Ants are fascinating little creatures with complex social structures. If you’re a lover of all living creatures, large or small, an ant infestation in your home gives you a real dilemma. While you don’t want to share your home with thousands of ants, killing them by any means seems cruel. The good news is, there are a variety of cruelty-free ways to remove ants from your home. Below I will share some of the best natural ant removal methods.
Why you shouldn’t kill ants
Besides simply being unkind, killing ants can actually be counterproductive. That is because ants use pheromones to communicate with each other. When an ant is attacked, it will emit alarm pheromones. These attract many others and send them into attack mode. This means you may end up with even more ants than you started with.
Perhaps more importantly, ants are beneficial to humans and the environment in several ways. They turn the earth’s soil to aid decomposition and help rainwater circulate through the earth. This directly brings nutrients and liquid to plants. They also help to get rid of other pests that cause damage to crops and gardens.
What causes an ant infestation?
The most common reason ants invade your property is the quest for food. The main job of worker ants is to find food and bring it back to the nest. When an ant discovers a resource, it leaves pheromones that point other ants in the food source’s direction. That is what attracts large numbers of ants very quickly.
Usually, ants will nest in your garden and travel to and from your home to bring food back to the colony. This is known as an exterior infestation. Sometimes, however, ants can establish their nest inside the home. This is known as an interior ant infestation and is a more serious problem. It can lead to structural damage caused by burrowing in the wood.
Methods of ant removal
Luckily, there are many different, all-natural ways to deal with an ant problem in and around your home.
Lemon is a great ant deterrent since they dislike the taste and the acidity. It also masks scent trails, which attract more ants. Leave lemon rind near entry points to deter them from coming in. Squeeze and sprinkle lemon juice wherever you notice an ant trail.
Similar to mosquitos, ants are repelled by peppermint oil. The strong scent of peppermint oil is a natural way to keep them away. Simply rub or sprinkle the oil near entry points to send them scurrying away from your home.
Herbs & Spices
Strong smelling herbs and spices are also good deterrents. These include cinnamon, chili powder, black pepper, and cloves. Sprinkle these around ant-infested areas to encourage them to leave.
Another unpleasant scent for ants is coffee grounds. You can recycle your coffee grounds while deterring ants. Simply sprinkle coffee grounds outside and around your home. They’re biodegradable and won’t cause any harm to the ants, other than discouraging them.
It’s unclear exactly why, but ants seem to have a strong dislike for baby powder, so this is another excellent remedy. Sprinkling it near the entry points will stop them from coming inside.
Similarly, chalk is an excellent deterrent. It’s assumed that they dislike its texture (although no one knows for sure). If you can identify where ants are entering your property, draw a thick chalk line around this area. They won’t want to step through the chalk so are unlikely to enter.
Vinegar is a strong scent that can be used to disrupt the pheromone scent trails left by ants. They use these to communicate with each other and find their way around. Use white vinegar at all entry points and trails that you are aware of. That will confuse them, and they will become lost and probably go away. You can make a solution by mixing the vinegar with water. Then wipe or spray around infected areas and entry points.
What to do with remaining ants
Once you have dealt with the problem at large, you may have a few lost ants still roaming around your home. Compared to the infestation you had before, this may not bother you. You may be happy to let them wander off or die naturally by themselves. If you want to make sure every last one is gone, you can collect them on a plate. Simply leave an attractive food source on it and then take it outside.
Some people opt to hoover them up and empty the vacuum outside. This can be harmful, causing some to perish from the trauma, so it is not recommended.
Deterrents to use in future
Once you have dealt with the problem, use silicone caulking to fill in all the little cracks. That will block entry points. Of course, ants are tiny creatures, so this isn’t failproof. It will go some way to stopping them from gaining entry, though.
Ants are attracted to food; this is why they are often first detected in kitchens. Keeping your kitchen clean can help to prevent an infestation. Remove all food items from counters and clear up spills and food particles straight away. Empty trash regularly and keep all food in sealed containers. Ensure you rinse off any residue that might be on the outside of jars and bottles.
The natural remedies above can also be used to deter ants from infesting your home again. While some, such as baby powder, are not practical for continuous use, others are. You could make your own cleaning solution using lemon juice or peppermint oil. Spray this regularly to keep the ants at bay.
Using these natural, cruelty-free ant-removal methods, you can solve your problem without harm. You can also avoid using nasty chemicals in and around your home. which could be harmful to your health and the environment.