Homemade Ant Traps

Updated on August 3, 2012

Why Should You Make Homemade Ant Traps?

There are many reasons why people may chose to make their own ant traps. For some people they may want to save money, others may have pets and be afraid that commercial products will hurt them, and then there are some that are looking for a method that doesn't kill ants. If you are in the first two groups of people than this article is for you. My homemade ant traps are cheap and easy to make and they kill the ants without hurting your pets.

I started making my own ant traps in an effort to save money. I have used commercial baits in the past and my animals have never bothered with them. However, this summer the ant invasion was the worst it has ever been and when I went to the store to buy traps, I realized that some of them said "without Borax" and this made me realize that if some ant traps use Borax, I could probably make my own traps. So, I left the store, kept the money in my purse, and experimented with making homemade ant traps.

After a few weeks of using the traps, I have found that they seem to actually work better than the store bought ones. The only downside is I had to see all the ants in the trap and it was a little gross. I will say that seeing them in the trap was still better than seeing them in my food!

Ants come in bunches
Ants come in bunches | Source

Ingredients for Homemade Ant Traps

Here is what you will need to make homemade ant traps:

  • honey
  • Borax (can be found in the laundry section of the grocery store)
  • water
  • a metal lid from a used jar
  • a teaspoon

I tried using corn syrup and sugar but found that honey was much more effective. Some people also make larger quantities of the ant trap solution and store it, but again I found using a fresh solution was most effective.

How to Make Homemade Ant Traps

Do You Use Borax in Your Home?

Do you think Borax is safe to use in your home?

See results
DO keep dog food in a sealed container.
DO keep dog food in a sealed container. | Source
DO keep food in containers with lids.
DO keep food in containers with lids. | Source
Storing granola bars in a container with a lid is better than storing them in the box from the store.
Storing granola bars in a container with a lid is better than storing them in the box from the store. | Source
DO keep your counter tops clean at all times.
DO keep your counter tops clean at all times. | Source
DON'T leave food lay around.
DON'T leave food lay around. | Source
DON'T let dishes pile up.
DON'T let dishes pile up. | Source

Is Borax Really Safe to Use Around Kids and Pets?

If you follow the suggestions for reducing ants in your home, you may find that you don't need traps at all. If you do need to make homemade traps, the honey will attract the ants and the Borax will kill them. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral but it is a poison. Many people have concerns about using the product around children and pets. For these traps you will be using a very small amount of Borax. Although it will be deadly to the ants, it will not harm animals if ingested.

As for little kids, you should make sure the traps are in an area that they can't touch them. The solution will not hurt an adult or child if they get it on their hands, but if a child ingests it, they could develop stomach problems. Children under the age of 2 should never eat honey, so if a child under the age of two drinks this solution of honey and Borax, they may get sick. Again the amount of Borax and honey being used is very minimal so it is likely that it wouldn't affect certain kids at all if ingested, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I recommend keeping these traps (and any insect trap for that matter) out of the reach of children.

Natural Ant Killing Alternatives to Borax

You can also kill ants by using these more natural methods:

  • Spray soapy water on ants as you see them
  • Rub peppermint oil in the areas where the ants visit (mostly just deters them)
  • Leave a pile of cornmeal for them to eat (they will go back to their home and die because they can't properly digest it)
  • Leave a pile of cream of wheat for them to eat (it has a similar effect as the cornmeal)
  • Leave used coffee grounds out for the ants to eat (this will eventually kill them but may take weeks to work)

Ways to Reduce Ants in Your Home

  • Store all food in air-tight containers or containers with tight lids
  • Store cat and dog food in heavy plastic bins with tight lids
  • Rinse all your cups and dishes and clean them as quickly as possible
  • Sweep and vacuum frequently
  • Keep kitchen counters clean and free of open food
  • Don't leave liquids (juice, soda, or tea) sit in cups for more than a few minutes
  • Empty garbage bags frequently
  • Keep garbage cans clean
  • Caulk areas that ants are entering from

How to Deal with Anthills Outside

Destroying ant hills outside can help prevent the ants from coming into your house. You can destroy ant hills outside using one of these two methods:

  1. Pour hot soapy water over the anthill
  2. Pour a mixture of two parts vinegar and one part water over the ant hill


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    • profile image

      Mable greenage 6 months ago

      Will ammonia kill ants

    • profile image

      Marcinho 2 years ago

      I have been hesitant to buy Borax, but after two hours of searching the net, it seems to be the best answer. For the past month, my guestroom has been inundated with small and large ants. I'll be getting some Borax on my next trip to town.

      In the mean time, I took a plan b", and made that soapy water mentioned here. Glad I found this post!

    • FlyingBick profile image

      Bicknell 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      A very good and well written article..

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      It doesn't hurt to try. I would line up a few lids and put different things in and see what works, cornmeal is a cheap, easy item to start with.

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 5 years ago from Irvine

      I wish I'd had this info while living in my prior apartment, as the kitchen would regularly get swamped with an army of black ants, and we consequently had to throw out a fair amount of food. I used to kill them using Windex, as neither my wife nor I have much tolerance for the odor of commercial pesticides. In my current residence we are sometimes visited with extremely tiny, brown ants. Do you think your remedy will work equally well on these little devils?

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Susan borax has many uses, definitely good to have a box around.

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Goodladywhen they are outside my kids like to watch them and I don't bother killing the ants, but after having them in my kitchen for a few days, enough was enough.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'll be adding borax to my shopping list and trying your solution.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Fun video, bit of black humor though. Poor ants. We love our ants!

      But ours don't come in the house. If they did, a moldy lemon works OK to distract them from their march.

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I use vinegar and baking soda for so many things I'm considering buying stock in it...LOL!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I love this. I never tried the borax before. I know that the ant powder I usually buy has no use so I use baking soda in the corners where the enter from. I also spray them with vinegar solution. Now I know a way to get rid of them and you also gave me an idea for a hub, totally opposite to this one of course.