36 answers

Natural Pest Control - Lansing,MI

Hello moms! My husband and I recently moved into a new home and have discovered that we have an ant problem. I am 7 months pregnant and do not want my baby exposed to pesticides/harmful chemicals, but don't want the ants either! Does anyone have any suggestions on natural pest control? The ants are several kinds, some are outside, some are in my cupboards. Please help!



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So What Happened?™

Ok, I washed everything down with vinegar, then mixed borax with sugar and put it everywhere they came in. Stubborn little pests kept finding new places to come in, but we persisted. After about 3 weeks they were gone. Three or so days later, another kind of ant, this one a big, black biting ant, started appearing. The borax had no effect. I sprayed peppermint oil, then lavender oil, no effect. I even sprayed my dog's natural flea repellant where they were coming in. They found other entrances. Finally, I broke down and put out the self-contained traps. They slowed them down a bit, but not for long. Yuck!!!! Our baby is due anytime, and I told my husband that after he is born my husband can spray his toxic chemicals to get rid of the ants. If they bite me, they will bite our baby. It seems that this house has just sat empty too long, the ants won't leave!

Thanks for all the wonderful ideas out there! This is such a wonderful site to share ideas!

Featured Answers

We use cinnamon. Ants do not like it at all. They scatter immediately. We also used them with flying ants and it also worked. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Ants won't cross chalk lines either, so, if you have some say, sidewalk chalk or something laying around (the thick ones), you could mark the doorways etc, but if I'm not mistaken it has to go on thick (not width wise, but a large amount of it) so you may need to scribble it back and forth to get the job done.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M., the best thing that has worked for me is peppermint oil on cotton balls. My grandma use to do this, and passed it on to us. Just put the oil on the cotton balls and put them in the areas you see the ants. Good luck. B.

More Answers

Haven't got a remedy for outside but I found that peppermint oil (not extract) is a wonderfully natural way to keep ants away. I've had problems with the little pests and since I have 2 very curious cats I wanted something safe for them to sniff around. You can find it at any store that sells cake supplies or perhaps a health food store. Just put a little on a piece of cotton and stuff the cotton into the corners around where you think they may be getting in. I actually put some in all the corners of my kitchen and around my exit door. In years past I'd have trails into the house. This year I have killed about 4! They say it works for lady bugs too.

2 moms found this helpful

I have used cornmeal outside. They eat it and can't digest it, so when they go back to their hole, they die. I'm sure this would work inside, but I am thinking that would be a little messy, unless you can pinpoint where they are coming and going. Cornmeal is safe for animals and children also!!

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the baking soda/powdered sugar combo. They are attracted to the powdered sugar, but since they cannot pass gas, the baking soda kills them when they ingest the 2 together. We use this in the yard when we see a big anthill and it works great. I have never tried it in the house...but i am sure it would be the same results.

1 mom found this helpful

We use cinnamon. Ants do not like it at all. They scatter immediately. We also used them with flying ants and it also worked. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

borax works very well (comet bon ami too) they will not cross a borax line - we use it outside
another thing that works well is avon skin so soft you can spray the cabinets and they tend to not come back

not saying these are super super chemical free but compared to the alternative -----

also diseginous earth (I am sure I spelled that wrong!) google it though and you can read about it :) its completely natural

1 mom found this helpful

I use Environmental Pest Control. Everything is 100% safe for kids and pets. All natural. They spray my house and I am good for the rest of the season. We had carpenter ants and 2 days after he sprayed, I haven't seen 1 single ant. I dont' know where you're located, but here is his their site


1 mom found this helpful

M. -
We had the same problem in our kitchen and couldn't seem to get rid of them. The bait traps didn't work and we were quickly overrun. I took one day and vacuumed up all the ants I could find and then watched to see where they were coming from. As soon as I found their source (a vent in the floor) I sprayed a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water on the vent and the floor around it. I didn't even wipe it up...just let it dry there. I did that every day for several days, and we haven't seen the ants since. I hope this may work for you. Good luck! :)

1 mom found this helpful

a little dish of vinegar set where they are helps keep them at bay. You can wipe down the counter tops etc. I have heard that cornmean works good and helps get rid of the entire nest because they carry it back.

Please be careful about organic or "natural" chemicals/pesticides, as they are chemicals too and since they are labeled the way they are, people think that they are safe. In fact a chemical is a chemical no matter what, and they can all be harmful if ingested.

1 mom found this helpful

I have been told that dried bay leaves work well. Just tuck them around where you see the ants...in the cupboards, along the baseboards, etc. I don't know if it will take care of them completely, but I have been told by a few different people that it works very well. Plus, once the baby is crawling around, if he/she finds one, it won't hurt them if it gets in their mouth.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi - we had a problem with those little red ants building ant hills all over the yard. I read about this, and tried it. Seems to work. Sprinkle corn meal on and around the area the ants are. The apparently eat the stuff, can't digest it, and then die. I've gotten rid of two very larg ant colonies doing this this summer, and I have none in my house! :) (We usually get those black ants in the summer - YUCK!) I spread a little around the base of my home every few weeks or so (whenever I happen to see ants around). The key is to be sure to go out and reapply after it rains, and wherever you see them. Hope this helps with your ant problem!!! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not sure about inside your home, but I use Basic-H from Shaklee (www.Shaklee.com). It's and organic cleaner, and it has a wetting agent (something ants hate). I just pour some in one of those Miracle-Grow thingies that attach to the hose, and spray it that way. This stuff is so gentle you can wash your fruit and veggies with it. I'm a distributor for Shaklee so if you decide to order some, let me know (discounts).

