7+ Homemade Ant Traps that Really Work (2022)

Ants may not be particularly dangerous, but a horde of ants scurrying across your kitchen counter is no fun. However, there’s no need to rush to buy Terro when it’s easy to make a homemade ant trap.

Attract ants with a sweet, greasy, or fatty food, and then kill them with a natural ant killer like Borax. The format for natural ant traps varies. Some consist of a spread on a piece of cardboard, rather like you might imagine for a commercial ant trap.

Others are a powder or even a liquid spray. The common denominator among these home remedies is that they’re an easy way to attract and kill ants.

Try a couple of different approaches in case your household’s pests prefer either sugar or protein. Also, when laying a DIY ant trap, make sure to mix a new batch of ingredients every day.

7+ Homemade Ant Traps that Really Work (1)

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Table of Contents

  1. Making Ant Traps
    • Sugary Baking Soda or Borax Ant Trap
    • Tempt and Kill Ants with Cornmeal
    • Variations on a Borax Ant Trap
    • Yeasty Homemade Ant Trap
    • Ant Traps Made of Fruit Spread or Honey
    • Corn Syrup DIY Ant Trap
    • Try a Peanut Butter-Based Trap
    • Quick and Easy DIY Ant Spray
  2. How to Keep Ants Out of Your House
    • Keep Ants out of Pet Food
  3. What Borax Does to Ants and Humans
    • Recipe for a Homemade Ant Trap

Making Ant Traps

How do ant traps work? Gather the necessary supplies, then prepare your chosen trap according to the steps outlined here and set it up along ant trails or at possible entry points. Wait for the ants to consume the toxin and carry it back to their nest.

Sugary Baking Soda or Borax Ant Trap

Make your homemade ant trap appealing to sugar ants by using powdered sugar, but mix the sugar with another white powder that’s deadly for these pesky critters.

For option one, combine one part baking soda with two parts powdered sugar, then spread the homemade ant killer wherever you have an ant problem. This solution is a good bet if you’re looking for pet safe ant traps.

Using Borax for ants is quite effective and eliminates the problem. To make a Borax ant trap, combine one part Borax with three parts powdered sugar.

Place the homemade ant bait in small containers and leave them by ant entry points. However, avoid using Borax if you have pets or young children.

Tempt and Kill Ants with Cornmeal

Ants are curious about cornmeal and will try eating it. However, they’re unable to digest the yellow meal, meaning that they slowly die from lack of nourishment.

If you like, increase the killing power of this natural product by mixing it with boric acid, available at the pharmacy or the cleaning aisle of the grocery store.

Combine one part cornmeal with two parts boric acid. Leave the mixture lying out in a small plastic dish or jar lid for this simple form of pest control.

Variations on a Borax Ant Trap

It’s possible to combine Borax, water, and sugar in a couple of different ways to make a DIY ant trap. The first option has you place the ingredients in an old plastic container. Trap carpenter ants that may have found their way inside or use it for any other ant that has become a nuisance.

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Stir the ingredients in the container. Carefully poke holes in the lid with scissors or a knife. Place the trap wherever ants congregate. Alternatively, dip cotton balls in an ant killer solution.

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Cotton Ball Ant Trap

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tbsp Borax
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Cotton balls

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Bring the cup of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Borax and cup of sugar. Once the granules dissolve, soak cotton balls in the mixture and place them on top of paper towel by ant entry points.

Yeasty Homemade Ant Trap

Attract little black ants with a sticky combination of sugar, yeast, and molasses. The molasses overpowers the scent of the ant killer, so the ants take the sweet stuff back to their nest, eventually killing their entire colony.

Combine the ingredients and spread the resulting paste on paper plates. Leave this easy DIY ant trap along ant trails.

Ant Traps Made of Fruit Spread or Honey

Sweet-toothed tiny ants head straight for the sugary spread without noticing the deadly Borax that is mixed in. Combine two tablespoons of Borax with your choice of jam, jelly, or honey to make a thick paste.

