Picture it: you get up one morning and find strangely mesmerizing rows of little black dots marching all over your kitchen. You went to bed with clean countertops, and now, you’ve been invaded!
Banded sugar ants are small ants that, while off-putting, are harmless to people. Even if they nip you, the worst you’ll get is a little red mark. The main thing banded sugar ants are interested in is your food, which can make them quite the nuisance to have in your kitchen.
While most people don’t want to share their home with thousands of ants, that doesn’t mean they want to use dangerous chemicals to kill them off. Pesticides can be hazardous to people, especially to children and pets. Luckily, there are completely natural and safe ways you can encourage ants to stay outside where they belong.
Here are five natural ways to keep ants from entering your building:
1. Peppermint essential oil
To discourage ants from congregating outside of your house (and potentially making their way inside) plant mint or peppermint around your home. The smell of mint is something ants loathe so they will avoid it. Want to stop them from crossing the border into your home? Peppermint or mint essential oils can be wiped along your doorframes and windowsills. Another way to encourage ants from making a home is with scent diffusers. Look here for a great selection of scent diffusers for your home. However, be careful if you have cats since peppermint essential oil really bothers them and can cause significant health problems if they consume it.
If you want to do away with your unwanted house guests but don’t want to use poisons, you can mix a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water and spray it on the ants. This will kill them, and you can then wipe them up and dispose of them before continuing to “ant-proof” your home.
Cinnamon is another great way to repel ants. Ants cannot stand cinnamon and inhaling it will cause them to suffocate and die. Cinnamon is cheap and easily accessible and is non-toxic for cats and dogs so you can sprinkle on the ants’ paths, across doorways, or across windowsills to prevent ants from making their way into your home and stealing your sweets.
4. Food-grade diatomaceous earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) might not be an ingredient you have in your cupboard every day, but it works wonders for repelling insects of all kinds! DE is actually the crushed fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. The crushed exoskeletons create microscopic razor-sharp edges that are harmless to people and animals but means disaster for bugs. When bugs try to crawl over DE, it causes fatal cuts in their exoskeleton. You can use DE by sprinkling a thin layer anywhere ants are crossing. Repeat this daily until the ants are gone.
5. Lemon juice
Lemon juice destroys the scent trails that ants follow, leaving them lost and confused. While this may not seem like a big issue to us, to ants it spells disaster. Mix up a solution of 1 part lemon to 3 parts water and spray it around your house, primarily focusing on areas that ants have been spotted.