The Ultimate Guide to Getting Rid of Ants

ANTS! If you hate these pesky critters as much as we do, you’ll love these tips for getting rid of ants for good whether they’re wreaking havoc in your home or yard.

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
3-minute read

DIY Ant Bait

If you have an ant infestation in your home, here’s an inexpensive way to kill them, without calling the exterminator. Mix a quarter cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon borax, and 1 cup water in a small container (not one that you eat out of) and pour a bit of the mixture into some bottle caps. Place the caps wherever you see ants. They will carry the poison back to the colony, killing the whole nest. Borax can be found at drugstores. Be careful, this mixture is not safe for pets or kids to ingest.

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Keeping Ants Out of Cabinets

If you listen to our lifehacks podcast, you know that one of our favorite household tricks ever is to sprinkle cinnamon around the edges of your cabinets to keep ants out. Ants won’t cross a cinnamon barrier! They also won’t cross a line made out of chalk.

Ant-Free Pet Food

Never have to throw away an ant-infested bowl of pet food again! If ants keep sneaking into your pet’s food, you should know that ants can’t swim. Place the bowl of dog or cat food into a shallow bowl filled with water and the ants won’t be able to reach the food.

Talcum Powder for Ants

To kill off any ants in your home with something that’s safe for kids and pets, try talcum powder. Sprinkle talcum powder along your baseboards and doorways. It dehydrates ants’ bodies, eventually killing them.

Keep Ants Away from Your House

Never use decorative paving stones near your home. Certain ants love to make their homes underneath them! Use them away from your house to be certain ants won’t decide to come in for a visit.

Get Rid of Ant Hills

To get rid of ants for good, sprinkle cornmeal near anthills. They’ll eat it, but they can’t digest it, and they'll begin to die out. Wait a couple of weeks and see if your ant problem improves. You can also try a more immediate solution: Eliminate it by pouring a pot of boiling water over the area. Make sure you avoid splashing any plants you want to keep, because the water can kill them too!

Keep Ants Away from Your Food

As we shared with you in our 4th of July hacks, vinegar can also be an effective way to repel ants. Spray food surfaces, such as picnic tables, with white vinegar before you lay out the food. The vinegar acts as a deodorizer, so ants won’t be able to smell your food, and won’t decide to crash your party.

Keep Ants Out of the Sandbox

Keep bugs out of your child’s sandbox by combing a cup or so of ground cinnamon into the sand. Ants, centipedes, and other pests will steer clear, so your child can play in peace.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Ants

Get rid of carpenter ants naturally with this formula: Mix one packet dry yeast with ½ cup molasses and ½ cup sugar, and spread on a piece of cardboard. Leave this sticky trap wherever you see the ants; they will come in droves to the sweet smell. Unfortunately for them, they’ll also get stuck. Wait until your molasses mixture is covered with the creepy pests, then throw away.

Keep Ants Off Your Deck

If you constantly have ant hills sprouting up under your deck or patio, slice up some garlic cloves, and stick the slivers in between the cracks in the boards. The ants will stay clear of the garlic.

Keep Ants Away from Your Hummingbird Feeder

Are ants overrunning your hummingbird feeder? Rub a bit of olive oil at the tip of the feeding tube, and they’ll stay away. The ants can’t get through the oil, but hummingbirds can.

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Photo by Shutterstock.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.