5 DIY Ant Control Methods & Their Pros & ConsReading time: 9 minutes
Ants come in many different species and can be a huge nuisance to get rid of. Once they invade, many homeowners turn to DIY ant control to help them manage any issues with ants. That’s why it’s crucial to have a plan for your home. You’ll want to take action quickly to get rid of ants and prevent them from returning.
This kind of ant control has many pros and cons, so it’s essential to understand some of the best methods and how to use them effectively. But since these methods aren’t 100% effective, you might need a hand from a professional pest control team.
What Is DIY Ant Control?
DIY or at-home ant control refers to different methods of repelling ants without using harmful substances. This form of pest control can include anything a homeowner or renter can purchase and use to reduce or eliminate ants in their residences.
Why Do People Use DIY Ant Control?
DIY ant control is an attractive solution because it’s almost always affordable and easy to do. The problem is that most methods are largely ineffective at exterminating an ant infestation completely and only help keep ants at bay when used at frequent intervals.
5 Types Of At Home Ant Control
If you want to try to get rid of ants in your home yourself, here are 5 of the most common DIY methods for ant control and their pros and cons:
Most homeowners keep vinegar around their homes for cooking and cleaning. A homemade solution with vinegar and water is a common way to repel ants. Not only does this help keep ants at bay, but it’s also a great natural cleaner that disinfects and deodorizes without using toxic chemicals.
Vinegar is a typical household cleaner, so it’s not surprising that several pros are associated with this as a method of ant control. Some of the top reasons it’s used in DIY ant control include:
- Vinegar interferes with pheromones that ants need to follow toward a food source.
- Once the solution dries, ants can still smell vinegar and will stay away.
- Colonies often leave homes where vinegar is frequently used.
- This method will not kill ants, but it will keep them away.
- It’s safe around pets and children.
While there are a lot of positives associated with vinegar as a pest control method, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Some common concerns when using vinegar include:
- Vinegar doesn’t kill ants and won’t exterminate an infestation.
- Vinegar can eat away at wood varnish and other surfaces if not properly diluted.
- You have to continue to use vinegar for it to be effective.
- Multiple ant removal methods are needed to rid your home of any infestations completely.
Another excellent natural ant repellent is lemon juice. It works similarly to vinegar by disrupting the pheromone trail, forcing ants to head back to their colonies to function correctly. Many people use both vinegar and lemon juice. You can even combine the two into a single spray.
When using lemon for ant control, you can choose lemon juice or essential oil, depending on what’s available and your strength. Again, you’ll dilute the acid by mixing it with water and can place it in a spray bottle. You can use this directly on the areas you want ants to stay away from or use it as part of your regular cleaning routine instead of bleach or disinfectant.
Since lemon is natural and can be used for many things, there are a ton of pros to taking advantage of this accessible DIY method. Some of the top benefits include the following:
- Lemon juice can also be used for cleaning and tends to be more pleasant-smelling than vinegar.
- Lemons and bottles of lemon juice are affordable.
- You can also use lemon essential oil or soak lemon peels in water or high-volume alcohol like vodka or Everclear to create a spray.
- Potent lemon oil may kill ants while keeping them away from your home.
There aren’t many cons to using lemon as part of DIY control for ants, but these two cons may be enough to stop you from regular use:
- Like vinegar, lemon juice does not kill ants and only repels them, so you must use it regularly to be effective.
- The acidity in lemon juice may discolour furniture, upholstery, carpets, and hardwood or tile floors.
Borax & Sugar
One easy and effective way to kill ants at home is with a mixture of borax and sugar. Borax acts as a poison, but ants don’t see it as food and won’t consume it alone. Mixing it with sugar ensures the ants will take it back to their colony and eat it.
This means the borax can disrupt the ant’s digestive system, eventually causing death. Since this isn’t a fast-acting poison, there is enough time for worker ants to collect the mixture and take it back to the colony.
You want to ensure that your pets and children are kept away from this solution, which you can add to your yard around flower beds, doorways, and other entry points. Another method is soaking some cotton balls in the mixture and placing them where you see ants in your home.
We’re getting into heavier-duty chemicals and products now, so the pros and cons should be weighed carefully based on your home environment. When using borax and sugar, you’ll find that some of the pros include:
- You don’t have to track down a nest or search for ants. They’ll take the mixture back themselves.
- Accessing borax and sugar is easy since they are readily available and inexpensive at the grocery store.
- Borax can also be used as a laundry additive to help get your clothes cleaner.
