Pinbusted or Pintrusted: Natural Ant Killer

DIY Featured GeekMom


If you’ve ever had ants in your house (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?) you know how desperate a person can be about getting rid of them. I’ve got ’em. Bad. But I don’t want to spray chemicals to get rid of them, so I’ve been experimenting.

The folks over on Pinterest are crazy for natural ant killers:

“This REALLY works–STILL no ants–we had an ant-free summer!”

“It works!”

“Worked on the regular black ants … great stuff.”

I decided to try out a couple of these methods. Here’s how it went down:


This article, pinned to Pinterest, says of dry cornmeal:

“They eat it and become bloated and it does them in.”

I wasn’t sure about the science behind that statement, but it seemed easy enough. I sprinkled piles of cornmeal –  outside – right in the path of some very active ants. Almost instantly the ants moved in and started hauling off bits of cornmeal. I waited; I read in a number of places that it could take up to a week to see results. A week later? Two weeks later? The ants are still happily marching back and forth, farming aphids. They might even be a little bit fatter after that feeding session. Pinbusted.

Borax and sugar, dry mix

A dry mixture of borax and sugar acted like a sponge in my humid climate, quickly turning into a hard cake. The ants were not impressed. Pinbusted.

Pinbusted or Pintrusted? Which of the popular natural ant killers on Pinterest actually work?
Do we have a winner? Image: Kris Bordessa

Borax and sugar, liquid

Pinners claimed that ants swarmed to this DIY liquid ant bait immediately. I placed three different trays of this near ant trails. In two places, the liquid was initially ignored. In the third–the location with the most ants–the ants did swarm to it very quickly. A couple of hours later, there were ants bellied up to the bar in all three locations. The ants took the bait. They disappeared for a day or two. But now they’re back, with no evidence that their numbers have been reduced. Pinbusted.

So, I’m still looking for the perfect natural ant bait. Got one? Please share in the comments! I’m getting desperate.

(Lest you think this whole pest control issue is boring, check this out. Poisoning ants and a little science wrapped into one fun-filled project.)

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4 thoughts on “Pinbusted or Pintrusted: Natural Ant Killer

  1. Diatomaceous earth, sprinkled in the corner where baseboard meets floor, and squirted generously into any hole the buggers use to get into your house. They walk through it and raise dust; the dust goes into their spiracles (breathing holes). The dust is sharp on a microscopic level, and their own breathing actions cut them to pieces from the inside.

    Gruesome, but chemical-free and pet- and kid-safe.

  2. I do research on home remedies that people use try to manage fire ants and I have yet to find any that work like people say they do. Ant management can be tricky because you really need to know what species of ant you are dealing with so you can choose the best method for management. I would always recommend getting ants properly identified by an entomologist. And while naturally derived pesticides are “from nature” they are still pesticides and meant to kill….

  3. I, too, have a severe problem with ants. They are everywhere outside and LOTS get inside also. And contrary to what you experienced, I have had great success with the liquid mix of borax and sugar. My recipe was given to me by a “bug man” who told me that commercial baits also contain Borax. It’s 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 c water and 1-1/2 T Borax. Mix in a container, dip cotton balls in mixture and place on ant trail. If the ball gets hard, (I test with toothpick) drop a little more solution on the ball or just a little hot water. I may take 3 or 4 days but they disappear! I’ve found it’s best not to deviate from this recipe too much as they avoid it if it contains too much Borax. I had them in my dishwasher and you’d think, well, turn on the hottest setting and get rid of them – that didn’t work but the recipe did!!!

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