How to Kill Ants Without Pesticides

Ants in the garden. image by Fernando Nauffal: stock.xchng

Overview

Ants are a frustrating garden pest because they come in great numbers, especially during warm weather and rainy months. You can use non-chemical methods to kill ants at their source (their anthill) and around your garden. Natural methods are effective but do not work as quickly as chemical insect control methods work. Be prepared to apply natural methods of ant control daily, until your ant problem is gone.

Natural Insect Spray for Your Garden

Step 1

Make a neem soap spray to use as a natural non-toxic insecticide in your garden. Neem is safe to use around humans and other mammals but is toxic to insects. It interferes with an insect's neurological system, causing eventual death. The soap in the mixture coats the leaves of your plants to keep insects away without harming your plants. To make a neem soap spray, mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil, 1 tablesspoon of coconut-based liquid soap and 10 ounces of water in a 12- ounce spray bottle. Shake the spray bottle well to mix the ingredients. To make a larger batch of the neem oil spray, double the measurements. Neem oil is available for sale at health food stores. According to the University of New Mexico College of Agriculture and Home Economics, coconut oil is the most effective soap for soap-based insecticide control.

Step 2

Spray the neem soap spray directly on all of the leaves of your garden plants to kill aphids, ants and other insects. Ants feed off aphid waste, so killing the aphids alone helps to get rid of the ants.

Step 3

Wipe away any ants or aphids that you notice on the leaves as you spray.

Step 4

Spray the neem soap spray around the bases of your garden plants and on the pots of potted plants to repel and deter ants.

Step 5

Spray your garden plants daily until your ant problem is under control.

Killing Ants at the Source

Step 1

Mix together 1 tablespoon of borax with 1 tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Adjust the amount of honey or borax used, if necessary, to make a thick paste. Purchase borax at your local grocery store in the laundry detergent section. It is often sold as "washing soda."

Step 2

Insert the tip of a rubber bulb syringe into the honey and borax mixture. Squeeze the bulb of the syringe to suction the borax and honey mixture into the syringe.

Step 3

Follow the trail of ants to locate their anthill. Once you have located the anthill, insert the tip of the rubber bulb syringe into the entrance of the anthill. Squeeze the bulb of the syringe to release the borax and honey mixture into the anthill. The ants will be attracted to the honey in the mixture and readily go to it. They will eat some of the mixture and bring the rest back to their queen. The borax in the mixture will kill the ants.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use neem oil near honeybees or in areas that drain to fishponds or oceans. While neem oil is not toxic to mammals, it is toxic to fish and honeybees. In situations where neem is not appropriate to use, eliminate the neem and use the soap water alone. Do not allow small children or pets to come into contact with the borax and honey mixture. It is not safe for ingestion.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon of neem
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid coconut soap
  • 12 ounce spray bottle
  • 1 tablespoon of borax
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • Rubber bulb syringe

References

  • University of Mexico College of Agriculture and Home Economics: Organic Gardening - Natural Insecticides
Keywords: ant control, neem, coconut soap, non-toxic, anthill

About this Author

Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.

Photo by: Fernando Nauffal: stock.xchng