The Very Best Homemade DIY Ant Killer

You won't believe how easy it is to get rid of ants for good!

I don’t know about you, but around this time every year, I seem to get ants popping up around the house. Sometimes there are a whole bunch of them, sometimes it’s just a few, but they always show up. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that this is an old house and there are probably lots of little holes in the walls for them to get through. This easy homemade ant killing solution has been just the ticket to solve this pest problem for me.

This year, I’ve only seen a few in my bathroom. Last year though, our living room was practically taken over all of a sudden. Someone must have dropped a piece of cookie one day and that was it. They were coming from a corner of the room and no amount of cleaning or squashing could keep them from coming back. For some reason, I just can never bring myself to put out those scary poisonous-looking ant traps that you can buy in stores. They freak me out, so I’ve always just kind of suffered with ants and tried to squish them as I saw them. Then I discovered this magical little recipe and they were gone within 24 hours. Completely. And they haven’t been back to the living room this year either.

It’s so simple but so powerful.

You’ll need:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 Tablespoon of Borax. (Update! The box now looks like this:Borax Laundry Booster, 76 oz Box)

Mix it all together and you’re ready to take action!

If you have pets or kids, you’ll want to keep the solution away from them. One idea is to put it in an old plastic container with holes poked in the lid for the ants to get in and put a little bit of plain sugar water (no Borax) outside of the container to lure the ants over.

Since we still have these old peel ‘n stick floors here’s what I do:

I pour a little puddle of the killing juice on the floor…

Then I take an old tupperware lid and place it over top. I propped it up with a little piece of chalk to give the ants enough room to get in.

However you set up your solution, you’ll want to place it right where you previously saw the ants walking to be sure they find it. Once they do, they’ll go get all their buddies and they’ll all carry it back to the nest. Everyone will party and have a big feast and then they’ll die.

OK, now it’s sounding really mean and cruel, but trust me, you’ll be glad you won’t be worrying about ants again this year!

P.S. If you don’t think it sounds all that mean and cruel and you love little tips like this, come join me on Facebook to stay updated on all the latest from The Creek Line House!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Awsome Idea Courtney, love all the million uses for borax, I’ll defiantly use this trick on the ants thanks. The hubs is a big fishermen and uses borax to make his bait , he’s never happy when I find new uses for this stuff, lol

    • debi says

      did u try this & does it work? do u have to constantly be refreshing this stuff. i know with vinegar i’m constantly spraying to get rid of them.

      • Courtenay says

        It really works! You use it only once, or maaaaybe twice if it’s a really bad nest. Once they find it, they bring it back to the nest and it kills all of them! End of problem. You only really need to leave it out for about 24 hours.

        • shelby says

          We use cayenne pepper. It kills the ants almost instantly and if it gets on pets it is usually just an irritation that makes them drink additional water. We don’t have children and use it where other animals can’t get to it just in case.

          We are VERY conscientious about secondary poisoning. We don’t want to risk poisoning a pet while we are attempting to rid ourselves of bugs and vermin, so I’m always thankful when I find natural alternatives like this one.

          Thank you!

        • Sandi says

          So, I tried this idea as I was tired of hosting an ant party outside on my sidewalks. I made the mix, shook it really well until it thickened it up and made this little foil like trays to pour the solution in. Then, literally, the ants came marching. Tons of them. But I just waited and waited as they all drank their outside “beverage” and sure enough, the next day they were gone.
          It’s been a few days now, and so far, no more ants!! I’ll probably put out another batch in a week or so, just to make sure.
          Finally something that I’ve pinned worked !!! Thanks Courtney!!

          • Courtenay says

            Yay! I’m so thrilled every time I hear about this helping someone! Thanks so much for letting me know!

      • Kris says

        Sometimes you have ants that don’t eat the sugar. We are inundated with ant that will go right around a pile of sugar to get at a spot of grease. Not all remedies will work for all ants. Know your enemy. ;)

        • Courtenay says

          I’ve heard some people like to use peanut butter too, but sugar seems to work 99.99% of the time from what I hear from other readers (aka my dedicated trick testers) so that’s still what I go for first. It’s good to have alternatives though just in case!

        • Marlene Tombleson says

          ya our ants do that: bowl used for potato soup over strawberry yogurt. my son made sausages and squeezed the grease out with a rag and then forgot it on a shelf, and they were ALL OVER IT!!! yuk. now they have invaded the cabinets and … lets just say they need to go by any means necessary

          • Tina says

            Totally about to go mix this stuff up!! We’ve been invaded in the last several days and I’m sick of them! I started with a mix of ACV, Dawn and water. It killed but within 24 hours they are back. Then commercial spray. Eewww! Most recently a mix of peppermint essential oils and water. Kills but they are back again!

