Have you ever seen a line of ants so thick you thought it was your daughter getting overzealous with the black sidewalk chalk? If you haven’t and are interested in seeing one come to my house any time the weather changes.
When it rains they come out, when it gets really hot they come out; I have no idea why but they come looking for food with the weather changes. It is fascinating and frustrating all at once — especially when they end up in my kitchen, then it is really just more frustrating.
Unless, you’re equipped with a DIY non-toxic ant spray that you can feel good about.
Being that typical ant and pest killer is filled with toxic chemicals I choose avoid them in my home at all costs. Chemicals like Imiprothrin and Cypermethrin are linked with toxicity in humans causing neurological changes, wheezing, seizures, and are classified at “possible carcinogens” (source). Even the product’s own labels says, “Toxic to Humans and Animals.” For those of us looking to live a #lifefromscratch avoiding chemicals like this should be of the utmost importance.
When these little pests do make their way into the kitchen I am quick to grab my DIY ant spray that is 100% natural and non-toxic. Actually, the way I discovered the recipe was quite accidental. See, I make my own DIY Kitchen Counter Spray and I was so fed up with the ants one day that I sprayed the kitchen spray on them. To my surprise, a large majority of the ants died within minutes. Hooray!
Eventually I tweaked with recipe somewhat to kill them on contact (I didn’t want the poor guys suffering). Now I keep a separate bottle of counter spray and ant spray. I also have a few tricks to prevent them from returning that you can read about below.
What’s in it?
So, honestly I don’t know what it is about these ingredients that work to kill them. Probably a combo of the pH and the compounds in the essential oils. White vinegar is the base so it’s an acid, and then the essential oils are a fairly large percentage of the formula.
I have tried just vinegar and then just the essential oils in water and neither worked as well as the combo, so this specific recipe is what I stick with.
Also, please note that tea tree is toxic to cats and dogs so do not use this spray around them.
Here are a few other tips I have discovered since battling ants:
If you are having problems with ants returning down the same path only minutes after you’ve cleaned them up heres what to do:
After I clean up the initial ant graveyard, I spritz another misting of the DIY non-toxic ant spray in the same area and let it sit for a while; often times I just let it dry there. I assume this is disrupting the ants “smell paths” or pheromones they omit (the way they communicate) and prevents the new ants from cruising along the same path.
Also, thinking long term for those specific areas that the ants always choose to enter your home (like a crack in the tile grout in my case) here’s what to do:
I dab a few drops of straight clove or tea tree oil onto a q-tip and rub it on the entry point. I make sure to really saturate the area with the oil and then let it dry. The scent seems to deter them from coming through that area again. Please note that the clove oil will stain any light colored area (like white grout) so choose tea tree if you’re applying it to a light area. For larger areas, diatomaceous earth in dry powder form can be sprinkled along the areas they enter. This type of clay is very abrasive to their exoskeleton and will deter them walking through it.
Lastly, if you are able to trace the ant path and find the ant hill outside dumping a tea kettle full of boiling water down it works great at killing most of the colony.
To tackle these guys it’s best to have a multiple strategy battle plan. Thankfully, these tips together with my DIY spray have taken my home from ant haven to getting minimal visits.
The spray is one of the most effective natural ant treatments I have seen. Plus, because you know exactly what’s in it you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals lingering around your home for children, pets, and adults to be exposed to.
- Combine all ingredients in your spray bottle and gently mix.
- Store away from light and heat to preserve the oils.
For an inexpensive glass bottle grab yourself a small Perrier glass bottle (250 ml) and a small plastic spray bottle (like the ones in the travel toiletries section). The sprayer from the plastic bottle fits perfectly on the top of the Perrier bottle. All there is to do is soak the Perrier bottle in hot water to remove the label…and voila a quick and affordable glass spray bottle.