powdery substances like chalk or baby powder, causing the ants to avoid it. Draw a chalk line around the food bowl to keep ants from getting near the pet’s food.
Sprinkling a ring of black pepper, cayenne pepper, or coffee grounds around the food bowl is another effective solution. The grounds give off a strong smell that overpowers the ant trails, making it difficult for the ants to communicate with other members in their colony. Replace the fresh grounds daily, and keep the area wiped clean with warm water and soap between sprinklings.
Will These Tips Keep Other Pests Out of Your Home?
Many of the solutions for how to keep ants away will also work for other common household pests. Citrus smells keep spiders out, as well as ants, with orange or lemon peels rubbed along windowsills and doorways.
Spraying lemon juice on known entry points for ants and spiders also prevents them from entering your home. Or, you can add ground bay leaves to lemon juice to create a paste used on the edges of doorways. Using one cup of white vinegar and two cups of warm water in a spray bottle will also work in the same way as lemon juice.
Another substance to keep pests out of your home is boric acid. Boric acid kills ants, spiders, and roaches. To attract ants, mix boric acid into a variety of foods since some ants prefer foods high in fat over sugary sweets.
Mix the two ingredients to reduce the taste of boric acid, which may repel ants at first. You may need to reduce the amount of boric acid by half.
For ants with a sweet tooth, replace the peanut butter with a sugary substance like jelly or honey. You can also add eight teaspoons of boric acid to sugar water in a spray bottle to spray doorways and entry points. No matter what food you use to attract the ants, remember to label the container.
How to Keep Ants Out of Your House Using a Natural Ant Killer
If an ant infestation is underway in your home, the only logical solution may be to use an ant killer. Using natural remedies like diatomaceous earth or baking soda kills ants without posing a threat to pets or small children.
A boiling water and dish soap mixture is a natural way to wipe out colonies of ants in the garden. Pour it over the ant hills or spray the entrances with the solution.
When adding diatomaceous earth to your pest control routine, lightly dust the outside perimeter of your home and sprinkle it in common problem areas inside your home. Use the food-grade diatomaceous earth, not the kind used as pool filters, and do not let it get wet, as dampness causes it to lose its effectiveness.
Baking soda is especially helpful when getting rid of sugar ants. Mixing equal parts powdered sugar to attract the ants and baking soda creates a deadly ant bait the ants carry back to their nests to share.
Ants carry acid in their bodies as a way to digest food, which reacts with the baking soda, killing the ant. Imagine your sixth-grade science fair volcano erupting inside the ant’s stomach.
These natural pesticides and repellents will keep ants out of your home for good. Start by trying your favorite one based on whatever ingredients you already have in your pantry. Not all ants are alike, so trying different methods will help you find the solution that works for you.
We hope you enjoyed these tips for how to keep ants out of your home. If so, let your friends and family know just what do ants hate by sharing on Pinterest and Facebook.