How does ant spray kill ants instantly?

Home remedies for ants: what really works?

More and more hobby gardeners are relying on home remedies for pest control. Various of them are also used against ants, for example baking powder, copper or cinnamon. But do these home remedies really help? If so, how do you use them correctly? And do you have to fight ants at all, or are they actually not as harmful or annoying as many perceive them to be?

In principle, ants are useful if they just don't always build their nests in undesirable places and if they also do henchman services in aphid colonies. After all, they cherish and care for the pests in order to get their sweetish excretions - the honeydew. Plants are only indirectly damaged by ants, for example when the animals move into pots or beds and drain the irrigation water away from the plants like a kind of drainage, which ultimately dries up. On terraces and paths, sagging stones that have been undermined by ants are real stumbling blocks.

The black and gray garden ant (Lasius niger), which likes to build its nests under stone paths and terraces, is particularly annoying. It is quite enterprising, keeps aphid colonies as a replenishment for the coveted honeydew and also penetrates into the houses. The somewhat smaller, light-brownish yellow path ant or meadow ant (Lasius flavus) particularly likes to settle in the lawn and feed primarily on the honeydew colonies of root lice that are specially kept for this purpose. These ants can therefore usually only be found in the immediate vicinity of the burrow.

Because of their fondness for sweets and meat products, ants also like to invade houses and apartments. If an ant road leads directly through the house, it is very important to remove all open food or to lock it away in closed containers - from sugary cake crumbs to pet bowls with possible leftover food. If the ants can no longer find food, they are no longer interested in the house and look for something else to eat.

Ants belong to the state-building insects, so fighting individual specimens does not help at all - except perhaps the feeling of being able to do something against the insects. In order to drive ants away, one has to intervene profoundly in the life of the entire state. This is done by blocking the ants' way to their food sources or making their stay in the garden as uncomfortable as possible so that they will run away voluntarily.

Which home remedies for ants really help?

The most effective home remedy for ants is vinegar, because the intense scent drives away the insects for a long time. Cinnamon, chilli, lemon peel or herbs such as lavender and thyme have a slightly shorter duration of action. Baking powder, the all-purpose weapon among home remedies, should only be used to a limited extent against ants, as it causes the animals to perish in agony. Better: put boiling water in the ant nests.

Big plus: home remedies work without poison

Poisons like ant remedies work, but especially those who have pets or small children may not want to use them. Rightly so, because the active ingredients in the products are tough, like Spinosad, for example, they are dangerous to bees and very harmful to ponds and aquatic organisms. Ant products are not approved for use in lawns or directly on other plants - they are biocides that can only be used on paths, terraces or in houses directly against the animals. Whenever plants - including grasses - are directly affected, the funds need to be approved as pesticides.

How can you get rid of ants with home remedies?

In the house, cleanliness is the most important thing: If you avoid leftover food and pack everything in jars and cans and, in the case of acute infestation, shut off all sources of sugar, the ants will disperse by themselves. It doesn't work in the garden. Most home remedies aim to drive ants away and either block the way to the food source, confuse the ants or generally make the animals' stay in the garden so uncomfortable that they voluntarily run away and settle elsewhere.

These home remedies drive ants away with their scent

Ants orient themselves with the help of fragrances, the so-called pheromones. If you discover a new source of food, use these scents to mark the route from the burrow to the source of food, for example, and the ants that follow only have to follow this trail to drag food into the burrow. The insects save energy and always use the shortest route. Home remedies with an intense, long-lasting scent mask the ants' scents and they can no longer find the food or the way into the burrow. Poured into the burrow itself, such household remedies drive the ants away - at least for a while, then you have to repeat the procedure. In the house and in dry weather, the home remedies naturally work better and longer than in rainy weather.

