Insecticides like ant killers contain both active and unknown inactive ingredients. The active ingredients kill the pests and the inactive ingredients help the active ingredients do their job. And both active and inactive ingredients can be toxic to your health.
The most common types of insecticides used to kill ants are possible carcinogens, endocrine disruptors linked to developmental and reproductive effects, toxic to your nervous system and can cause asthma-like reactions with exposure. And in some insecticide formulas the inactive ingredients make the ant killer even more toxic.
Fortunately, homemade ant killers are very effective. And way less toxic than synthetic ant killers. A successful approach to controlling ants includes destroying the ants you see and their chemical trails with homemade spray and using homemade bait to kill the ants you don’t see.
Citrus Oil Pepper Spray
This organic pesticide works well on ants. Mix 10 drops of orange essential oil and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil with one teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray on the affected areas.
(I’m not a fan of using orange oil because it’s a high limonene oil. Limonene reacts with ozone in indoor air to create formaldehyde. I use it here because it’s an effective ant killer. You could substitute cedar oil for the orange oil in this recipe.)
Gather some small plastic containers with lids. If you’ve banned plastic from your life, get some from a friend.
Poke 4-5 holes spaced evenly around the outside of each container about an inch from the top. These holes should be about the size of a pencil to allow the ants to enter the container easily.
Mix 1 cup of Borax with 3 cups of sugar to make 6-8 traps.
Fill the containers to about 1/2 an inch or so below the holes in the container.
Add water to make the mixture slightly soupy and a teaspoon of peanut butter.
Stir until well mixed. Place the lid on the container.
Set the traps in areas where you find ants. These can also be used outdoors to keep ants from coming in.
Multipurpose Bug Killer
Mix 3 tablespoons of Cedar oil into 1 pint of water (this is a 10% solution). Place in a spray bottle. Spray directly on insects and surfaces where you see insects, for example, ants on kitchen counters.
Tip For Ant Free Outside Activities
Keep some large containers of cheap cinnamon from the dollar store with your cookout and picnic supplies. Sprinkle liberally around your picnic tables and food to repel ants.
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