Reader question… “My sempervivums are terribly overrun with ANTS. I don’t want to use anything poisonous because I have little ones and a puppy. Do you have any natural methods for getting rid of ants?” –Barb N.

In the past we’ve had some pretty bad ant problems here. Like you, I won’t use poisons, so over the years I think I have probably tried most of the natural methods for getting rid of ants. I have found a few that work really well… so well, in fact, that when I searched for ants to photograph to illustrate this post, I literally couldn’t find any… even under rocks or in their usual places. So thanks for the question… and for giving me the opportunity to discover that we no longer have a problem with ants!

Ants will not cross a line of dry powder. If you are trying to protect just a few plants, you can make a circle of powder around each plant… although this is not a practical solution if the ants are all over a garden. The powder can be anything from flour to cinnamon to red or black pepper. I have found that highly scented body powder (from the dollar store) works quite well and the ants don’t seem to like the strong smell any better than I do.

Another idea I have read about is to make a mixture of roughly equal parts of molasses, sugar, and yeast. This can be spread on a small strip of cardboard or left in a shallow container. I have not tried this one.

Some people scatter coffee grounds around the plants. Supposedly the ants will eat the coffee grounds and implode. Perhaps I just had too many ants at the time, but this method did not work for me.

The approach I have used for the last several years… and the one I think has probably eliminated the ant problem here… is to sprinkle baking soda around the plants. Sometimes I leave a small mound of baking soda in strategic places for the ants to ingest and carry back to their nests. The baking soda is poisonous to the ants. The first year I tried this, I used baking powder because that was what was recommended, and that also worked. Borax is also often suggested but I have never tried it because the baking soda works so well.

Hopefully one of these methods will work for you…

Add Your Comment

All comments are moderated... your email address will not be published.

Talk to me! :o)



Thanks for the natural methods. I won’t use chemicals either and sometimes it’s difficult to find a natural remedy that works. I tried the coffee grounds and it didn’t work for me either and I tried the cream of rice that I saw suggested somewhere. That didn’t work. I’m going to try the baking soda. That’s something I always have and I’m not afraid to have it out around for something else to eat.


Baking soda is the way to go. It’s the one natural method I’ve tried that works on a lot of pesky bugs. Have you tried putting some under something? That’s the way I use it.


Great post. I love that you are encouraging not poisoning our environment with chemicals. The natural methods may not be as immediate but there is usually a natural method that will work. There are some good ideas to try here. I have personally had good results with baking powder. I wonder if the baking soda in it is what works.