Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants Managing Your Infestation With Coffee

Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants? Managing Your Infestation With Coffee!

Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 20:39

Coffee grounds have multiple uses and even in the garden, and many people are asking “do coffee grounds kill ants?

The straight up and honest answer is no, coffee grounds don’t kill ants, but they can help you to manage your ant infestations very well, which is a much better ecological way and do not disrupt the role that ants play in nature.

Keep reading to find out how you can use coffee to ecologically manage your ant infestations.

Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants?

Coffee grounds don’t kill ants, so you don’t have any worries about damaging the ecosystem and any environmental impact that may have.

They simply don’t like coffee and avoid places where coffee is. It doesn’t present a great problem for them at all, they just ignore it and move on!

You should be aware that some ants do like coffee grounds and will take them to their nest.

You can never really get rid of ants by killing them. They reproduce too quickly, and a single colony is typically measured in the millions.

The only true way to getting rid of ants is to take out the queen. To do that, you will need to lay down a poisonous substance for ants and let the worker ants carry it off to the nest.

Since the queen is the only one that can reproduce, you just need to continue this process for long enough so that there is no queen and no successor within the colony.

Other methods involve forcing the ants to relocate. To do that, you will need to locate where they are coming from, where their nest is and use boiling hot water mixed with coffee grounds – fresh grounds will work best and have liters and liters of your boiling hot coffee concentrate.

Pour your coffee, concentrate on the ants nest and keep pouring. You want there to be enough to get right in to the ant mount to take out the queen and all possible successors.

Once you have done that, return every day for 10 days and repeat to ensure that they are gone. Then lay down three circles each 12 inches (15 cm), apart from coffee grounds as a repellant, to ensure that the ants don’t return.

Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants
Coffee Grounds Don’t Kill Ants

Read: How many times can you reuse coffee grounds?

Managing Ant Infestations With Coffee Grounds

As annoying as ants can be when they get into your home or bother you while you are out in the garden and enjoying the sun, they do provide the positive benefit of helping to improve your soil structure.

This is why I advise managing your ant infestation rather than going with the “nuclear” option I spoke about earlier. Besides, we all have to live in harmony with nature.

Ants also help to manage other infestations by eating other insects. Mostly ants have a neutral effect on your garden life.

The only problems are when they build their nest too close to your plants or your favorite plant and, of course when they get into your home.

Strong, harsh chemicals do not belong in your garden and will only have a negative effect on your plant, soil microbiome and, to be honest, are not at all that effective at moving the ant colony.

This is where the brilliance of coffee grounds comes into great effect. Just create a barrier of coffee grounds around your plants to keep them at bay. The strong coffee scent, which repels them will do all the hard work for you and will manage your ant infestations naturally.

You can do the same with your home, create a coffee barrier of coffee grounds around your home that will prevent their entry. You may need to get creative, depending on where they are coming from and the design of your home. You simply divert them, manage them to going elsewhere as wherever that scent and coffee barrier is, they will not go.

It will obviously help if you can locate the ant mound and know where it is.

Manging Your Ant Infestations
Manage Your Ant Infestations With Coffee

Read: Can you use coffee grounds twice for cold brew?

How Do Coffee Grounds Deter Ants?

It is important to note that not all species of ants react the same to coffee grounds. The basic and simple way of understanding the functionality of coffee grounds and their effect on ants is to consider how ants get around.

Ants get around by following scent trails.

Coffee grounds having a strong scent may disrupt that scent signal to a point where ants simply can no longer follow the scent trail. When observing an ant mound and encircling it with coarse coffee grounds I observed that the ants leaving the mound went as far as the coffee grounds and then returned to back inside the mound.

Other ants who were returning to the mound from outside would go as far as the barrier of coffee grounds and then just doubled back on themselves.

It is my hypothesis that freshly roasted coffee grounds as large as possible, very coarse grind size and strong scent of a deep, dark roast will work better and for longer than reused coffee grounds or grounds of a smaller and lighter roast as they produce a stronger scent.

The use of larger grounds is to keep the ants away for longer.

How Do Coffee Grounds Deter Ants
Coffee Grounds Deter Ants

Read: Can you reuse coffee grounds?

Will Coffee Grounds Kill Grass? – Can I Throw Coffee Grounds On My Grass?

