Ants are absolute pests that can invade your home, wreaking havoc on your health and happiness. While there are plenty of poisons out there to kill ants in their tracks, most contain a cocktail of chemicals that are just as dreadful to your beloved pets. If you want to learn how to get rid of ants without harming your dog or cat, we’ve got you covered.
The first step in learning how to get rid of ants, whether you have animals in your home or not, is don’t make your home attractive to the ants in the first place. That means keeping your kitchen cabinets and floors void of crumbs, which the workers ants seek out and bring back to their queen and her kin.
It can be hard to keep track of every tiny drop of food, though. So if you’re unlucky enough to be a cleaning machine and still come home to a kitchen swarming with ants, then you’ll want to learn how to bait the workers ants.
First identify the trail of workers—where they’re coming from and what food source they’re going to. Now, place ant bait stations along this trail. Not all bait is pet-friendly, however! To be safe, the EPA suggests using low toxicity stations that won’t harm your pets. You can try Combat products, which are specifically designed to target ants while also having a low order of toxicity in animals including house pets. The insecticide mixture within the stations isn’t easily accessible to pets, but to be on the safe side, make sure the stations are placed behind appliances, in the back of cabinets, and generally out of reach from your curious critters. Don’t place the bait stations near your pet’s toys, food and water areas.
A common ingredient to look out for in pet-safe ant killers is diatomaceous earth, which contains the fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms called diatoms. It looks like an off-white talc powder, with the main ingredient being silica. The FDA considers diatomaceous earth to be “generally recognized as safe.” Just be sure you choose a product labeled as “food-grade” when purchasing, as this means it’s gone through a purification process.
For a minor infestation, soak a large absorbent sponge in sugar water. Place it near the ant trail and let it sit for a day. Wash off the dead ants, soak in more sugar water and place back near the trail until you no longer see any dead ants when squeezing out the sponge.