  2. says

    We have the same problem every year – usually just in the spring. Now we have a tree next to the house that seems to be horribly infested and I’ve had a couple in the house. I plan to hang a milk jug with some of this mix in the tree where they can get to it but the kids and pets can’t. That way the ants are killed off instead of spraying the tree and having them make their way to the house.

    • Lori Arnold says

      if you hang the milk jug in the tree do you think squirrels & birds will drink it? or did you hang it? THX Lori A :)

  3. says

    Awesome idea! We also have an ant problem, but we can’t put down traditional ant traps because they usually contain peanut butter and we have an allergy in our house. This is a great alternative. Thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Omigosh, we have ants everywhere lately!! I so need this! Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to try it because the stuff we got at the hardware store does nothing. :)

  5. says

    I just recently used a similar solution although I left a few soaked cotton balls on the counter instead of the puddle. Worked like a charm! I love the idea of the covered tupperware so you don’t have to look at all the ants!

    Visiting from the Tatertots and Jellow link party.

  6. says

    Wish I’d known this a couple of years ago when I had a huge infestation in my rec room. The boys left some freezie wrappers down there, and once the ants found their way in, they just kept coming. It was awful! For your reader who asked about borax killing the grass, yes it will! It will stay in the soil apparently, and new grass won’t grow back (google it). I washed my boys’ hockey equipment in a mix of borax and water, and dumped it into the lawn, and a couple of weeks later that grass was super dead. It’s come back in that spot (almost). I guess I was lucky because it was so watered down.

  7. Amy says

    I am trying this right now. i have heard other people are having new ant trouble this year like my mom. I have lived in my house 14yrs never had Ants until this year. It’s crazy how bad they are sprayed bug spray outside we can’t inside. One of my dogs has been acting funny it’s either the ants or we have a ghost I don’t see ants on their food but she gets jumpy when she gets near the bowl of food or water and our cat acts like she is stalking a mouse.

  8. Anonymous says

    In south Mississippi, we used instant grits, found in the cereal aisle. Fire ants are awful. now kids like to watch the ants take it back to their home. just pour out a couple tablespoons of package where you see the ants. and watch them take it away.

  9. Anonymous says

    A good follow up to that combo is leave small bottle caps with ground Cinnamon in corners or cabinets, or near windows, they don’t like the Cinnamon!!

  10. says

    I made this recipe and it WORKED! The hard part is you have to leave the ants alone and let them feast.. I must have had 300+ ants all over the lid I used…. I was so grossed out…. I went to bed and was fearful to look in the morning…ALL GONE! Still gone 4 weeks later! It is a miracle!!!

    • Dayna Emerich says

      glad to hear they are gone becuz I put some out and I’m afraid I have called every ant in a 1mile radius to my house! :/

      • Courtenay says

        Ha! Yup, been there! They call all their little friends over and then they all bring it back to the nest so they can all die together. Give it 24 hours and watch in amazement!

  11. says

    you could also just mix the borax or boric acid powder with some sugar (no water). Any kind of sugar will work. I do this out in front of my house where the little buggers come in. But I also know do to the tiered landscaping that my kids will not come into contact with it.

  12. says

    I mixed icing sugar with the borax 1:1 no water. sprinkled it on the lawn one time as it was just infested with winged ants. They were all gone the next day. Had no trouble with killing with it killing the lawn. Have used this also in the house. It really works! I had a newpaper clipping given to me from my husband’s gramma and that is how I knew about it.

  13. says

    Have you ever tried diatomaceous earth? Kids and pets can eat it and its probably healthy for them, but it kills insects physically and not chemically. Whenever I see ants around the outside of my house I take a spoon full at a time and scrape it along the edge of the house. A few hours later, not an ant in sight. This week they found a way inside. I put it wherever I saw them, left it for a few hours and cleaned it up. Haven’t seen them since.

    • Tufforcop says

      DE works great and I usually dint need to wait 24 hours to see results….

      Ha ants in the kitchen here recently, dropped a solution of DE where they where entering and they were gone within the hour.

  14. Anonymous says

    I have made it and set it out this afternoon and the ants are all over it. Hope to kill all the little “bugger” real soon!!!

