How To Keep Ants Off Your Picnic Blanket (7 Methods)

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There are few pleasures sweeter than enjoying food and a few laughs with friends or loved ones at a picnic in the park. 

However, when ants crash the party, an idyllic picnic can quickly take a turn for the chaotic. 

So, how do you keep ants off your picnic blanket? 

Luckily, you can employ plenty of techniques to keep the ants from marching in. 

From distracting ants to driving them away with smells to minimizing attractants in the first place, you are not short on ways to keep your picnic free of uninvited guests.

Read on to learn about seven effective ways to keep ants off your picnic blanket. 

How To Keep Ants Off Your Picnic Blanket (7 Methods)

1. Avoid areas with ants

The best way to minimize the presence of ants in your picnic is by choosing your picnic spot strategically. 

Certain parts of the ground may have more ants or be more likely to attract ants. 

There are a few things to keep an eye out for before you lay down your picnic blanket. 

  • Check the grass in a potential picnic area and ensure it is free of ants. You should also check the areas near a prospective picnic area to ensure that you do not put your blanket down in the middle of a line of ants. 
  • Next, you should look for ant hills or holes in the ground. Ant hills usually look like a small pyramid of dirt with a hole in the middle. 
  • Look for anything that may attract ants. For example, if other people discarded food nearby, that food may attract ants and other pests. Try to be at least 50 feet away from trash cans.   
  • Keep food covered when possible.

2. Keep Food Covered

keep ants away at picnic

The reason ants love a picnic is the same reason we love a picnic: the delicious food. 

These insects may be small, but they have powerful senses of smell

They have four to five times more odor receptors than many insects. 

So, they can smell your sandwiches and charcuterie platter more easily than you would like.

This powerful sense of smell makes it very important to keep your food covered as much as possible during your picnic. 

Pack your food in sealable containers and only open the containers to grab some food to eat. 

When you finish with food, plates, and utensils, ensure you dispose of them or seal them away. 

Foods with a lot of sugar are particularly attractive to ants. 

So, take special care when eating and disposing of sodas, fruit, and other sugary items.  

3. Minimize Other Ant Attractants

Besides the food at your picnic, there are a few other common scents attractive to ants. 

By keeping yourself and your picnic set-up free of certain items and smells, you can minimize the presence of ants at your picnic. 

Here are a few smells that ants love.  

  • Perfume: It is not just food smells that attract ants. Skip your morning perfume spritz before having a picnic if you want to keep the ants at bay. 
  • Laundry detergent: Strong-smelling laundry detergents can attract ants. In particular, you should avoid detergents that have sweet or vanilla-based scents. Only clean your picnic blanket with unscented detergents. 
  • Dirty laundry: Leaving your laundry unclean will not keep ants away. These insects love the smell of dirty laundry. 
  • Sweet candles: While the scent of some candles can drive away pests, flowery, fruity, or sugary candles can attract ants.  
  • Plants: A centerpiece of cut flowers can make a beautiful addition to your picnic. Unfortunately, they can attract ants and other insects. Ants are attracted to flowers and decaying plant matter.

4. Distract Ants with a Decoy

Sometimes, the most effective way to keep ants away is to distract them. You can do this with a picnic of your own. 

Setting up a decoy can provide a win-win situation for everybody. Just ensure you are not setting up a decoy where other people are picnicking. 

Create your decoy by putting some sugary food or liquid far away from your picnic blanket. 

Many people use watermelon rinds, sugar water, and candy to distract ants. 

Set up a few different decoys in several directions away from your picnic blanket to cover all of your bases. 

5. Surround Your Picnic Blanket with Chalk, Water, or Talcum Powder

Ants rely on their ability to smell to show them the right path to follow. 

You can disrupt that path with smell, as described below. 

However, you can also create a physical barrier to dissuade the ants. 

This physical barrier may consist of several substances, including water, chalk, or talcum powder

Ants do not like trying to get across any of these substances. 

Take one of these items and draw a circle around your picnic blanket. 

Remember that some of these substances will work better in certain areas than others. 

For example, water may not always work well in areas where it will evaporate in the hot sun quickly. 

If you lay your picnic blanket on top of a picnic table, you can also use this technique. 

Rather than creating a whole circle around the table, you can simply put the table’s feet in containers filled with water. 

6. Try Citronella Candles or Other Repellants

Even though the powerful ant sense of smell can cause problems for you, it is also possible to use their sense against you. 

Certain scents are so strong that ants don’t like to be around them. 

Citronella candles are an effective way to deter several insects, including ants. 

Ensure you can use fire in your picnic spot before lighting any candles. 

If you do not want to deal with fire, there are also plenty of flame-free ways to repel ants. 

Smells from lemons, vinegar, and mint can be confusing to ants. 

Place these smells near your picnic blankets if you want to keep the ants away from your picnic. 

There are a few ways that you can get these smells near your picnic. 

Before unpacking your picnic, wipe the picnic blanket down with vinegar or lemon juice. 

You can also fill a spray bottle with a mixture of water and lemon juice, mint essential oils, or vinegar. 

7. Use Ant Repellant

While you can make your ant repellants, as described above, there are also specific substances designed to repel ants. 

These repellants can have a range of ingredients, from essential oils to soaps and glycerin.  

When shopping for ant repellants for use during a picnic, ensure that you are not spraying anything poisonous in your food or eating area. 

You should also avoid exposing an outdoor environment to any harmful chemicals that may cause long-term damage. 

Final thoughts

So, how do you keep ants off your picnic blanket? 

Hopefully now you know.

 Before you panic about ants at your picnic, remember that there are several ways that you can avoid ants or deter them from your picnic.

Set yourself up for success by being strategic about your picnic location and arm yourself with tools such as citronella candles, decoys, and picnic barriers. 

Try a few of these techniques and see just how ant-free your picnics can be. 

Now you can focus on enjoying food, friends, and nature without nature enjoying you in return. 

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