Should You Use Coca-Cola to Get Rid of Ants?

Updated: Apr. 12, 2023

Got an ant problem? Some gardeners claim a bottle of coke is all you need to get rid of the 6-legged pests. We looked into this claim.

If you’ve ever had an ant colony set up shop around or inside your home, you know how annoying these industrious little insects can be. Ants will happily churn up small hills of dirt in your yard, swarm your favorite plants and trees, and even find tiny cracks and holes in your walls, using them to gain entry to your home.

With this problem being so common, many products exist claiming to stop ants in their tracks. I can tell you from experience that some work better than others, and most aren’t cheap. They’re also not necessarily great for the environment. That’s why conscientious homeowners are on the hunt for simpler, more economical ant killers. Some have claimed that the ultimate solution to the ant problem is a simple bottle of Coke.

Will Coke Actually Kill Ants?

People get mixed results using Coke as an ant killer. Some claim it works great, with a single bottle of coke ridding them completely of unwanted ant colonies. Others say an entire 2-liter bottle applied directly to a busy ant hill had no effect whatsoever. I’ve personally never tried it, and have heard and read enough conflicting reports that I don’t think I will. When I have an ant problem (and living in the woods, I often do), I want an ant killer that works great 100% of the time. Coke doesn’t seem to fit the bill.

How Does Soda Kill Ants?

Ants Around A Puddle Of Liquid On A Table Near Kuranda In Queensland, AustraliaWendy Townrow/Getty Images

The claim is that the sweetness of Coke attracts ants, then the acid and caffeine slowly kills them. Scouting worker ants are drawn to the sugar, causing them to consume it and bring it back to the rest of the colony in their stomachs. They regurgitate it and share it with the colony, including the queen.

I have no doubt that ants would indeed be attracted to Coke due to its sweetness. What’s much less certain is the lethality of Coke to ants. I’ve seen very little direct evidence this method works, and considerable evidence that it doesn’t (or at least not completely).

Besides Ants, What Other Pests Does Coke Kill?

Although the legitimacy of Coke as an ant killer is questionable, the general principle of attracting 6-legged pests with something sweet but lethal is sound. Mixing borax and honey in boiling water for example results in a well-documented ant-killing solution that also gets rid of roaches, flies, termites and fleas.

How to Use Coke to Kill Ants and Other Pests

If you want to test Coke as an ant killer for yourself, gather some plastic bottle caps and place them around ant hotspots. Fill them with coke, then monitor the ant activity for the next few days. Top off the caps as needed. You’ll know within a few days if the Coke is doing the trick, as the ant traffic will slow down dramatically. If it doesn’t, try the same procedure with borax and honey dissolved in boiling water. A mixture of 2 heaping teaspoons each of borax and honey in 1 cup of boiling water produces the best home remedy for getting rid of ants that I know of.