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4 Short Term Home Solutions that Won't Deter Ants

When dealing with pesky ants, homeowners often rely on the internet to provide them with do-it-yourself solutions on how to eliminate ants or just using commercially available products for convenience. Some do this to save money, while other just don’t have the time to find a better solution. But little do they know, these remedies are ineffective in dealing with the problem and deter ants only to some extent. In the long run, the cost of these DIY solutions might be more than the price to pay for not resolving the root cause.  Here are some ineffective short-term solutions that most homeowners use:


Ants leave pheromone trails to keep track

One of the most common DIY solutions used in deterring ants is the use of chalk. While many find this an “effective” way of dealing with ants, this only works because calcium carbonate masks the scent trail of ants, resulting in ants scattering towards different directions because they have lost the trail. But after a very short while, ants re-establish their scent trail and go back to work again, making this method ineffective in eliminating ants or their nest.

You may also like: 21 Ways to Get Rid of Ants in Singapore

Hot or boiling water

Another common DIY used method to eliminate ants is using hot or boiling water. Boiling water is a little more effective than using chalk, because there are chances to contact kill the ants and reducing their population while removing their scent trail. But this is just temporary and does not get rid of the ant nest or root source; sooner or later, ants will appear again.

Not only is boiling water an ineffective way to eliminate ants, it’s also a potential danger to the user who could suffer from burns or scalds if an accident happens. Water can also create a lot of moisture inside your home that could seep into wood – this could potentially attract termites into your home. Termite damage can be costly and poses a risk to your family’s health and safety.

Spices and herbs

Some believe that using spices like cinnamon, chilli powder, cayenne, and black pepper can effectively eliminate ants. Unfortunately, this just a temporary fix - these strong spices only masks the scent trail of ants, making them lost and confused. But it does not pose a permanent solution to the problem.

While this may work temporarily repelling ants, other house pests such as cockroaches may get attracted to these spices when left scattered inside your home. You’ll end up dealing with more house pest issues instead of getting rid of them.


Borax is sometimes known as boric acid or sodium tetra borate.  Aside from being a DIY ant repellent, this substance is used in various ways around the household. Some common uses of Borax are: removing stain from laundry, cleaning toilet bowls, and unclogging drains. As an ant repellent, it is often used as bait. Homeowners mix Borax with sugar or honey to lure the ants in, and because the formula is toxic when ingested, they anticipate that ants will die once they ingest the borax-sugar bait. One major reason why homeowners should avoid this method is because children and pets might ingest the bait accidentally.


Ants communicate with each other using pheromones – scented chemicals produced by ants from various glands all over their bodies. These pheromones are then picked up by other ants through their antennae.  When an ant finds food, it creates a scent trail back to the colony so that other ants can trace back to the food source. The scent intensifies each time the trail is travelled.

Some DIY tips suggest using vinegar to block the traces of pheromones, deterring ants from finding each other and making an ant trail. However, this can only repel the problem in localised areas. If the ant infestation is more widespread in the home with a harbourage hidden somewhere, it wouldn’t work.

What are some damages if ants infestation is left untreated?

Firstly, ants can cause food contamination risks as they transfer harmful pathogens from their body to the food and surfaces they lurk. Secondly, some ants do bite like the fire ants and they may cause some painful and stinging bites, and worse of all, skin infection and allergies if condition worsens. Thirdly, species such as carpenter ants can damage wooden furniture as they tunnel their way out, making holes and exit points on the items. Finally, ants’ problem can cause home disruptions, investments, multiple treatments and recovery arising from the infestation. Above all, do not procrastinate to seek early and professional pest control services even in early stages of an infestation or for maintenance purpose.

Read also: 7 facts we did not know about ants

When should you seek professional pest control help?

Most of the time, homeowners end up wasting more money by following these ineffective short-term DIY methods. And because the root cause of the problem is not resolved, these pest issues tend to escalate further, making things worst. Ants such as Pharaoh’s Ants do not respond well with off the shelve insecticides -- in fact, it will worsen the problem by splitting up the colony, making it more difficult to contain the infestation.

So instead of dealing with the problem by yourself, you can minimise the hassle and problem by calling for a pest control professional who can give you long-term protection and an effective solution that is safe and sustainable. 

Ants control FAQ

  • Can Dettol spray kill ants?

    Only to a certain extent. While the spray can eliminate some visible ants and its strong scent may deter other ants from returning, it is only a short-term solution. Moreover, different ant species may respond differently to the treatment. As such, if you are experiencing an ant infestation, the most effective way to get rid of them is to consult a professional pest control company that will provide expert ant control solutions. In addition, some ant species such as carpenter ants are mistaken for termites and hence, pest control services may be applied wrongly if pest detection is not performed professionally.

  • Is using water a good way to deter ants infestation?

    Pouring water onto an ants' nest can eliminate or “wash off” some of the physical crawling ants but not resolving the entire colony. As such, water is only a short-term remedy for deterring an ant infestation. A long-term solution to prevent the start of ants’ problem is to engage a professional pest control company with experts who can accurately identify the ant species and provide relevant and effective treatments accordingly.

  • How long can an ant infestation last in Singapore?

    As long as there is a reliable source of food, water, and shelter, an ant infestation can last for a very long time. This is why it is important to always store food and water in airtight containers, clean up spillages and block off entry points into the premises (keeping windows and doors closed and sealing any cracks in the walls and flooring). A professional pest control company can also be consulted as they can offer elimination and preventative methods to reduce chances of an ants' infestation in your premises.

  • How to get rid of recurring ants problem?

    If you are regularly cleaning and sealing off entry points in your premises but are still experiencing a recurring ant problem, it may be due to reasons that you are unable to detect. In such situations, it will be in your best interest to engage a professional pest control company as they have experienced specialists who can do an on-site inspection, determine the underlying cause of your recurring ant problem and customise treatments accordingly.

  • Are ants a problem?

    Ants carry and spread food-borne diseases as they pick up pathogens and germs along the way while scouting for food and shelter. They can contaminate food and cause symptoms such as vomiting, diaahrea and stomach cramps or abdominal pain. In addition, some ants can bite, resulting in painful, itchy, stinging and swollen bites like the fire ants. It is best to get rid of ants effectively through professional pest control where proper detection and treatments are delivered.

  • Can ants cause damage to my property?

    Most ant species do not cause property damage. However, carpenter ants tunnel through wooden structures for nesting purposes and are often mistaken for termites. The key difference between the two is that carpenter ants are black in colour while termites are translucent to white. If carpenter ants are not handled properly, they can cause damage to your furniture or home structures or stability. Therefore, you should call a professional pest control service as they can effectively deal with a carpenter ant infestation or termite infestation in your premises.

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