Tag Archives: natural pest control

How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

Ants are a big problem around here. Sometimes we can’t even tell what attracted them as they wander randomly around. It can be pretty frustrating when it’s not something that can just be cleaned.

We’ve blocked a fair number of holes, but they keep coming in. It’s great when you can seal the holes, though.

Cleaning is the most basic way to control ants, of course. No food or drink to attract them means they lose interest. I find it can be hard sometimes with kids to keep up, as little bits of food do end up in the most random of places. But the cleaner you keep things, in general, the less of an ant problem you will have.

That said, the day we moved into this house we got an ant trail going to a box full of clean clothes in a bedroom. Never did figure out what attracted them. Sometimes ants are just random, I guess.

If pet food is an issue, think about how much you put in, and keep the dishes clean. You may also want to consider putting the food bowl in the middle of a slightly larger container filled with soapy water.

My favorite method for any place the kids can’t go is the corn syrup and borax mix. The ants love it and it slows them down pretty well. You can buy this as Terro if you prefer.

Some ants prefer greasy foods to sweet.

The ant problem in this area is such that slowing them down is about the best we can hope for. We joke a bit about the entire city being built on an ant hill.

Once a particular trail has been poisoned by the borax, vinegar is great for breaking up the scent trail. I clean regularly with vinegar anyhow, so it’s nice to not have to buy anything special.

Some say diatomaceous earth works too. I’ve also seen recommendations for using dry grits, active dry yeast, baking soda or cream of wheat.

Peppermint oil and cinnamon oil are also supposed to discourage them.

If you know the location of a nest, pour boiling water over it… obviously with all kids and pets well away. You may need more than one pot of boiling water to really do the job.

Depending on where you live, you may just be out of luck on getting rid of ants for more than a short time, but you can limit the trouble they give you.

Figuring Out Natural Pest Control

One of the things I dislike about the house we’re renting right now is how poorly sealed off it is. We get ants and crickets in the house like you would not believe, even when things are clean. It’s something of a pain.

That said, I do like crickets… outside! If you relax about it, their chirping can be quite nice.

Inside, in the middle of the night is another story. I never knew how loudly crickets can chirp. And hunting for one in the middle of the night is not fun.

For the most part, you can’t get more natural than the main way we handle them. The kids think it’s great fun to catch a cricket by hand and throw it outside. It may take a little extra hand washing, but it’s fun for the kids. They’re gentle enough now that squashing the crickets isn’t really an issue.

We have a method for handling them outside once in a while too. My husband sometimes goes out in the evening and starts moving some of the stones they hide under. The local birds are pretty quick to come for such a feast.

The ants are more of a problem. We use Terro liquid because it’s effective and safe around humans and pets. Only trouble is how often ants keep coming back in new places. It can take a while to control a particular incursion if you aren’t persistent. Maybe that should be persist-ANT!

For those unfamiliar with it, Terro is basically a sweet syrup combined with Borax. In other words, you can make the same kind of thing at home if that’s your preference. Too much Borax can be a hazard to children and pets, but small amounts are unlikely to be any sort of problem. We’re always picky about where we bait ants even when using safe products.

And then there’s the occasional incursion of flies. This is really only a problem when someone leaves a door open a while (Yes, dear, I mean you mostly). Mostly we’ve handled this the old fashioned way – fly swatters! Last year we had to get out the flypaper, but things haven’t been so bad this year.

Which brings me to our worst problem…

Rats in the shed!

At least they’re outside. The shed was built by our landlord, and let’s just say he didn’t seal it at all from the walls to the roof. There’s several inches of opening there. No wonder the rats go in there.

These have been giving us more trouble. They’ve been too smart for the traps. No, I don’t mind killing rats. Most wild critters I’m very much into live and let live, but I’m admittedly biased against rats. And I really don’t want them getting so content in our yard that they go for the house. Rats being so notorious for carrying disease, this bias really doesn’t bother me.

Glue traps haven’t worked any better than spring traps. Rats really are too smart sometimes.

The neighbors have cats, but they aren’t out enough to make a difference. We don’t have pets; don’t want them while renting because moving is so hard with a pet. But sometimes these rats do tempt me with thoughts of a dog and/or cat to help control things.

I’ve been considering something like the Repels All Animal Repellent. As I said, rats are one I don’t mind killing, but the safer ways to kill them have been ineffective for us. We don’t want to risk neighborhood animals by using poison.

The way the shed is built, and the junk the landlord has behind it are the big causes for this problem, of course, so we’ve been trying to figure out a good way to take care of it. Not easy when it’s a construction issue in part.