You always don’t need chemicals and pesticides to get rid of ants in your home and kitchen.
There are home remedies for ants in the kitchen that are more effective and safer than using pesticides or sprays.
This guide will reveal how you can get rid of ants naturally and cheaply in your kitchen using natural remedies.
Let’s dive in.
Natural Home Remedies To Repel And Kill Ants
- Boric acid
- Food-grade diatomaceous earth
- Peppermint essential oil
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- White vinegar
- Lemon juice
- Coffee grounds
- Cayenne pepper
- Black pepper
- Boiling water
- Lemon eucalyptus oil
- Dish soap
- Corn starch
- Neem oil
Let’s explore each of these home remedies to learn how to use them for repelling and killing ants.
Using these products during early spring, when ants start to become active, is the best way to keep ants away from your home.
Preparing a boric acid ant trap that kills ants is easy.
All you’ve to do is to mix boric acid with protein-rich or sweet foods. And keep it in places where you notice ant trails or ant activity.
You can do that by preparing a boric acid ant-killer recipe.
Take a bowl and put some boric acid in it. Add sugar and peanut butter with the boric acid and mix it well.
Instead of peanut butter, you can also use a small slice of cooked meat or fish.
Keep the bowl where you’ve noticed ant activity.
It’ll be best to keep the bowls where ants are more prone to hide and build colonies inside your kitchen.
Those places are kitchen cupboards, cabinets, underneath kitchen sinks, pantry shelves, and kitchen counters.
The food in the bowl attracts ants. And ants will feed on the food mixed with boric acid.
After feeding, ants carry the food to their colonies.
The queen ant and the other worker ants in the nest will eat the food mixed with boric acid.
And they’ll die within a few hours after feeding.
Baking soda and borax are not boric acids.
Borax also kills ants, and you can use it in the same way as you use boric acid for DIY ant control by preparing ant traps.
But baking soda is ineffective on ants. It’s neither an ant deterrent nor an ant killer.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Instead of boric acid, you can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth.
However, there’s another way to use food-grade diatomaceous earth. You can sprinkle it on your kitchen, especially in the areas where you’ve noticed ant activity.
The diatomaceous earth will penetrate ants’ skin and get inside their bodies. And it’ll kill ants by absorbing their bodily fluids.
Diatomaceous earth is fossilized aquatic organisms like algae and plankton.
It has sharp particles that break through the outer layer or exoskeletons of ants and other bugs.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for humans and pets. It’s also an effective ingredient for ant control.
You can use diatomaceous earth to eliminate ants in your home and yard.
Both boric acid and diatomaceous earth are desiccants. To make them kill ants, you’ll need to ensure that ants consume them.
When they enter the ants’ system, they mess up their digestive system and absorb the fats and bodily fluids that keep ants alive.
The end result? Ants die after a few hours of consuming them.
Peppermint Essential Oil
There are peppermint sprays to repel ants and bugs that are readily available.
Also, you can prepare your peppermint oil spray by using peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint essential oil has a strong smell that bugs, including ants, hate.
- Take cold condensed natural peppermint oil
- Add a few drops, preferably 7-13 drops, of peppermint oil in three cups of water
- Stir the mixture well
- Pour the mixture into a spray bottle
- Spray the mixture in every nook and corner of your kitchen, including kitchen storage where you store food.
Use peppermint oil spray at least thrice a week in the ant season, from spring to early fall.
It not only helps in keeping ants away, but also spiders and bed bugs.
You can use other essential oils like –
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
All these essential oils also help in repelling ants. And they smell good too.
But ensure that you buy natural and pure essential oils for maximum effect.
The acidic nature and pungent smell of white vinegar make it a natural ant deterrent.
Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and use it in your kitchen.
You can also use the spray on the kitchen windowsills.
The cracks on the windowsills are one of the most overlooked entry points for ants in the home.
Cleaning the entire kitchen, including the kitchen cupboards and cabinets, with a white vinegar mixture removes the pheromones trails that ants use.
Lemon juice is also a potent ant deterrent. Ants hate the smell of citrus fruits.
Put lemon juice in a spray bottle on hard surfaces like kitchen floors, walls, countertops, sinks, and storage.
The lemon juice removes pheromone trails and is also an ant repellent.
Ants will keep away from places where it reeks of a lemony smell.
Cinnamon is a reliable and proven ant-repellent.
The best part is that you can use cinnamon in different forms to get rid of ants in the kitchen.
To repel ants, you can keep cinnamon sticks in the kitchen and pet food storage sections.
Making a spray using cinnamon oil and using it in the kitchen will also keep the ants away.
Sprinkling ground cinnamon powder in the kitchen is also a proven way to repel most ants, including the red fire ants.
Cinnamon repels not only ants but also other pests and bugs.
Sprinkle used and dry coffee grounds in the kitchen, especially where you’ve noticed ant trails.
You can scatter coffee grounds on the windows and doors and inside the cracks and gaps in the walls and floor of your kitchen.
