Antisocial Insects

Natural Ways to Keep Crawling Critters Away

With picnics and barbecues on the calendar, summer is a time for indoor/outdoor entertaining with family, friends and neighbors. To keep invading ants away, hosts will want to use natural materials, many of which can be found in the kitchen, instead of chemical products that may be hazardous to humans, pets and wildlife.

Natural lines of defense. Applying ground cinnamon or mixing some of the spice with sugar, cloves and water into a thin paste and using a cotton swab to dab it in cracks and around doors and windowsills outside the house where ants might enter can be effective. The aroma is too strong for them, so they’ll either succumb or turn away. Another method recommended by the Mother Nature Network is to clean floors and countertops with a solution of one cup each of vinegar and water, with the option to enhance it with 15 drops of lemon oil.

Try a simple spray. An organic insecticide for application in grassy locations, applied to the legs and sides of the picnic table or chairs, can help reduce intrusion by ants and other pests. suggests pouring one-and-a-half cups of water into a blender and adding two bulbs of garlic. Liquefy the ingredients to a smooth blend, strain out the remaining pieces of garlic, dilute the mixture with about a gallon of water and fill a spray bottle.

Organic pest control. Some manufacturers specialize in eco-friendly products, including the Extremely Green Gardening Company ( that offers diatomaceous earth, Hasta La Vista Ant! and Bug Shooter insecticide. Other chemical-free bug traps can be found at many hardware stores.

Avoid temptation. Keep food container lids and boxes tightly closed indoors and keep food covered as much as possible outdoors.

Taking natural preventive steps now is timely because many ant species are highly active in early summer as they seek to increase the food stores for their colonies.

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