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Aug 3, 2011 12:13 PM

Getting Rid of ANTS!!!

So I feel like I'm in a bad sci-fi movie. There are ants everywhere in my kitchen! Counters, cabinets, stove, sink, walls, - everywhere. I have a patio deck off of the kitchen where I have an herb / vegetable garden. They've invaded there as well. I was watering my plants last night, when the dirt around the parsley literally erupted with rivers of tiny black ants! Ugh!

Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of them? The kitchen is clean, that's not the problem. The only thing I can think of is that we're doing demolition / construction / rehab in the basement and back yard. Maybe we disturbed the little guys? No matter why they're here - THEY'VE GOT TO GO.

For various reasons, I'd like to avoid the exterminator. Any ideas?

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  1. mix borax and some maple syrup.......

    24 Replies
    1. re: srsone

      I never heard of borax and maple syrup. Kinda like catching flies with honey?

      1. re: Whinerdiner

        yes...borax has all kinds of uses..
        and its not a chemical spray

      2. re: srsone

        Or, if you prefer the non-DIY, no-mess version, I have good luck with Terro Liquid Ant Baits, which are a borax + sugar solution in a little plastic capsule. You cut off the tip and place them in the ants' paths of entry/invasion. They go in, snag some of it, and take it back to share - and end up sharing the message, "This is not a safe place!" Just keep an eye on the baits for when they've been emptied out, and need replacing. You can find them at most hardware stores and drugstores, and feel safe using them in your kitchen and around pets.

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          ^^^ THESE! My sister told me about them when I moved into my new townhouse, and the little ants came out on the counter and floor in the kitchen and dining room. I put out 3 traps - one tucked away on the counter, one under the sink, and one near the fridge, and in less than 2 days - no more ants. Home Depot and Lowes sell them in 6-packs, I believe.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Amazing timing--I just "Terro'd" my kitchen counter. Terro also comes in a small bottle, with little tear off paper bits to put it on (you can also cut up a slick paper like a toothpaste box--anything that won't absorb the liquid). While I HATE attracting more ants, it's the best long-ish term solution. I also then look like mad to find their entry point--found it by a patio door, an opening I will close up with caulk once they've taken the Terro back to their hives. CAN'T STAND ANTS--sorry to yell at you, I'm yelling at the ants. Disgusting buggers.

          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Ditto!! Every spring we have the little *sugar ant* issue. I put out the Terro, which I buy at the local Grange Co-Op, and in a week they are gone until the next spring. Ace Hardware Stores also sell it. I've found the liquid works better than the little bait-filled stakes.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Terro used to sell a small glass bottle containing a thick syrup type liquid. Put a drop on a small piece of card board with the same idea as the capsule. Very effective for carpenter ants.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Been using the Terro traps for a year. They catch a bunch of ants and the ones that get out are allegedly to take the poison back to the nest, (which is the ideal to really eradicate the situation), but alas! We still have the same "antagony". There are so many nests around our house that I think only a pro could deal with them at this point. Have given up.

                  1. re: FritaK

                    When I saw this a few days ago, I began to understand the magnitude of the problem...

                    What you get when you pour molten aluminum into an ant hill

                    When nothing we did ourselves was stemming the tide, we finally called an exterminator about four months ago. He told us it typically takes a few treatments to do much good against ants, since their nests are so extensive and spread out. He recommended their discounted quarterly visits, but we said we'd take our chances. Sure enough, the ants came back in about a month. That time we agreed to the quarterly plan. We were almost ant-free for three months, but they came back in force last week--just in time for our next regular visit. I'm waiting for the exterminator now.

                    1. re: MsMaryMc

                      Maybe we can get our landlord to pay for it? Are the visits pricey? I'm sure that at this point, we live on ten or more ant hills... or maybe just ONE BIG GIANT ant hill! :)

                      1. re: FritaK

                        I think we're paying about $100 every three months.

                        Our local housing code (Seattle) says that property owners have to deal with infestations in their rentals, and "infestation" means "the presence of insects, rodents, or other pests in or around a building, in such numbers as may be detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of the occupants thereof." It also says that property owners may be required to hire a qualified exterminator to get rid of the pests. It doesn't specifically mention ants, so I'm not sure if the city considers them serious enough to require the landlord to pay for an exterminator. It's worth asking, if your landlord is decent.

                        One thing I found interesting: besides spraying a liquid and spreading bait granules outside, the exterminator who was just here also left a Terro trap behind the fridge in the kitchen--so that's another endorsement for them!

