Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Kill Lawn Ants Without Harming Pets

By Melynda Sorrels ; Updated September 21, 2017

Killing ants that have invaded your lawn is easy, but killing them while being mindful of your pets is another story. Pet-friendly options can help you eliminate the ants safely without using harsh chemicals and other unsafe methods.

Fill a large flowerpot with dirt and place it at the edge of your lawn, away from the house. If a flower pot isn't handy, any large mound of dirt will do. Place a piece of food on top, such as a piece or two of fruit or whatever is handy, to attract the ants. Once a large number of ants covers the bait, pour boiling water over the ants to wipe them out. Continue to replace the bait and flush them out with hot water as often as needed.

Sprinkle cornmeal or dry grits around the outside of your home and yard. The ants will collect the free food to take home for dinner, where large numbers of ants will consume the bait. The cornmeal or grits will make them quite thirsty, so they will find something to drink and then explode as the bait expands inside them.

Fill a bucket or other large container with water and add enough dish soap to make it sudsy. Pour the soapy water all over anthills that you find on your property. This will quickly kill off many of them and force others to find a new home.

Cut oranges into fourths and scatter them throughout your lawn. The ants will rush to them in force to start collecting dinner. When the birds notice, they will fly down and pick up the orange wedges, ants and all and remove them from your yard.

Use a shovel to scoop up ants from one anthill and drop them on top of another anthill. The ants will go to war and kill each other so you won’t have to. Wear pants and a long-sleeved shirt to keep ants off of you.


Things You Will Need

  • Large flowerpot
  • Dirt
  • Cornmeal
  • Dry grits
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Oranges
  • Shovel


  • Plant lavender, marigolds and tansy near your home to keep ants away, as they don't care for the smell.

About the Author


Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.