  15. Cathy says

    Ugh…I just had one of the little buggers skeeter across my laptop screen while I was reading the article. They all MUST DIEEEE! Ahem…Going out to get Borax right now. Thanks for the info. :)

  16. Anonymous says

    This works great on “sugar” ants but not so well on the so-called “protein” ants, which go after meat and fats.

  17. Anonymous says

    So I tried this and put the mixture on the ground outside where they were coming into my house and also in little bitty plastic cups where i’ve been seeing them. NOW THERE ARE TONS OF THEM!! Is this normal? How long does it usually take? It’s freaking me out lol. There’s alot dead in the cup too. Maybe they just got stuck in there.

  18. says

    To Anonymous and Anonymous. :)

    1) I’ve heard of these “protein ants” but I don’t think we have them around here, so I’ve never experienced them myself. I have heard of people mixing borax with a little ground beef, but I would just prefer to try the sugar method first because it’s a little less gross. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

    2) I had TONS of ants come after the stuff at first too. They love it!!! They tell all their little friends and family members to come and get it and then they all follow the trail back home and feed it to the whole colony. Then they die. It should take 24-48 hours max! Let me know if they last longer. We’ll figure something out. :)

    • adam says

      Protein ants are easy, use bacon grease, or lard and mix it with the borax. You might have to fine tune the quantity, you want the little buggers to take it back to the nest rather than kill them right away, too much borax will kill them before they can share with the rest of the nest.

  19. Anonymous says

    I had ants all over my counters and sink. I have two very curious cats and borax can be poisonous to them. I read somewhere that they hate the smell of Dawn dish washing liquid. I took some of my multipurpose cleaner with vinegar and Dawn and sprayed it all over the counters and on the floor trails that the ants were using. The next day they were gone, and I have not seen them since. That was two weeks ago. This is an alternative to those who have small children and pets who do not want to use borax.

  20. says

    We’ve been dealing with “sugar” ants since we moved into our rental. (Landlord said there was nothing he could do. yeah, thanks) so, I’m tired of chasing the ants around with vinegar spray to in an attempt to clear the trail. Wish me luck with the borax(which I’ll be mixing with Jelly) Also, I have read elsewhere that if you have “protein” ants, use peanut butter in place of the sugar. It’s all worth a try! Thanks for the tip!

  21. Anonymous says

    I had the tiny ones invading my dishwasher (ew), I put the solution on some big cotton balls and put 3-4 in the bottom. Took about a week for them to disappear totally, but haven’t seen any since. I keep a small jar of the mix, but so far haven’t needed any.

  22. Anonymous says

    I live in southeast Missouri in a farmhouse. Ants are TERRIBLE!! they have invaded my kitchen! Ughhhh! I’m putting this solution out today and see what happens! Me and my boyfriend have tried spray from the store and it didn’t help! I just want the feeling of ants crawling all over me gone! Ick!

  23. says

    The area you live in is much like MN where we have the same ant problems. Thanks for the suggestion. Worked for more than ants.
    Love your BLOG. Deb, crafting and saving day and night.

  24. Anonymous says

    I had these little buggers coming into my new home taking up residence in the dog’s food bowl, on the counter, etc. I mixed borax with peanut butter and jelly and within 3 days they were all dead and gone.

  25. says

    I always use boric acid with the sugar and water. Boric acid is also good for the cracks at the back of your cabinets where they come in. Also works for yucky cockroaches.

  26. esorami says

    How long will this mixture be effective? I mixed it up last year in a quart jar and still have some left over.

  27. Anonymous says

    This is what I have always done. But to take it a step further, Ants wont cross a chalk line… Sooo if they are coming in in a corner, draw a semi circle from wall to wall on your floor. Put the poison inside of the chalk line and they will eat, take it back to their home and ….. bye bye ants. Works on fire ants too!!!! This is really useful if they are coming in thru your basement or cross a tile floor. Works like a champ!!!

  28. says

    Someone’s probably already mentioned this, but, for ants on your kitchen counter or driveway cracks, just water with Dawn dish soap. Kills the ants in less than 30 seconds.

  29. says

    A friend from Singapore also advised me to use straight vinegar on the floors and other surfaces to ward them away..it helps tremendously as well, but still need the borax mixture to do the complete job!

  30. says

    I do not think this is mean at all. I think it is genius! I have long sense lost all emotions of guilt and sadness towards these little jerks. At this point it is all out war! My family thanks you!