                        1. re: MsMaryMc

                          If money is not an issue, a professional exterminator is the way to go. If things are a little tight, 1 $40 bottle of Talstar P concentrate (or numerous other brands) available on many net sites will last for years and is a favorite among professionals. Instructions will advise dilution rates for targeted pests. Simple pump up sprayer and your good to go.

                2. re: srsone

                  Or borax and white sugar - less messy and equally effective.

                  1. re: BobB

                    depends on the ants...
                    i have seen some ants pass right by sugar and borax
                    (maybe they can smell the borax??)

                    but so far none i have tried it on have passed up syrup

                    1. re: BobB

                      I've done this when I could get borax. It works great for some varieties of ants. There are a couple of varieties of ants who were not at all attracted by sugar, though, so this didn't work on them. Still, it's an excellent place to start.

                      1. re: LMAshton

                        Some varieties are attracted by fat. So mix a bit of borax up with some peanut butter and put that out.

                        1. re: Leepa

                          If only I could get borax here... :)

                          1. re: LMAshton

                            Where are you? Borax is a common ingredient in pottery glazes so if there is a pottery supply or a potter nearby, then you could probably get some there. Same thing.

                            1. re: Leepa

                              I'm in Malaysia. It's not available in grocery stores, nor is it allowed to be imported. Singapore is the same way. Sri Lanka, it wasn't available in stores, either. I didn't know it was used in pottery glazes. I'll look into that, although given that it cannot legally be imported, I have to wonder if potters are even allowed to use it.

                              1. re: LMAshton

                                It depends on the type of ant you're dealing with, where they're located & whether you have have pets, kids or are completely against the use of poisons. Unlike the 60s & 70s dumping poison everywhere is frowned upon. Borax used to be used frequently but it too has become disliked by some. Sugar & proteins are what the scouts are looking to bring back to the nest. If possible eliminate all food products, waste, trash etc. (good luck with that 1)= no food, no ants. Get a spray bottle, add a bit of dish soap to water add some mint oil or citrus oil or ground rind, it'll kill them & destroy their chemical trail. They hate vinegar, add a little soap to that as well, (it's effective on nasty plant eating bugs too)Different foods can also kill ants, corn meal, oat meal, porridge-dry They'll eat it, it expands, their digestion system can't deal with it. If you use the poisons do not wipe down your counter tops or where ever the baits are. You want the scouts to bring back the poison to the nest. Others will follow the chemical trail & the death toll will grow exponentially. If you have visible hills in your yard pots of boiling water are like nukes

                                1. re: fritzmerde

                                  None of the above have worked for our infestation...

                            2. re: LMAshton

                              Look in your laundry detergent section.
                              Borax is a laundry additive. A big box will cost less than $4.
                              20 Mule Team Borax.

                    2. Part of the problem is the heat most of the country has been experiencing. They're looking for water. We've got ants at work and the office at which I attended a board meeting last night was really struggling with them as well.

                      Ant stakes to tend to work outside and around the house in my location, Southern California. Inside, I've had remarkably good luck with ground cinnamon , particularly around pet food dishes. It's messy and not a particularly long term solution.

                      If an infestation is really bad, as politically incorrect as it is, I usually resort to RAID.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        The heat explanation makes sense. Thanks. At least if I use cinnamon the house will smell nice. Ironically, the ants have steered clear of the pet food dishes on the floor.

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          I'm a big fan of the Raid that comes in a little squeeze bottle that is syrupy. You put it our and it attracts them. We've never had a full-blown infestation when we put it out at the first sign of them. It must be working, because there are none in the house but the yards teeming.

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            We used cinnamon this year too, it did work but yes, very messy.

                          2. I hate to use the stuff, but Raid is far and away the best solution. Many years ago I lived in CA with a very earthy-crunchy roommate. We had a continual low-grade ant infestation which she insisted on countering with borax and bay leaves. This did not work in the least and the ants just got worse and worse. Finally when I came home one day and found a parade of ants leading straight to the freezer, right underneath the gasket, and into the freezer compartment--ending up with a heap of frozen ants--I took drastic action. One furious application of Raid later, we never saw another ant. No more home remedies for me. Just open the windows, go wild with the poison once, cough your way through the smell for a few hours, and then clean up the kitchen thoroughly.

                            I have also applied Raid outside where I see ant nests. In my last house they used to live right in the foundation sometimes. Every couple of years they would end up coming through the window and heading straight for the kitchen cabinets. I just let loose with the Raid and that would be it for another 2-3 years.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: travelmad478

                              Hate the smell too, but a big fan of RAID, it works.

