Friday, May 23, 2008

Ants and baby Powder

In answer to several of your questions/comments - ants, at least the little ones, can't walk across really fine substances - like baby powder. Now we ran out, so I also tried baking soda, but it was not where near as effective. I'll need to pick up more baby powder this weekend I think. Jennifer - same idea as what Hope said about crossing chalk. Let me see if I can find something about it online... hang on here... *pokes around the internet*... I know it's here somewhere...

Okay before I go on... looking at this it says at the bottom that most baby powders don't contain the substance that makes ants go away any more. However I use Johnsons and Johnsons (or whatever brand I happen to have) and it does seem to keep them away.

Mint plants are very very invasive. So be careful if you plant them - they will take over your garden.

The soapy water solution sounds confusing to me.

Read on!

How to Get Rid of Ants

Few pests are harder to get rid of than ants once they've established themselves in your home. Sprays and baits don't always work (and they aren't safe if you have young children, pets or chemical allergies). Here's an alternative, using common baby powder. This method comes from a kitchen staffer at an upscale, pesticide-free restaurant.


  1. Follow the trail of ants to determine where they are entering the home. Locate the hole, making sure that you've found them all.
  2. Apply Diatomaceous earth, which is available at most convenience stores as baby powder, to the holes or cracks which the ants are using to enter the home. The ants on either side will not cross the line of baby powder. Ants that come in contact with the powder will die almost immediately.
  3. Check to see that the ants are no longer using the hole. If they are, apply more baby powder and check the trail to be sure you found the right hole in step two.If the ants are no longer using the hole and they start to scramble around, you've broken the chain of ants leading from the colony into your home.
  4. Kill the remaining ants by sprinkling the baby powder on them. After they're dead, sweep away the ants and excess powder.


  • DO NOT DISTURB THE ANTS! This will only irritate and they'll move somewhere else in the home.
  • Make sure to leave an adequate amount of baby powder around the entrance the ants have been using, so they don't return the next day.
  • Try mixing baking soda and icing sugar in equal parts and leave it in small piles. Some people say this won't work, but keep at it and you'll see your ant population shrinking.
  • A natural remedy for ant problems is to fill a spray with water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Spray this wherever you see ants,and they will soon go elsewhere.
  • Another option is to leave piles of borax crystals around your property.
  • For grassy areas, try adding 1/4 cup liquid dish washing soap (Dawn is the best) to a 5 gallon bucket of water. Fill the bucket half way then add the soap. Do this on the grass and about 4-6 feet uphill from the ant hole. Let the suds spill out as you fill the bucket. Once the bucket is full then you can slowly pour the soapy water (hold bucket about 6 inches off the ground while pouring) around the hole (no more than a 3 foot radius or you'll be too far out to saturate the ground well enough) working inwards toward the hole. Finishing off with some of the soapy water directly in the ant hill. This won't hurt the grass and when the ants breathe in (to hold their breath because of the water) they get soap bubbles, which will block their air supply. You can use this soapy water technique for the breaks in sidewalks and cracks in driveways and other such areas. (I believe the thing about breathing soap is incorrect. Instead, the soap "softens" the surface tension of the water so that a droplet can envelop an ant. Did you ever see an ant walk beside a drop of water on a hard surface?)
  • Once your house is ant free, there are simple money efficient ways to keep them out. Sprinkling coffee grounds (buy a cheap brand for this) around your house prevents ants from coming into your home, as they wont pass the grounds. Another easy way to keep them out is to soak a long piece of string in peppers or cinnamon.
  • Planting mint plants along the side of your house will keep ants at bay.
  • Most baby powders no longer contain Diatomaceous earth.


  • Like most powders and dusts, be careful to use the baby powder in a room with some type of ventilation.
  • If you opt for the borax solution, be extremely careful. Borax is a very strong poison; you should wear gloves when using it, and not place it in a high traffic area.
  • When soaking string in pepper be careful to wash your hands, contact with eyes or sensitive areas could be potentially hazardous.
  • Trust your instincts. If you think you can't handle the problem on your own, call a professional.

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