Ants are a common household pest that can show up on your countertops without any warning and at any time of year. They may be small, but they come in large numbers, so learning how to get rid of ants in the house when you first notice them is crucial. Use the following methods to put an end to a potential infestation.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the House
Make an Anti-Ant Syrup
This simple recipe combines Borax or boric acid powder, confectioners’ sugar, and water to create a syrup-like substance that is poisonous to ants. Since ants are cannibalistic, one ant will eat the mixture and die, another will eat the dead ant and die, and with luck, you’ll get the whole nest.
1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
1 cup of Borax/boric acid (available at your local hardware or gardening store)
Mix sugar with Borax/boric acid and add enough water to give the mixture a syrup-like consistency.
Put this mixture in shallow pans or jar lids and place them under counters and behind appliances, and out of reach of children and pets.
Ants will be attracted to the sugar, but will also ingest the toxic Borax or boric acid.
Knock Some Scents into ’em
Use one of any number of fragrant liquids, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to discourage ants from entering your abode. If you know where your ants are coming in, spray their entry point with a diluted mixture of water and one of the following substances: lemon juice, vinegar, dish soap, or cayenne pepper. The strong and noxious smells of these substances will give the ants second thoughts about trespassing.
General Advice on How to Get Rid of Ants in the House
In general, it’s a good idea to keep your kitchen as clean as possible, so that invading ants have nothing to bring back to their nests. If they keep going home empty-handed, they’ll eventually realize that their efforts are in vain. Additionally, try to seal any possible ant entry points with caulking or another tough sealant.
On our Facebook page, we asked readers to give us their advice on how to get rid of ants in the house. Here’s what they said:
Joe B: “At camp, I dip cotton balls in the syrup mixture, insert it into mason jars, and poke holes in the lid that are big enough for ants to crawl through. That way dogs can’t get it. Sort of like the Roach Motel. Any old jar with holes in the lid will do. Safe for pets. Well, unless your dog eats glass jars.”Geraldine R: “I have pets and won’t use Borax, but found last year that cinnamon sticks in the windows by the screens and cinnamon sprinkles around the doors [and] porch keep them out also… Much safer for all animals!”This post was first published in 2015 and has been updated.