Ants are often beneficial, cleaning up decaying material, eliminating pests, and aerating the soil. Sometimes, though, they can be a nuisance. Some of them bite, and others can cause a lot of damage to your garden. Using insecticides can be problematic, however. They can harm pets, children, and beneficial insects. Fortunately, if you have an ant hill that needs to go, there are multiple organic, nontoxic ways to eradicate it.
Dish Soap and Boiling Water
Soapy water is a simple insecticide that is harmless to other forms of life. Mix several ounces of dish soap with three gallons of boiling water, and pour the mixture on the ant hill. The boiling water will kill hundreds of the ants instantly, and the soap will poison the rest. The boiling water will also cause the nest to collapse. Do this three times on the same day, and the colony should be wiped out.
Sugar and Borax
Borax is a natural mineral that is so harmless to people that it is used in soap and toothpaste. However, it is deadly to ants. Mix sugar and borax together in the lid of a jar, and put it close to the ant hill. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, and they will carry it back to the hill, along with the borax. The borax will kill all of the ants in the colony.
Ants really do not like vinegar. Mix a half gallon of water with a half gallon of white vinegar, and pour it into the ant hill. This should drive the ants away. It may need to be applied a few times before it works. If you can't apply it, call your local pest control company.
For the lowest environmental impact, you can always try digging up the entire ant colony and dumping it elsewhere. You will need a big wheelbarrow in addition to a shovel. You will probably need to dig out several cubic feet of dirt before you get the entire colony. However, even if you miss some, you may have sent the message that your yard is a bad place for a colony, convincing the remaining ants to move elsewhere.
If none of these natural remedies work, you can always use insecticides. However, it is best to try these safe, natural methods first if you have children or pets, or if the ants have colonized your vegetable garden.