Vinegar for Ants – Does Vinegar Kill Ants?

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Ants happen to be the creepiest creatures to invade our homes. Put any sweet or sugary food out for some time and there is a good chance you will see a group of ants gathered around the food. They break down the food into tiny particles and carry them to the ant colonies.

No matter which cleaning detergent you use and how often you clean your kitchen and dining room, it isn’t hard for the cluster of ants to find their way into your homes.

The ant baits and other ant-repellant solutions that may have worked for your neighbor might not kill the ants in your house. That’s because ants have more than 12,000 species. While most of them can be killed with basic home remedies, others need strong chemical formulas.

In this post, I will show you how vinegar kills ants. But, before we move on to that, let’s first discuss how ants enter your home.

How Ants Enter Your Home?

Sugar ants, piss ants, carpenter ants, bullet ants, and other ant species might not cause any harm to us, but they are the most annoying black insects out there. Most types of ants are attracted to all varieties of sweet products – be it the spilled sugar or some sweet syrup.

Their ability to smell the odor of sweets is no secret. Even the small food particles can lure the entire ant colony to your house.

While cleaning does help on some level, but you cannot go on vacuuming or mopping your floors after every meal. Besides, it is not an effective solution to keeping the ants from crawling into your home with their nestmates. Even if they don’t come in groups, then one ant finds a way into your house, collects food, and takes it back to the nests.

I’d recommend pesticides and some strong chemical detergents to get the entire group of these nasty creatures killed at once, but the chemicals that can kill ants can be quite harmful to humans too. Moreover, it is not your safest bet if you have kids and pets.

Now, the good news is you don’t really need pesticides. There are so many home remedies available for ants that will give the best results. And vinegar is one such natural ingredient that does wonders when it comes to killing and repelling ants.

Does Vinegar Work for Ants?

It is not only about killing a bunch of ants that are gathered around a spilled sweet beverage on your kitchen countertop. You should rather focus on removing the trail these insects have formed on the way to your house.

These trails are the special sweet scents that only their nest mates can detect. Other ants follow this scent to find their way into your house.

Vinegar does not only kill ants, but it works as a potent ant-repellant solution. A few drops of vinegar mixed with equal drops of water is all it takes to kill the ants and break their trail. The reason I mentioned vinegar is that it has a pungent odor that parasites can’t stand.

Like garlic and essential oils, vinegar has a really strong odor that could repel nearly every insect. And ants are not an exception. Like I mentioned before, vinegar interferes with the pheromones – the trail that these tiny insects leave behind for their nestmates.

Now, vinegar does not really kill ants unless it is combined with a pesticide or boric acid. If you spray a small amount of vinegar near the ants, they will simply leave your house because they can’t stand the odor. However, you don’t necessarily have to kill them.

If you have used vinegar at the entrance points or near the crevices, there is a high chance that ants will stay away from your home (even if you have spilled maple syrup on the floor). And that’s not only because they can’t resist vinegar, but vinegar has shown to break the pheromones.

Prepare the Vinegar Solution for Ants

I have mentioned vinegar as the ultimate choice for all types of ants, and for a good reason. Vinegar is one of the commonly found kitchen ingredients. If you don’t have it already, you can order fresh and organic apple cider vinegar online or from a local grocery store.

Besides, I am going to share a super simple vinegar ant-repel recipe that doesn’t require any pesticides, chemicals, or products that are not available in the local retail stores.

Step 1: Mix a few drops of white or apple cider vinegar with equal part water into a spray bottle.

Step 2: Shake it well and spray it in the corners or crevices of your home.

Step 3: Keep spraying the vinegar and water solution every few hours, especially during spring.

Now, before you go ahead, you must note that vinegar has a sharp odor that might be unpleasant for you. That’s one of the reasons why some people mix it with essential oils. You could add a few drops of Artizen Rosemary Essential Oil to the solution for the smell, but I’d recommend you stick to pure vinegar and water mixture only.

It is only a matter of minutes before the strong odor of the vinegar is faded. Still, the ants won’t be able to tolerate it because they are five times more odor receptors than any other parasite or insect.

You can skip the water if you want better results, but then it will be hard for you to stand the incredibly strong odor of vinegar. Like other pesticides and chemical formulas, vinegar lasts for only a short while. No matter how effective is, the smell of vinegar can keep ants away from your house for a few hours.

Which Vinegar Is the Best Ant-Repellant?

White vinegar is your best bet for all species of ants. However, if there is a serious infestation, you must consider using apple cider vinegar. It is stronger and more effective.

The recipe is the same – mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water in a spray bottle and spray the liquid in each corner of your kitchen, baseboards, and other places where ants could enter your house. The solution works best if it is sprayed onto the ants, but that won’t be necessary.

There is no ideal time to spray vinegar around your house but try it in the morning and evening as ants are more active during those hours. Vinegar works for nearly all species of ants as well as other bugs. That’s because no parasite can bear the vinegar’s sharp odor. So, there is a good chance vinegar might work for any pest infestation.

Other Solutions

It doesn’t really matter when you find hundreds of ants in a nice picnic spot, but when these ants invade your homes, you will want to kill them and destroy the pheromones that they have left behind. The solution I mentioned in this post is sufficient to get a large number of ants killed in the easiest way.

However, due to the strong odor of vinegar, only a few of us have vinegar in our kitchen cabinets. Even if you have white vinegar, you may not want to spray it everywhere.

The good news is I have a few alternatives to vinegar for ants. They might not be as good as 50/50 vinegar and water solution, but they work really well. Besides, there is no harm in trying. Let’s check a few of them.

  • Boiling Water: This may sound a little aggressive, but that’s what it takes for these stubborn ant colonies to go away. If you don’t have time to buy vinegar or Terro Ant Killer, boil a cup of water and pour it onto the ants.

That will kill a large group of ants in no time. And unlike ant baits, it doesn’t take time (saving the ants from a slow, painful death). Just make sure you pour the hot water in the corners where ants are likely to enter your space.

  • Essential Oils: Earlier I mentioned that ants cannot resist strong odors. Vinegar does have the most pungent odor, but it can get a little convenient for you to tolerate its smell.

So, a simple and effective alternative to vinegar would be pure and natural lavender oil. Its smell is strong enough to repel ants and sweet enough to calm your mind. Cinnamon leaf and rosemary oils are also great for ants.

  • Boric Acids: This should be your last resort, although you can rest easy knowing it won’t be needed. If ants have infested your kitchen, bedrooms, living rooms, and exteriors, then vinegar and water will not be enough.

You will need to set an ant bait to trap these nasty little insects. Baits contain boric acids that kill ants in 24-48 hours of consumption.

Bottom Line

With vinegar solution, killing and repelling the ants is going to be a breeze. You could also try other options, but vinegar is your best bet. You must make a habit of eating food (at least sweets and sugary beverages) in one place so that it is easy to clean the spot.

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