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You've heard that saying, "Where there's smoke, there's fire"? In the case of ants, when you see one or two of them at home, there's likely a whole army of them hidden nearby. If ants are making their way into your house from outside, you may be able to repel them using natural or nontoxic solutions (in addition to removing any food that might be luring them to your home in the first place), but those that are nesting in your house have to go — and you may need to resort to more potent measures. Here are a variety of repellent methods that'll help you get rid of ants before they take over your home.
$6 BUY NOW
Because ants are drawn to their food sources by scent, this ant repellent uses the power of essential oils to throw them off the trail. This all-natural pouch from Earthkind contains lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme, and it can be placed by your entryway or wherever you suspect that ants are entering your home. If you can, seal any openings or cracks, or get a sweep for your front door if you see a sizable gap there.
Earthkind's pouches have the added benefit of being completely safe to have out around kids and pets, and while they may not kill ants that are in your house already, it can keep them from reaching food that's out on your counter and prevent future infestations.
$8 BUY NOW
Break out the borax at the first sign of ants to prevent them from becoming a bigger problem later. This multipurpose cleaner has myriad uses around the home, but it can be used as a natural, chemical-free pesticide as well. Set a homemade trap by combining borax and sugar in water, soaking cotton balls in it, then placing them on take-out lids near ant-infested areas. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, and will bring the solution back to their nest. As the borax is dispersed in the nest, the ants will die, and you'll stop seeing them in your home. You can also sprinkle borax around the perimeter of your house to strengthen your defenses against other ant armies.
$15 BUY NOW
Peppermint oil is another natural, nontoxic insect repellent that keeps mosquitoes and spiders at bay, too. Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of peppermint oil, and spritz it around your windows and doors (on the inside and out), so that these vulnerable openings have a little extra protection against an ant invasion.
$21 BUY NOW
If you get an influx of bugs and pests in the home during certain seasons, try driving them out using this plug-in, ultrasonic repellent from Neatmaster. It has three different frequencies for different-sized pests, and it's a humane, low-maintenance solution to a burgeoning bug problem. Users note that the lower two modes are proficient in repelling insects like ants and mosquitos without being audible, but that the highest mode does have an annoying high-pitched sound.
$24 BUY NOW
If you've honed in on a colony of ants inside your home, you might want to spray it and the surrounding area down, so that other ants won't pick up on the trail to your food. The EcoRaider solution contains plant-based compounds, and while it does kill ants, it's a pet-safe alternative to use indoors instead of more potent chemicals.
$14 BUY NOW
Diatomaceous earth is a dust-like substance that's comprised of crushed, fossilized water algae that penetrates and dehydrates bugs from the inside out. Use it to dust the crevices of your home in order to curtail an impeding infestation of ants and other crawling bugs. It should be sprinkled under sinks, in basements, attics, outlets, or anywhere that bugs would proliferate, but that pets and humans aren't likely to interact with it. Users also advise that you should wear a dust mask while scattering it around your space.
$15 BUY NOW
If you have an ant outbreak on your hands, before calling an exterminator, try seeing if you can poison the nest by using Amdro ant bait. The ants will pick up these sawdust-like pieces and carry them back to their nest, dropping dead soon after they consume it. While unfortunately Amdro isn't safe to use around pets, kids, or in your vegetable gardens, users have touted this for being a very effective method for getting rid of ants in the home, including destructive carpenter ants.