No, your coffee grounds will not kill your grass and destroy your lawn. If you sprinkle fresh or, better still, used coffee grounds on your grass infrequently and in small doses is not at all likely to cause any damage.

Yes, you can throw coffee grounds on your grass.

Used coffee grounds have a neutral pH of 6.8 and are a great compost material and fertilizer due to having a lot of nutrients like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, and more. They also contain a tiny amount of nitrogen.

Coffee Grounds Kill Weeds?

Coffee grounds are a natural allelopath, which means they can have the ability to inhibit the growth of some weeds and plants. They also have the ability to prevent the growth, and germination of some seeds and are most effective on small seedlings and sprouting weed seeds.

The effect extends to slowing the growth of vegetables and flowers that you want in your garden. You will need to be careful how you use coffee grounds as a form of weed control.

The safest and best way of using coffee grounds is to use apply them topically, as this way they are less likely to have a negative impact on your garden plants.

Leave a good buffer space between the plants and vegetables that you want to save and the weeds. Don’t put any more than half an inch thick layer of coffee grounds and place a thick mulch type of layer of saw, dust, straw or some other type of material.

Do Coffee Grounds Kill Earthworms?

Quite the opposite. Coffee grounds will not kill earthworms they are, in fact, very good for earthworms. If, and when you add them to a worm farm, you will find that they love it.

Coffee grounds have a similar nitrogen content of nitrogen as grass clippings around 2%, which means when you add them to your compost pile they have the effect of turning your soil into a dark rich soil.

When added to a worm farm, you will find that worms love them.

Frequently Asked Questions About Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants?

Can You Use Coffee Grounds To Get Rid Of Ants?

You can use coffee grounds as a deterrent for ants, but they won’t kill ants. Some ants are known to like the taste and smell of coffee. You can sprinkle your coffee grounds on the ground and, if you observe, you might see some worker ants pick them up and take them away to their nest.

How Do I Get Rid Of Ants Permanently?

Use a disposable container and mix half a spoon of borax and 10 spoons of sugar and a cup of lukewarm water. 

Take some old rags and dip them in the borax, sugar and warm water mix and put the rags where you get ants. When you are finished, dispose of the rags. 

Do Coffee Grounds Attract Rats?

No, even though rats and mice are attracted to food, they are not at all attracted to the taste or smell of coffee grounds. The opposite is true – the scent and taste of coffee grounds repel mice and rats.

What Insects Are Repelled By Coffee Grounds?

Many insects are repelled by coffee grounds, mosquitos, fruit flies, bees, wasps, ants, snails, slugs, fleas, and more. The plus point is they will help to keep you bite-free

Are Roaches Attracted To Coffee Grounds?

Unfortunately, yes, cockroaches are attracted to coffee grounds, but all is not lost! You can then use your coffee grounds as bait to trap them. 

A simple trap is using 2 or 3 containers, adding water and then adding your coffee grounds. 

Do Coffee Grounds Keep Mice Away?

Yes, coffee grounds are a great natural repellant for mice and all rodents, including rats. They simply do not like the bitter compounds, and they will avoid areas that have the scent of coffee.

Can You Get Rid Of Ants With Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds will make ants leave their nest. Particularly when you use a fresh Italian roast and use a mix of coffee ground and whole beans. It distorts their scent trail. The use of whole beans is for long term use as the breakdown is slower than coffee grounds.

What Do Ants Hate The Most?

Ants hate Cayenne pepper the most. Other substances that ants hate are black pepper, vinegar and water in an equal amount as it kills them when you spray it on them.

Cinnamon and peppermint are two more things that ants really hate.

 Final Thoughts – Do Coffee Grounds Kill Ants?

If you have read this far, you know the answer to the question “do coffee grounds kill ants?”  If you scrolled down in search of a quick answer, I’ll give to you again here.

Coffee grounds don’t kill ants, which is a great thing in the bigger picture as they don’t destroy or damage the delicate balance of the ecological role that they play.

Coffee grounds help you to manage your infestations and prevent the coffee from getting to where you don’t want them to be, like your home, your shed or the plants they may be causing damage to.

Do have your own fantastic uses for coffee grounds? Have you used them to manage insects? How did you do it?

Join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your secrets with us all.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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