Baking Soda: The Non-Toxic Way to Get Rid of Ants

baking soda to control ants

Many people prefer to use nontoxic or natural solutions to get rid of ants. Baking soda is a great choice for this purpose because it can kill ants and is only harmful to pets if consumed in large quantities. These are the ways you can use baking soda to kill ants and how this chemical compound actually works for this purpose.

How to Get Rid of Ants With Baking Soda

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Image via Flickr by aqua.mech

You can use baking soda to keep ants out of your home or to kill the ones that have set up on your property.

To use it for infestation prevention, you just need some baking soda. Ants know to avoid pure baking soda, so you can sprinkle it around doorways, window sills, and other entry points to keep them out of your home. You can also sprinkle some in cabinets, under sinks, and in other dark, moist places where ants may find shelter in your home.

To use baking soda as an insecticide, you need baking soda and confectioners sugar. Ants know to avoid baking soda, but masking it with sugar will trick them into consuming the chemical and sharing it with their colony. Follow these steps to kill ants with baking soda:

  1. Mix equal parts confectioners sugar and baking soda in a cup. Note that you must use confectioners sugar — ants will be able to separate regular sugar from the baking soda. Depending on the type of ants you’re dealing with, you may add honey, jam, peanut butter, or another treat to make the trap more appealing.
  2. Sprinkle the mix around high-traffic areas where you have ants. For example, if ants are using a crack in the wall to access your kitchen, put some baking soda mix at the mouth of the opening. You should also seal the entrance once you’ve dealt with the infestation.
  3. Scatter the mix outside on mounds and other areas where ants may build their nests, such as stepping stones, firewood piles, and around the base of trees.

These simple steps should be enough to fix your ant problem. You may also blend some water in with the baking soda and sugar mix to create a paste. Another trick is to place some of the baking soda mix in a soda can and leave it outside. Ants will climb into the can to access to the sugary mix, but your pets won’t be able to access it.

Bonus Recipe: Baking Soda and Boric Acid

Boric acid isn’t a common household product, but some people keep the chemical around as an antiseptic or to make homemade eyewash. It’s also a potent insecticide and is a popular ingredient in commercial products.

You can make your DIY baking soda and sugar mix extra potent by adding some boric acid to help kill the ants. The drawback is that boric acid is toxic. Human consumption may result in stomach problems and skin rashes.

Bonus Recipe: Baking Soda and Diatomaceous Earth

Some people stock food-grade diatomaceous earth at home to use it as a digestive aid or as a key ingredient for detoxing. Like baking soda, it’s also found in some toothpastes and deodorants and may be used in DIY cleaning solutions. It can also be used to kill ants. As with boric acid, you can add some diatomaceous earth to your sugar and baking soda recipe to make your insecticide more potent. Diatomaceous earth is natural and non-toxic, so you won’t need to worry if humans or pets touch or eat the concoction.

Why Is Baking Soda a Good Option for Getting Rid of Ants?

Baking soda is preferred primarily as an all-natural solution that you can safely spread around your property to kill ants. In fact, you may already have some at home you can use. Baking soda is commonly used as an odor absorber and placed under sinks or in a refrigerator or freezer. It’s also beneficial for humans and is consumed as an ingredient in some baked goods. You’ll also find it in some toothpaste recipes.

If you don’t have baking soda already, a box or two isn’t expensive and you can pick up some at any local grocery store. A pound of baking soda goes for less than $1. Finally, most species of ants love sugars, and even those that prefer grease, oils, or fats may harvest your homemade insecticide. This makes it a good option for dealing with all common ant types that invade homes in the United States.

Why Does Baking Soda Kill Ants?

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Image via Flickr by Leonid Mamchenkov

It’s nice that baking soda is an all-natural insecticide that’s safe to use around humans and pets. Thankfully, it’s also quite effective at killing ants if used properly.

Baking soda alters your pH balance. This is wonderful for humans and one of the many reasons why it’s eaten. For ants, though, the altering of their bodies’ natural chemistry is fatal. Worker ants will also carry the chemical compound back to their mounds to share with the rest of the colony, so baking soda can kill the queen and stop an infestation.

Baking Soda Alternatives

If you don’t have baking soda, you can still take care of an ant problem or insect-proof your house with an all-natural recipe using common home products. Discover a few you can try:

  • Soap and water: A mix of dish soap and water will coat ants and suffocate them. However, this only works for killing individual ants.
  • Water and vinegar: Spray a mix of water and vinegar around doors and windows to keep ants from entering your home. You can substitute vinegar for lemon juice if you prefer.
  • Boiling water: Pouring boiling water down the opening of a mound can kill the queen if the water stays hot enough through the tunnels.

Whether you’re using it as a dietary aid or to kill insects, baking soda is a powerful chemical compound. Use it to prevent ants from entering or fix an infestation. A local pest professional can recommend other ways you can deal with an ant problem.

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