Combating Ants in the Garden and Home

Contributor: Kathy Michaelides.

Although ants do not actually eat the plants or the roots, they are harmful to plants as they “farm” aphids and scale and transport them to the stems and leaves of the plants.  Sometimes plant roots may also be infested with an ant nest, thus disturbing the delicate roots. A tip I received from my Malawian gardener, was to put a broad band of Vaseline around the stem of trees and plants which the ants frequent, e.g. lemon trees. The ants do not walk over Vaseline. We did this 2 years ago on my large lemon tree and it is thriving. The ants were spreading pests in the tree.  

You can also use this natural pesticide. Buy some diatomaceous earth. It is an organic powder sold at garden stores. It kills ants, other insects and bedbugs and their eggs.  Sprinkle it around the area where you have an ant infestation. Ants hate this stuff. Leave it in place for at least 10 days. In Knysna you can get diatomaceous earth at The Clean Shop.

10 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants In The House or Garden

Ants can be a real problem when they get into the home, as they manage to find their way into even the smallest spaces and cause havoc in the kitchen. While ant traps can be an effective solution, they are not to everyone’s tastes. Here are ten great natural ways of removing ants from your home quickly and efficiently.

Vinegar has a very strong scent that repels ants and they will do almost anything to avoid it.

If you discover that you have an ant infestation, simply pour a large amount of regular vinegar into an empty spray bottle with an equal amount of tap water and spray the vinegar into various areas of your home such as the corners, windowsills and kitchen work surfaces. Make sure you cover all areas of your home and allow the vinegar solution plenty of time to dry. While regular vinegar works very well, apple cider vinegar is even more effective at repelling and removing ants from the home.


Capture8Adhesive Tape

This is a quick and simple solution to represent ants reaching the sweet treats in your kitchen. Although adhesive tape will not actually make the ants run away, it acts as a moat to stop ants. Remember to place the tape sticky side up, so that the ants will stick to the tape as they try to cross it. You will then be able to scoop up the ant covered tape and throw it in the trash. You may need to repeat this process several times before all the ants have been disposed of, but it is a quick and easy way of getting rid of them in the long term.



Ants are repelled by the calcium carbonate that occurs naturally in chalk, so they will avoid it as much as possible. As a temporary measure to stop ants from reaching certain places such as cupboards where food is stored, you can draw a circle or a series of lines around these areas. You can also scatter powdered chalk in certain areas such as the doorways or window sills in your home to prevent ants from entering. Many pet shops also sell special pet chalk, which is completely harmless if consumed by most pets but will prevent ants from entering pet food bowls.



Have you ever noticed how ants tend to avid toothpaste, even though they love to run over the bathroom sink? That is because ants cannot stand the smell of mint. If you drink mint tea, simply put the bags in the areas where you think the ants are entering your home and they will soon leave. Mint leaves are not usually very affective, as they do not release much of their scent until they are crushed. However, it is a good idea to start growing a few mint plants in your home. Dry out the mint leaves and crush them into a powder, then sprinkle this powder on the entry points to make sure the ants never venture inside your home again.


Capture6Table Salt

Although ants absolutely love sugar and anything else sweet, they absolutely hate salt. Table salt is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of getting rid of ants that have found their way into your home. However, do not sprinkle near lawns or plants, as the salt will harm them. This also works well on paving. All you need to do is boil some water and add a little salt to it. Pour this solution of salty water into an empty spray bottle and spray it in the areas where you usually see the ants. If the water is still hot enough, it will probably also kill the ants straight away while dissuading more ants from taking their place. Black pepper and cayenne pepper are also good alternatively to table salt and can be sprayed directly onto the ants once you have located them.


Next time you reach for the soap, remember that it can be used to clean ants from your home as well as cleaning your body. Soap contains various chemicals that are harmful to ants as they break down the waxy layers of the ant’s exoskeleton and make them become dehydrated. This is the main reason you will never find ants running over your soap or sitting in your soap dish. Mix soap and water together, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray those ants. Of course, natural and organic soaps may not contain the same chemicals that ants loathe, so if you find that the ants are indifferent to your soap, try switching brands at least temporarily and watch the magic happen.


Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits can be used to get rid of ants. Unlike people, ants do not thrive on Vitamin C and are actually repelled by it. In addition to making a spray containing a mixture of lemon juice and water, you can also try placing cut up citrus fruit on your windowsills to stop ants from entering. Like soap, spraying citrus around your home also has the added benefits of making it smell nice and cleaning your home, addressing several problems at the same time with little or almost no effort. You are sure to be delighted by the effect this has on the appearance and overall smell of your home and want to get into the habit of spraying this solution regularly whenever you are cleaning your home.


Ants hate the taste of cucumber and will avoid it. Cut a cucumber into pieces and leave these pieces in areas that have become affected by ants.

The ants will quickly decide that exploring your home is more trouble than it is worth and leave. If you are going on a picnic and want to make sure that ants do not find their way into your sandwiches, adding slices of cucumber to your sandwiches could be a quick and easy way of keeping the ants away.


This ingredient may not be as easy to find as some of the others on the list, but people who love to bake are sure to have cornmeal in their cupboard.

Spread the cornmeal over areas that have been infected by ants. At first, the ants will attack the cornmeal and you might seriously wonder whether or not it is working. However, ants cannot digest cornmeal and will soon die. Make sure that you take care of this problem on a day that you are not expecting guests and clean up thoroughly. If cornmeal becomes wet it will turn into a paste and be much more difficult to remove from the home. There is a U Tube article which advocates grinding popcorn and sprinkling this where ants are a pest. It probably has the same effect as the cornmeal, as both are corn.

It was posted by Gwen on 24/06/15

“10 Ways To Get Rid Of Ants In The House