It’s Spring and life is stirring! The trees and flowers are waking up and so are our friends the ants. In the right environment they can be helpful little critters but when they move into your kitchen and kitty’s food bowl they aren’t so appreciated. So what can you do? Until the ant problem is brought under control start by keeping them out of kitty’s food by creating a moat for kitty’s food bowl or buying a pre-made ant proof dish.
To do it yourself just take a pan or dish that your cats bowl fits comfortably into and kitty can also reach over to get to her dish while it is sitting in the pan. Then fill the pan or dish with some water, this creates a moat that the ants can’t cross. This method is nice as it’s safe and keeps the ants away from the food but doesn’t bring kitty into contact with anything harmful. You can also buy food dishes that are made with some version of this concept, there are many versions available online.
Now that kitty’s food is safe from the unwanted visitors you can look at options that may help send them home. Here are a few natural ant control ideas to try.
- Making sure all surfaces are kept clean and clear of crumbs or sweets is a good starting point.
- Vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on surfaces where you’ve seen ants. Supposedly the fungicidal and insecticide like properties in the vinegar help keep ants away.
- Black or Cayenne pepper. If you can find out where the ants are coming in put the pepper near or in the cracks of the entry points. The ants will not cross the pepper. But keep this away from kitty as the pepper can be an irritant.
- Mint supposedly destroys the ants abilities to smell properly and keeps them from entering your home. Plant mint around your house and near entry ways. Also you can put mint leaves in your home at entry points or where you’ve seen ants.
- Herbs that are known to be helpful in repelling ants: Bay leaf, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Peppermint. Best to keep kitty from eating these herbs in any quantity.
- Cinnamon, Coffee grounds and Cucumber all have been said to have properties that repel ants and can be a barrier to entry.
- Salt. Put a line of salt along windows or entry points, supposedly they will not cross salt.
Harsher natural methods of control: If you are at the point where you want to get rid of the source, here are some other ideas to try.
- Cornmeal or cornstarch: Mix up equal amount of cornmeal with powdered sugar and place in an area where you have ants. The ants will be attracted to the sugar but they can’t digest the cornmeal and it kills them. You will have ants feeding for days but in time they should stop coming.
- Raw cream of wheat (farina). Place the raw cream of wheat where you have ants. When the ants eat it the cream of wheat expands in their stomachs and it kills the ants. Again this takes time.
- Boiling water: If you can find the ant hill poor boiling water on it. This should kill the hive.
- If you can keep this away from pets and children try a borax solution. Mix equal parts borax with syrup or powdered sugar and place it in an area where you have ants but away from animals or children as it is toxic. The ant will feed for a time but they will die out over a number of days or weeks.
My current favorite is the “TERRO PreFilled Liquid Ant Killer Baits”. It’s a commercially available borax solution trap, that’s easy to use and very effective!
The important thing with natural methods of ant control is to be persistent. Try more than one method, be patient and start as soon as you see ants. Good luck and if you find one of these methods useful or have one of your own let me know, I’d be happy to hear about it!