Spread the ant bait on a piece of paper and place it wherever you’ve noticed the little pests. If the ants enjoy the jam but don’t seem to be feeling the effects of the ant killer, try increasing the quantity of Borax.

It’s also possible to make a gnats trap out of honey, colored paper, and a popsicle stick. It’s cheap and easy to use items from around the house to capture and kill pests.

Corn Syrup DIY Ant Trap

Similar to the previous tip, combine equal parts corn syrup and boric acid into a paste that is neither too liquidy nor too thick. Coat an index card or a piece of cardboard with the mixture. Lay the trap at possible ant entry points, such as a crack behind one of your countertops or windowsills.

It’s necessary to replace these traps regularly since the corn syrup dries out. It’s also best to pick another solution if you have pets since your pet might try to lick the syrup.

Try a Peanut Butter-Based Trap

The traps so far have targeted ants that enjoy sugary foods, but some types, such as pharaoh ants and fire ants, prefer foods rich in protein or grease. Try this peanut butter trap in addition to a sweet trap to attract all the types of ants that may be plaguing your house.

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Peanut Butter Borax Ant Trap

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp boric acid
  • A plastic straw

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Combine the peanut butter and boric acid into a thick paste. Shove the ant killer into the straw then cut it into small pieces. Finally, place the straw segments along suspected ant trails.

If you don’t feel like trying to force the paste into a straw, spread it on a paper plate or piece of paper. Lay these traps along ant trails as well.

Quick and Easy DIY Ant Spray

If you prefer a liquid format for ant bait or are targeting ants that are attracted to grease, this spray is an excellent option. The oil tempts the insects, while the dish soap reduces their resistance to water, causing them to drown.

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Natural Ant Spray

  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 tsp liquid dish soap
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
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Combine the ingredients, then pour them into a spray bottle. Squirt the mixture on the ants and anywhere they might be entering your house. Because this ant bait is a liquid, the pests won’t carry it back to their nest, but it does kill individual ants.

How to Keep Ants Out of Your House

Once you’ve gotten rid of ants, the last thing that you want is another infestation. Other than giving your house a general clean to resolve issues like standing water and smelly trash containers, you can individually wash away ant trails.

Use white vinegar or soapy water, although you should leave part of the trails in place if you’d like ants to carry poisoned bait back to their nest. Consider employing an ant repellent as well.

You have several natural options, such as peppermint essential oil, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon. If you’re tired of waiting around, bring the killer to the ants by sprinkling food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) around entry points.

DE kills insects by piercing their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. However, it’s safe to use around pets and small children. DE is a great way to get rid of fire ants, as is Cream of Wheat cereal.

Keep Ants out of Pet Food

If you notice ants around your pet food bowls, it’s time to take action. Stop ants from getting into cat food or dog food by cleaning the area where the bowls are located with a vinegar and water mixture. Try to only feed your pet at certain times of day and ensure the bowls don’t have food remaining in them.

What Borax Does to Ants and Humans

Borax, the central ingredient in many of our ant trap recipes, is a mineral used in some cleaning products. It slowly damages the ants’ digestive system, leaving the pests time to carry the powder back to their nest.

It’s an ideal component for a homemade ant trap. Although Borax is less toxic for humans than it is for ants, exposure to the product can still lead to skin irritation, severe nausea, or even hormone issues.

Ingesting even a small quantity of Borax is potentially fatal for young children. If you have pets or young children, try a different ant control method. Good examples include baking soda and powdered sugar, diatomaceous earth, or an oil and dish soap spray.

If you do make a Borax ant trap, make sure to wear gloves and to avoid getting the powder anywhere near your eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you spot ants gathering on your kitchen counter or scurrying across your floor, you now know several variations on the DIY ant trap. These are some of the best ant traps for kitchen and bathroom.

Choose to sprinkle a powder bait, mix a spray, or set up a trap on a paper plate, a piece of cardboard, a plastic container, a straw, or cotton balls.

You probably already have most of the ingredients to make an easy and useful homemade ant trap. If necessary, buy Borax at a grocery store or big-box store. Send the pests the message to stick to their ant hills and leave your home alone.

