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Repelling Pesky Ants Naturally

written by: jciotta•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 7/6/2011

Getting rid of ants safely seems like an impossible task to most of us. However, natural insect repellents can be found right in your home or during a quick trip to the local supermarket. In this article, read about how to repel ants naturally through home remedies.

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    Natural Insecticide

    Ant You don't have to venture very far to find remedies for those pesky, uncontrollable insects. They come in droves, marching through your kitchen, where food is often dropped and left behind as an "accidental" treat for them. Ironically, it is this exact room, the kitchen, where you can find natural pesticides.

    Before rummaging through cabinets and unintentionally defrosting your refrigerator, read the next section which details precisely what ingredients found in the home can be used for an ant repellent or non toxic ant killer recipe.

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    Homemade Ant Remedies

    Use Lemons to Repel Ants A home ant remedy is often the best choice (and the most guilt-free) for the environmentally conscious consumer and animal lover. You do not have to kill the ants necessarily, instead learn how to repel ants naturally. Reroute them back to where they came from - which can be just as useful.

    Unfortunately, there is no particular "ant season" such as with other insects. They come unpredictably. Carpenter ants invade during times of construction, especially while building new houses, decks or any other structure with wood. The usual time for this is April to September when the inclement weather has passed in locales with all four seasons. Therefore, have these items on hand for quick homemade remedies:

    • Chalk is the first remedy of choice, mostly because it is so surprising. Apparently, the little buggers do not like chalk, and if you draw a line around the room where you have ants, or the particular area of the room, they will not cross the line. It literally annoys them because the chalk dust sticks to their feet. Use regular chalk and draw away!
    • Squeeze lemon juice from actual lemons on the areas that the ants are invading. For example, squeeze the juice in the openings or holes they keep coming through, cracks in between the floor and wall, on windowsills and on any thresholds. This method will completely deter these insects and give your house a lemon-fresh scent.
    • Pouring baking soda in a line will stop the ants in their tracks. Baking soda works much the same as chalk because the ants will not cross this line. It will also deodorize your house as an extra bonus.
    • Vinegar is a common natural repellent for weeds. In fact, many gardeners spray vinegar in between sidewalk cracks. Vinegar can also be used to keep ants away. Simply use a spray bottle with a slim nozzle and spray around doorways or other openings that the insects continue to invade.
    • To completely erase an ant trail, wash away the area with boiling water. Wear gloves or use a mop to scrub the ant trail or opening where the ants keep coming out of to erase their scent. Think of this remedy as a natural antibacterial agent, but for ants.
    • Setting up a trail of sugar seems an unlikely method but it actually works. Pour sugar from where the pests keep invading and make a defined trail from this area to the outside of your house. The ants will simply follow the path and march away.
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      How to Kill Ants Naturally

      Stop the Trail of Ants from Invading Your Home 

      Understandably, some people prefer to use natural insecticides because repellents haven't worked for them. Therefore, if you are one of these people, take a look at natural pesticides instead. It sounds harsh, especially if you are an extreme lover of all animals big and small, yet in some cases, repellents are not enough. The ants keep coming back.

      In addition, regular insecticides can be harmful to pets, such as cats and dogs, who like to lick everything. In fact, when a house or apartment goes through an extermination, all pets must leave with the owner, outside of the house. This situation can turn into quite a hassle.

      For those who want to keep it simple and green to permanently rid of ants, take a look at these options:

      • Borax (or boric acid) is a common way to kill ants. Experts recommend making an "ant trap" of sorts; for example, mixing boric acid with something sweet, such as sugar or peanut butter. It depends on the ants' tastes (yes, it actually does!) as to what will lure them. Try the sweet things, or even unconventional temptations such as cat food. Mix the borax with the food and put it out in a small dish or bowl by the ants' home. They will keep walking through the poison, thus dissolving their exoskeleton, and they will eventually die. A caveat: borax is poison. Do not leave it in a place accessible to children or pets.
      • Go to the source directly. In other words, disturb the ants' nest for days until you see they are gone. A good method is to pour copious amounts of apple cider vinegar down the nest hole for several days until they have disappeared. To find the nest, you have to go outside and search. However, if your house has a cracked foundation with dirt underneath, that is most likely where the ants live.
      • Pour boiling water down the nest hole as well. Though ants can live for several days in water, if you keep pouring the water down, they will eventually die. You must be diligent about it, doing it a couple times a day, and perhaps adding an agent to increase the fatality rate. Agents can be salt, vinegar or dish detergent.

      In conclusion, a home remedy to kill ants may be the solution you desire. The next time you have an ant problem in your house, think of this article and choose either a natural repellent or insecticide remedy.

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      Photo Credits

      Photo 1 (ant): Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

      Photo 2 (lemons): Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

      Photo 3 (ant trail): Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net