Ants can be persistent little pests, attacking your garden or your favorite flowering plants in droves. It can sometimes be a challenge to figure out how to kill the ants without damaging your plants. Thankfully, though, many household items can be used to kill ants without harming your plants. One thing to keep in mind is that different species of ant are attracted to different scents and tastes. Some ants prefer sweet while others are after greasy.
Cornmeal is the quickest and cheapest way to kill ants. It is safe for the environment, children and pets, and does not attract other pests. Poor little piles of cornmeal near the anthill, the ants will take it home to share. The cornmeal cannot be digested by the ants and they die. It may take a week or so to see the entire colony gone, but it works.
Orange Guard Get’s ‘Em
Orange Guard is non-toxic to people, pets and birds, and can be used indoors or out. It is safe for food preparation areas and will kill ants on contact and repel them for up to two weeks.
Shakley’s Basic H is a soap made from soy beans. Fill a spray bottle 1/3 Shakley’s to 2/3 water and spray on plants. This is SOAP, remember to rinse greens thoroughly and you may have to re-apply depending on rainy weather (thefrugallife, 2010).
Boric Acid Sugar Cocktail
In a glass screw top jar, mix 1 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons of boric acid and 24 ounces of water. Shake the contents until all crystals are dissolved. Use a smaller jar (a baby food jar) and fill it half full with cotton balls. Pour enough of the mixture into the smaller jar to thoroughly saturate the cotton. Screw the lid tightly on the jar and cover with waterproof tape. Poke holes in the top the lid for the ants to enter through. Place the jar near the entrance of the ant hill (but out of sight of children and pets). The ants will crawl inside for the sugar and take the deadly cocktail home to the rest of the colony. If you notice a lot of dead ants by the jar dilute the cocktail a little so they will make it back to the anthill.
*Boric acid is deadly to cockroaches and ants, it is low in toxicity to animals and people but should still be contained in a safe place (out of reach of children).
Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide made from dried flowers. Prepare a mixture of 16 ounces of ready to use pyrethrum with 1 tbsp. rubbing alcohol. This can be sprayed directly on the ant nest and will kill on contact.