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23 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden

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23 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden & House

Some species of ants can be harmful to your garden and home. For example, leaf cutter ants and fire ants can cause damage to plants. And carpenter ants can cause structural damage to your home [1].

Fortunately, there are a number of natural methods you can use to control ants. In this post, we’ll share some of the best home remedies and organic methods to deal with an ant problem.

Here’s how to get rid of ants naturally:

1. Lemon Juice

Squirt lemon juice wherever you see the pests. You can also place lemon slices near entrances and windows to keep ants away.

The smell of lemon will block the scent trails that ants follow, which will force them to go elsewhere.

2. Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil is a powerful repellent for certain pests, including ants.

You can buy cinnamon bark oil at most health food stores or online. Simply mix a few drops of the oil with water in a spray bottle. Next, apply the solution in areas where you’ve seen ants.

3. Peppermint Oil

The strong smell of peppermint oil will also keep ants at bay.

To use peppermint oil for ants, simply mix 15 drops with two cups of water and add to a spray bottle. Next, spray around the areas you want to protect.

You can also add a few drops to a bucket of water and pour it around your foundation. Just be careful not to get the oil on any plants or flowers, as it can kill them.

4. Borax and Sugar

You can also use borax and sugar to kill ants in garden soil [2]. Combine borax with sugar, and you have a powerful home remedy for ants.

Just mix together 3 tablespoons of borax, 1 cup of sugar, and 3 cups of warm water. Stir until the borax and sugar are dissolved.

Next, soak cotton balls in the solution and place them near ant colonies or in areas where you’ve seen ants. This sweet liquid will kill them.

Alternatively, purchase this borax liquid ant killer from Harrris.

5. Boiling Water

One of the cheapest home remedies to eliminate ants outdoors is to boil a pot of water and pour it over the anthill.

However, be careful not to get too close, as the hot water can cause serious burns. Boiling water will also kill plants and grass it touches.

This is a great DIY remedy if you only have a few ant hills in your garden. It’s also one of the quickest methods, so it’s perfect if you need a quick fix.

6. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth has an abrasive texture. When ants crawl over it, the powdery substance will cut into their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.

DE also works great for killing other garden pests organically. You can buy this natural ant killer at most garden stores or online.

To use it, simply sprinkle it around the entrances to your home or garden where you’ve seen ants crawling.

7. Cucumber Peel

Ants don’t like cucumber peels, so if you have an ant problem, try placing cucumber peels around your house and vegetable garden. The critters will stay away!

8. Baking Soda and Sugar

A tried-and-true method for getting rid of ants is the baking soda and sugar combo.

Combine the two in a bowl with a little water, and then sprinkle it into the ant nests in your yard. The sugar will attract them, and the baking soda will kill them.

9. Cornmeal

Another popular natural ant control remedy is cornmeal. Use it as bait.

To do so, mix cornmeal with a little poison like boric acid to make a paste and place it near ant nesting grounds. They will then take it back to their nest.

The larvae will convert it into liquid, after which they’ll feed the poisonous liquid back to the worker ants.

10. Coffee Grounds

Ants are naturally repelled by coffee grounds. So, all you have to do is sprinkle some near where they’re entering your home and around the base of your plants.

11. Cream of Wheat

Some gardeners have been getting results using cream of wheat to kill ants.

What they do is mix it with some water and sugar and spread it on ant hills in grass or other affected areas. Give it a try and see if it works for you.

12. Vinegar

Vinegar is an effective method for repelling and killing garden ants and other insect pests.

Spray white vinegar directly on ant hills or use it to wipe down kitchen countertops and cupboards.

13. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is another home remedy you can use to naturally get rid of ants (big and small). Sprinkle the powder in areas where the critters might enter your home.

14. Citrus Peels

Citrus peels naturally repel these little insects.

To make a homemade ant repellent using citrus peels, allow the peels of oranges, grapefruits, or lemons to dry out for a couple of days.

Next, grind them into a powder and sprinkle it on the ground around plants to act as a protective barrier. This remedy will keep them away but will not harm them.

15. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is another home remedy to fix an ant problem.

Simply add 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil to a little water and spray on the entry points leading to your farm and house. They will avoid those areas.

It is a great organic repellent for leaf cutter ants [3].

16. Clove Oil

Clove oil repels ants. As such, you can make your own natural insecticide by mixing 30 drops of clove oil with a quart of water.

Spray the solution on large ant hills in your yard or on areas where the pests will have contact.

17. Bay Leaves

The strong smell of bay leaves will keep plant ants out of the garden, but it will not kill them. Therefore, crush and sprinkle a few leaves around, and they will not come near.

18. Garlic

Use garlic to repel or drive away all kinds of garden pests.

Most pests do not like the smell and will not go near it. As a result, place a couple of raw garlic cloves wherever the pests are most active.

You can also make a homemade ant spray by blending one head of garlic with 4 cups of water. Next, add 2 tablespoons of liquid soap and let the mixture steep overnight.

Finally, strain and coat your plants with the solution.

19. Chili Powder

Chili powder works great for getting rid of little black ants in your house.

This ‘hot’ powder will burn and suffocate them. Therefore, sprinkle some directly on their nest.

Alternatively, make a spray out of it by combining two teaspoons of chili powder with a quart of water. Shake well and use it to spray the critters.

20. Flour

Use flour to control ants indoors and outdoors. Sprinkle it in a line around your vegetable beds, around plant pots, etc., and they will not cross it.

21. Soap and Water

Make a homemade ant killer solution for your yard or garden with one part liquid soap and two parts water.

Shake well and spray the pests directly and in the areas where they frequent. Soapy water suffocates and kills crawling and flying ants.

Soapy water mixed with a little neem oil also works great against leaf cutter ants (bachacs) on your plants.

22. Salt

Another DIY ant removal strategy is to use salt on areas frequented by these pests in your yard or on the colony directly.

Dissolve some salt in hot water and use it as a spray. The salt water will dehydrate them and kill them.

23. Molasses

Fire ants hate molasses. So, sprinkling horticultural molasses on their nest will cause them to leave quickly.

Store-Bought Products

If you are not into home remedies, you can purchase organic ant control products. These are among the best:

  • Monterey Ant Control is a natural ant spray that contains spinosad. Use it to eliminate your ant problems overnight.
  • Garlic Barrier AG+ is another product you can use to repel tiny ants. Garlic Barrier is a strong garlic oil spray that clogs their breathing holes (spiracles).
  • Essentria IC-3 is an essential oil blend that forms a potent insecticide.
  • Bonide Insecticidal Soap is a multi-purpose, non-toxic pest control spray that also contains Spinosad. It works great as a natural ant deterrent.


These common insects are a real concern for many gardeners. Moreover, some bite and sting, build their nests within lawns, or become a nuisance in your kitchen.

Utilizing a combination of the above deterrents and home remedies will help get rid of ants both indoors and outdoors.

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Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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