Coffee grounds also repel ants when used dry.
But wet coffee grounds are ineffective. That’s why many ants can even sneak inside coffee makers.
Cayenne (red) pepper and black pepper both repel ants. And they’re effective in keeping ants at bay.
Ants hate the pepper smell. You can use either to keep ants away and prevent an ant infestation.
Sprinkle pepper in places where you’ve noticed ants in your kitchen.
You can also sprinkle pepper in your kitchen storage when spring arrives to deter ants and keep pantry pests away from the stored food.
Another harmless way to eliminate ants in the kitchen and your yard is by pouring boiling water in the ant holes.
When ants nest, they create tiny holes. These holes are their exit and entry points.
Pour boiling water into the ant holes.
Pouring boiling water inside the ant holes helps kill ants in the ant colonies in the holes.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemon eucalyptus oil is different from lemon juice. And it also repels ants.
Lemon eucalyptus oil contains citronella. It’s effective in ant control and repelling other bugs and flies, including mosquitoes.
Take clean cotton balls and soak them in lemon eucalyptus oil.
Keep the soaked cotton balls in places where ants frequent.
Change the cotton balls at least twice a week for maximum effect.
A mixture of dish soap and boiling water is lethal for ants.
Use it as a spray on the ants. It’ll kill ants on contact.
Cleaning the kitchen with dish soap will remove the pheromone trails.
It’ll prevent all the ants from picking up the scent trails inside your kitchen.
Corn starch removes ants in bulk. It’ll kill ants.
Sprinkle cornstarch on the ants and pour water on them.
Clean the place to remove the dead ants.
Neem oil has insecticidal properties that repel ants.
But diluted neem oil is not that effective.
So, you’ll have to use pure neem oil spray in your kitchen. It can also kill ants on contact.
Why Are There Ants In The Kitchen?
Your kitchen is the primary hiding and food source for ants.
Dampness in the kitchen creates holes and cracks in the walls, floor, and kitchen furniture.
Those gaps enable the kitchen ants to build their nests and colonies.
Food waste, stored food, and food crumbs stains on kitchen counters, sinks, and appliances are all food sources for ants.
The ant infestation can start in your kitchen. And it can spread to the rest of your home.
So, it’s vital to take pre-emptive steps to prevent ants from entering your kitchen.
And you must also act fast if you notice even a single random ant in the kitchen.
How Ants Enter Your Kitchen?
Ants enter your home and kitchen through the thin gaps and cracks in the home’s windows, doors, and on the home’s foundation walls.
Ants enter the kitchen from the outdoors.
If the ant infestation in your yard or garden has exploded, it’s only a matter of time before they invade your kitchen looking for food and water.
So, to stop ants from entering your home, you must remove ants in your yard and seal the gaps and cracks on windowsills and walls.
Ants will enter your home, leaving behind pheromones.
Ant pheromones are scent trails for the other ants to follow and to reach the nesting site or the food source.
That’s why proper and regular cleaning of your kitchen is vital to keep ants away because it removes the scent trails.
Ensure that there are no food wastes, crumbs, and stains in your kitchen and no leaking pipes.
Leaky pipes raise the moisture levels in your kitchen. High dampness in the kitchen and homes attracts ants.
You can also accidentally introduce ants in your home by bringing in potted plants or wood with ants in them.
So, check your houseplants’ pots to see if they have any ants.
If you find any, use a plant-safe ant spray on them to eliminate those ants.
Ants in the apartment are a spillover of ants from neighboring apartment units.
Ants are efficient crawlers. They can climb up on the pipes and walls, crawl inside apartments, and even on higher floors.
In certain cases, ants can invade the house from the sink drains.
Another way ants can enter homes and kitchens is in the form of winged ants.
Winged ants, which are also known as reproductives, leave their old ant nests to find new ones.
They’ll swarm and enter homes through open doors and windows.
And upon entering, these flying ants will mate, lose their wings, and hide inside the house.
Types Of Ants That Enter Kitchen
Ants tend to invade homes during the late spring and early summer.
When winter arrives, many ant species disappear in their colonies to overwinter.
Most house ants eat protein-rich humans and sweet foodstuff, so those kitchen ants are collectively known as sugar ants.
Carpenter ants, pharaoh ants, odorous house ants, pavement ants, and very tiny ants like thief ants and ghost ants can infest your kitchen.
What If Home Remedies Fail
An ant infestation can be hard to eliminate.
Professional pest control and chemical ant baits become necessary, especially when the infestation worsens.
If all the natural home remedies for ants in the kitchen and home are failing, it indicates that there are multiple ant nests on your property in areas you don’t know.
So, hiring a professional to eliminate ants from your home will be best.
Nang Chen is an Entomologist and Arachnologist who is associated with Vienna’s museum of natural history. He’s also a consultant with real estate groups, insecticide conglomerates and law enforcement groups as a forensic entomologist. Nang Chen holds an M.S. from South China University and he’s a regular contributor to our site.