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Living healthy, how to get rid of ants in the house naturally and without poisons

August 06, 2023
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Living healthy, how to get rid of ants in the house naturally and without poisons

Prevention methods and remedies to keep ants away in a natural way, without resorting to pesticides and irritating and toxic products for humans and animals

A glance is enough to catch the long dark column that winds between the furniture in the house, goes around the sofa and slips into some crevice in the wall, only to then peep out from other parts. Ants in the house can become a really annoying and difficult problem to get rid of. What to do then to get rid of it naturally and without having to resort to methods that can be toxic and poisonous? Let's find out on the basis of scientific research and the advice of experts from the most prestigious universities.

Ants, just annoying or dangerous too?

Ants are not all the same, in fact, there are more than 12,000 species of ants in the world! Most ants are just annoying, but absolutely harmless to humans. Instead, there are some species that can cause problems. For example, fire ants, recognizable by their reddish hue, can sting causing an allergic reaction at the site of the sting. But there are also other species of ants, such as the pharaoh ants, yellow or light brown in colour, which do not sting but can cause asthma in predisposed people [1], or other ants which can carry pathogenic bacteria with it [2]. In short, ants can be a really serious problem.

Ant invasion, prevention

Some natural remedies can help you drive away ants, without having to resort to poisons. First of all, prevention is important, as indicated by the experts at Penn State University (Source Penn State University). In fact, when we find ourselves with an invasion of ants in the house it is important to eliminate the two reasons that attract them, namely food and water. So it's about fixing water leaks, cleaning up crumbs and other food or drink residues, and not leaving snacks and even pet food out of cupboards.

Then, it is also important to repair cracks and breaks around windows and doors, using sealants, in order to block access to the house.

As for the outside, avoid bushes and branches touching the house, ants could use them as a corridor to reach the inside. Also make sure to keep grass or other vegetation at least 15 centimeters away from the house. In fact, ants love to nest in these areas and it's best that the nests are away from home.

Invasion of ants, natural remedies

It is then possible to implement other moves to get rid of the ants in a natural way. For example, ants leave a trail by producing and depositing pheromones to guide other ants to food [3]. The remedy is to eliminate this trace. However, just by wiping the pheromones are not removed. You need to add a cleaning agent, such as dish or hand soap, or even vinegar, mixed with water (Source Penn State University). Spray this lotion on areas where you see ants, then wipe with a cloth, repeat if necessary. According to the University of Texas A&M, the best remedy against ants is given by coffee grounds, capable of driving ants away even in the presence of a succulent bait such as honey (Harlan et al, Texas A&M University). Place coffee grounds where ants typically congregate or transit. Replace with new coffee grounds as the old ones become dry and lose their ability to repel ants. Not only coffee, ants also cannot stand odors such as cucumber and mint (Chaudhari et al, International Journal of Bioassays, 2013). Here it can be of help, in order to drive away these annoying invaders, to place, where the ants concentrate or transit, cucumber peels, however they must be fresh and therefore it is better to change them every day, and chopped mint leaves. Essential oils can also come to the rescue. For example, cinnamon leaf essential oil works as an insecticide and ant repellent, as proven by a scientific study [5]. You can pour a couple of drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil on a cotton ball and place it where you detect the transit of ants, change the cotton ball once a week.

Methods to drive away ants, risks and warnings

There are various products on the market against ants, including non-natural ones. These are real pesticides that, if you decide to use them, must be handled very carefully as they can be poisonous (Source: Penn State University). In any case avoid the use of sprays, powders or liquid concentrates, which can irritate the lungs, leave traces which can then be ingested by animals and children and which in any case do not eliminate the cause, since the cause that attracts ants is still in place as well as the nest, which will send other ants (Source Penn State University). Finally, a warning. If you have cats or dogs, avoid using essential oils which could prove toxic to our four-legged friends.

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