Here is my big, giant, eco-friendly, green, frugal secret about how to get rid of ants safely and without chemicals…
Well, maybe with a little more to do first:
Have you ever noticed that some plants draw ants like bees to honey? Or even ants to honey? For some reason, the previous gardener at our house planted some of these around our house, in the form of peonies. Now the problem with peonies isn’t just that they attract ants, but also that my husband loves them. I much prefer the Ghost Lilies we have at another spot around the house, but for some reason he loves the big pink poof balls. So, because I’m a pushover when it comes to him actually liking something in the garden, I leave them be. And the ants descend.
When we first moved into our house, the ants were congregating in our front yard – in fact, I can guarantee you that at least once per year one of the squares of sidewalk in front of our house will turn black because the little ant bodies are having their own anty conference all over it. It’s gross, it writhes, and the first year I killed them all with a vinegar solution. Of course, that’s not exactly pet friendly or plant friendly, so when they invaded my house, I had to brainstorm a new idea.
I’m fairly particular about what substances we use around our son, because I’m really not okay with all the chemicals that are floating around our world these days. I would really prefer to not add to the problem or dent my checkbook, so I try to find frugal ways to get around all the nastiness. Through my ant-ridding research, I came up with an awesome solution to the ant problem, that fit really well with my frugal and chemical-wary restrictions – cornmeal.
You heard me right, I said cornmeal. Weird, isn’t it? This is one of those little tips that really just makes me giggle and I can’t wait to share it because of the looks I see on the faces of the people I share with – most are incredulous, although some look at me like I’ve grown a third head (this could be in part due to the hysterical giggling, but I can’t say for sure).
Here’s the deal with the cornmeal – you sprinkle it around the area where the ants are trafficking, especially on their routes in and out and around. You know how they are always walking around like they know where they’re going – that’s where you sprinkle it. When I’m sprinkling, I actually lay it down pretty liberally because I want to make sure the little beasties eat it quickly. So what will happen is the ants will pick up the pieces of cornmeal (did you ever play SimAnt, because it’s totally like that!), and take it back to their nest. The ants that we see walking around are the drones/workers/whatever you want to call them, and they go out and bring food back for the important ants – like the Queen. So when they bring the cornmeal back, the important ants eat it and then take sips of water and the cornmeal expands in their bellies and their exoskeletons pop.
I know, it sounds just like that old birds eating rice at weddings business, right? So it’s not an exactly swift way to get rid of ants, but it is non-toxic, and you could even grind your own cornmeal and make it completely organic if you want to feed the ants some high quality stuff. Or, you could just go to your local dollar store or discount grocer and get some cornmeal, feed it to them, and not worry that your dog or kid will get into it and become fatally ill – unless there is an allergy to worry about, you should be perfectly safe!
So there you have it, there’s my giant ant killing secret! I hope you use it and enjoy it. I started using this technique and the ants disappeared the first time in 5 days. The next year they came back, but only in about a third of the force, and I used the same technique again and they were gone within 3 days. This year they didn’t bother to return at all, which unfortunately means I have one less parlor trick. :-) Let me know what you think!
About way2gomomI have been married to my husband for almost four years now (El Hubs), and we have a rambunctious little two year old (Bubba) who always keeps us on our toes. We also have a Jack Russell Terrier named Io (from Greek mythology), who is as big a focus in this article, as is our son. Io will be 9 years old in March.
I currently work outside the home, but will be a stay at home mom (okay, work at home, because who really does nothing at home, am I right?) after Christmas this year. You can find me blogging at JustJoanna.com or tweeting as way2gomom. I am really looking forward to connecting with you, as much as I am looking forward to bringing this series to you! :-)