Get Rid of Ants In Your Driveway and Yard

Updated on April 25, 2014

The Problem

Every summer I struggle with ants in our yard. I see their little homes built up in our grass and cracks in the sidewalks. Now that we have two young boys, I have declared war with the ants. I did not want to use any harsh chemicals due to our dog and both boys being in the yard every day they can. They would be outside all day long if we let them. I do not like to have them exposed to that, if there is any way to prevent it. I tried searching for natural ways to get rid of this problem. I have found a couple different ideas that I have tried. I found four different natural ways. I tried them each on different anthills in our yard, or on our sidewalk. I documented how each worked, so I would know which way was the most effective and use that method next year. There were many different reasons, but I chose the ones for which I had all the supplies, and it sounded the easiest. Before I outline the different ways, I will list a few different facts I found. This applies to each method.

  1. Mark each colony so you can locate it easily
  2. When using a liquid pour it at night when ants are less active
  3. Use caution when using hot water or spices that may irritate pets
  4. You may need to repeat the treatment since ants are very resilient

Hot Coffee!!

This is the coffee, cayenne, and a little hot chili flakes.
This is the coffee, cayenne, and a little hot chili flakes.

Coffee and Cayenne Pepper

I loved this option because it was using something that I normally throw away. I took used coffee grounds and saved them for about a week and a half. If you don’t drink coffee, or wanted to speed up the process you could ask a friend or neighbor to give their used coffee grounds. I put the used grounds in an airtight container and put it in the refrigerator so it would not get moldy. I have seen grounds get moldy after only a few days of being out at room temperature. Everyday after The coffee grounds cooled I put them into a container. I also added a few sprinkles of Cayenne Pepper. This is the part you want to be careful with so you don’t have a pet licking it up. This is also a reason to complete the process at night after your pet will no longer be in the yard. After mixing the coffee and cayenne for about a week, I mixed it with water. I made the consistency runny enough so it would go down into the colony. I also used some chili flakes thinking that would add some kick. I tried this one time, but then realized I was either not pouring enough in or it was just not effective, so I moved to another option.

What is your take on it?

Do you think it is too cruel to attack the ants this way?

See results

Boiling Water

After I had tried the coffee and Cayenne I remembered this had worked for someone. The key to this process is to be extremely careful with the water. This can cause horrible burns if it touches your skin. This can also kill you grass. Most of our ants were along our driveway, or in between crakes in cement, so I was not too worried about the grass. First, I boiled the water. You can use a microwave or a teakettle. After the water is boiling, immediately pour it on the anthill. I poured it slowly so it would have a chance to run into the anthill, and not just run all over the yard. I poured quite a large amount into each one; it was approximately two cups, depending on how large they were. This worked really well, but I was nervous the whole time I was doing it. I didn’t like the idea of walking through the house with boiling hot water. We have two kids, so it goes without saying there is always something laying on the floor to trip over. That and the dog could prove to be very difficult to maneuver through when focusing on trying not to spill.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Before starting this process I took a wooden skewer (yes, one we use for shish kabobs) and shoved it into the hole in the middle of the anthill. After pushing it down as far as possible, I wiggled it around so it made room for me to put some baking soda. I wanted to get it down further, and without the larger hole it would only lay on top of the hill. After pouring baking soda down a little, but not all the way to the top. It will foam up in the next step, so it is good to leave a little room. After pouring the baking soda in, pour the vinegar into the hole. This will cause it to foam, and hopefully result in no more ants.

Cornmeal or Grits

This is not for those who care about the ant’s feelings, just as with the boiling water, or other previous choices. What will happen is the ants will carry this, just as they do any food, and they will eat it. They are not able to digest it, so they will not be able to survive after they eat it. This is similar to why people have stopped throwing rice at weddings. It expands in the bird’s stomach.


Cinnamon can be sprinkled around near the anthills. This is a method if would like a more humane way. The ants don’t take any mercy on my yard, or me so we don’t take any on them. I figure they would just take up residence in another spot in our yard. This would be a way that would hopefully move them to someone else’s yard, but I am looking for permanent solutions. This is a very easy way, and would not be dangerous for animals.

Be Careful

Whichever way you chose, just remember to be careful to keep kids and animals safe. Also make sure to be safe with the different ingredients. I am still waiting on results for a couple of the methods since it rained one of the nights after. Based on what I have seen so far, I think I will stick with the boiling water. I will just make sure I complete the task when it is naptime, or my husband can keep the kids far from my path. I don’t want to take the change of a burn. I will also be more proactive and clear a path, and make sure I am taking the most direct route possible. I even thought I would use my oven mitt that is covered in silicone. That way, if any spills I am protected.

Questions & Answers

    Which option(s) have you, or will you try?

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        KARENLEE 2 months ago


        BURNS THEM.!

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        bernadette 23 months ago

        the cornmeal and grits sounds the best to me. I also pour kitchen salt in the cracks of the cement. Works for a while anyway.