10 Tips For Organic Ant Control

29. April 2008 Gardening, Living Green 34

Ants - organic ant killerWe have a bit of an ant problem in the garden, well in the backyard in general.  I hate just grabbing the nearest pesticide and spraying the whole backyard… including the garden.  We are trying to be organic here!

So in the past week or so we have been searching the “intra-webs” for the organic answer to ant control and have found some quite interesting ways to get rid of ants.  All of these are organic, so if you are looking for the same thing – read on below.  The tips below should keep ants from having a party on your plants.

10 Ways To Kill Ants… Organically

1. Baking soda is poisonous to ants, spinkle it around your plants to ensure ants will stay away.

2. Flour & Baby Powder will keep ants from reaching your plants, ants will not cross the powder – so circle your plants with it.

3. You can use coffee grounds, chili powder, cinnamon, peppermint or black pepper.  All deter ants and if you pour coffee grounds directly on an anthill, they will eat the coffee grounds and implode.

4. Grits, instant rice & cream of wheat can be sprinkled around plants.  The ant will eat a piece of whichever you sprinkle, drink water and the grain expands and kills the ant. :)

5. Fill a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and spray on plants. The acid in vinegar will kills ants.

6. Mix together one-third cup of molasses, six tablespoons of sugar, and six tablespoons of active dry yeast into a smooth paste. Use the mixture to coat strips of cardboard. Keep out of reach of pets and small children. You can leave mixture on a saucer outside anthill and they’ll eat it and die!

7. Fold contact paper in half, with the sticky side out and make a circle around base of plant. The ants get stuck on the paper – problem solved.

8. Cut off the bottom of a paper cup and cut a slit up the side of the cup and coat outside with vaseline and place around base of plant. You can also use packing tape.

9. Mix one cup of borax, two-thirds a cup sugar and one cup water. Dip cotton balls in the solution and place in areas near your anthill Ants will leave the plants alone and ingest the sweet mixture. The borax kills the ants.

10. Diatomaceous Earth is a commonly sold organic pesticide that will destroy the insects outer skeletons, causing the pests to die from dehydration.

Read our update to this post – where we tried some of the methods: Organic Ant Control Update

34 thoughts on “10 Tips For Organic Ant Control”

  • 1
    Corey on April 29, 2008

    Good tips man. I can use these to kill off some ants I got.

  • 2
    LetsPlant on April 29, 2008

    Great post!!

  • 3
    Barbee' on April 29, 2008

    That is quite a collection of organic solutions. I might try some of them. We have what I believe to be a huge colony of tiny ants under and all around the driveway. Working in the flowers beside the driveway is tricky. We get bitten. Thanks for posting those tricks.

  • 4
    James on April 29, 2008

    You are more than welcome Barbee – glad you stopped by. Hope it helps!

  • 5
    James on April 29, 2008

    Corey – Thanks, get to killin’

    LetsPlant – Hope it helps, thanks for stopping by.

  • 6
    Ernie M. on June 13, 2008

    Great tips. I’ll probably try them all(something is bound to work)! We really don’t want to use a bunch of chemicals. We have about 2 acres(it seems like) of piss ants. That’s what I call them ’cause they constantly PISS ME OFF! :-)


  • 7
    Heidi on June 24, 2008

    I think I can now safely report that my ants are GONE! At least the main masses of them. I used the baking soda and lined the stone paths where they were mounding up dirt and lines the individual beds of the garden with it. Seems to have done the trick!!

    Thank you!

  • 8
    Eric Bronson on July 17, 2008

    Thanks for the tips I could of used these tips the other day!!
    I used the Shop-Vac™ to suck them up the other day

  • 9
    Zabeth on February 9, 2009

    Hey, I loved the tips! Thank you so much… do you have any idea which one of these solutions is more cat-friendly? We love our cat, and he loves to hang out in the garden chasing little things… but he also eats some grass every now and then… so I want to put something that wont make him sick…

  • 10
    ToLiveFor - Organic Mosquito Control on April 18, 2009

    I understand that ants can be a problem, great that people want a healthy alternative to rid them!
    Shame people find killing them acceptable-(or even laughable). If we just use a healthy alternative to send them on their way- is not that better for everyone and every-ant concerned?

  • 11
    Colleen Bozarth on April 20, 2009

    Thanks for the great tips. I’ll try some of these soonest for the non-fire ants we’ve got. I live in TX where fire ants are a PROBLEM. We’ve had good success with a product we got at our local pro-organic nursery called “Come and Get It”. Its a bait, and it can be spread all over or just around the mounds. The very large mounds take a while, a few applications. I’ve got one stubborn mound that we are dealing with. I’m trying beneficial nematodes for that. Also they are good for grubs, fleas and whiteflies. I’m hoping with the bait nematode combo to get rid of this massive mound of fire ants. I’m interested, has anyone tried the Diatomaceous Earth? Happy Gardening!

  • 12
    Texas on May 7, 2009

    ToLiveFor said:
    If we just use a healthy alternative to send them on their way- is not that better for everyone and every-ant concerned?

    Answer: No, the fire ants we have the most problem with here in Texas are an invasive species from South America (Brazil if I remember correctly) that were brought over accidentally in shipping container. They eat the native plants and drive out the native fire ants which are a food source for many native species. Its better for everyone (except the invading ants) if we can get rid of them.

  • 13
    Papa Ray on May 17, 2009

    Kill them all and let God sort it out!!

