Natural pest control. How to keep ants off!

8 08 2011

I am quite the Pocahontas kind of girl. I don’t mind sharing my life with what most people may call pests as long as they are not disruptive of life or threatening. That is how our apartment becomes the winter residence of stink bugs (which happens in every Pittsburgh home, by the way, we just don’t stress out over it) and in summer we have the ants. Now my husband, Greg, is not quite of my opinion but he is a very good sport and takes me in stride, putting up with many of my crazy natural ideas. Until now. The ants were really getting to him! There were too many ants in the kitchen floor, carrying cat food around and he was starting to lose it.

Now, while I might accept that something needs to be done I am not willing to poison my house with chemicals. Our cat, Briar, eats bugs all the time and I will not lose her to intoxication, plus now we have a little baby that will start crawling in a few months and there is no way I will expose him to anything that may hurt him! Therefore, traditional insecticides are banned from my house. Even those that are ‘pet and kids friendly’ because the fact that the neurotoxin is not going to kill your cat does not mean that long time exposure to it is peachy.

Also, I am more of the idea of using insect repellents instead of insecticides, I rather not kill them but deter them from entering the apartment. After all, if they do not come inside, objective met, right?

Cinnamon can be used as an insect repellent.

So when my husband was repeating daily that the ants were a real problem I suggested to check natural pest control alternatives. I knew that my friend Jenny Heidewald have had some success using cloves, and I am a fan of spices and using their many properties. He headed over to the trusty internet and found out that cinnamon can be used to keep ants away. I asked sadly “Will it kill them?” And I got The Look… So, cinnamon it was! The next few minutes were spent adorning the kitchen floors with ground cinnamon where they meet the walls and where the ants were seen emerging. Also the cat bowls got fringed… the next day he headed over to the store to buy a cheaper brand of cinnamon.

How did it work? Well, ants seem to dislike cinnamon and stayed away for about two or three days, then they found a way around to the cat food. So again he sprinkled the area, making sure to add a very thick layer of it!

In a few days, though, the ants had put the work into removing the cinnamon and making a little trail to go between two newly formed mountains :/ plus our other cat, Sebastian, started to show signs of GI problems. We cleaned up

Yeah, ants hate cinnamon so much that they shove it aside making a little valley to keep working.

the kitchen floor and Greg drove to the store to get a less natural but not too chemical pest repellent, one that has done the work for us of finding the right herbs to use. We are in the process of testing it now. Sebastian is doing much better now.

Have you tried a natural pest control method? Has it worked? I am really wanting to hear success stories of non aggressive methods that are useful for apartments.

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2 responses

8 08 2011
Edu

I am with Greg in this one. We tried one full summer to control ants in a nature and bug-friendly manner, to no avail. We finally made a dash to Home Depot and got one of those ant baits. I got two kinds, actually. They did work. This summer, they came again and this time I just got some more baits. I don’t like having them around, but once ants are gone, I take them away. I didn’t see any other bug going into the traps. We have no cats nor little-crawlers.

The bottom line is: you don’t need to have the baits permanently out to control ants. Just put them in place when ants show up. And it may be a better idea to be done with it before the baby starts crawling around.

8 08 2011
Constanza

True. I think the ants live within the walls of the apartment, and they come back every Summer for a few weeks at a time. I doubt we can take care of them once and for all, but the spray Greg bought seems to be working! 🙂 I will report about it soon when we have a few weeks of ant free living.

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