Does Salt Kill Ants? What Really Happens When Salt Touches Ants

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When it comes to ants, there are plenty of treatments out there. One of them uses salt, a common ingredient found in all kitchens.

There are a lot of theories and ways about this humble condiment, and using it has not only been handy for a lot of homeowners, it makes pest-killing very cheap and easy to do.

But does it really work? Does salt kill ants? Let’s find out.

 Does Salt Kill Ants? What Really Happens When Salt Touches Ants

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You can deter and kill ants with the humble salt. CC Image courtesy of Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

Salt Treatment For Ants

Does salt kill ants? In a way, yes.

Salt is a natural treatment for ants. One existing way of doing this to mix regular table salt with boiling water and waiting for it to be slightly cool enough to be poured into a spray bottle. The mix is then sprayed all over ant infested areas of the house.

Another option is to mix the salt with boiling water and to directly dump everything into an ant mound. This guarantees a lot of dead ants, but it may not be able to kill them all. Some ant mounds have complex deep underground tunnels that cannot be reached by outside forces. So it really just depends on how large the ant nest is.

According to JSTOR, you can also mix a bran-sugar-and-salt solution to kill ants. All you have to do is combine 65% bran, 10% sugar, 25% salt and water to make a paste. The mixture is attractive to insects, even if it destroys them. Spread it around the house or directly into ant-busy areas to see how well it eliminates your ant problem.

How does salt affect ants?

ants swarming a plate

Salt and many other natural treatments are popular because they don’t contain harmful chemicals that can be picked up by family and pets. So, it’s no wonder that a lot of posts about these treatments pop up every now and then.

However, how well do we know these treatments? How well do we know salt? How does it kill ants?

Maybe it all started in 1937 when Time Magazine published Science: Salt v. Insect. The story was about Dr. Vernon Raymond Haber’s discovery about killing insects using a few grains of a specific kind of salt called Epsom salt. He demonstrated its effect by killing Mexican bean beetles with it.

On a microscopic level, there is truth to the article. Salt absorbs both water and vapor in the air. So when exposed to anywhere with moisture, it absorbs it. Backyard scientists across the blogosphere claim that salt kills insects by zapping moisture away from them.

Also, ants and other insects breathe through their exoskeleton. Some theories claim that salt penetrates ant exoskeletons and wreaks havoc inside. Just like how bugs like snails with a lot exposed parts and mucus (that’s made from water) can’t stand salt because it dehydrates them to death.

Most ant treatments are just taken from a collective experience. They’re from people looking for new ways to eradicate ants.

So does salt kill ants? Many people still stand by its effectiveness.

If you think about it, not a lot of living things can live in a place full of salt. Bugs shouldn’t be an exemption. So whether you believe that this condiment can truly eliminate ant infestations or not, you’ll just have to try it to find out.

Take this with a grain of salt.

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