Easy Solution to Kill Ant Piles – Club Soda!

Today’s post is short and easy, which is sometimes just what we all need! Did you know you can knock out an entire ant pile with just club soda? Yup, it’s true!

Kill Ants with Club Soda - Easy, Cheap and Non-Toxic!

When we first moved into our new house this spring, my kids were out playing in the driveway and they started to scream. I went running over to see my son’s legs covered in little black ants and then saw a huge ant pile next to him. Thankfully, some apple cider vinegar anti-itch rub helped the swelling and itching, but I knew I had to take care of the ants. Of course, it had to be a natural solution because I don’t want to spray poisonous chemicals on the ground, which only contributes to harming the environment, animals, and us humans.

I discovered that club soda works because it the carbon dioxide from the carbonation displaces the oxygen in the colony, suffocating the queen, which eventually kills the whole colony.

Kill Ants with Non-Toxic Club Soda

It’s Super Easy and Safe

  • For one medium mound, you need about 1/2 liter of club soda (carbonated water). For a large one, I’d use a whole liter.
  • Pour directly onto the mound – I poured all over the entire mound and not just in the center as it was suggested to me. I generously poured it on, since it’s cheap and non-toxic.
  • It takes about 2 full days for it to all die. One very large pile I had needed an extra dose of soda, and that did the trick. Once it dies, it will just be a mound of dirt, then grass or weeds will start to grow on top of it. I can’t even tell where the mounds were a month later!

I read on several sites that it doesn’t work to kill fire ants. I’d like to disagree. I found that their colonies are harder to kill than black ants BUT I did finish them off with my magic powers club soda. It took two rounds and a liter and a half, but they did DIE.

Now my kids can play without getting bitten by nasty little ants and no eco-systems, other insects, animals or humans were poisoned to accomplish that. Plus, for about $1 a liter, it’s also cheap!

See more of my non-toxic gardening solutions, like my all-natural weed killer, here!

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Comments

  1. First time I hear ou read that Club Soda can kill ants pile ! I gonna to try this for sure !
    Hug
    Anna
    anna recently posted..NapperonMy Profile

  2. Dave Bakker says:

    Will this harm plants?

    • That’s a great question – I found that all the weeds around it didn’t die, so it sure seems like it’s harmless. But I can’t guarantee that, so I don’t want to lead you astray. I’d try it on a patch of weeds or grass and see what happens first.

      • Thom Foote says:

        “harmless”? I would be very careful about killing ants in my garden because of all the good they do. Unless they are fire ants or the new “crazy” ants, leave them alone and use other means to deal with the aphids. They are superior aerators of the soil.

  3. same question as Dave. I have ants that are at the base of my rhubarb and a snowball bush that are also farming aphids on them. will this work for that and not harm the plants?

    thanks!

  4. Christopher de Vidal says:

    I’ve had some success with instant grits. The idea is that when ants swallow the grit it expands in his stomach, killing him. Sometimes works, sometimes does not. But always cheap and non-toxic.

    • Wow, cool! That’s the first I’ve heard of that. Thanks for sharing. Maybe it would help to add it with the club soda.

    • Use cornmeal in your vegetable garden for ants. I had an ant colony at the base of one of my broccoli plants and it killed them, They can’t digest it.

    • Yes, grits, cornmeal, and coffee grounds( all dried) work well. If you sprinkle them around the mounds and small satellite rounds in the morning or evening then you give them a few hours to eat them , then spray the mounds with a mist or light shower type spray of water, approximately 1 gallon per mound. It is essential to use a gentle shower to water with. This watering then helps the dried grits, cornmeal or coffee grounds swell and kill the ants. TIP- when watering to kill them do it in the early morning or late evening as this is the time that the ants are closer to the surface of ground.

  5. Interesting! We also use Diatomaceous Earth, but have to reapply every so often.

  6. Claire Bacon says:

    Having moved up here from Florida, we use dried corn meal, it did the trick for us. Just might give your remedy a try.

    • Great to know! I’ll share that tip in my newsletter and add it to the post.

    • Kathy Graves says:

      Hey Claire did that work for Fire Ants, I’m in South Carolina and we have them Crazy Fire Ants and they pop up everywhere my sister-in-law said Quinine Water works for fire ants but it’s hard to find, any HELP!!!! would be nice from anyone.

  7. Would this work for the tiny sweet ants? My yard and home are plagued by the little tyrants. There are ant mounds by the dozen in my yard but I don’t treat them with chemicals because of the kids and pets. This would be fantastic if it would work.

  8. I am sorry to hear that you decided to kill the ants. You express concern about the environment, people and animals . . . ants are animals too. Surely with creativity and compassion you would have found an alternative solution. We have times when we are overrun with ants . . . but we just remove them gently, with a soft brush, and then treat access points with piles of paprika . . . ants do not like to cross paprika. They then lose interest . . . Suffocating the ants seems a pretty wicked thing to do.

