Initially I bought diatomaceous earth as a natural ant killer. I had heard good things about it. For years I had bought the raid ant traps and, really, they do work. While I’m a huge proponent of DE, I recognize they’re many ways to achieve the same goal. The reason I’ve switched completely to DE is the repellent capabilities it has as well. After I set up the traps, I had to wait for the ants to slowly die. I’m not saying DE works instantly, but it does act as a barrier between the ants and my home. Now, before the ants even come to my door, I just apply DE in strategically around my house. It’s been going great.
I have since expanded my ant killing to the yard. There are ant hills that used to go unchecked that now receive the ultimate DE treatment. Sometimes it takes a couple treatments to stop the satellite mounds from coming up, but in the end, I get ’em.
A reoccurring theme you’ll notice in my posts is the necessity to clean your home. (I feel like I’m turning into my mother.) Old food on the floor attracts ants. At least in colder climates, you get reprieve during the wintertime; in warmer climates ants are a year round thing. Once I ventured out of Canada to live some place warmer. I never thought I would miss the winter, but when I had to put my cereal in the fridge to protect it from the ants, I did miss the ant-cleansing qualities of snow. Anyway.
- Start by caulking cracks to seal up any ways ants might be entering your home. Check windows (especially basement windows) so make sure everything is sealed up properly.
- Check for gaps in your front door (if you don’t have anything obviously visible) you can see the sun shining through or have somebody use a flashlight if it’s dark out.
- Deep cleaning is important, especially around the fridge and stove. It can be a pain, but it is necessary to move them out of their usual spots. This is a routine place for food to fall down and it will attract ants, plus it can’t hurt to go through the fridge and throw out any old, rotting food. Also if you’re in the habit of eating on the couch, vacuum the couches to get any crumbs. Be sure to move around the cushions as well.
- Next, do a general vacuum of the home.
- Sometimes overhanging trees close to the roof act as a gateway (especially carpenter ants) into the house. You can remedy this situation be trimming back vegetation.
Using Diatomaceous Earth on Ant Hills
- Grab an ant-hill-stirring-device (a stick or something with a long handle) and turn up the ant hill (wear actual shoes, not sandals). The purpose of this is to expose the queen. Keep in mind there can be several queens in each hill.
- As you’re stirring, liberally add DE to the mound. Keep stirring it in. Ant hills can go quite deep which is why they can be difficult to finally eradicate.
- Be vigilant about checking for satellite mounds as they creep up.
Adding DE in your Home
While DE works well, it can be messy at times. The nice thing is you generally add it around the perimeter (i.e. it’s not likely you’ll put it in the middle of your kitchen floor) of your home.
- Add DE to places where ants could possibly get in. The most likely location is around windows and doors. Hopefully you’ve already sealed up any cracks, but add DE to those areas anyway as a precaution.
- If you’re ambitious, you could add other natural repellents in your home. These items are common thing you would find in any home including cinnamon, ground black pepper, bay leaves, salt, sage, and cucumber peels.
- This can be tricky because it you live in an extremely windy area, the DE is likely to blow away. While DE isn’t effective when it’s wet, it can help it to stay in place once it dries. Make a DE “slurry” by adding 4 tablespoons to a gallon of water. DE doesn’t actually mix together; rather it hangs suspended in the water. Keep shaking the bottle as you go to ensure the DE is evenly distributed throughout the water. There are several applicators you can buy, but you can just use just a simple spray bottle.
- It’s good to keep track of the amount of ants you normally see to get an accurate picture of how effective your placement is.
My Battle with Ants
Back to my ant infestation. I’ve battled with ants over the past few years, and every year I’ve managed to get rid of them earlier and earlier. Last week, I applied DE in my yard and around the entrance of my home. There are a large number of ant hills between the pavement and the grass around the edge of the lawn. I’m not sure how deep these hills go, but I dumped a bunch of DE all along the way. The sprinkler system has turned on a few times, but it’s not strong enough to wash the DE away, so I haven’t needed to reapply DE yet.
To be honest, it hasn’t been much of a battle since I’ve had the upper hand most of the fight. Over the past few days, the amount of ants has dropped significantly. We noticed it about a day or so after I applied DE. Keep in mind that not every DE application works as fast, but if you catch an infestation early enough you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get rid of it. As always, check out the references below for additional information and leave a comment or question below.