How To Control Ants in Your House and Garden

Many people struggle with having ants in their homes and garden. These tiny pests can wreak havoc as they can eat your food and plants, bite and at times just be an overall nuisance.

Knowing how to control ants in your house and garden will help keep these tiny bugs at bay.

Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your house and garden ant-free. With the right steps, you will no longer have to worry about ants invading your space.

Though small, ants often travel in large numbers which can be problematic.

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How To Control Ants in Your House and Garden

Ants often journey into homes for food or to seek shelter. Even small amounts of food, like crumbs, can be enough to attract ants indoors.

In addition, heavy rains can lead to ants turning to your home as a dry, safe place to inhabit.

Ants may also settle in your garden, as it is a place for them to make anthills.

They may also be attracted to the plants you are growing in your garden. Though at times ants can be beneficial for your garden, when there are too many it can become problematic.

Controlling Ants in Your House

Nobody wants to deal with ants in their home. Even if they aren’t causing any serious issues, they are still unpleasant to deal with.

Your home can be a welcoming site for them as it can be a source of food and shelter.

If you have pets or kids, you want to make sure you are using non-toxic products that won’t cause harm to your loved ones.

Luckily, there are several kid and pet safe methods to keep ants away.

Peppermint Oil

Not only will peppermint oil make your home smell wonderful, but it can help keep ants out as well as other pesky bugs.

Mix 10-20 drops of peppermint essential oil in two cups of water and spray your counter, along your baseboards, and any entry points they may be coming in.

Be sure to keep peppermint oil out of reach of dogs and cats. If ingested, it can make your pets ill.


Ants despise pepper. The smell of pepper alone is enough to irritate ants.

By sprinkling black or cayenne pepper along your baseboards and behind baseboards, you can fend off ants.

Coffee Grounds

Brewed coffee grounds can be an effective way to keep ants out of your house.

Simply place the brewed coffee grounds on a disposable surface like old newspapers or index cards and place them near the problem areas.

The coffee grounds can also be sprinkled along windowsills, but they do need to be changed on a regular basis so they don’t dry out.

White Vinegar

A common kitchen ingredient, white vinegar can be used to effectively ward off ants.

You can use white vinegar to kill ants directly. You can also create a spray that is one part water and one part vinegar to keep them away.

The white vinegar mix can be sprayed on your countertops, baseboards, and hardwood floors.

Ants can still smell white vinegar after it dries, where most people won’t be able to.

Clean Off Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs From Your Garden Before Bringing Them Inside

If you have a garden where you grow fruits, vegetables, or herbs at your home, be sure to wipe or rinse off your produce before bringing it inside.

You may unknowingly be bringing ants inside by not cleaning your homegrown food before bringing it in to eat.

Avoid Leaving Any Crumbs

Crumbs are a major attraction to ants. Whether they are in your pantry or from your pet’s food, ants will seek out crumbs in your house.

Be sure to regularly clean your pantry and keep your food tightly sealed to avoid ants.

It is also important to make sure to clean up any messes your pet may make from eating. Pet food mats can allow for an easy clean from any messy eaters.

How to Control Ants in Your Garden

While having ants in your garden can be helpful, they can easily get out of control and cause problems.

A large population of ants in your garden can be a nuisance and cause problems for your plants and you may need professional help.

When the problem gets out of control, there are some safe methods you can follow to resolve your ant problem.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth is a safe yet effective way to get rid of ants.

It is made from fossilized diatoms and works to dry out the exoskeleton of insects. Simply sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your plants and it will dehydrate the ants.

Grow Peppermint Plants

As ants are not fond of peppermint, you can grow peppermint plants in your garden to help keep them out.

In addition, ants will typically avoid lavender, rosemary, and thyme.

Sprinkle Pepper

To help keep ants out of your garden, sprinkle cayenne pepper or cinnamon throughout. Ants will be irritated by the pepper and steer clear.

Pour Boiling Water

If you have a major ant problem in your garden, you can pour boiling water on the anthills. This is a safe and effective way to exterminate ants.

Conclusion: No More Ants

Ants can be problematic in your house and garden. By taking the right steps, you can control your ant issue.

Written by Tony Manhart

Tony ManhartTony Manhart is founder of Gardening Dream, a website where he shares his knowledge of lawn care, soil maintenance, garden pest control and growing plants.

In his spare time, he enjoys working around his own garden as well as sharing his gardening tips and advice through his website.