    • Marian, I love your heart for treating all creation with concern. I did think about not killing them, but it didn’t cross my mind that there might be a way to not harm them. How do you remove them with a brush?

    • If you have ever been bitten by fire ants, or had your child bitten by them, or if you knew that repeated episodes of being bitten by fire ants can kill a person (opposite effect of building immunity) then you would not wonder why people want to kill them. Just hope that your house does not get infested by the new kind of ant (forget the name) that comes in and destroys your electrical system. I appreciate environmentalism and do quite a bit of recycling and non-toxic household products myself, but people first!

    • Marian, I have to agree with C. If you’ve ever had to deal with fire ants you’d go on a crusade to kill them all and banish them from the face of the earth. My grandson got into a fire ant mound when he was about 2 years old. He was bitten so many times that even his little ears swelled up, he was swollen from head to toe. All I could do for him was give him benadryl and put him in a cool tub of baking soda water until the swelling started subsiding. Fire ants kill people, they kill animals, they need to be dealt with by whatever means it takes to rid your yard of them. Diatomaceous earth does work on them, but if it gets wet you have to reapply. Its the most natural product I know of. However, when it comes to the safety of my family or being compassionate to ants, my family wins hands down.

      • I tend to agree – I do not want ants near where my children play, that’s where I’ve drawn the line. I think even one bite hurts pretty badly, and a whole bunch is awful.

        • Jill Jennings says:

          I so agree about the fire ants. I live in East Texas and they are a major concern every spring and summer. My kids get bitten every year by ant mounds I missed. By carbonated water I am wondering if using my handy dandy soda stream would also work. Even cheaper for me than buying club soda or ant killer, which for the mounds of fire ants we get all over my yard out in the country, can get quite expensive. And I say kill all the fire ants. They are very harmful to us people!

      • If you have nothing else and you need to kill fire ants quickly, gasoline will do the job. Certainly not environmentally friendly, but it does the trick. I’ve never tried kerosene.

    • im all about using anything natural, but the first time you ever are bitten yourself, or you grandchild is bitten by these “encroaching fast moving ants from south america” you will take heed. read up on them by googling how they came to live in our USA, they do not belong here!!! they have killed most of this countries own normal ants, they kill our burrow animals, toads and the like….etc…etc.. I say any means necessary…In south America they have their own predators….a fly of some kind….ahhh when the fire ants came to this country their natural predators did not come with them…..i have tried alot of stuff….and club soda is quick economical and easy without hurting anything else around mound–grits and cornmeal work too…take care all

    • Fire ants can consume the human body very quickly. There have been cases so serious where children and even adults have died due to fire ants and their venom.

  9. Oh Marian, bless your little socks! What to do when the yard is full of them? Will the paprika work if I spread it through my yard?

  10. I use a soft brush and a pan, and gently sweep them up and move them outside. Ants outside, I leave alone. Once I had an ants nest close to the back door, and over a period of weeks I kept sprinkling sugar at the end of the garden, and after a while, the ants moved away to the back of the garden . . . which suited them and me better.

    If your yard is a ‘hard surfaced’ yard, I expect the paprika will work. They really don’t like it – I have been surprised how well it works, and I have tried lots of other deterrents. But replace it if it rains.

    I don’t really know why people want to kill ants . . . I know they can be a real nuisance if they decide to move into the house and explore it . . . but I don’t know why people get so upset about ants. I’ve never understood this. I confess I have adored ants since I was a very small child . . . so I have a very soft spot for them. That said, I never knowingly harm any creatures . . . big or small.

    Good luck with trying the deterrent approach!

  11. Karen Wood says:

    I don’t like killing creatures either, but the fact is if we didn’t kill loads of bugs we would be infested with parasites and have our vegetables and fruits eaten by them. I need to kill a bunch of sugar ants. They are all over my yard and everything in my yard. They are putting aphids on my food plants and the lady bugs that I bought aren’t keeping them under control well enough. Plus I can’t do weeding without them crawling on me. They are even crawling inside of every blossom and eating the pollen. If there were a quick humane way to kill them I would do that but I am against using chemicals so this seems like a solution to me. I haven’t found any other humane way to deal with them. If you just move them by deterring them or baiting them to move they will be back. Their population will increase and they will form new colonies that will have to be somewhere. I live where sprinklers water every night and I get no choice about that and would have to reapply anything like paprika every night. I already used other scent deterrents and they have to be reapplied daily because of the watering. That gets too expensive especially since they are everywhere.

