Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Apr 17, 2013 03:31 PM

Kitchen ant infestation

Put out sticky traps and bait, but the ants simply detour around them. Any suggestions? (We have a dog, so can't use anything toxic.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you find them swarming the counter or in the cabinets, Windex will kill them. It will not prevent them from coming back though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: baseballfan

      I use windex too. It does discourage them, although it does not guarantee they won't come back, but I find it useful and can't stand the smell of insect sprays.

      1. re: baseballfan

        This (windex) is what our pest control guy suggested. He said to make sure to get the whole line/path that they follow because they are following the smell themselves, and will stop doing so if it is covered up/cleaned up by the windex (or any other cleaner with a strong smell).

        If you have gutters outside the kitchen make sure you've had those cleaned out. Ants love building nests in them when there are lots of leaves and then they inevitably find a way into the house. Good luck.

      2. Bait is the only thing that works, because you need them to take the poison back to the colony. We've found that nothing works as well as Terro brand liquid ant bait. If we can identify where the trail is outside the house we put the bait there. If we can't, we cut holes a cardboard box, so we can fit it like hut over the ant trail with "doors" for the trails themselves, and put the bait in there. We have cats so we also also weigh the box down with something so the cats can't get to the bait.

        12 Replies
        1. re: PegS

          Was just about to suggest the same product - it worked amazingly well - and this was after years of regular exterminating by a professional

          I really like your suggestion of putting a box over with with a weight on top - I have a dog and worry about him getting into this stuff.

          1. re: PegS

            I recommend Terro, too. The ants have crazy Terro parties, take the stuff back to the nest, and come back to clean up the ones that died on the way home.
            It is so fascinating watching the ring of them crowding around the little puddle of Terro.
            By the way, I have cats, and they don't go near the bits of cardboard with the drops of goop on them.

            1. re: jmcarthur8

              Yup... I loved watching the ants... I could even see the ones who had filled up on the bait - the ones going back to the nest were more translucent than the ones going towards the bait -
              Made washing dishes way more entertaining!

            2. re: PegS

              I also recommend Terro ant baits (which is a boric acid solution), but indoors, I use the little plastic capsules where you snip off a tiny piece to give the ants access. No exposed goop. It does take a few days for the cycle to work.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Another Terro fan, but I must admit that seeing the swarms of ants on the bait is disgusting. Better that, I guess, than spraying hazardous poisons around food products. IF you can find the access point from outside, use more Terro there. Sometimes, though, it seems the ants materialize out of thin air!

                1. re: pine time

                  We have also used Terro for little sugar ants, but if the ants want protein, not sugar, Terro doesn't work because it is corn syrup based.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    That's right, Isolda, it's the little Argentines that like the sweet stuff. If you have carpenter ants, you're just SOL.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                      Maybe "SOL" would be a good name for an exterminating company. Tried everything? Nothing worked? When you're SOL, we're there for you!

                      1. re: Isolda

                        LOL--I'll have to check for that on Angie's List!

                      2. re: Isolda

                        Oddly enough, it was the Argentine ants that steadfastly ignored the Terro, both back in Tennessee and here in SoCal. They LOVE my hummingbird feeder (or did until I set an oil trap in the line), but Terro they just walked around.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Also in SoCal, and we solved the ants in the hum feeder by putting a little water cup above the feeder (you can buy commercial ones, but we made ours). No more ants. Plus, lots of Tanglefoot on the citrus, but that's another story.

                2. We used a bait with boric acid which worked wonders! I don't think it's toxic, but I'm not for sure.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    We use boric acid but you need the ants to bring it back to their nests. We find where they're coming in the house, put the boric acid there, cover w/ plastic wrap so the ants don't go elsewhere in the house. It has low toxicity but still needs care:


                    I use 409 to kill ants and leave the spray to dry for a little before wiping. It seems to help, too.

                  2. We use borax.

                    Borax kills ants, fleas, roaches and all sorts of other crawling vermin.

                    As for the toxicity of borax, it can be toxic if you put it directly onto your pet over a period of time.

                    1. Thanks, all, many strategies to try tomorrow.