Recipe for a Homemade Ant Trap

7+ Homemade Ant Traps that Really Work (2)

Homemade Ant Trap

A simple remedy for a big problem.

Ingredients

  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 8 ounces white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Borax
  • Jar
  • Cotton balls

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into the pan and heat until boiling.
  2. Take the pot off the burner and add sugar and Borax.
  3. Stir well until combined.
  4. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  5. Add the ant killer to the jar.
  6. Dip cotton balls on the end of the jar to saturate them. Squeeze out excess liquid.
  7. Place the cotton balls where ants are a problem.

Notes

Borax is not safe around children and pets.

7+ Homemade Ant Traps that Really Work (3)

If you liked our recipes for homemade ant traps, please share these ant control tips with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook.

FAQs

What is the best homemade ant trap? ›

Try combining three parts powdered sugar with one part boric acid. The sugar will lure the ants in and the boric acid will kill them, Pereira says. Liquid is better—adult ants prefer to drink their food—so water this stuff down a little. “I recommend this to a lot of people,” Pereira says.

Are there any ant traps that actually work? ›

Terro's T300 Liquid Ant Baits are easily the best we've used. For the active ingredient, Terro uses borax, which has proven successful against ants and is not as harmful to people and pets as some of the other pesticides out there.

How do you make ant traps more effective? ›

Make sure that the bait you use is acceptable to the ants. Place a small amount of bait where you see ants foraging (walking back and forth) and then watch how they respond to the bait for a few minutes. If the ants show no interest in the bait, try a different bait until you find one that they will will readily eat.

How do you make an easy ant trap? ›

The recipe is pretty much the same — combining ½ cup of water with 1 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of borax. You'll pour the mixture into a small, plastic container and poke holes in the lid with a small pair of scissors. The ants will crawl in looking for the bait, ultimately facing their demise.

How do you make an ant trap without borax and vinegar? ›

To make an ant trap filled with non-toxic poison, combine baking soda and powdered sugar in a short container. Poke holes in the plastic lid that are big enough for ants to climb through and screw the cover in place. Place the ant trap in an area where you see activity.

Does honey work as an ant trap? ›

To an ant, a snack of honey and borax is simply "to die for." Mix one tablespoon of honey with one tablespoon of hot water, then stir in one teaspoon of borax. Create a trap by spreading a fine layer across a small note card or flat lid, and lay it down near the ants for a day or two.

Why won't ants go in ant trap? ›

Why are Ants Avoiding TERRO Liquid Ant Baits? - YouTube

How do you get rid of ants when traps don't work? ›

Borax is a mineral that is mined in the desert in California and is a common active ingredient that is used in soap products such as 20 Mule Team Borax. The product kills ants but will not harm people or pets. If you spill some on your skin there will be no reaction at all. Simply wash with warm water.

Where is the best place to put ant traps? ›

Place a bait trap near areas of activity and in spots that are likely to attract ants. Try placing them near drains, in kitchen cabinets, under the stove and refrigerator, and anywhere there are wall openings, such as around pipes and wall outlets.

How do you make an ant trap without borax or baking soda? ›

A: To make the trap, mix equal parts sugar and water in a bowl or jar. Add vinegar until the solution reaches the desired consistency- it should be thick enough to stick to ants when they walk through it. Pour this mixture into your chosen container and place it near where you have seen ants congregating.

How do I get rid of ants overnight? ›

Salt-boil salt and water into a mixture and once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and spray nooks and corners. Oranges-half fresh orange juice and half water sprayed around your home will keep the pests out and keep your home smelling nicely. Essential Oils-used like lemon or orange juices.

How do you make a queen ant trap? ›

How To Make Queen Ant Trap + AA Nest Winner! - YouTube

Why are ants not taking bait? ›

Ants may not consume a bait if it does not contain the food sources they need during a specific time of year. When picking a bait, it is important for PMPs to consider the growth and development patterns of ants. This way, they can choose one that best appeals to them.

Why do ants ignore bait? ›

Most people expect the ants to quickly feed on it. But they will often ignore the food as they go past it following the chemical trail that already exists leading them to another food source at the end of the trail.

