Manataka American Indian Council


In Our Own Homes:


Natural Ant Control

Submitted by Liora Leah



Spring is coming to many parts of the country and natural ant control will be important information -- especially against the notorious fire ant that can cause illness and even death and is growing more resistant  to toxic chemicals that need not ever be used around the home.



Natural Ant Control
1)     Ants hate chalk. They won't cross it. If I have a flurry of ants that would like to enter the house, I just draw a line of chalk around the entry point. They butt up against the chalk and back off. For an area like a tree......perhaps you could scribble a thick chalk line around the trunk, or get some of that bulk chalk for athletic fields, and sprinkle a line of it on the ground around the tree. I'd say scribble some chalk on the trunk, see if you notice the ants avoiding that spot, and then continue chalking around the trunk.

2)     Around Trees: Paint "tanglefoot" around the trunk to stop the ants from climbing the tree. It's a very sticky goo that the ants can't cross.  I have heard that tightly wrapping the trunk of the tree with strong paper -- then putting some sticky goo on the paper (not the tree). I would guess you can get the goo at a gardening center. The ants crawling up the tree get stuck in the goo.

3)     Also spraying the trunk and leaves with a mixture of juiced lemon (citrus) repels insects.

4)      Mix up a little tea tree oil and grapefruit seed extract with water and put in a spray bottle. Occasionally spray around the trunk of the tree so they don't cross that line.

5) Dr. Myles M. Bader, The Buggy Professor, from his book: "Club the Bugs & Scare the Critters"

If bugs and pests are flying, crawling, burrowing, or sneaking in your household Dr. Myles Bader has non-toxic, safe, all natural solutions that are safe for your kids and pets without the use of pesticides.

How can you keep ants from attacking your plants?
Place any cooking oil around the base of plant

How can I get rid of an ant colony, naturally?
Place instant grits near the entrance, they bloat up

What can I do to keep ants off my kitchen counter?
Solution of 50:50 vinegar and water

6)     Try peppermint essential oil on your plants. It works great on mine. Purification oil works great too. Put the oil in a mister bottle with water and spray on your plants.

7)     Meditate and communicate with them and invite them to a better alternative.. Worth a try.

"Talk" to them and suggest, respectfully, that they go elsewhere. You might even leave them a daily feast of some kind somewhere away from your trees.

(Liora's Note: similar to what I do with cockroaches--I catch them in a cup, walk down the street for a block while I talk to them and tell them I'm going to give them their lives and their freedom in exchange for their promise for them and their progeny to stay away from my house! Then I let them go. I have a lot fewer roaches in the house this year than last!)

8)     I am guessing that a type of moat around the base of the tree might help. Ants are famous for avoiding water, people would put the table legs in bowls of water to keep them off the table. Hose off the tree then put a plastic lined little moat. But then you will
have mosquitoes to contend with! Maybe just hosing down your tree often may help.

9)     Divert them with this Ant Bait:

Mix 3 cups water with 1 cup sugar and 4 teaspoons technical boric acid formulated for pest control.

Wrap 3 or 4 jam jars with masking tape. Pour a half cup of so of bait into each of the jars, which have been loosely packed with absorbent cotton. If there are kids of pets, screw lids tightly onto the jars and seal with adhesive tape. Pierce the lids, making two or three small holes, and smear the outside of the jars with some of the baited syrup.

If no kids or pets, leave jars open where the ants are foraging. It may take a few hours or days, but the ants will eventually swarm to the jars.  (I put little twigs inside the jars so the ants can easily climb down onto the cotton balls.)

10)     Mint is also an ant repellant.

11)     If you grow things like garlic, that may help because most bugs don't like the smell.

12)     Liora's ant control: I leave the ants outside alone. I figure it's their domain. When they come in the house in droves, I look for the entry point; if it's a crack or small hole in window frame or wall base, I take some putty and patch the hole. I also draw a line along their route with dishwashing soap (I use biodegradable, unscented/nontoxic Seventh Generation brand). Most of the ants are wise and avoid crossing the soap line. For the adventurers that get stuck in the soap and die, I leave their little carcasses stuck in the soap for a day or two. I swear I can smell dead ants--they smell like, well, dead ants--and I'm sure the live ants can smell them, too. This acts as a deterrent for the ants to come in that route, and usually the ant trail has disappeared in a day or two.

Another very natural ant control for the house is spiders. I have a good relationship with the Daddy-Long-Legs spiders in my home. They are very intelligent spiders and make their webs along the ant entry points, usually near the front door and the bathroom window. I let the spiders do their job. It's amazing how many little sucked-dry ant carcasses I find piled up under the spider webs over a period of a couple of days. I wipe up the dead ants but leave the spider webs until they get too dusty, then I wipe the webs up, catch the fleeing spiders and put them outside. In a day or so the spiders are back, with nice, new, clean webs. I love spiders!


Remember to think globally, act locally, and what can be more local than In Our Own Homes?  Be in Good Health!



Liora Leah


Resource:  Grapevine San Diego:





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