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Homemade Ant Traps

I enjoy making things at home using earth-friendly ingredients and materials for my family and pets.

Ants come in bunches.

Ants come in bunches.

Why Should You Make Homemade Ant Traps?

There are many reasons why people may choose to make their own ant traps. For some people, they may want to save money, others may have pets and are 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, then this article is for you. My homemade ant traps are cheap and easy to make, and they kill the ants without hurting your pets.

Why I Started

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.

The Successful Ant Trap

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!

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
  • Metal lid from a used jar
  • Teaspoon

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. 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 two 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)

Tips for Eliminating Ants From 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) sitting 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 anthill.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Mable greenage on August 21, 2017:

Will ammonia kill ants

Marcinho on October 16, 2015:

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!

Bicknell from Dallas, Texas on September 08, 2012:

A very good and well written article..

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on July 20, 2012:

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 from Irvine on July 20, 2012:

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 (author) from Pennsylvania on July 08, 2012:

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

chrissieklinger (author) from Pennsylvania on July 08, 2012:

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.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 08, 2012:

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

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on July 08, 2012:

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 (author) from Pennsylvania on July 07, 2012:

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

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on July 07, 2012:

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.