Summer in Oregon: Keeping Out the Ants Without the Poison

One of the downfalls to the summer season is the number of ants we find roaming our apartments and homes. The landlords come by and spray and they still find their sneaky way into the house. So what do we do? We turn to Raid. However, that’s not the only solution. The following are a few alternatives to chemical pesticides that are safer for you and the environment:


Dispose of sugary items

The most obvious solution is to stop leaving sugary items out in the open. If you go to McDonald’s and get a Coke, don’t leave it sitting out when you’re done. Rinse it out and throw it away immediately. However, if your home has a really bad ant problem this will not always keep them out. You may still find them rummaging around in your pantry looking for the bag of sugar.



Vinegar is a natural ant repellent—they hate the smell of it and it masks the scent trails they use to get around. Wipe down your counters, cupboards, and any other place that you find ants with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water. Repeat this for a few days, and repeat it at any sign of the ants’ return.


Chalk or baby powder

The main ingredient in both chalk and baby powder is Talcum, a natural ant repellent. Draw a line of chalk or baby powder around areas where the ants come in to your home to deter them.



Herbs give off a very potent smell—ants even avoid them in the wild. Sprinkle cinnamon, mint, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cloves, garlic, or black pepper in areas where you have seen ants and they should turn the other way.


Used coffee grounds

Sprinkle used coffee grounds in your home or garden to keep ants away.



Sprinkle flour around the ants’ entry ways to deter them.


Boiling water

Place an empty flower pot upside down over the ant hill and pour boiling water down the drainage holes to evict the ants from their home.


Lemon juice/lemon peels

Ants hate citrusy foods. Squirt lemon juice around door and window openings as well as other entry points to be rid of them. Lemon peels can do the same thing when placed along the entry ways.


Orange peel and warm water

To safely get ants out of their ant hill and moved to another location, mix an orange peel with one cup of warm water and pour the mixture over the ant hill.



Just like slugs, ants are not fond of salt. Sprinkle salt around openings where ants may come in.



By  Cristina Himka