Do ant traps work on black ants? ›

Indoors and outdoors, ant bait is the most reliable way to eliminate little black ants. Outdoors, place ant bait, such as TERRO® Perimeter Ant Bait Plus near foraging trails close to the nest. TERRO® Ant Killer Plus can be used around the perimeter of the house for immediate control and long-lasting residual control.

How do you get rid of ants permanently naturally? ›

6 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Ants
  1. Mint. Plant mint around perimeter of your home to repel insects. ...
  2. Vinegar. Mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. ...
  3. Lemon Juice. ...
  4. Cinnamon. ...
  5. Cayenne Pepper or Black Pepper. ...
  6. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth.
20 Feb 2017

Does olive oil get rid of ants? ›

How it works: The soap kills ants by disrupting their cell membranes and breaking down the protective wax coating they need to survive. You can add canola oil or olive oil to the mixture to clog the ants' spiracles (what they use to breathe) and suffocate them.

Does sugar attract ants? ›

The number one food that attracts ants is sugar. Unfortunately, sugar is found in most foods and beverages. They love to feast on drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup and other sweet smelling foods. Food crumbs and spills are especially productive for the ants' well-being.

What smell do ants hate? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

Will Peanut Butter attract ants? ›

Peanut Butter

Nut butters are a perfect combination of all three and ants will easily be attracted to this excellent source of nutrition. Like meat and candy, keeping stored peanut butter out of an ant's reach is fairly easy as they are well-packaged compared to looser items like bread.

Can you get rid of ants permanently? ›

If you are worried about getting rid of ants permanently, make sure to destroy the anthill by poking holes in it and pouring boiling water or mild acid. It will be enough to exterminate the black ant infestation on your property finally!

Why are my ants not going away? ›

Ants will not stay in places in which there is no available food or water. Keep all food put away and crumbs and spills cleaned up. Seal left over food and pantry foods in pest proof containers.

Do ants play dead? ›

Do ants play dead? Not a lot of insects have the mental or instinctive capacity to play dead, but with ants, that's a different story. While this doesn't occur in every species of ants, recent studies have actually shown that some ants do happen to play dead when danger presents itself.

What are ants not attracted to? ›

Some people believe that artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, are effective ant poisons. This is not the case. Since ants are not attracted to artificial sweeteners, they make poor baits.

How do you find an ants nest? ›

Indoor Ants - Tips & Tricks For Finding The Nest - YouTube

Why do ants keep coming back? ›

Just like with any other pest, ants need food, water, and shelter. If your house provides a food source, the ants will continue to invade. For this reason, one of the most effective ways to eliminate ants from your home is to remove their reason for being there.

How does baking soda get rid of ants in the kitchen? ›

Sprinkle or mix some baking soda into crumbs of bread (or any other food you have on hand) to create a paste. Place the mixture in small containers and seal it up so ants can't get inside. Leave these out overnight, preferably near ant trails or areas where they are most likely to cross.

How long does it take for ants to find bait? ›

How long does it take to get rid of ants with TERRO Liquid Ant Baits?

How long does it take ant traps to work? ›

The active ingredient in the bait interferes with the ants' digestive systems, eventually killing the ants within 24-48 hours after consumption. This slow kill gives the worker ants enough time to make multiple trips to the bait and share it with the colony and queen.

How do you make a live ant trap? ›

How To Make An Ant Trap - YouTube

What is a natural ant killer? ›

White vinegar and water: Take a spray bottle and fill it with a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Spray the solution on the ants and their entry points. A mixture of dish soap and water: Make a mixture of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, put in a spray bottle and shake it well. Spray it on the ants.

What kills ants besides borax? ›

A mixture of borax and peanut butter may also work well. Boiled water: Pouring a kettle of boiling water on an ant nest may quickly eradicate the ant mound. However, it may damage grass and plants as well. Diatomaceous earth: It is harmless to humans.

Does salt get rid of ants? ›

Salt Treatment For Ants

In a way, yes. Salt is a natural treatment for ants. One existing way of doing this to mix regular table salt with boiling water and waiting for it to be slightly cool enough to be poured into a spray bottle. The mix is then sprayed all over ant infested areas of the house.

