How to Kill Ants (Not Aunts!) the Organic Way


Introduction: How to Kill Ants (Not Aunts!) the Organic Way

I made this instructable to answer the Life's Burning Questions: how to get rid of ants.
I have seen this concoction on quite a few websites so, this is not my recipe.

Step 1: How to Concoct It

You will need:
1 Gallon of water
1/4 Cup orange oil
1/4 Cup Blackstrap Molasses
Some sort of sprayer (or you can just pour it on the bed)

Simply mix together all of the ingredients.

Note: makes enough for one ant bed.

Step 2: The Spraying/Pouring

Start by spraying a ring around the ant bed and spiral inward to the center, then spray in one place and let the ant's tunnels do the work for you. You might want to make more than one tunnel (see picture) in order to spread the mix evenly.

Step 3: The End (if You Did It Right)

THE END! (hopefully)

Make sure you soak the ground VERY well so that no ants survive.



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    Molasses (and milk) contaminate the mounds with sugar and cause mold, spoiling the brood. The ants abandon the mounds treated with these sugars. It works pretty darn well in my yard in Tx, but only on individual mounds. I plan to try the TA&MU approach of a yearly broadcast of a fire ant bait product containing organic approved spinosad containing granuals then following up with the molasses/Dawn treatment on any mounds that survive.

    I have ants all over my carpet in my bed room will this work.

    Hi, I'm a little late on this post, but I have to weigh in heere.... one of the reasons that fire ants are doing so wonderfully well is because people keep feeding them! Every Southern university is well aware of the fire ant problem, and they are all doing much research... So I have to say (to Narutal and Crapflinger) PLEASE don't perpetuate the myths of feeding them anything so they'll 'explode'. Oatmeal, grits, cornmeal, spaghetti... etc. don't work. The orange oil does, though, it is toxic to the ants. I'm not sure why--I only know that they have done controlled experiments on fire ants and the orange oil works best when used in conjunction with an insecticidal soap. There is also a Phorid fly from S. America that is a natural predator of the fire ants, but studies are still being done. I would recommend leaving out the molasses, it is only making the ants leave, not killing them. The orange oil must come into contact with the ants to work, and they will not feed molasses to a queen. The best method so far is to rid them by digging up the colony and dumping it into a bucket with boiling water. Make sure you coat the shovel with talcum powder first, so they don't crawl up the handle. Next pour the water in the hole, in an attempt to get to the queen, who sometimes can live as far as 6 feet underground. grrr.... fire ants. How i hate them.

    I have been trying to find a solution to keep ants away indoors. I live in a old brick building second floor and woke up with flying ants on my bed last night. AHH! Do you recomend this solution for this purpose. I have a dog, who licks everything, what they love to do. Found that no ingredient is toxic to them, which is good.

    Nice to see young girls taking care of business - this site has great diversity. And three cheers for your parents, somehow getting their daughter interested in spraying their lawn for bugs.

    10 replies

    three cheers? how about 6 cheers?

    Nice job but why does this kill the ants?

    The acid in the orange oil eats the ants exoskeletons therefore killing them. The molasses is simply a substance that repels them which is why you start by spraying a ring around the ant bed so that none of them can escape.

    You are partially correct. The orange oil is nature's most powerful fat and wax dissolver. If you look around you'll find orange oil in all the new cleaners. It is used in paint remover and the US Air Force uses it to clean their jet engines. It is very strong stuff. When it gets on an ant, it dissolves the waxy coating, just like Lord says. Unfortunately orange oil is "nonselective" and will kill all the insects and microarthropods that get it on them, so try to target only your ants and don't spray your entire yard just because you can. The molasses is for a different reason. Fire ants hate sugar. If you have ever tried putting out a sugar bait for fire ants, you know what I mean. They will walk a mile to avoid some sugar. Apparently, and this is not well studied, the fire ants collect protein sources and take them to their nests for storage. They have to eat the food before it rots. If you spray or soak their mounds with anything sugary, the decomposition process speeds up on their food supply. The fire ants know this and will abandon a mound contaminated with sugar. A good suggestion is to spray a 10-foot circle around the mound with half of your gallon and drench the mound with the other half gallon. Use caution handling orange oil. Just because it is organic does not mean it is always safe. Orange oil is one of the harsher organic materials. If you get it on your skin, it will remove the oils temporarily. Finding pure orange oil can be a hassle. A brand I have not seen in awhile is called Orange TKO. I get orange oil at a feed store, but I have seen it at nurseries that have an organic section. I seldom see it at big box stores. When you look at the ingredients on the bottle, it should say d-lymonine. Oh and the grits thing is a myth. Ants have to eat moist food so the grits will have already expanded as much as it's going to expand before they eat it. But they will eat it. Grits makes an excellent ant food.

    All of what you said may be true, but do you know what happens when you expose ants to electromagnetic radiation?

    What I usually do is spray a 2 foot ring around the bed. Ten feet seems like a little much. The orange oil in the picture is Medina and I have an order for Erath Earth Orange Oil at a local organic wholesaler.

    get a pet ant eater, you can keep the colony, feed your pet, and kill ants all at the same time! you supply the water.

    LOL! Why do you think my name is lord of mystra? haha...

    But thanks for the feedback.

    Btw my next project will be a fire-breathing pumpkin (for the Halloween contest).

    i heard that corn meal (ya know the stuff you can use to make corn bread) is something i heard kills them, they bring it to their nest (coloney whatever you want to call it, and yes that includes the fat crap hole in the yard) they bring it there and they eat it, but they cant digest it so they explode (not literally, i wish they did though) so they just bloat till they die. W00T FAT ANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!!!!

    Add liquid humate to the orange oil and hortacultural molasses. Garden-Ville, a great organics outfit in Central Texas since 1957, has had this mix on retail shelves and in books forever (called Anti-Fuego, $9.00 qt $16.00 gal premixed). This is one of Malcolm Beck and Howard Garrett's famous recipes. Buid the microbial life while conditioning the soil and fire ants will move out. They like a sterile and depleted soil. Move them out by revitalizing your problem areas! I use this in ant prone areas and apply beneficial nematodes ($10.00 per 3000 sqft) in spring and after summer. Good work, Lord!

    also (this may be mean) but pouring a tad of bleach on it will kill em (and it'll make the colony smoke ) :P

    I have heard that you can pour boiling water on them to kill them also.

    1 reply

    yes, i believe that would work on most organisms.