Ants wandering around the house can get into your pantry and spread unwanted bacteria. Some species also sting. Destroying an anthill to get rid of them will only make them mad since the colonies have thousands of individuals living underground in a system of caves and tunnels. You’ll need a more effective way that can potentially reach the Queen ant to kill the colony from inside. Learn why baking soda is a good option and how to get rid of ants in the kitchen with baking soda in 6 simple steps.
How does baking soda kill ants?
Baking soda is deadly to ants when they eat it. The alkaline pH of baking soda will react with the ant’s acidic digestive chemicals, resulting in carbon dioxide. This reaction is similar to how mixing baking soda and vinegar causes bubbles. Eventually, the ant’s body will dry out and kill them.
Baking soda is a type of naturally occurring salt and salt is effective to draw out moisture and dehydrate through the osmosis process. Make sure you are using baking soda – not baking powder. Baking soda is four times stronger and more effective for getting rid of ants than the more diluted baking powder.
Why is baking soda a good option for getting rid of ants?
Ants live in colonies where different individuals have different roles. The worker ants are responsible for going out to find food and bringing it back to the colony. When they bring your baking soda mixture back to their nest, it will help kill other ants. If you kill the Queen who is responsible for laying eggs, then you’ll have no more infestation from that colony.
Baking soda is also non-toxic and safe for humans to touch or consume. You don’t have to worry about your kids getting sick from the baking soda you leave out for the ants. It’s a good alternative to commercial ant killers that are chemical-based.
How to get rid of ants in the kitchen with baking soda
Now that you know how effective baking soda can be, here are the steps to get rid of ants for good from your space.
1. Make the baking soda mixture
Just putting out baking soda won’t do the trick because ants aren’t naturally attracted to baking soda. Ants do love sugar though. You’ll want to mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar together. How much mixture you make will depend on the extent of your ant infestation.
It’s essential you use powdered sugar, also called confectioners sugar. It has the same texture and appearance as baking soda so it’s harder for the ants to distinguish between the two. In contrast, granulated sugar will stand out against the baking soda.
2. Find the ant trail and nest
Try to locate the ant trail leading worker ants back to the nest. High traffic areas of ants should show ants moving in two lines of opposite directions. Try to see if you can follow the trail all the way back to their nest. Sometimes the trail will lead towards cracks in your kitchen or windowsills.
3. Place your trap
It’s best to place your mixture as close to the nest as possible. This ensures the ants will carry the “food” inside. If you find the nest, sprinkle the mixture on top of the nest and around it. If you haven’t found the nest, you can sprinkle in the cracks or areas you identified the trail moving through.
You can also put the mixture in a shallow lid, like a jar lid. Leave it on your kitchen counter or in the cupboard, depending on where you’ve seen ants.
4. Pour baking soda along the perimeter
If you’re unsure where to place the trap, you can pour the mixture outside around the perimeter of your property. Identify locations ants are most likely to build nests, such as around the base of trees, firewood piles, stepping stones, and where there’s loose soil. This step can also be a good preventative measure for future infestations.
5. Repeat the process
Put out a little bit of mixture every day or on days you see ants around. Eventually, you shouldn’t be bothered by ants in that colony again. Once the ants are gone, you’ll want to block the gaps and cracks they used to get into your home to prevent new colonies from entering.
6. Try these bonus recipes
If you want to make your sugar and baking soda mixture more potent to kill the ants, you can add Diatomaceous earth to the mixture. Diatomaceous earth acts similarly to baking soda where it dries out insects. It’s nontoxic but can irritate your sinuses if you inhale too much.
Boric acid is another option to add to your baking soda and sugar mixture. It’s a slow-acting poison that will give the ants time to get back to their nest. However, you should still place it as close to the nest as possible. The downside of using boric acid is it’s toxic and could potentially harm pets.
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