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Top tips to deal with ants inside and outside your home

How to deal with ants using natural methods

Dealing with ants in your home can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to get rid of them. Eliminating ants may require patience and persistence, but it is also important to address any underlying issues that may be attracting them.

Ants are social insects, which means that when one enters your home, others will soon follow. While it might be frustrating to control the number of ants you have, there are plenty of effective ways to keep them at bay without harming them. Ants are attracted to any type of food source, so if you leave crumbs on your kitchen worktops on in the garden, they will find their way to it.

How to get rid of ants indoors using natural methods

1. Using citrus fruits
Ants hate the smell of strong citrus fruits. Save your orange, lemon and grapefruit peels and scatter them around entry points. It’s a natural way to deter ants without harming them.

2. Sprinkle coffee grounds
Coffee grounds are brilliant for deterring ants, too. Use yours to create a ‘barrier’ for the ants. They won’t like the feeling underfoot, so place them around entry points.

3. Use peppermint oil
If you’ve got ants in your bathroom or kitchen, pour some peppermint oil onto a cotton wool pad and place them around the room. It might not look pretty, but it’s an effective way to keep ants at bay as they repel the strong smell. Ensure you place them close to dustbins, compost heaps or doors to the garden.

4. Tea Tree Oil
Another ant-repelling oil, mix up to 10 drops of tea tree oil is a large spray bottle and clean infected areas. You can also try soaking cotton wool or tissue and leaving in hotspot areas.

5. Cinnamon
Another kitchen essential that ants don’t like is cinnamon. Again, place it around the areas where ants are coming into your home. Aim for doors, windowsills, floors, flower pots and any tiny gaps.

6. Vinegar
The next time you mop your floors, add a dash of vinegar to your water or cleaning solution. Ants also hate the smell of vinegar. Vinegar can also be used to wipe down surfaces, clean mirrors (with no streaks) and sanitise doorknobs.

7. Cayenne pepper or black pepper
Create a wall of pepper around the area where ants are entering. Much like vinegar and cinnamon, the insects can’t stand the strong smell. Alternatively, you can also try mixing pepper with water and creating your own homemade cost-effective spray. This method works wonders without harming the ants.

8. Chalk
Ants don’t like lines of chalk in the garden as it disrupts their scent trail. If you have some chalk, simply draw some circles and lines on the ground around the areas where you want them to stop entering. It’s only a temporary solution, but it will certainly stop the insects in their tracks.

9. Detergent sprays
Instead of spraying the ants, spray and clean the area where ants congregate or enter the home. This will remove the smell they leave behind and so not attract any more. Glass cleaner or diluted washing up liquid can work in this way.

10. Check your houseplants
Ants have been known to make nests in the soil surrounding houseplants so check them regularly if ants are a problem in your home. To deter them, put coffee grounds or citrus peel on top of the soil.

11. Never leave food out on surfaces
Be sure to never leave food out for longer than necessary in the home, especially sweet treats or fruit as ants are attracted to the smell of sugar. Always remove food and wipe down the surface so as not to leave any sugary residue.

12. Clean your kitchen regularly
Keeping your kitchen spotless will help banish the presence of ants, looking out for any food crumbs or spills. We recommend mixing up a distilled white vinegar spray to destroy the scout ant’s scent trail or opting for a lemon-infused cleaner to keep them at bay. Areas to target include hard surfaces, including floors and countertops.

How to get rid of ants outdoors using natural methods

1. Check the front and back garden
Check the outside walls of your home to make sure there aren’t any ant hotspots along the perimeter. Ants nesting along your external wall are more likely to find their way inside. If you find a nest, use one of the above methods to repel.

2. Make sure your compost is far enough away from the house
Compost bins and heaps are great for many reasons, including recycling food waste and helping nourish the garden, but they do also attract insects. This is not a bad thing and should be encouraged but make sure your compost heap is far enough away from your house so they don’t come roaming indoors.

3. Regularly empty bins, inside and out
On the same vein, a bin full of food is also very appealing to ants so make sure you empty it regularly. Ants are attracted to standing water so don’t allow food juices to develop at the bottom of your bin.

4. Remove plant litter
Don’t forget to remove plant litter, such as fallen branches, piles of leaves, grass cuttings and decaying logs. The longer these sit outside, the more likely you’ll soon discover a colony of ants.

Alternative ways to deal with ants

If you are looking to use a specialist ant treatment such as the many ant powders that are available to buy online or over the counter, please make sure that you read the instructions carefully as these types of treatments use strong chemicals and can be harmful to humans and pets if not used properly.