Most of these repellent suggestions seem to be non-harming, I've removed a few that were. Hopefully you'll find something that won't hurt the little fellas but will bring peace to the household:Getting rid of ants
Q. I have a question about ants. We have had a problem with the small, brown ants.
• We have 'them, too. About everybody we know does, here in Southern California. We don't like to spray poisons around, so we have to put up with them to some extent, but we have found that they hate baby powder (preferably scented talcum). If you find a trail of them in your house, or some "scouts" looking for food so they can bring the rest of their nest to enjoy it, just sprinkle the baby powder on the ants and wherever they are coming in from, if you can find it, and you will see them begin to get upset. After a while, they'll be gone, and they won't be back again for awhile, even after you remove the powder. We dust baby powder on our honey jar and sugar bowl, as well as the outside of the cats' dish and it keeps the ants off.
• Sounds crazy, but try vinegar! Fill a squirt bottle with plain old cheap white vinegar, and squirt it anyplace you've seen ants (kitchen counters, windowsills, etc) and let it dry. It's non-toxic, won't harm anything, and the smell will go away in just a couple of minutes. It worked for me!
• I have a suggestion for the ant problem; plain old cinnamon. I put in or at the site of the ant invasion, they back off quick!
• Black pepper is a nonlethal, poison free, cheap, and safe way to get rid of ants - sprinkle the black pepper where you see them congregating and watch 'them scatter. Follow them to where they're exiting - which is the same spot they're entering in at - and sprinkle the pepper at that spot to keep them from coming back in. It's safe to use in your cabinets, on windowsills, near your pets and kids, around food, etc.
• I have a book with several tips for the use of apple cider vinegar. One of them is getting rid of ants. Make a mixture of 50/50 water and vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the surface with the solution several times a day. Ants guide themselves with their scent. Vinegar has a natural chemical that alters ants' scent and which ants avoid.
• My husband was in conversation recently with a gentleman in the pest control business. This man preferred to use environmentally safe methods to control pests. His recommendation for ants was: equal parts Windex and Ivory Soap. Simply mix, and spray problem areas. ???? (not sure about this one)
• If you can trace them back to where they are getting in, because caulking is usually the best solution, as it prevents recurrence.
• I had a bad problem with them last year and tried everything. Then, I read in a book to place Bay Leaves on your counters and preferably along the trail where they are coming in (if you can find it). It worked. Now I make sure that I keep some behind my canisters, etc. on my countertops.
• We use plain white chalk drawn in a line at the place they come in they wont cross for some reason and also I use comet cleanser sprinkled where children/animals don't go.
•Ants will crawl away from mint. I did this as a science experiment and it worked. Just plant mint all around your house. Especially near doorways.
• A line of cayenne pepper usually stops them from crossing over it.
• Try putting some whole cloves around. I put them on the window sills and door jams and also sprinkled a few around in my bottom cabinets. It worked.
• Red chili powder !! I've been using it to repel ants for years. Make a paste using a little water, find where the little black pests are coming in and going out and paste the area. you can sprinkle the powder too, but I find adding water makes it more potent. The ants hate the stuff. Brooke and Mary B.
• Some mint oil and mint chewing gum help repel ants in a house. placed a stick or open pack of chewing gum on a shelf. Outside you can plant mint around the foundation. It makes a good groundcover and is fragrant when it's stepped on. I hope this helps. Please let me know.http://www.thefrugallife.com/ants.html