                              Because I have a multi-cat household when I resort to using it I generally spray it lightly on the line of ants and then immediately go over the sprayed area with a paper towel. Not only does this pick up the dead ants, it removes any excess spray and leaves enough of a residue to be effective and it cuts down on that offensive odor

                              1. re: travelmad478

                                Lucky!! Raid kills ants on contact it seems... but I'm pretty sure our house is on top of four nests. Its super gnarly.

                                1. re: FritaK

                                  You need to kill not only the ants you see coming in the house, but also all of the ones living in the yard. Granular insecticide and a spreader will help if you have a lawn.

                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                    We barely have a lawn anymore (drought/SoCal)... and I have no idea how many nests are in the backyard alone. There are a lot of ants under my veggie garden too. We have pets, so that's when it gets into sketchy territory. So far the "safe" way hasn't worked.

                                    1. re: FritaK

                                      Yeah, in Sri Lanka, killing all the ants in the yard as well would never happen. It's just not possible. We've had ant nests inside our concrete walls, below our ceramic tiles in the concrete floor, living in our wooden window frames, and that's just the inside. Ant nests in the house alone would probably number close to a hundred. Even if you managed to get rid of all the ants on your property, the next day, new ant nests would be created by invading ants from next door. It's all jungle there. There's just no way to escape ants.

                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                        Once I tried what I read worked in the tropics: put a lot of the food into a water "moat"--jar of sugar, for example, sitting on a saucer with water around it. Worked, but sheesh, that's desperate!

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          Yeah, we do that. Or keep everything in the fridge, freezer, or in air tight containers. We have to do that with everything.

                                          But even with that, in at least some tropical countries, you will *still* have hundreds if not thousands of ants in your house and even more in your yard. That's just the nature of living in the tropics.

                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                            Well, I guess at least they "poop" in the garden and that's good for the ecosystem.

                                            Either way, I got the Terro Bait and they are going for it like crazy. Let's see if the stuff gets carried back to the nest!

                              2. I've had good luck with baits, but only one specific kind: Terro liquid pre-filled baits. I get them at Lowe's. These worked way better than anything else I've ever tried, but of course you need to be able to put them in places that are out of reach of your pets. The active ingredient in these is in fact borax if I remember right, and the liquid is syrupy so probably has something sweet, but the simplicity of using the pre-filled baits was more appealing.

                                Now in my case I was pretty certain of where they were coming in from outside, through the garage. I placed several of these distributed between near the garage door, near the door into the house from the garage, and in the laundry room which is right next to that door in from the garage. After that I have seen very few ants in the house this year, whereas in the spring before doing that I kept seeing them. Even though I would occasionally see ants upstairs before, well away from the garage, these baits (none of which are upstairs) seems to have stopped them all, so they must not have an inside colony and must not have been coming in from anywhere else.

                                That said, it also coincided with some removal of old partly-rotting wood features and scraps from outside, so that may have removed a colony wholesale which would have helped. But, interestingly I found some ants in the garage the other day, and checked my baits which were running dry. I put out some fresh ones and haven't seen any already last couple days.

                                It's weird that the ants haven't gone after the pet food; in past years (before getting a different kind of food bowl holder, and before I found the right baits) I used to find them sometimes in my cat's bowl.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: CrazyOne

                                  My Ants must be super ants because they didn't do a thing to them I have tried Borax Terro and about 3 or 4 other ant killers NOTHING works

                                2. Generally, I'm not an "earthy-crunchy" ( I love that) kinda girl. Normally, I'd take the path of least resistance and just spray the suckers. However, we have big birds who are big time sensitive to chemicals. Heck, I can't even use Febreeze because it could kill them.

                                  You guys are giving me some great ideas. Thanks.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Whinerdiner

                                    im not so earthy crunchy either...
                                    just cheap...

                                    i have used borax as a laundry booster for years and since discovered its many other uses...

                                    buying a 6$ assortment of spray bottles and making my own cheap versions of cleaners is a lot more cost effective than buying a 5 spray of only one kind cleaner...

                                    like glass cleaner...a little ammonia in some water...cleans glass just as well as the blue stuff..

                                    1. re: srsone

                                      Cheap works for me. I'm jumping on the borax bandwagon!

                                    2. re: Whinerdiner

                                      not related to ants, but if you have big birds as pets, avoid non-stick pans.