- It’s friendlier to the environment than chemical ant sprays or poisons.
While the pros of this option make Borax a valuable choice for ant control, there are still some things to consider before you begin using it:
- Borax is mildly toxic to humans and pets.
- It can take up to 48 hours to start working.
- Ants will avoid large piles of borax, so you should get creative with how you set it out for the ants to consume.
Cinnamon is another ant repellent that works by using cinnamaldehyde, a natural compound that ants don’t like. It interrupts a colony’s pheromones so the ants can’t follow each other. Ants can also breathe in the tiny cinnamon particles, which results in immediate suffocation and death.
Two primary forms of cinnamon are used in at-home ant control: powdered and stick. If you want to deter ants, you can use a cinnamon stick because they hate the smell. However, you’ll want to go for the powdered form if you aim to kill them. Sprinkle cinnamon anywhere in your yard, garden, or home to keep ants at bay.
As you explore your options to control ants at home, cinnamon offers a few pros that the other methods mentioned do not. These include the fact that:
- Cinnamon is natural and won’t harm your family or pets.
- It is inexpensive at the grocery store and can be purchased in large quantities.
- Cinnamon smells good and can give your home a naturally warm, cozy scent.
- It’s particularly effective at repelling ghost ants.
There are a few drawbacks to using cinnamon as your chosen method for ant control. These include the following:
- If you use a lot of cinnamon, your house may be dustier than usual.
- It can take several days for cinnamon to start working to kill and deter ants from your home.
Diatomaceous earth is a unique powdered substance created from tiny, broken pieces of fossilized algae called diatoms. Even though this looks like flour or baby powder to a human, under a microscope, you can see that there are rough, jagged edges and that the diatoms are sharp.
These work by cutting through an ant’s hard exoskeleton, something that poisons and other natural repellents cannot do. Like salt dehydrates a slug, once the exoskeleton has been pierced, the diatomaceous earth will work to dehydrate the ant from the inside out.
You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth like cinnamon around your home, yard, and other outdoor areas. If you choose this option, wear gloves so the dry powder doesn’t irritate your hands.
While this treatment option is great at getting rid of ants, there are a few other benefits to choosing this method, including:
- Unlike borax, diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to both humans and animals.
- Most superstores that carry garden supplies in the spring and summer have diatomaceous earth on hand.
- Diatomaceous earth is also effective for earwigs, slugs, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, beetles, and bed bugs.
The cons for diatomaceous earth are a bit different than some of the other methods we’ve mentioned, so it’s worth noting them. These negatives include that:
- Sometimes it can be hard to find in the winter, and you may need to visit a specialty garden store or order online.
- You will need to wear respiratory protection during application – while diatomaceous earth isn’t toxic, it can cause breathing problems and respiratory distress if you breathe in large quantities, especially if you have conditions like asthma or emphysema.
Is It Time For Professional Ant Control?
While at-home ant control may be affordable and easy to do, it may not be effective if you don’t have time to keep up with it or the knowledge to place these treatments effectively. You’ll want to have some knowledge of ants and their habits because you can apply any treatment more effectively if you’re attempting to DIY ant control inside the home.
Instead of spending a ton of time on indoor ant control, you can treat ants outside your home and take the stress off your plate.
But if you’ve noticed some of these signs, it might be time to invest in professional ant extermination services:
- You find ant hills or nests outside your home or in your yard.
- You see a lot of ants in your kitchen, or you have found them in your pantry or other foodstuffs.
- You notice small piles of sawdust around door frames or window sills.
- You hear faint scratching or moving sounds inside your walls.
Once you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to find a pest control company to help you stop any issues before they progress too far.
What Can A Professional Ant Exterminator Do?
Turning to a professional team for ant control gives you access to a wider variety of products and options for treating ants. Plus, a professional will be licensed and have the necessary skills and experience to find any issues and treat them. They’ll also be able to note problem areas and add a treatment to a site that could be at risk before issues can start.
Most companies will utilize IPM techniques and other options to keep you and your family safe with eco-friendly and non-toxic treatments. This saves you time and money in the long run since you don’t have to go it alone and will avoid the potentially high costs of damages and treating for full infestations.
Defend Your Home with Buzz Boss Year-Round
Professional exterminators like the licensed team at Buzz Boss use safe and effective gel baits and other techniques to quickly kill colonies and keep them from returning. Our year-round approach protects you, and our easy-to-use online portal makes service calls a breeze.