  31. says

    I will give this the ULTIMATE test here in Tucson AZ. 21 years fighting the red ants and the big black ones. They will be out soon, seen some strays already in front yard and back yard both.

      • patricia says

        We live north of tucson and east of mesa in the sonoran desert and get all the ants too. Diatomaceous earth (make sure u ONLY get food grade & wear a face mask, don’t inhale…at least it’s non toxic & cheap…worked for awhile when piled on the mound nests in the yard- about a week or so – at first. Then only a few days at a time…we get it at a feed store $25 for 50 lbs so at least it’s cheap… Also poured a bag of Habenero powder…no effect…ginger powder…no effect…hot water …no effect…will try cornmeal next…then vinegar – can’t see how that or any other liquid could kill the whole nest…they seem to be connected thruout the property.last effort will b borax & water & sugar…have outdoor cat so concerned about toxic but must get rid of these things. They BITE!

        • Patrcia says

          Crnmeal did nothing…back swarming a day later…even poured more habenero pepper on today & diatomaceous earth…nothing..I bury the holes with everything & a day later they have dug out from under…even tried orange guard..tomorrow the borax cocktail…we have at least 6 nest entrances on our property…hope it works

  32. Anonymous says

    talked to a long time pest control guy a few years back. told him I use to have “grease ants” (protein) but now I have ‘sugar ants”. He told me they were the same ants. they sometimes change their diets as the need arises. Just saying.

    • Melissa-WI says

      I heard that they are all the same ants. They need protein in the spring and go after sugar later in the season.

  33. Anonymous says

    I have a huge antproblem every year and no matter what I do, the hell starts all over when its spring. Im from Denmark and I dont know what Borax is, where I can get it or what I can replace it with… Can anybody help???

    • says

      Borax is sold in powder form in the cleaning aisles of markets…it’s a harsh soap product. Often mechanics use it to clean their hands.

  34. Anonymous says

    Box elder bugs are easy. Mix Dawn( or any cheap dishwashing liquid) with water and spray from an old windex sprayer. They drop dead almost instantly. Much better than all the toxic stuff I was spending oodles of money on!

  35. says

    I am doing this tonight !! We get invaded every year by these little pest and bad. It’s not that your house is old because we built ours in 2008 and I swear We must have built on one massive ant hill !! Every time we cook you can bet 20 min afterward the top of the stove looks as if it’s moving it has that many ants on it. I have sprayed and scrubbed and stomped and thrown fits and they come back with in 24 hours !! They are every where. In every window seal the bathrooms laundry rooms bedrooms etc. I had my husband pick up 2 boxes of the borax because I am determined to kill every last one of them and I am going to mix a big batch tonight and place in small tubs/lids under the house. Get them at the source !! I am determined to not have my entire summer aggravated by these little creatures !! I have read about this a few times on the internet but now that I have proof it works from you and others it’s time to start killing !! Ants beware ! The war is on !!! Thanks for sharing this and your alcohol cleaning for the grease that’s another one I am def giving a go at !!! Thanks for sharing so many great things with us !!

  36. says

    I am doing this tonight !! We get invaded every year by these little pest and bad. It’s not that your house is old because we built ours in 2008 and I swear We must have built on one massive ant hill !! Every time we cook you can bet 20 min afterward the top of the stove looks as if it’s moving it has that many ants on it. I have sprayed and scrubbed and stomped and thrown fits and they come back with in 24 hours !! They are every where. In every window seal the bathrooms laundry rooms bedrooms etc. I had my husband pick up 2 boxes of the borax because I am determined to kill every last one of them and I am going to mix a big batch tonight and place in small tubs/lids under the house. Get them at the source !! I am determined to not have my entire summer aggravated by these little creatures !! I have read about this a few times on the internet but now that I have proof it works from you and others it’s time to start killing !! Ants beware ! The war is on !!! Thanks for sharing this and your alcohol cleaning for the grease that’s another one I am def giving a go at !!! Thanks for sharing so many great things with us !!

  37. Anonymous says

    Does this work for FIRE ANTS too? Every summer there are fire ant mounds all over the place. I need a safe way to kill these fire ants that will NOT hurt animals. I am concerned about dogs, cats, rabbits and squirrels and such. I don’t want them to be harmed by any solution I use to try to kill the fire ants. Any suggestions will be very appreciated. Thank you.

      • Courtenay says

        Exactly. That’s why it’s important that you follow the instructions and keep it covered so that only ants can get at it. I have 2 cats and a dog and I’ve always been cautious with it, however I’ve used borax for quite a few things and none of my pets have shown any interest. A good reminder for everyone though! You know what your own pets will or won’t get into!

