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How to Kill Ants & Spiders in Potted Plants

Ants and spiders can invade potted plants, whether they are kept indoors or outdoors. In many cases poisons are not an option, because they can harm the plants and endanger children and animals. What is needed is a foolproof natural way to eliminate these unwanted pests. Fortunately there are a couple of different methods which pose no health risks to your pets or family and which ants and spiders cannot become immune to.

When ants invade your potted plants, try natural solutions to get rid of them.

Clean and dry thoroughly a small coffee can with a plastic lid. Use a nail to poke holes in the plastic lid, turning the can into a shaker. You may want to hold the nail with a pair of pliers and heat the nail in a flame before poking holes in the lid, although heating the nail is not strictly necessary.

Remove the plastic lid from you shaker can and fill the can at least halfway with dry diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is available at home centers and many hardware stores and can also be purchased at pool centers. If available, purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth, although this is not strictly necessary, as any grade of diatomaceous earth works just fine.

Shake a dusting of the diatomaceous earth onto the top of the soil in your affected potted plant. If spiders and/or ants are in the branches of the plants, shake the powder onto the branches as well. Dust as many pests as you can see. Do not water or mist the plant before or after applying the material, as diatomaceous earth works best when absolutely dry. Keep it dry for 24 hours.

Wait three days and check for ants or spiders in your potted plant. All ants and spiders should be dead by this time. If not, dust again with the diatomaceous earth and keep your plant dry for at least 24 hours.

Cut the nozzle on a plastic bottle of boric acid if no diatomaceous earth is available. Plastic bottles of boric acid are available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. While boric acid may cause breathing problems for some small household pets, it is primarily harmless to anything other than insects.

Squeeze the bottle gently to dust your potted plants (the leaves and stems) as well as the soil in the pot with the acid dust. Dust any visible insects. Keep the plants dry for at least 24 hours, as boric acid dust works best when dry.

Inspect your potted plant three days after dusting with the boric acid. All spiders and ants should be dead. If not, dust one more time, covering any visible insects with a fine coating of the acid.

Mix one tsp. of boric acid with one tbsp. of peanut butter or jelly and place the "bait" around your infected potted plant. If the ants eat the peanut butter or jelly mixture, the acid destroys them from the inside out. Check again in three days to see if all ants are dead.

Things You Will Need

  • Food-grade diatomaceous earth
  • Boric acid
  • Small empty coffee can with plastic lid
  • Nail
  • Peanut butter or jelly

Tips

  • Do not breath the boric acid dust.
  • Diatomaceous earth is harmless to pets, children and even earthworms.
  • Diatomaceous earth will also kill fleas, ticks and even bedbugs.

About the Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.

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