7 Powerful Homemade Ant Killers: How to Make a DIY Ant Trap?

It’s easy to go to the local home and garden store, and buy a pack of ant traps. Most of the time, they work well.

But do you really want to put poison around your home? I didn’t think so.

The good news is that homemade ant traps are really easy to make: take something ants love, and mix it with something that kills them.

We’re going to share several recipes you can try and some tips on how to actually use your homemade ant trap.

7 Simple Homemade Ant Trap Recipes

There are several ways to get rid of ants using natural or simple ingredients that you already have in your home.

Ants usually love one (or more) of the following:

  • Sweets
  • Grease/fat
  • Protein

These are what will actually attract the ants. You’ll mix one of these with a substance that kills ants to effectively destroy the nest.

Use these recipes to make your own traps:

1. Borax and Sugar

Using borax and sugar to kill ants

The most common and effective homemade ant killer is borax. But to get the ants to take the bait, you’ll need to mix it with something sweet: sugar.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. borax (boric acid)
  • 2 cups sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to boil for three minutes. Allow it to cool completely. The mixture will begin to thicken as it cools.

The end result is a substance that’s a lot like Terro ant baits, which is one of the best conventional ant traps.

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The borax and sugar paste is used like any other bait. You can apply it directly to the floor, window sill or other entry point. If you don’t want to make a mess, you can place the bait on a piece of cardboard or paper.

Ants will devour the sugar, and the borax will kill them. The sweet substance helps masks the borax, making the bait more attractive.

The ants will be attracted to the bait, and take it back home to the nest. Once everyone gets a taste of the poison, the entire nest will be destroyed.

2. Borax and Jam

Similar to the previous recipe, this mixture combines both borax and jam (something sweet) to attract and kill ants.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp. borax
  • Jam or jelly (honey will work, too)

Combine the borax with just enough jam (jelly, or honey) to make a paste. Spread the paste on a piece of paper or a covered container that has holes in it.

If you find that the ants are eating the bait but are only getting fatter, increase the amount of boric acid in the mixture.

Keep in mind that this bait will work best with ants that love sweets. Protein or fat-loving ants may not take this bait.

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Within a few days or a week, the entire nest will be destroyed. Be patient and give the borax some time to work.

3. Borax and Peanut Butter

If your ants prefer protein or fat over sweets, a mixture of peanut butter and borax will do the trick. You can also use bacon grease if you don’t have peanut butter.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp. borax
  • Peanut butter

Mix the two ingredients until it forms a paste. Spread the paste on a paper plate, piece of paper or some other container, and place it along the ant trail.

Fat and protein baits work best for:

  • Thief ants
  • Pharaoh ants
  • Fire ants

These species of ants will be more likely to take this type of bait.

4. Molasses, Sugar, Yeast and Borax

Molasses on table

Sweet, savory and deadly, this bait contains three things ants love: molasses, sugar and yeast. The sweet and sticky molasses will mask the borax, which will make clever ants more likely to take the bait.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 2 tbsp. molasses
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. borax

Mix these three ingredients together, and place dollops of the mixture on plates placed along the trail.

The ants will take the deadly bait back to the nest and share it with their colony mates. It will take a few days, but the bait will wipe out the colony, including the queen.

5. Dish Soap, Oil and Water

A simple combination of oil, soap and water attracts the ants, traps them, and drowns them.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tsp. cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. dishwashing soap

Mix these three ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray the ants and the entry point to create a barricade.

The only issue with this recipe is that the ants won’t take it back to the nest, so you won’t kill the colony this way. But you will kill any stragglers if you’re trying to finish off the nest after you’ve set another bait along the trail.

6. Baking Soda and Powdered Sugar

This recipe attracts ants with the powdered sugar, and the baking soda destroys them. It interacts with the acid in their digestive systems, and causes them to explode.

The great thing about this recipe is that the ants can’t tell the difference between the sugar or the baking soda because they’re similar in size.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 part powdered sugar
  • 1 part baking soda

Place the mixture along the ant trail, at the entry point or problem area.

Because this mixture is non-toxic, you won’t have to take as many precautions when placing near children or pets. But if you’d rather be safe, you can place the mixture on a piece of paper or jar lid.

7. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) kills ants naturally, and it’s safe to use around pets and children. For best results, use food-grade DE.

DE is harmless to mammals, but it has microscopic sharp particles that affect the exoskeletons of ants. It rips through the joints, disabling the insects in the process. When it punctures the exoskeleton, it can also absorb all of the ants’ oils and fats, causing them to dehydrate and die.

Here’s a recipe for a wet DE bait that can be applied to entry points:

  • 6 tbsp. DE
  • 8 ounces of water

Spray the solution in areas with ant activity.

You can also apply the powder directly to entry points and along trails.

How to Set Up DIY Ant Trap

You’ve created your own bait – now what? Where do you put it? How soon will it start working?

Where to Put the BaitTermites are eating bait.

It’s important to place your ant bait in the right place. If you choose a random spot in the house, the ants won’t find it.

Pay attention to where the ants are coming from. Follow the trail, if there is one. If there isn’t a trail, look for openings or cracks near the spot you found the ants.

The goal here is to place the bait where they’ll find it.

A typical house ant is an odorous house ant (commonly found in kitchens) that leaves behind a pheromone trail. That trail is what his colony mates find and follow to the goods (usually sweets).

Placing the bait along this trail will help the ants find the poison quickly, and take it back to the nest. Look for ant activity. It should be obvious if you have a fairly large infestation.

Setting the trap in a random place in your home won’t be effective – or it will take a long time for the ants to find it.

How soon will the bait start working?

As long as you let the ants take the bait back to the nest (resist the temptation to squash those few stragglers), the bait will start working fairly quickly. Most people see a significant reduction in the number of ants they see after just a few days.

But keep in mind that it can take two weeks for the bait to destroy the entire nest. Be patient, and keep checking the traps to make sure that the ants are still taking the bait.

Keeping the Ants from Coming Back

Give the bait some time to start working. Once you notice a dramatic reduction in the number of ants in your home, it’s time to start taking actions to prevent them from coming back.

Now that you know where the trail is, keep the area clean. Use vinegar to clean these areas, which will destroy the ant’s pheromone trail.

Make sure that you continue to wipe down the ant trails with vinegar while the bait is working.

One last trick: sprinkle cinnamon along the former entry point to prevent the ants from coming back. Ants hate cinnamon – they won’t go anywhere near it.

Finally, you’ll want to take the time to seal cracks, gaps and holes that allow the ants access to your home. Use caulk, foam or other sealing products to fill in these openings. You can find these products at any home improvement store.

It may seem tedious, but sealing up these gaps will also keep other insects and pest away.

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