Ant infestation in the house is every homemaker’s nightmare. Ants don’t just contaminate food, they are known to damage property and plants and also bite painfully. But the good side to this is you can get rid of these pests and keep them away with easy solutions, all available in your home.
Summer brings in hot days, high humidity and…ants! Trying to get rid of them can be quite cumbersome. You might stop a line of ants invading a kitchen cabinet one day and the next day there will another line heading to your cupboard and into your bread box. These pests manage to infest even tightly-closed containers, so imagine the state of food left uncovered! To the consternation of every member of the house, especially a homemaker, ants are very persistent creatures and their infestation cannot be easily arrested. But every problem has a solution and with a little research, many experiments and lots of patience, we can deal with these tiny demons at home, armored with household weapons.
Just as my family friend, Geeta, who is a devoted mother and disciplined homemaker does. When I asked her about her ways of dealing with ants, she spelled out three rapid solutions. Here they are:
1. To get rid of ants, I usually wipe the kitchen platform with some vinegar. Pour a teaspoon of vinegar onto a wet sponge and gently wipe the platform and the gas hob. I also use vinegar to clean the cutting boards. Basically, I think anything citrusy is the solution.”
2. “Secondly, whenever I make dosa batter and allow it to ferment overnight, I place the bowl inside a plate filled with water, creating a sort of a moat. Ants cannot swim through water to reach the batter bowl!”
3. “The most common solution is to use airtight boxes and vessels with airtight lids to prevent the smell from reaching ants.”
Let us explore more such ways to get rid of ants naturally:
1. Cinnamon: The smell of cinnamon repels ants. You can either use it in its oil form or powder form. Add about half a teaspoon of cinnamon essential oil to a cup of water. Soak a cotton ball in this and wipe down places that are more likely to attract ants. Repeat this every day until the ants have stopped. Cinnamon powder can also be sprinkled over the usual entry points of ants.
2. Borax: Borax is toxic to ants. They also get easily attracted to it. So borax mixed with a sweetmeat can be placed near areas where ants throng. It can also be made into a thick solution with granulated sugar and poured over these areas. Borax is especially useful to keep ants away from plants.
3. White vinegar: The strong smell of vinegar is a great put-off for ants. The smell also throws them off their scent trails, disorienting their sense of direction. You can mix vinegar and water in equal parts with a little essential oil and pour the solution in a spray bottle. Then spray it at all entry points of ants and counters and corners. Repeat this once every day till you get rid of the ants completely.
4. Peppermint: Peppermint is very effective in keeping away ants as it is a natural insect repellent. Ants detest the strong smell and, as it invades their olfactory senses, they will be unable to identify any food. A spray solution can be prepared by adding about ten drops of peppermint essential oil to a cup of water. Or you can sprinkle dried peppermint around doors and garbage bins. Growing a peppermint plant in your kitchen garden is also a good idea.
5. Lemon: Another smell to join the list of smells that ants find unpleasant is that of lemons. The acidic property of lemons overpowers the scent trails of ants. Rub cut lemon on windows, thresholds and all entry places of ants. You can also squeeze a few drops of lemon essential oil on cotton balls and leave them in cupboards and cabinets. Small pieces of lemon scattered around corners and entrances also helps.
6. Cayenne pepper: Cayenne pepper is a very effective repellent for ants. The strong odor throws them off their scent and they find it hard to discover food places. Sprinkle the pepper powder wherever you find ants. Mixed with turmeric powder, it also acts as a barrier for the entry of ants.
7. Cucumber peel: Using cucumber peels to get rid of ants dates back to our great-grandmother’s solution for keeping ants away. Bitter cucumbers are better but normal ones also do the trick. Place cucumber peels in strategic places frequented by ants. Replace with fresh ones every day and repeat till the ants no longer line up.
8. Chalk: Lines drawn with chalk are not crossed by ants. The minerals in the chalk are suspected to do the trick. The ants get covered by the white powder when they try to cross and that affects them enough to even kill them. Make the lines thick and heavy wherever the infestation is more.
9. Liquid soap: Dish soap solution is also an ant repellent. You can mix a spoon each of liquid soap and baking soda in a cup of water. Spread the solution on areas where ants invade. Or fill a spray bottle with this solution and squirt it on them.
10. Baking soda: Mixing sugar and baking soda in equal parts and placing the mixture in shallow dishes in places frequented by ants is another easy way to get rid of ants. The sugar attracts the ants to the dish and the baking soda gets rid of them.
My personal opinion is that ants do not find tidy, clean and uncluttered houses welcome. If they still pay a visit, I use organic waste like orange and lemon peels to wipe off the areas before throwing them into my compost bin.