  38. Anonymous says

    We get the little black “P*$$” ants!
    They will nest anywhere! if you disturb them it’s “everyone grab an egg & run”!!have found them in the guest room bed between the sheet & blanket. i will try this instead of the liquid traps i have been putting out. thanks!

  39. says

    If you make it a little thicker like jam, you can create little “houses” from aluminum foil, and it works well in that way. I have a cat, and this little scheme keeps the cat away from it — just tuck the little houses along walls, etc. Follow the ants to where they are entering and put them there – and even put a few outdoors…

  40. says

    Rather than use Borax, I make a solution of diatomaceous earth and water. I put it in a spray bottle and spray it where each wall in the house meets the floor and where the kitchen counters meet the wall. When the solution dries, any insect that walks over the DE gets tiny cuts in its exoskeleton that do not heal. They all die of dehydration within a few days. Yes, it’s more cruel than a quick poisoning, but it’s safer, especially if you use the food grade DE.

    • Patrcia says

      I have actual ant mounds & have piled the de to actually cover the entrances . Yes it kills the ones who go thru but within a few days they have dug out from under & are swarming. Need something they bring back to nest to kill queen. Waiting to see if baking soda + sugar+ water put out past 2 days will work. ( Tried borax & sugar water one day but concerned about toxicity too.) So that is a possible non toxic slution that will not just kill the walk thrus but the nest of origin. Tried cornmeal, de, habanero pepper pwdr, ginger pwdr, boiling water, orange guard… so far only temporary results.

    • Anonymous says

      It might be possible to spread de around the nest to kill every single worker that goes out of the nest.
      Or it could be possible to draw a circle of chalk around the nest, also drawing a corridor to another circle of chalk, wherein lies the Borax chemical killer. Then they will have to eat that. And only that. (Cue evil laugh)

      • Anonymous says

        And also, once you block ‘em off with chalk really good(sidewalk chalk), then they won’t come go into your house at all. And no other ants can get in. (Admittedly a bummer.) Sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the corridor pathway’s going to be good, too, unfortunately for the antsGREAT FOR US!

  41. Charity A says

    Has anyone ever tried the baking soda and powdered sugar mix? Apparently the ants cannot tell the difference between the sugar and the baking soda so they ingest both. The baking soda creates a gas that ants cannot get rid of so they blow up instead! This would be a pet and child friendly option.

  42. Beth says

    Amazingly simple and it works. I can’t believe I have been living with these little pests for so many years.

  43. steve says

    I have another version of this that has worked well, 2 tablespoons of wet cat food, 2 tablespoons of jelly, and a 1 teaspoon of borax..mix it together well and leave it out overnight…obviously be conscious of children and pets..ants like sweet and protein..works great..the ants take it back and feed the queen and babies killing the whole nest.

  44. Mary says

    We have a sugar ant problem. No matter what I have tried I still end up killing a few each day. They don’t usually travel together. Just one or two here and there. I have a small child so I didn’t want to use toxic chemicals but I was just about to call the exterminator. I put this mixture out this morning in every room. One word. Gross! They seem to be coming from one side of the house. The guest room and my daughter’s room are awful. There must be thousands coming in the window of my daughter’s room. I’m so disgusted. Needless to say, she will be sleeping in our room tonight. I’m going to leave the mixture out until tomorrow. Hopefully, by then most of the ants will have had there fill. Tomorrow will be spent scrubbing every inch of my daughter’s room. I do hope this kills them all at least for a while.

    • Courtenay says

      Oh my! That does sound awful! The ants are all telling their friends right now to come and get it. They’ll bring it back to the nest and they should all be dead within 24 hours! Hang in there! Our living room was a little like that one Spring but now they’re all gone!

  45. says

    I am gonna get some Borax today. Our house seems like it is literally infested. I expect any day to come home and see our house being carried away on the backs of a swarm of ants. Its out of control and you’re right, no amount of squishing or cleaning will keep them away. I am excited to find a solution. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  46. Krystle says

    I just mixed up some of this today and they’re all going for it!! I have quite a bit left though. How long will it keep? Does it need to be refrigerated?

    • Courtenay says

      It will probably keep for quite awhile because of the high sugar content. I’ve never really tried though just because I’ve always used the whole thing in my impatience to get rid of those pesky little buggers! Let us know if you end up trying to keep it for awhile!

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