Black ants are a common household pest that is often found in the kitchen or bathroom. They provide sources of food and water for the entire colony to survive. While generally harmless to humans, they can be considered a nuisance to many. This is why many people are looking for ways to keep black ants out of their spaces without having to exterminate them.
So how can you get black ants out of your house without killing them? The simplest way is to use any type of non-toxic ant repellent in your home to treat an ant infestation. Whether it be commercial repellents or home solutions, you should be able to deter ants from entering your home. But if the ants keep coming back, it’d be best to contact professional pest management services.
Read More: How To Get Rid of Black Ants Inside The House
While most would suggest using an ant treatment that will kill off the ants to prevent future infestations, there are non-toxic repellents that can get rid of black ants while not causing them any harm. How these repellents work is that they create an uninviting barrier between your house and the ants.
With ants heavily relying on their sense of smell, most repellents make use of scents that naturally deter ants which can range from a chemically formulated commercial repellent to simply peppermint oil. Through this, ants will most likely leave your home or avoid entering it due to the irritating smell drowning out the smell of a possible food source.
Anything that deters ants from recognizing your home as a potential food source or nesting site can be considered a repellent. There are multiple commercial ant repellents that can effectively treat ant infestations without killing them as well as homemade DIY solutions that can be made from common household items. Here are some commercial and DIY ant repellents you could use to treat an infestation:
Two of the most common types of commercial ant repellents include non-lethal powder ant repellents and commercial non-lethal liquid chemical sprays. Unlike other types of ant repellents, these don’t kill the ants; instead, they drive them away. But if you’re too scared to come in contact with chemical substances like such, you can always seek professional help when eliminating black ants.
How most non-lethal powder ant repellents work is that they use an overpowering scent to break or damage the pheromone trail ants leave behind. These pheromone ant trails are scents emitted by the ant species as a guide to their food supply and possible food sources. Sprinkling a thin line of powder ant repellent where you have previously seen ants congregate will most likely prevent them from reentering the area.
Powder ant repellents are highly effective in treating ants without killing them, however, they do require a bit more effort from you to remain effective. As a powder, it is possible for it to be dusted or blown away allowing for ants to re-emerge and infest your home once again. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you may want to routinely place powder repellents on all the possible entry points of ants in your home.
Most non-lethal liquid ant repellents or bug spray come in a spray bottle with a non-toxic solution that deters ants by releasing an overpowering irritating strong smell for ants. While it may not be irritating for humans, it should be strong enough to get rid of ants in your house without killing them. However, like powdered ant repellent, you’ll need to routinely reapply the liquid solution throughout your home to keep ants away. Once the liquid has dried up, it’s likely that so will the detering scent leading to ants returning to your home.
In addition to this, it’s important to use the liquid ant repellent as instructed if your main goal is to get rid of ants without killing them. The chemicals used for the solution’s scents can be toxic when sprayed directly onto ants. It will most likely cause a breakdown of their exoskeleton and kill them slowly. To avoid this simply spray the solution near where you normally see ants congregate in your home and that should be enough to keep the ants at bay.
If you want safer alternatives, then you can always make your own solutions. Some homemade solutions you can make include vinegar and water, essential oils, cabinet spices, and citrus fruits, among others. If both non-lethal ant repellents and DIY solutions aren’t enough, then it’s time to call the professionals.
White vinegar and water solutions have been used in home cleaning for ages and just so happens to also be an effective ant repellent. While the strong smell of vinegar often disappears once it has dried down to humans, the smell lingers a lot longer for ants. With ants being naturally averse to the smell of vinegar, they will most likely stay away from surfaces cleaned with this solution. To keep the repellent working simply use the vinegar solution in your daily or weekly chores and that should keep ants away.
While a common misconception, a vinegar and water solution won’t actually kill the ants unless directly targeted or drowned in the solution. The vinegar will simply redirect the ants to another location that could be a possible food source and doesn’t have an irritating smell to them.
Essential oils, especially citrus oils work as a great ant repellent that will not only deter ants from coming into your home but also effectively erase the chemical trails left behind by previous worker ants. These types of oil contain a toxic chemical to ants which is why their scent signals danger to ants keeping them away. In addition, the overpowering smell removes the pheromone trail ants leave behind to signal other ants of a potential food source.
To properly apply essential oils around your home as an ant repellent, it’s advisable to dilute it with some water which can then be applied to any surface inside your home.
