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How To Keep Ants Away From Picnic

How To Keep Ants Away From Picnic

It’s a beautiful summer day. Everyone is enjoying the time outdoors. Kids are playing on the grass while taking quick breaks to enjoy the delicious picnic spread. The grown-ups are soaking in the sun and relaxing.

Then the ants decide to crash the party! This sequence of events unfolded at our first picnic this summer. It was our first time relaxing outdoors in a long time, and it could have gone better if it wasn’t for the ants.

Therefore, I was determined to avoid dealing with unwelcome crawling guests in our future picnics, especially since I wanted to make it a regular family activity during the summer.

I was happy to find many ways to keep ants away from picnics, including prepping to reduce the chances of ants crashing picnics and how to deal with them if they decided to do so.

I tested these methods over the summer, and they were fantastic.


Methods to keep ants away from picnics include preparing in advance, taking steps such as using a picnic table and scouting for ants, and using various techniques to naturally repel ants, such as creating a barrier around the picnic with vinegar, peppermint oil, dryer sheets, or talcum powder.

Let’s learn how to prepare against ants when planning a picnic, steps to follow on the picnic to prevent ant invasions, and how to make and use natural ant-deterrents to keep them away from a picnic area.

Prepare in Advance

Prepare In Advance For Picnic

The chances of a picnic attracting ants are usually high, especially if it’s a popular picnic spot. Therefore, it’s always a wise move to prepare in advance.

This includes being equipped to repel ants if they decide to invade the picnic, the colors of the picnic items, the choice of containers, and more.

Choose Food and Beverages Wisely

Choose Food And Beverages Wisely

Insects such as ants are drawn to sugary food mimicking flower nectar and can quickly detect such food from a distance.

Therefore, try to avoid sweet and sticky food and beverages as much as possible.

Picnic Table vs. Blanket

Picnic Table

Having a picnic on a table might be different from the way most people picture the perfect picnic.

However, there is a reason why picnic tables exist. Picnics on the ground offer easy, direct access to ants.

Therefore, anyone planning a picnic should consider using a picnic table where ants find it comparatively harder to detect and reach food.

Be Mindful of Colors and Aromas

Picnic Blankets, Baskets, And Cutlery

Bright colors attract ants since they fall under their visual spectrum evolved to identify food sources.

As a result, it is a good idea to choose dark-colored picnic blankets, baskets, and cutlery.

Many insects generally find dark blue unappealing, making it an excellent color for picnic essentials.

Remember that ants have a strong sense of smell. While controlling the smell of food may not be practical, going easy on perfumes and lotions can help.

Scout the Picnic Area

Scout The Picnic Area

It’s always a great idea to scout the picnic area before setting it up. This enables me to identify the presence of ants and how likely they are to invade the picnic area.

Try to pick a spot away from the ants, trash cans, or spilled food to reduce the chances of tiny crawling guests spoiling the fun.

Keep the Food and Drinks Covered

Keep The Food And Drinks Covered

Ants will swarm in, given the faintest hint of food in their surroundings, especially if there are sweet food and drinks.

Therefore, place food in containers and cover them properly to fly under the radar of ants and most other insects.

Take Early Action

Take Early Action

One or two ants crashing the party might not seem like a big deal. However, things can quickly go downhill when the word gets around to the ant colony.

Therefore, taking early action can discourage more unwelcome guests.

Use Natural Ant-Repellants

Natural Ant-Repellants

Going to a picnic prepared with a natural ant-repeller is an excellent choice.

Ants opt to steer clear of many substances and scents, offering picnic-goers effective methods to enjoy an ant-free time outdoors.

Vinegar & Lemon Juice

Vinegar &Amp; Lemon Juice

This combination is one of the best natural bug repellants out there, and the fact that they are everyday items in most households makes it an excellent way to keep ants away.

Combine equal parts of water, vinegar, and lemon juice in a spray container and take it on a picnic in case ants appear.

Spray the mixture before setting up the picnic, or wipe the picnic table with a cloth soaked in the mix to keep ants away.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil

The sharp aroma of peppermint drives many insects away, including ants.

Dilute equal amounts of peppermint oil and water to create a powerful ant-repelling spray that will come to the rescue if ants make an appearance.


Natural substances found in vinegar, peppermint, and lemon juice disrupt ants’ communication with each other and their colony. As a result, these everyday items are excellent at preventing ant swarming.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary Oil

Here’s another essential oil that can create a natural ant-repelling spray.

Combine 10 to 20 drops of rosemary oil with a cup of water to create an excellent mixture to deter ants.



Placing a few crushed cloves of garlic in the picnic area effectively keeps ants away since they dislike the strong odor of garlic.



Inhaling cinnamon results in the breakdown of ants’ respiration, killing them soon after.

Therefore, spraying a concoction of cinnamon and water or sprinkling ground cinnamon is a fantastic way to get rid of ants at a picnic.



This common household item can be used to create a cheap natural ant-deterrent.

Mix equal amounts of salt and boiling water and put the mixture in a spray bottle.

Thoroughly spray the picnic area with the mixture to drive away ants.

Talcum Powder

Talcum Powder

Ants do not cross paths with talcum powder.

As a result, it can be used to create a perimeter around picnic tables or blankets.

Dryer Sheets

Dryer Sheets

Many bugs, including ants, do not like the smell of dryer sheets.

Therefore, laying some on the picnic grounds or table can easily deter any ants looking for free food.

If using a picnic table, laying a sheet under each table leg is an excellent way to ensure that ants don’t crawl onto the table.

Create an Ant-Free Barrier

Create An Ant-Free Barrier

The best way to ensure an ant-free picnic is to create a barrier around the picnic area with an ant-repelling substance.

Picnic goers can spray ant-deterring mixtures or sprinkle substances around the picnic area to create a perimeter that ants will not breach into.

Set a Decoy

Set A Decoy

Sometimes it makes sense to coexist with certain pests as long as it works.

I once tried setting a decoy by placing some jelly and sugar water away from our picnic area, and the ants enjoyed their picnic without crashing ours.

I did spray our picnic area with a peppermint mixture but keeping ants away was much easier than usual with the decoy.


Our first picnic this summer didn’t go as well as I had hoped, with ants deciding to join us.

Luckily, I came across many ways to reduce the likelihood of that happening and dealing with ants at a picnic before we were out again.

Spending a lot of time outdoors over the summer allowed me to experiment with most of these methods, which was excellent.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Smell Do Ants Hate?

Ants have an exceptional sense of smell. As a result, they are repelled by many sharp scents, such as vinegar, peppermint, rosemary, garlic, and dryer sheets.

Making DIY mixtures of these substances and spraying, placing, or sprinkling them can keep ants away.

What Can I Put Down To Keep Ants Away?

Salt, talcum powder, vinegar, lemon juice, cinnamon, crushed garlic cloves, dryer sheets, and cotton balls soaked in peppermint or rosemary oil can be placed in areas frequented by ants to repel them.

How Do I Keep Ants off My Beach?

The best way to keep a beach, garden, or yard free from ants is to eliminate their food sources.

Cleaning trash, using trash cans with lids, and attending to crumbs and spilled drinks immediately are effective ways to keep ants away.

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