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23 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Garden

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23 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Ants in the Garden

Although garden ants serve a useful purpose in some cases, they can quickly become a nuisance. They can protect aphids in your vegetable garden and disturb plant roots.

Moreover, some even sting and make nests in your lawn. As a result, you must eliminate them quickly.

Here’s how to get rid of ants in the garden naturally, without killing plants.

1. Lemon juice

The acid and smell of lemon juice will mask their scent trails, which makes it hard for other groups to follow their paths.

Therefore, spray lemon juice around your garden beds. You can also leave cotton balls soaked in lemon juice in spots where they frequent.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon powder is an easy and effective way to deter ants from coming into your garden and house. They despise the smell and will avoid coming near it.

Sprinkle cinnamon around garden beds and nursery areas or place the sticks around your plants.

3. Peppermint Oil

Like other strong smells, peppermint oil repels the critters, discouraging them from sticking around. It also masks their scent trails, preventing other ants from following.

Mix 15 drops of peppermint oil in 2 cups of water. Spray the solution around plants and crop areas.

4. Borax and Sugar

This is a highly sought-after remedy for those seeking how to kill ants in garden soil. Borax is safe to use around plants and inside your house; however, it is toxic to many insect pests.

Combine 1.5 tablespoons of borax and half a cup of sugar in a container. Mix well and sprinkle it around areas they frequent.

The sugary scent will attract them and the borax acts as a poison that they will carry back to their colony.

5. Boiling Water

One of the simplest ways to destroy fire ants colonies is to pour boiling water directly onto the mound. It will kill them instantly!

Boiling water will also kill the surrounding grass and plants. Therefore, try to avoid spilling it on your crops.

6. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is great for killing crawling insects organically.

Sprinkle it directly onto the nests or wherever there is a trail. However, be careful not to apply it to flower petals, where bees might land.

7. Cucumber Peels

A cool method to remove the critters from your veggie garden is with the use of cucumber peels. Ants naturally dislike the scent of cucumber. As a result, they will stay away from it.

Place a few slices around your orchard to keep them away.

8. Baking Soda and Sugar

Baking soda and sugar are among many effective home remedies for harmful insects outside and indoors.

Combine equal parts of each and sprinkle it in the backyard in areas where they congregate or onto their nests.

Powdered sugar will attract them, while baking soda will interfere with their digestive systems, eventually killing them.

9. Cornmeal

The pests will happily eat cornmeal, even though their bodies cannot digest it. They will eventually die as a result.

Sprinkle refined cornmeal in the nests if your garden is overrun with ants.

Another method is to use the cornmeal as bait, combining it with baking soda or borax.

10. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds also act as a protective barrier for plants or flower beds, as it repels destructive crawling insects.

The next time you make coffee, sprinkle the remaining grounds around your plant beds where these insects are.

11. Cream of Wheat

Cream of wheat has a similar effect that cornmeal does. Their bodies cannot digest it, so it will expand in their stomachs, later killing them.

Place small pieces of the cereal onto their mound or around areas they’ll likely show up.

12. Vinegar

This is not only a simple and effective natural pest control remedy for everyday nuisances, but it is also an effective method for repelling ants.

Spray vinegar directly on the hills or areas outdoors where they hang out. The critters detest the smell of vinegar and will avoid anything that is sprayed with it. It also kills them.

13. Cayenne Pepper

Sprinkle cayenne pepper in the areas where you see leaf cutter ants on your plants. The pepper will suffocate and kill them.

14. Citrus Peels

The critters are naturally repelled by citrus peels.

Allow the peels of oranges, grapefruits, or lemons to dry out for a couple of days, then grind them into a fine powder in your food processor.

Sprinkle the repellent powder around plants to act as a protective barrier.

15. Tea Tree Oil

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

Simply place a few drops on the trails leading to your farm, and they will avoid that area.

16. Clove Oil

Clove oil is one of the most effective ant control remedies as it kills them on contact.

Make your own natural insecticide by mixing 30 drops of clove oil in a quart of water. Spray the solution on nests or on areas where they will have contact.

17. Bay Leaves

Bay leaves will keep them out of the garden, but it will not kill them. The strong smell is what keeps the critters away.

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 insects and bugs, but particularly plant ants. They do not like the smell and will not go near it.

Just place a couple of raw garlic cloves wherever they are most active. You can also make a spray out of it and coat your plants.

19. Red Chili Powder

This organic ant killer will burn and suffocate them. Sprinkle chili powder around your plants or directly onto the hill.

20. Flour

They do not like anything dry and powdery.

Sprinkle flour around your vegetable beds or plants in a line and they will not cross it.

21. Soap and Water

Soap and water mix is one of the most effective control methods, as it suffocates them.

Make a simple solution of equal parts organic liquid soap and water and spray it over areas where they frequent.

22. Salt

Sprinkle salt on areas frequented by the pests in your yard or on the hills directly. You can also dissolve it in hot water and use it as a spray.

Consuming salt will cause them to lose water and eventually die of dehydration.

23. Molasses

Molasses does not kill them directly; however, it masks the insecticidal properties of other substances like borax.

Combine molasses with borax or baking soda and place a few spoonfuls of the mixture directly onto their hills or trails.

Commercial Products

If you do not have the time to make any of the above solutions, available for purchase are organic commercial ant control products. Here are a few:

  • Monterey – A natural pesticide that contains spinosad and other insect-repellent ingredients.
  • Garlic Barrier AG+ – Strong garlic oil spray that clogs their breathing holes.
  • Essentria IC-3 – Essential oil blend that forms a potent insecticide.
  • BonideMulti-purpose pest control spray that contains neem oil.


These common insects are a real concern for many gardeners. Utilizing the above remedies will help to control the most annoying ones.

Image via Flickr | Robert Nunnally

Sasha Brown

Blogger and lover of all things natural.

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