Ants are pests in the house. In the home common ants aren't harmful but they are a nuisance.
There are many natural repellants which can be used to discourage ants from kitchen counters, pantries, and other areas where food lures them in.
As a first step try to prevent the ants from entering the house.
Use less chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the lawn and gardens. These cause an imbalance in the biological makeup of the soil. Stressed soil and plants attract ants.
Many species of ants like to drink honeydew from aphids. If good control of aphids in plants and gardens near houses is exercised, ants will be less numerous. Ants seem to dislike spearmint, tansy, and pennyroyal. Plant these near the house to keep ants away. Sweet fern is particularly dislike by red ants.
A simple recipe to repel ants can be made by adding to an eight ounce bottle of mild liquid soap one ounce each of citronella, pennyroyal, peppermint, cinnamon, rose and tea oil. Mix together and add three tablespoons to two cups of water. Spray where ants are entering the house. This the formula can be used to wash down counters in the kitchen but only use one-half tablespoon to two cups of water.
Spray trash and recycling bins if ants are a problem there.
For anthills near the house pour boiling water into the nest.
Once ants have entered the house, other measures have to be taken. Pennyroyal, tansy, and mint leaves scattered on surfaces where ants are found can be used as a deterrent. Bay leaves broken in small pieces is also helpful.
Some people have found a mixture of the following ingredients helpful in repelling ants. One cup water, one- fourth cup plus one tablespoon hot sauce,, one-fourth cut liquid soap, and one teaspoon spearmint of peppermint flavoring. Put in a spray bottle and spray where ants enter the house.
Washing down counters with an equal solution of vinegar and water is repulsive to ants.
Powdered cloves or red pepper sprinkled on surface where ants are found serves as an excellent repellant. Ants are extremely fastidious and will not return to where these hot spices can get on their feet and antennae.
If it not too inconvenient, sticky fly paper placed in strategic areas will capture crawling ants.
Perhaps one of the most unusual substances used that discourages ants from pantry shelves are broken egg shells.
Lastly, clean up all food after eating for it is the crumbs that attracts the ants.
About The Author: Copyright: 2005 Marilyn Pokorney - Marilyn Pokorney is a freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. http://www.apluswriting.net
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I just read all the above posts about controlling ants, especially if one has a nosy cat (LOL). I also have two nosy indoor cats and a Little Black Ant infestation in my kitchen that I have been fighting with talcum powder for ten days. I did allow a pest control company to put some poison outside that window, and now will attack under my sink with suggestions from the posts. I had magnets put on the two doors leading to the under sink area to deter my cats. Anyhow, thanks for all the good suggestions. Pattylu
Whoa, dude...way too much work. I have found that the only, sure, 100% guaranteed way to control ants is this: Remove absolutely that which is attracting the ants, period. I have fought them all my life (I'm 67) and know this to be the only way. I just got over an invasion: I traced them down, looked at where they were going, and discovered that a small amount of food had been transferred to a cupboard on the bottom of a can. Who knew: Took a couple of days, but finally removed the food, wiped down the area with cleanser, ants gone. Be persistent, don't give up, don't use poisons, ever! If they are in the refrigerator, something is open and is attracting them.