  12. Has anyone tried coffee slurry? A co-worker told me to mix used coffee grounds with water into a medium slurry and pour it around my plants. It’s a great fertilizer and the ants don’t like it. I’m a container gardener and my pots get “colonized” by ants every year. I haven’t tried it yet, but will be this weekend. Has anyone else tried this?

  13. Here in south Alabama they will come in the house from time to time. I will spritzer a little water near them and sprinkle aspartame on the water. Within a few hours they are gone! I never tried it in containers but I bet it would work!

    • Wow, cool tip! If Aspartame kills ants, imagine what it does to the insides of our bodies…eeek!

      • Renae Brooks says:

        “Wow, cool tip! If Aspartame kills ants, imagine what it does to the insides of our bodies…eeek!”

        First of all, let me say I DO NOT care for aspartame in any way, shape, or form but I find it amusing that you say this about it, yet did not say the same thing about club soda–which people also consume.

  14. This doesn’t kill the ants like it claims. It only makes them move the entrance to their nest to another area. An ant colony can be huge and the queen is at the center of the nest several feet underground. She is well protected from anything that you can do at the surface. If you want to kill them poisoned ant bait is the only way but it can’t be used with pets or children in the yard. Ants are good for the environment. They are the termite’s worst enemy and can a destroy a next completely within hours of finding it.

  15. I am glad you posted this. I have small ant hills in my strawberries and they are eating my strawberries and making a mess of them. I will get my soda and pour it on the hills. Thank You

  16. Grits will also work. The ants eat the grits then explode when the grits expand. it takes longer though.

  17. yes Tina, I learned about using the coffee grounds and it sure works. Ants stay away from cat food if you sprinkle the coffee grounds around it (on porch). It is a great fertilizer so do not throw the used coffee grounds away!

  18. mohit pant says:

    This was a very welcome read. Thanks. Is there a solution to some that may have entered our houses, specially during the monsoons? Red, Black and of all sizes. Some are so tiny – I’m alarmed at their industry to make their way into air-tight containers. Your suggestion shall be appreciated.

  19. I have used a borax, sugar and water mixture with great success. I recently had large, black ants coming into my house and within 24 hrs of setting out the borax solution they were completely gone. They will flock to it and then carry it back to the nest where it will continue to act as a natural ant killer. You will need to use caution and keep away from pets as this is toxic if consumed. The recipe I used calls for 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water and 2 Tbsp borax. Boil for 3 minutes, let cool and then I stored mine in a mason jar for future use (approximately one pint). To bait the ants, just pour a bit of the mixture into the lid of a milk jug or something similar.

  20. Hi How do can I get rid of ants that are in the house.? They are everywhere even got into my cereal jar. I can’t seem to locate where they are coming from. It’s driving me nut’s.

    • I’ve read from a few folks here in the comments that they’ve sprinkle aspartame where the ants come in and it kills them. I’m sure there are other natural solutions, but I’d have to Google it. I’ve also read that ants don’t like paprika, so you might try that at their entry points as well.

  21. This is great advice! I’ve been using club soda to combat fire ants on my baby permaculture homestead for about a year now with great success. It does indeed work as the nice lady claims, and it is indeed 100% safe for plants, the soil, and the soil life adjacent to the ant mound (or if there are any side effects, I have not heard of them nor can I imagine what they could possibly be). I would guess that I’ve used this technique up to 20 times and have succeeded in silencing the mound ever time, although a few times I’ve come back with a 2nd 2L bottle after a few days. I don’t mess around: I pour an entire 2L into every mound! At only $.84 each, why not?

  22. elizabeth mitchell says:

    not entirely true – this will kill SOME ants, however, the fire ant colonies go roughly 30 feet into the ground, and though the top ants may die, the colony as a whole simply moves and goes in another direction

  23. The lady who doesn’t want to kill ANY ants can’t have experienced fire ants. The way they cover any object that touches the mound instantly is freaky enough and then the bites!! If you don’t treat for them, they will take over the yard quickly. Last summer, every week, my BF would treat my mom’s yard, and every week, new mounds appeared. He would treat from 12 – 30 mounds every time. Imagine if he didn’t treat. My mom is elderly but still likes to walk and admire her yard. She doesn’t see the mounds. We definitely don’t won’t her stepping on them. Common sense, people!!!

    • Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it…
      So a uninvited trespassers are “colonizing” your land and taking over as if it is theirs without regard for the fact that you were there first. If history has taught us anything the only solution to this is to attack and kill them off as soon as they arrive as aggressively as you can before they can amass in numbers too great to combat. I know they may seem harmless in the beginning, even helpful in some ways. But their potential to damage your way of life is just too great to risk. Trying to learn to live with them, albeit a noble charge, is a dangerous venture to say the least. Don’t believe me, ask a Native American.