1 mom found this helpful

For inside your cupboards, a bay leaf and cornmeal really work for ants. Ants don't like the smell of the bay leaf and they are unable to digest the cornmeal. For outside your home, coffee grounds work great. Sprinkle some near the foundation of your home where you see the pests. These are all natural remedies that won't harm kids or pets. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Ants won't cross chalk lines either, so, if you have some say, sidewalk chalk or something laying around (the thick ones), you could mark the doorways etc, but if I'm not mistaken it has to go on thick (not width wise, but a large amount of it) so you may need to scribble it back and forth to get the job done.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

Great question. I need to deal with the same issue. Ants!!!

I haven't order this yet, but this info will put us on the right track.

There is a book of all natural remedies to the bug problem.

1001 All Natural Secrets to Pest Control
Written by: Myles Bader

I'm sure you can get it from the bookstore, but if not here is another source.

On line: www.qvc.com
Item Number: FO3328

If you don't like the book, you have 30 days to return for a full refund.

Good luck,


Hi M., I know how you feel about harmful chemicals, they are everywhere! I have a 2 year old and I used to worry about him getting into stuff but now I buy all natural,toxin free products from a great company that ships right to your door! You can mix their different products together for all kinds of things. They have recipes for an ant killer, ant prevention, fire ants, and just ants in general! I also make my own bug spray and my own baby wipes! It is awesome to be able to provide healthy alternatives for your family, and save money! If you are interested I can help you out, just contact me at ____@____.com or ###-###-#### I would LOVE to help!

I know this is not natural but it also does not have harmful chemicals sprayed around...I use raid ant baits. They are little black plastic containers and they have a peanut butter bait inside that the ants take back to their nest and it kills all of them. I lived in a trilevel and we had tons of them. I would just see where they were and put the traps out and within a few days they were gone. I had some in the back of cupboards and in the vents and I even put some right outside the door tucked under the doormat in the corner. They worked great and they are covered with holes only small enough for the ants to get through so no need to worry about the baby touching the actual poison if she does happen to get a hold of one, unless she put it in her mouth. Just put them in places where she can't reach, under stoves and other appliances etc.

You could order Riddex online. That's just plugging it in and keeping them away. Don't know if it has an effect on ants already inside tho. But check Better Health or Whole Foods.
I do know that diatamasious earth (or however it's spelled) is very effective on spider and scorpions, probably against ants too. But that goes on the outside.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, it may require bombing your house with foggers. In that case go to the pet store or your vet. That way you can plan a nice day away from home for a couple hours.

I have no idea if this works but one of my coworkers just told me that if you draw a line with chalk the ants will not cross it. Use plain chalk or the big colored sidewalk chalk that the kids play with. Good luck and hope it works! D.

i had an ant problem and i used chili powder. i found where they were coming in and sprinkled, chili powder along the wall on the inside and it took about 2 days b/c my dog licked it up the 1st day...weird dog...lol. anyway haven't had a problem since. hope this works..

One thing that I have heard, but haven't had to try yet, is grits. Sprinkle grits in the area of where the ants are getting in they will carry them away and try to eat them and die, because they can't digest them.

Hey M., Ironically, I was just talking to a friend about ant control and she told me about this thing that she put by where the ants were coming in her house. I guess it makes a high pitched tone that humans can't hear and it worked great. I wish I knew the name of it, but you could probably find it at a hardware or home improvement store or search online.

Use ant traps inside and if that doesn't work, you can have them spray outside.

Try putting salt by the areas where they are coming from. For some odd reason the ants won't cross the salt line. Good luck

I use the little round white traps.

Mix skin so soft bath oil with 4 parts water, spray around door jams and window sills, you can also put some on pieces of cardboard in cupboards. It drives them away. It also works great on your skin to repel mosquitos.

I just read that baking soda works also! Haven't tried it yet.

Hi M.

The only advice I can think of is check on WZZM's website for ideas and tips from the green thumb.

Hope it helps.

I use sprays, but I'm older so it doesn't matter unless it can't be used around animals.

P. W.

Cucumber peels also work well. Just place some down for a couple days and the ants stop coming around.

Hi M., the best thing that has worked for me is peppermint oil on cotton balls. My grandma use to do this, and passed it on to us. Just put the oil on the cotton balls and put them in the areas you see the ants. Good luck. B.

Hi M.
Try sprinkling Borax in your cupbaords and outside the house where you see the ants. They will take it back to their nest and in a few days you shouldn't see any more.

A critter control worker told me once to use half sugar, half baking soda. The ants will take it back to the nest with them and it kills them. Also, look for tree branches, and other thigngs that are laying on or near your roof, sometimes they live on the tree and go into your house because it is convenient for them. We removed a branch and it took care of the problem, so I haven't tried it but he siad he used it and it worked. Good luck!

My step mom has a lot of problems with chemical so she uses a lot of natural remedies. She swears by vinegar. Just dilute it a little with water and put it on a rag and wipe all the surfaces (including cupboards). She claims it works for her. Good luck.

One thing we found as a temporary solution was salt, for some reason they do not like salt. This is only temporary cause with humidity and rain its effectiveness only last for a short while, but it does work if your willing to keep putting down salt lines.

E. in Howard City

M. we had to bite the bullet and put poison around the outside of the house. If anybody else has any ideas, I'd like to hear them too, but we tried everything!


I heard euculytus oil works well, but you need to form a barrier.

We use grits outside (they can't digest and it kills them) and then ant traps inside (where the little one CAN'T get to). It works for us!

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