  • Vinegar and vinegar essence: Vinegar can also be used as a cleaning agent, it smells strong, vinegar essence is even more intense. If you spray it directly and in several places on the ant road or pour it directly into the burrow, the pheromone trail will be whitewashed and the ants will become disoriented. A ring of vinegar sprayed around some ants locks the animals in like an invisible wall. The effect lasts for days, depending on the weather, an ant burrow affected by vinegar is even given up very quickly. Then you have to stay on the ball so that the animals don't come back.
  • Cinnamon and chilli: Cinnamon and chilli powder also interrupt the ant routes, but do not induce ants to move out of their burrow, as both the cinnamon and chilli scents dissipate quickly. Cinnamon oil, which smells much more intense, is much more effective.
  • Lemons: The shells contain substances that stink the ants and make them turn back into the burrow. Just rub some peels on an ant trail and the insects will turn off again. Lemons are particularly suitable for terraces and balconies, because they smell pleasant for us humans too. Who would want to sit in a cloud of vinegar?
  • Herbs and aromatic plants: Lavender, thyme or marjoram have a strong odor of their own. Branches that are laid out act as a natural barrier and keep the ants at a distance; the animals usually do not build nests near such plants.
  • Plant manure against the nests: With home-made white wormwood or nettle-oregano liquid manure, you not only interrupt the traffic of ants, the effective home remedies ideally also chase the ants out of their nests and force them to move. Start combating with the manure in early spring and pour the broth into the entrances to the nests from the previous year. Because ants spend the winter deep underground and often move back to their old apartments. In order to thoroughly spoil the old apartment for the animals, pour the liquid manure into the burrow. This also works in summer with already populated or newly created nests. For the liquid manure, let 300 grams of fresh or 30 to 40 grams of dry cabbage ferment in ten liters of water for about 14 days.
  • Copper: Ants hate the smell of copper. If you stick a few strips of copper sheet in the nests and arrange a few around them, the ants can be scared away. As with all home remedies, it is definitely worth a try.

Additionally: keep the aphids briefly

Encouraging beneficial insects, spraying them off with water or even combating them directly with oily pesticides - all measures to combat aphids naturally annoy the ants as well. After all, with their honeydew, the lice provide a large part of the food source.

Which home remedies form barriers against ants?

Hold on, you can't get through here! It doesn't even need a strict bouncer to keep ants away from the house or certain places: even household remedies such as fine lime, baby powder or a thick line of chalk lock them out. The effect is based on the fact that the ants avoid the alkaline components of the substances and avoid them. A thick line of chalk around the terrace can therefore lock out ants - until the next rain. Of course, these home remedies only work on stone surfaces, they don't work in beds. A grease barrier is also recommended as a home remedy. It may work, but who would want to grease their balcony or terrace?

Home remedies for killing ants

Some methods do not scare away the pests, but destroy them completely. As the home remedies are of course not as effective and effective as biocides, the animals often die in agony. Therefore, one should rather avoid the following means.

  • Pour boiling water into the nests: Crawlers that are hit, as well as their brood and larvae, are scalded immediately, the water penetrates relatively deep into the nests if it is used by the liter. However, if the water is no longer boiling hot, it only gives the ants a painful heat shock.
  • Baking powder: Often touted as a miracle cure as a home remedy, the effect is a double-edged matter. The insects burst after ingesting the powder, as abundant carbon dioxide is released. Not particularly pleasant. On the other hand, as an alkaline substance, baking powder actually repels ants - they avoid it. If only mixed with powdered sugar, it will be eaten. Then, however, useful insects such as bees or butterflies are keen on the sweet powder - with the same puffing effect. This limits the use of this barbaric home remedy to indoor areas. In any case, only the workers are affected; the queens are not fed with the product, as it works far too quickly. The ants burst before they even reach the burrow.
  • Coffee powder: Coffee powder drives away ants through its scent, but the caffeine also kills ants that are constantly in contact with the coffee powder or should eat it.
  • Beer or sugar water: Sugar water or beer mixed with sugar next to nests or ant trails are supposed to attract the insects. They fall into the liquid and drown. This may even work, but beneficial insects are also lured into the trap that one is not even looking for.

Tip: Simply organize the move for ants

Where ants are a nuisance, there is a very simple and, above all, gentle home remedy: a flower pot with some soil. Because if you fill a flower pot with loose soil and some wood wool and simply put it on the nest, the ants will usually move in there with a kiss on the hand within a week. The soil in the pot warms up and thus offers the perfect environment for a nest. You can then bring the pot with its crawling contents and dump it where the animals can live in peace.

Herbalist René Wadas gives tips on how to control ants in an interview
Video and editing: CreativeUnit / Fabian Heckle