Is there any technique to prevent ants from getting into a honey jar? The outside of the jar is covered with dead ants every day.

Currently, I am wiping the surface of jar with a wet cloth before opening the lid, but I still see dead ants inside the lid, too. (They are not in the honey itself, though.)

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    Have you tried calling an exterminator? Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 12:06
  • 1
    The comments were a good laugh, but I had to clean up because they became distracting.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 12:23

8 Answers 8


Here are a few options:

  • Make a salt barrier around the jar.
  • Keep jar in a bowl full of water.
  • Use air-tight container (doesn't need to be a jar).

Any of the above should keep ants away from your honey.

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    In my grandmothers old house, she used to have a cupboard on legs where all the attracting foods went into. It was placed a few centimetres away fem the wall and all four legs were placed in little metals bowls with water in them. Never saw an ant in there.
    – Megasaur
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 10:55
  • Water jar defense is easily defeated by winged ant foragers (they are built once a year by many/most ant colonies) Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 11:05
  • The above suggestions are great. You might try a "Cream of Tartar" barrier. Also a "Zip Lock" bag, or a sealable plastic container large enough to stand the jar in. Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 14:38
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    I haven't heard of the 'cream of tartar' barrier ... when I have ants, I leave out a small bowl of sugar, then once the ants have found it, add borax to it. (note that you don't want to kill off all ants ... just the ones in the house ... the ones outside keep termites away)
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 15:04
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    @MischaArefiev I've neither seen nor heard of any ants that make "winged foragers" on a yearly basis in my part of the world. There are the breeding males and females that emerge once a year for carpenter ants, but a honey pot isolated by water hardly makes a suitable nest (which is what the females are looking for -- the males just seek to breed and die), and the female would likely not be inclined to linger with lack of a suitable nesting material.
    – Doktor J
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 15:23

It is possible that the outside of your jar has honey residue on it. Try rinsing off the outside of your jar with warm water. I would also give the cabinet the honey is in a good cleaning as well, as I'm sure there is honey residue in there now as well.

I would also try to track the source of these ants and stop them from entering your house at all.

  • Even if we rinse off outside of the jar, I am sure ants will still get attracted. and also we should be lucky to have only one or two source from where ants are coming :)
    – Mr_Green
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 16:28

I have had this problem, and fixed it in two different ways:

  1. Put the jar into a large ziploc bag. Make sure the bag is tightly sealed. This works well for larger, heavy glass honey jars. Plastic honey jars are too light when they are nearly empty, and the bag tends to tip over in the cabinet and be clumsy to handle.
  2. At one point we had two plastic honey jars open. It was more convenient to put them into a plastic storage container that had an airtight seal.

I've had this problem and the "clean the jar and the cabinet" (and all of the paths they take, as much as you can to the entry points) advice is what worked for me (as @TheGremlyn states in their answer).

I've also relocated my honey near my spices after observing that area was always devoid of ants. I'm not sure if the spices actually repelled the ants but that area of my cabinet is quite aromatic with custom curry blends, pickling spices, anjwain (strong thyme like), fennel, cloves, pepper/chili, cumin, and many others. There's also spice "dust" on the shelves from the constant shuffling/opening/closing/use.

How often does your ant problem re-occur? After cleaning up, temporarily re-locate the jar for awhile until the ants have stopped sending their scouts in to check. Then put it back in its normal place.

Are there any other items near the honey that may be attracting the ants? If so, temporarily relocate those items too.


Draw a continuous line of chalk around the surface the jar is standing on. It must be an unbroken line.

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    Bonus: this tip is also effective against ghost Pooh bears.
    – Preston
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 15:37

You have to put the honey jar in foil so that the ants can't smell it. Make sure that the whole thing is covered in the foil.


It is a joy to use honey dippers--slows me down to reduce stress too :)--and there are so many interesting and creative honey servers with openings for them! After researching sealed options and generally unfavorable comments for many hours, I've decided to give up and use a 4qt pop-top type container [like oxo]. I can see the jar, store the honey dipper in the jar as designed and seal it all from pesky intruders. I hope it works well...I'm looking forward to finding new servers and never considering pests again!

  • I'm not sure how this answers the question at all. The OP makes no mention of honey dippers in the question.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 5:46
  • @Catija it does get there in a roundabout fashion: store the jar inside a larger (ant-proof) container.
    – Erica
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 12:11

I don't want to hoist my honey out of some hard to access covering or container as I use it frequently. Changing the spot I keep it in seems to work. Re the water idea which also works - put the honey in a container first and then in a tray of water (to counteract a dripping jar).

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