    Well, actually it is impossible to do that, just like it would be impossible to kill all the people on this planet that want to kill westerners. Yes, I’m talking about Islamic extremists. The other Muslims just want to take over using our laws and laws that they want to be passed to enable them to do it sooner.

    Then of course we could treat ants like some humans in the past have treated sects of people. Lets just gas them or starve them to death.

    Seriously all of the natural remedys listed here will work to some degree. But if you really want to rid your plantation of ants…you will have to resort to better living through chemistry.

    Or you can just put up with them and doctor the bites on your kids and/or keep them in your house. Just remember tho, if you don’t control them, they will be in your house living with you.

    Papa Ray
    West Texas

  • 14
    Donald on May 22, 2009

    Excellent tips, thank you very much. We have lots of coffee grounds to use, and baking soda sounds like a great idea. No more chemicals!

  • 15
    Kirk Bonds on July 5, 2009

    Much to my bewilderment it seems that all the harvester ants in my greenhouse are gone…using grits. It is probably not over, but WOW…in two weeks. It can’t possibly be this easy. Am armed and ready with other organic solutions. Thanks for the GREAT tip.

  • 16
    Lisa on July 8, 2009

    Thanks for the tips. Having a problem with the ants in my garden – which is pretty big- and don’t want to use poison on my vegies. Tried some chili powder but not taking care of the problem and they are eating my zuccini – that is not acceptable. Baking soda sounds like a great place to start. Again thanks.

  • 17
    Kim on July 21, 2009

    We have huge ant problem but I noticed one day when using this natural furniture polish around the window panes that the ants completely disappeared. The furniture polish contains three ingredients: olive oil, orange oil and an emulsifier. I now use this stuff everywhere in the house where ants appear. They won’t go near the stuff. I asked our professional insect control person about this and he said its the orange oil…toxic to ants. The company we use also deals in organic ant control products but they use a highly concentrated rosemary oil. Anyway, I’ve rid my house of these little black pests by mistake. Hope this helps you guys. I bought the natural furniture polish at Whole Foods.


  • 18
    Eve Peace on August 6, 2009

    Hi! I’m new to this forum & have been reviewing your readers’ comments on the best way/s to kill ants organically. I’m going to read further, as we have a growing ant problem in out garden, too, but I want to make a comment on one posting…

    Papa Ray said “ “Kill them all and let God sort it out!! Well, actually it is impossible to do that, just like it would be impossible to kill all the people on this planet that want to kill westerners. Yes, I’m talking about Islamic extremists. The other Muslims just want to take over using our laws and laws that they want to be passed to enable them to do it sooner.

    Then of course we could treat ants like some humans in the past have treated sects of people. Lets just gas them or starve them to death.” ”

    As far as I’m concerned, whether it was meant as a joke – or, heaven forbid, not – it had nothing whatsoever to do with this forum and everything to do with hate-mongering. I guess there’s always one in every crowd. Papa Ray: get over your west Texass self!

    p.s. I’m of the opinion that every race, religion or group will always have a small majority of hate-mongers (e.g., Papa Ray); however, the greater majority are for peace, dialogue and understanding. Get it now?

  • 19
    Eve Peace on August 6, 2009

    Back again! Seems to me that baking soda wins hands down and it’s also probably the least expensive way to go.

    I’d also like to try baby powder, black pepper and/or chili powder. Anyone have experiences with any of those and if so, what was the result? Thanks!

  • 20
    GardenMandy on September 15, 2009

    Love the list. Ant’s are an ongoing issue at my house and I’m always looking for new ways to control them. Thanks!

  • 21
    Farmer Katie on October 22, 2009

    Thanks for these garden tips. I will deffinetly try some of these. I might be stating the obvious but I’ll add it anyway. It my not be a sure thing but it’s worth a try: for indoor ants, if you remove what they are attracted to they will just go away with out having to kill any of them. For example: if they are eating the bread in your bread box, put the bread in your fridge. Put food in air tight containers and clean the crumbs out of cabinets and off counter tops and floors. put garbage in an air tight can. With in a few hours, they all go back to where they came from. If they are comming in to use your sink on a hot day though, this could be harder. Plugging up the hole they are coming in through only sometimes works.

  • 22
    PeaceOfMind on February 11, 2010

    I had tried all those remedies now they are starting from the bottom. How do I keep the ants from eating the root ball? Them little suckers has gotten smarter.

  • 23
    Metoo on March 12, 2010

    Borax placed on top or near a nest works wonders. The ants haul it down into the nest and it kills them. However, the best sure fire way to get rid of ants is to get ducks! Chicken like to eat ants too, but ducks will walk down an ant line eating every one they find.

  • 24
    Lynn on March 27, 2010

    I haven’t used chili powder for ants, but mixing chili powder or cayenne pepper with birdseed discourages the tree rats (squirrels) from dining.

  • 25
    Ash on April 5, 2010

    Does anyone know if it makes a difference whether the coffee grounds need to be completely dry prior to application? I just applied today’s grounds that were still very moist from the press and realized that the expansion method might not work if the grounds are wet.

  • 26
    Lindy on April 13, 2010

    WOW!! Great tips This site keeps getting better and better the more I look around
    Being on a fixed income and in need of inexpensive ways to repel these pesky boogers just made my day!!

  • 27
    karrie on May 29, 2010

    We have a box turtle and everytime we feed him he is having to fight off ants. They are everywhere. We are going to try the Baking Soda and the Coffee Grounds. I am very positive it will work. We have to feed him on the porch in the morning so he doesn’t have to fight off the ants. Thanks for the info. Karrie

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