My friends, tell me if you agree with this statement:
“The depth of one’s dedication to organic gardening can be tested when one discovers a writhing mass of ants on the patio.”
The ants have set up homes in a number of areas in and around our yard, including a couple of ant mansions smack-dab in the middle of the lawn. Since I’m trying to be a good citizen and not use chemicals, I began researching natural ways to get rid of ants. I found four methods that called for ingredients I had on hand, and tried all but one:
1. The first treatment I tried was cayenne powder, which I sprinkled lavishly around the ant hills. The spicy red pepper seemed to deter the ants for a day or two, but after one rain storm they were back and frisky as ever. Was it my imagination, or did they seem to be salsa dancing as they returned?
2. Next, I sprinkled a thick line of salt around the ant hills on the pavement. (I was afraid to try this method on the grass-dwelling ants.) This just didn’t do a thing for my ants, except perhaps to raise their blood pressure levels a wee bit.
3. One site suggested pouring boiling water on the ants. I bet this works, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I never said I wasn’t a wuss.
4. Finally, I read that sprinkling coffee grounds around would motivate ants to leave. This sounded like the least plausible treatment, but to my surprise the coffee grounds seemed to work and I’m not sure why.
If I were an ant, of the four choices presented here I would request the coffee ground punishment myself. Perhaps the ants are pretending to be cooperative while secretly training me to bring them caffeine. Next, I’m imagining an ant setting up a phony blog that suggests Heath bar bits and Chardonnay as effective ant killers.
[UPDATE – Readers have suggested ground cinnamon, cinnamon oil and cornmeal as natural ant deterrents.]
How about you?
Have you ever dealt with ants in an organic way? Have you found a treatment that works to add to this list? I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences.
Hugs and happy summer,