  24. Was watching a old episode of rescue 911 not too long ago about a baby girl who stumbled onto a fire ant mound. As a result of the bites she was rushed to hospital where they had a time of it getting her over the bites. The parents from then on where told they needed to always have a epi-pen with her cause if she got stung again it could kill. Not just ants but any stinging insects would kill that girl after that.
    My dh is allergic to wasps so I have no mercy to any stinging insects in my yard except pepsis wasp cause they don’t sting

  25. Will it be ok to poor the club soda on my strawberries, I have an ant colony in my strawberry pot?

    • Oh gosh, I don’t know, honestly. What I’d do if I were you is try it on another plant or flower, maybe even a flowering weed, and see what happens. If it doesn’t kill the plant, then I assume the strawberries are safe! I’d just hate for you to lose those strawberries.

  26. Much as I hate killing any living thing, ants are just bad neighbors. They bite, they farm aphids, the chickens don’t care for them except the grubs, but their digging in the mound just inspires the ants to spread their nests around the yard. If they would settle down someplace out of my way, I would leave them alone and let them built their highways all over my yard. So I will happily smother the big mound with CO2, and if they don’t like it, they can move house.

  27. I really like this tips for the garden. Hate to put something in the ground and worry if it will hurt the rest of the plants. There is a big nest under a tiny Japanese Maple in my daughter’s side yard. I was at my wits end to try and fix it. Thanks.

  28. So, the house my family and I moved into sat empty for a very long time. It was winter time so when summer rolled around we noticed ant, lots of fire ants. My daughter has been attacked by them twice, 2 years old the first time. Now, at 4, she will squish them any chance she gets. We have been battling these horrid pests for going on the third summer. My question is where in the world do I pour the club soda when the nest is so massive that we just avoid that area of the yard? We have managed to get them out of her sand box but noticed they are back, back with a vengeance.

  29. lisa helms says:

    i use corn meal. works great

  30. I have an ant colony in with my strawberry plant. Will the club soda hurt my plant also?

  31. If club soda doesn’t do the trick, try a bag of cornmeal (semoule de maïs) from your local grocery store. It’s effective against ants and inoffensive against pets or children. You pour a generous amount of cornmeal (yellow granular powder over the problem area and let it do its magic. The ants will take the grains back into their nest, feed on it and them burst as soon as the get water in. It did the trick for me for the last 6 years.

    • Wow, cool! That’s great. Thank you for your story, Jean!

    • I use boiling water on flying ants (don’t think we get fire ants in SW Ontario) and if you pick the middle of the mound they are gone within a day.

      • The best thing I found the runs ants away is garlic, fresh or power. I have some concret blocks right in front of my front door and ants was all around them, I mean a lot too. Someone told me to use garlic on them. They don’t kill the ants but make them leave. They don’t like the smell of garlic and when you pour it on the they run like they are on fire. I took fresh garlic and crushed it up real good , put it in a large jar of water and let it sit over night, then strained it and put it in a spray bottle and sprayed it all over and around the ants until they were soaked. then I took some of the powder garlic made a line in front of the door. That was the last week of May and about 2 weeks later they were gone. This is July 3, 2014 and I haven’t seen any since, they are all gone. Forgot I didn’t throw the crushed garlic away but sprinkled it on top of the mound. Hope this helps anyone who don’t want to kill the ants.

  32. I forgot to tell you garlic don’t hurt plants or the grass, it just smell bad. Sorry about the bad spelling, I can’t find my glasses.

  33. Hello. I’m so pleased to have found this discussion. There is another old homestyle remedy for ants. This one is meant for indoors. Combine molasses, and yeast and paint it on plastic lids and lay them around where you have problems with ants, and although it takes a couple of days, no more ants.

    We had a serious problem with ants recently, indoors. The exterminator that we called in to look and advise told us that part of the problem was that we were killing the ants, and that actually drew more ants! Killing them by hand, I mean.

    Another comment that I’d like to make in reference to not hurting ants, is that fire ants do indeed kill. There was a very tragic report on the news that a woman living in a small assisted living facility was overrun by fire ants in the night, and the many bites killed her. So, removing them is the best solution.

    I like the club soda idea, too and will give that a try if it becomes necessary.

    Thank you for a lovely site!

  34. I have an indoor focus tree that sat near my back slider. Somehow ants moved in and I didn’t realize just how many there were till spring. I took it outside and hosed off every bit of dirt and repotted it. Then the same thing happened the next year. The tree is currently sitting on my back patio. When I look I cannot find any ant hill per se. Do you hunk that if I dumped a couple liters of club soda all over the soil that it would kill the ants? I really don’t want to have to get rid of my tree but I may have no choice.

  35. Boiling water, poured into ant hills/holes and on weeds kills ‘em both. Remember, ants around your foundation are GOOD, they eat termite eggs.

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