I love to watch ants go about their business. They perform an important role in the environment – cleaning up dead insects and animals, transporting seeds and aerating the soil. They aren’t so interesting when they infest our houses though!
Usually we reach for insecticide when ants become a problem; but there are more environmentally friendly ways of deterring ants that don’t necessarily have to involve killing.
After a question from a reader about this, I dug back through the articles I had already published and found a few tips, but I also put the question to readers of my newsletter – and received a stack of great tried and tested ideas! I’d like to thank the following readers who contributed:
Cheryl, Elizabeth, Christine, Debbie D., Bonnie G, Becky K. Susan G., Stephanie H., Charlotte, Kathern T., Dan L., Jess A., Melissa B. and Kel.
Ant deterrent tips
Here’s some things you may want to try before reaching for that can of insecticide, depending on the application:
- Pouring lemon juice around areas ants frequent.
- Sprinkle cinnamon or place in cheesecloth bags in affected areas. Cinnamon was a very popular choice with quite a few readers reporting it being highly effective.
- Baking soda can deter ants – pour a solid line in areas of activity and they won’t cross it.
- A ring of coffee grounds around sensitive plants can discourage ants.
- A puree blend of orange peel and water can be applied to an area to discourage ants from crossing.
- Ants hate vinegar; so spray it around doorways and other areas they frequent to repel them. A small container of vinegar mixed with honey placed in affected areas appears to do the trick too.
- A reader reported baby powder stopped them dead in their tracks.
- Pouring boiling water over their tracks (destroys the scent trail)
- Sprinkling a circle of ground cloves around pet food bowls
- Removing rocks and wood from around the garden
- Planting mint around vegetable patches, flower beds and around the house
- Quite a few readers found cinnamon sprinkled across ant scent trails to be very effective
- Citrus oil is a good deterrent; it can soaked into a piece of string and place around scent trails.
- Use a piece of chalk to draw a line over trails – again, the ants won’t cross it. Chalk also has the advantage of being able to be used on vertical surfaces