Full disclosure, poisons scare me, I hate killing things, and I hate wasting money. This is what works in my home:
In the early spring, I start putting everything sweet and protein rich on lockdown. My sugar bowl, honey, and fruit go into the refrigerator; cereal, pet food, and bags of sugar go into airtight containers; dirty dishes go directly into the dishwasher (no sitting in the sink); compost gets taken out often; and counter tops and sink tubs get cleaned after every meal.
Seal the Home
When I get ants, I look for a line of ants to locate where they are coming into my home and use caulking to seal the hole. If I cannot seal the hole, I generously apply cinnamon, pepper, citrus oil, or peppermint oil to the location.
Embrace Natural Predators
This is another reason I’m not a fan of poison - lots of animals like to eat ants and I don’t want to poison that natural, no cost, resource. When I locate where ants are crawling up my foundation into my home, it’s usually sheltered by a plant. I pull all plants away from my foundation so the birds can see the ants and gobble them up. If they are using a wire, pipe, or some other non-movable object for shelter, I color the area with chalk (I choose a color that blends in or draw a pretty picture) because the ants will walk around the chalk to an unsheltered area. I embrace any spiders that set up shop where ants are coming into the house (I had a spider in my kitchen for two years that prevented all ants from entering!). I rejoice when I see centipedes in my basement.
Patients and Consistency
I feel like the ants in my kitchen are less dangerous than any poison, so I sometimes must be patient while solving the problem. These are not quick fixes, but with some consistency and persistence, they have always worked for me.
I don’t need to buy, store, or pay to dispose of unused poison. Each year gets easier to deter ants because I have already sealed up holes and removed shelters (I haven’t had any so far this year!). My food last longer being properly stored and refrigerated. My kitchen is always clean. The sealed holes (which I wouldn’t even know existed if not for the ants) decrease drafts in the winter, saving money on energy bills and making my home more comfortable.
I am describing how I handle the tiny ants just looking for a sweet meal in my kitchen. If you are concerned about insects, like carpenter ants or termites, impacting the structural integrity of your home, I strongly suggest you consult a professional pest control service.
For more information about reducing household hazardous products, visit TakeBackYourHome.org or email me, Cher Mohring, Community Outreach Coordinator, Hamilton County R3Source