Cinnamon sticks, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cloves, coffee grounds, and chili pepper are just some of the most common spices found in your spice cabinet that could work as a non-lethal ant repellent. All of these spices emit an irritating scent to ants causing them to leave your home and scavenge for food elsewhere. To use these spices as an ant repellent all you have to do is sprinkle them around areas where you have noticed ants or on any possible openings in your home.
Do note that spices can be dusted or blown away so you will need to add more to areas routinely with this method. It is also advisable to avoid using this on lower level areas if you have children or pets as it may cause irritation or an allergic reaction to their skin or eyes.
While most house plants are small, they can still play host to ant nests causing an ant infestation in your home. To avoid ant nests from forming in house plants, you can add lemon juice or rinds or any citrus fruit to the pot. Like the essential oils, the smell of lemons and citrus will cause irritation to ants and redirect them out of your home. Additionally, the lemon and citrus scents will also mask the pheromone trail to your home and hopefully prevent further infestations in the future.
Learn More: How to Find Where Black Ants Are Hiding in Your Home
While ant baits and ant repellents are often used interchangeably or even in conjunction with one another, they treat ant infestations very differently. Ant baits use a blend of toxins that have sweet scents to draw ants in and take the food-like substance back to the colony. Once the worker ants bring the sweet bait back to the colony, the entire colony will ingest the ant bait and release toxins into their body. This will effectively kill not only the ants that you see inside your home but the entire colony as the toxins were brought into the ant nest.
Though ant bait is very effective in treating ant-related issues and is often used by professionals to avoid future infestations in the home, it will kill the black ants. If you are set on finding a non-lethal way to treat black ants in your home, an ant repellent would be the safest option.
As mentioned earlier repellents release a non-harmful scent that deters ants from areas in your home. Oftentimes, this is an effective treatment in redirecting black ants outside of your home without having to kill them. However, with the colony structure still intact repellents may simply redirect the ants to another area of your home and become ineffective once the scent has diminished.
To ensure the continued effectiveness of your ant repellent, whether it be commercial or homemade, you’ll need to constantly reapply the solution around your house. With a powdered repellent, you’ll need to reapply after each dusting while liquid repellents will lose their effectiveness once it has dried out.
It’s best to cover any possible entry points such as small holes in the wall, window gaps, and door frames to seal all possible entry points inside your house. Overall, ant repellents offer a great solution to ant infestations but do require a bit more upkeep and management as opposed to ant baits.
While repellents may work in controlling ant infestations, the best way to avoid having to kill ants is to prevent any infestation from occurring in the first place. To avoid having to treat your house for ant infestations, there are many preventative measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of them entering your home in the first place. Here are some things you can do to avoid ants in your home:
The only reason ants are entering your home is because they are in search of food. By cutting off any possible food source to the ants, they will naturally have to leave your home and search for food somewhere else. You can cut off their food source in your home by keeping your food in air-tight containers or air-tight seals.
In addition to this, you should also keep pet food out of reach and wash your dirty dishes immediately as the food that remains on your dishes still qualify as a food source for ants. Ants have very few food preferences so while you may think of something as inedible, chances are that they are still a viable food supply to ants.
In addition to food, ants can be attracted to water leaks and stagnant water sources around your home. This is because it can house certain amounts of food and waste particles as well. To avoid ants congregating to these water sources, you should fix any leaks in your home and remove stagnant water sources like inactive fountains or pet drinking bowls.
With ants heavily relying on scent, food spills may attract ants if not cleaned up properly. While there may no longer be a supply of food available the scent is enough to attract ants. Cleaning up food spills and wiping away food residue on surfaces can help remove the food scent trail that ants are attracted to and are an easy way to rid your house of possible ants infestations.
While most professional ant treatments do intend to treat infestations by killing them, you can consult your local exterminator services to assess the situation and give you non-lethal options. More often than not, an inspection will need to be done to see how they can properly address the infestation.
You can also ask for a pre-treatment during the summer when ants are more likely to enter your home. If the infestation has gotten too severe, there is a chance that they will suggest lethal measures to ensure that your house is ant-free after treatment.
Learn More: How To Kill Small Black Sugar Ants Surrounding Your House
While home and over-the-counter solutions may be effective, there comes a point when you need to call in the professionals. If left untreated ant colonies will continue to grow and cause further infestations in your home. Whether it be the common black ant or Argentine ant colonies, Positive Pest Management can exterminate them all!
With affordable prices and long-term pest control, Positive Pest Management is one of New York’s most trusted pest control services to both residential and commercial spaces across the city. Get your pest infestations under control and contact us at 1-800-294-3130 now. l today!