Having a big problem with ants at home ourselves, we decided to do some research and were surprised by how much of a role these little insects actually play. Killing them can not be the only option or solution, considering ants have so many ecological purposes!
Here is why we should be mindful of ants and how to deter them naturally.
Purpose of ants
- Spreading seeds: Ants spread the seeds of an estimated 9% of all plants. In areas prone to wildfires, ants are especially important to the survival of plants because they take seeds safely underground.
- Soil: Their movement in building and maintaining their nests below ground level helps break up soil, which encourages plant growth. Wood-eating ants for example may be a danger to houses and buildings, but in nature they play a vital role in returning raw (and dead) wood back to the soil so new trees can grow.
- Did you know that ants also care for other insects? Some insects capitalize on ants’ mothering natures by using ants as babysitters for their offspring.
- Ants also create habitats that other insect species depend on, and provide food for thousands of animals.
However, ants can become a problem and cause huge damage to houses and buildings. Keeping all of these factors in mind, we can ask ourselves: “Is killing them truly necessary, and have I tried every avenue?”. To consider the ecosystem, we should find ways to effectively deter them naturally as far as possible!
We`ve found a few alternatives here and posted it for your reference below. It sure looks time consuming and like extra effort, but we`re willing to give it a try for the love of Nature; are you?
How to deter ants naturally
Plug the entrance holes if you can’t get to the nest. Sometimes it’s difficult to access the entire nest, but you can usually find an entrance hole. Fill it up with dirt or rocks, and sprinkle some boric acid around the site for good measure. The ants will likely relocate their nest.
Here are several natural substances that ants abhor so much, they won’t go near them. If you use one of these substances to create lines around your windowsills, around the perimeter of your house, and in any spots where ants are getting inside, you can keep ants from coming inside. Freshen up the lines every few days, since ants will be able to get through once the lines are broken. Here are substances that work for this purpose:
- Cayenne pepper
- Ground orange or lemon peels
- Coffee grounds
Squirt lemon juice along outdoor edges. This will keep the inside of your house from getting sticky, but the ants will be deterred by a strong citrus smell. You can also squirt a solution of half lemon juice, half water around the outside of your house.
Use essential oils to keep ants away. They hate the smell of a variety of essential oils, many of which smell very pleasant to humans. Add 10 drops of essential oil to 1 cup of water, then spray the solution both indoors and outdoors to keep ants away. Here are the oils you can try:
- Lemon oil
- Peppermint oil
- Eucalyptus oil (don’t use this near cats! It’s toxic to them, but not to dogs)
- Lavender oil
- Cedar oil
Keep your surfaces clean so ants aren’t interested in coming in. During the spring months, when ants are most likely to come inside the house, do your best to keep your floors, countertops, and cabinets spotless. This goes a long way toward keeping ants out. If they don’t smell food, they won’t be interested in invading your house.
- Keep food containers tightly sealed, too. This is especially important for sugar, honey, syrup and other foods that ants like to eat.
- Clean up spills right away, especially fruit juice or syrup spills.
Seal your house to keep them out. If you don’t give ants a door inside, they’ll be more likely to stick to outdoor areas. Find all the little cracks and crevices where they could be getting in, like under the door, around the windowsills, and in other little cracks in the foundation. Fill the holes with caulk or other sealants to keep your house airtight. Spritz the areas with lavender or lemon water for good measure.