Does moth balls get rid of ants? ›

It is also important to note that mothballs aren't effective at repelling most pests. A few mothballs might get rid of moths and their larvae, but they aren't going to repel bed bugs, rats, mice, spiders, or ants.

How do I get rid of tiny ants on my kitchen counter? ›

Using Dish Soap to Kill Ants

If you find black ants on your kitchen countertops, fill a spray bottle with dishwashing liquid mixed with glass cleaner. Then use the spray bottle to clean off every surface the ants have access to, not just the kitchen counter, and be sure to wipe it down thoroughly when you're finished.

Is there a king ant? ›

In the ant hierarchy system, there is no such thing as the king ant. The queen ant is regarded as the queen ant, not because she orders and dominates everyone around but because of the fact that she is the mother of all ants in the ant colony!

What happens if a queen ant bites you? ›

Initially, the venom causes a burning sensation, swelling, and pain at the sting site. However, sting sites can develop into pustules (pus-filled blisters) that can linger for a couple of weeks. The ant venom causes localized cell death, and the pustules are the result of our immune systems cleaning up the cell debris.

Are queen ants born or made? ›

Ants adhere to a caste system, and at the top is the queen. She's born with wings and referred to as a princess until she takes part in the nuptial flight, mates with a male ant, and flies off to start her own colony.

How do you make an ant trap without borax or baking soda? ›

A: To make the trap, mix equal parts sugar and water in a bowl or jar. Add vinegar until the solution reaches the desired consistency- it should be thick enough to stick to ants when they walk through it. Pour this mixture into your chosen container and place it near where you have seen ants congregating.

How do I get rid of ants overnight? ›

Salt-boil salt and water into a mixture and once cooled, pour into a spray bottle and spray nooks and corners. Oranges-half fresh orange juice and half water sprayed around your home will keep the pests out and keep your home smelling nicely. Essential Oils-used like lemon or orange juices.

How do I find where ants are coming from? ›

How to Find Ants in Your House - Ant Inspection | DoMyOwn.com

What do ants not like? ›

Both cayenne and black pepper repel ants. Ants hate cayenne pepper. Black pepper will work just as well too. Locate the source of the ant infestation problem, sprinkle some pepper around that area and if possible, create a wall that will stop the ants from accessing your household.

Is sugar poisonous to ants? ›

The sugar attracts the ants, and the baking soda is what kills them: It reacts with the acid in their digestive system and they explode. Place the mixture in strategic locations and wait for the baking soda to do its thing.

How do you make a live ant trap? ›

How To Make An Ant Trap - YouTube

Does olive oil get rid of ants? ›

How it works: The soap kills ants by disrupting their cell membranes and breaking down the protective wax coating they need to survive. You can add canola oil or olive oil to the mixture to clog the ants' spiracles (what they use to breathe) and suffocate them.

What naturally kills ants? ›

Step 1: Combine 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap or ¼ cup of Castile soap for every quart of water. You can add canola oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil to make the mixture even more effective. Step 2: Spray soapy water directly on any ants you see outside the nest to kill them on contact.

How do I get rid of crazy ants? ›

How Do You Get Rid of Crazy Ants? Using a non-repellent ant spray, you can then treat both the trail and the colonies simultaneously. These sprays contain an insecticide, are readily available in the market and can be effective if you have located the nest.

What smell keeps ants away? ›

Fortunately, there are several smells that ants can't tolerate, and which may help to keep these pests out of your kitchen. Cinnamon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and garlic are just some of the scents known to disgust ants, and all can be used to your advantage.

Does killing ants attract more? ›

Killing ants will, definitely, attract more ants because the dead ants release pheromones that attract or rather alert, nearby ants.

How do you know if you have an ants nest? ›

Ant nests can be difficult to locate. Look for small piles of soil or wood shavings to find where carpenter ants have been. They prefer dark, quiet corners or the insides of walls. You'll be able to hear them rustling around behind the wall.

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