Dealing With Ant Hills

Q: We are starting to have an ant problem again this year. I am looking for something that will get rid for them, maybe something that can be made from items in the kitchen. There seems to be thousands of tiny ones in each hill. We do have animals and don't want anything that will be harmful to them.
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Hardiness Zone: 8a

Jodi from Gary, Texas

A: Jodi,

Most ants are important to the garden. They help aerate the soil, scatter seeds and prey on harmful insects. When they become a nuisance, the best approach to controlling ants is to figure out what types of ants you have and what factors are contributing to the problem.

Ants will naturally set up colonies where access to food and water is readily available. For example, certain types of ants herd and prey on sap-sucking insects like aphids. If you get rid of the aphids, you will soon have fewer ants.

If ants are getting into your house, take note of how they are getting in and where they are headed. Remove any crumbs or other sources of food and water that they seem to be taking advantage of (inside and outside). Seal off cracks in doors or windows with a bit of Elmer's© glue or clear silicon sealant to prevent them from entering. Add a little boric acid to the glue or sealant to keep them from eating the glue.

For immediate relief indoors, try combining 8 oz. of lavender-scented ivory dish soap with 1 oz. of an essential oil like Cinnamon, Citronella, Rose or Tea Tree oil. Add 5 tablespoons of this to a quart of water and apply it using a spray bottle. This isn't a solution for long-term control but it will help temporarily. You can also spray this on garbage containers outdoors.

If ants are after your fruit trees, try placing duct tape (sticky-side out) around the trunk to keep them from climbing up the trunk.

By Ellen Brown

More Answers:

Dealing With Ant Hills

Several years ago, we had the same problem. I tried pouring bleach, ammonia, hot water, etc. Finally, I poured full strength white vinegar on the ant hills. They are gone ever since I did that. (02/01/2006)

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By Frances

Dealing With Ant Hills

Boiling vinegar immediately poured on the ant hill is supose to work. If you have delicate plants near try boiling water instead of vinegar. (02/01/2006)

By lindaljh1

Dealing With Ant Hills

Take used coffee grounds and put in and around ant hills. (02/01/2006)

By Trish

Dealing With Ant Hills

We use plain boiling water. It may kill a small circle of grass, but not a lot and it comes back well. The dead ants will be right there to see immediately and NO residue left to harm pets, kiddos, or the environment. (02/01/2006)

By aardvark

Dealing With Ant Hills

I have tried the used coffee grounds on the ant hill and it did work... but it took awhile! I work in a bank and we saved the grounds from all the coffee we made here. Every few days, I would put the grounds on the ant hill. One day I notice that the little ants were using my used ground to build their hill even higher! I kept doing it and even bought a pound of cheap coffee for $1.29 and made a loose paste out of it and put it all on the hill. Eventually after a 3-4 months, the ants and the hill were gone. In fact the hill collapsed and now I have a dent in my yard where the ant hill was!
Good Luck! (02/02/2006)

By Sandy from the Iron Range,MN

Dealing With Ant Hills

I know this sounds stupid, and I don't know if it's harmful to pets or not though it probably is but, thinking it was my fire ant powder, I poured bath cleaner powder on an ant hill in my yard and that worked really well. (02/06/2006)

By Jeggie

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