How to deal with an ant invasion

Credit: gaab22

Q: Help! I have ants everywhere: in my driveway, in my front flower garden, along the side and in the back on my patio. They are starting to come into the house. I have gone through three bottles of Raid ant killer and it hasn’t helped. Please tell me what will work. I am at my wits’ end!

There are many ways to deter ants without using pesticides. These methods may require repetition as ants are hardy creatures, but persistence and the combination of a few methods should get rid of the ant problem permanently.

The ideal solution is to find the source of the ants and eliminate them by pouring vinegar or boiling water on their mounds. Repeat this a few times, and combine it with one of the following methods to deter the ants from returning.

Several substances can be sprinkled around the garden or the home to repel ants. Fresh-ground black pepper, ground-up chalk, baby powder, ginger, cinnamon, or coffee grounds can be sprinkled in the home, around the plants or around the perimeter of the garden if they appear to damage the plants. Apply daily for a few days to ensure the ants will not return.

Spray solutions can also deter ants. They can be sprayed in the garden, on anthills, or in the home unless the smell overwhelms. A few mixtures to try:

• 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water;
• peppermint oil;
• 1 clove crushed garlic, 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper, and 1 litre (1 qt.) water steeped for one hour, then add 1 Tbsp. liquid soap;
• equal parts orange or grapefruit juice, water and liquid soap.

A very effective ant repellent is mint, so planting some mint in your garden will surely help the problem. Keep the roots contained by keeping it potted because mint has invasive tendencies. Another option is to put a jar of honey by a tree or other location by the edge of the yard to relocate the ants. Also, if their pathways are known, draw lines of chalk across them – ants will not cross chalk.

Of course, the usual cautions apply, like throwing out garbage right away and not keeping old fruit or food out too long.