Q. I have a question about ants. We have had a problem with the small, brown ants. We have tried the borax & sugar, and poison, nothing works. Does anyone have any suggestions?
• We have 'them, too. About everybody we know does, here in Southern California. We don't like to spray poisons around, so we have to put up with them to some extent, but we have found that they hate baby powder (preferably scented talcum). If you find a trail of them in your house, or some "scouts" looking for food so they can bring the rest of their nest to enjoy it, just sprinkle the baby powder on the ants and wherever they are coming in from, if you can find it, and you will see them begin to get upset. After a while, they'll be gone, and they won't be back again for awhile, even after you remove the powder. We dust baby powder on our honey jar and sugar bowl, as well as the outside of the cats' dish and it keeps the ants off.
• Sounds crazy, but try vinegar! Fill a squirt bottle with plain old cheap white vinegar, and squirt it anyplace you've seen ants (kitchen counters, windowsills, etc) and let it dry. It's non-toxic, won't harm anything, and the smell will go away in just a couple of minutes. It worked for me!
• I have a suggestion for the ant problem; plain old cinnamon. I put in or at the site of the ant invasion, they back off quick!
• Black pepper is a nonlethal, poison free, cheap, and safe way to get rid of ants - sprinkle the black pepper where you see them congregating and watch 'them scatter. Follow them to where they're exiting - which is the same spot they're entering in at - and sprinkle the pepper at that spot to keep them from coming back in. It's safe to use in your cabinets, on windowsills, near your pets and kids, around food, etc.
• I have a book with several tips for the use of apple cider vinegar. One of them is getting rid of ants. Make a mixture of 50/50 water and vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the surface with the solution several times a day. Ants guide themselves with their scent. Vinegar has a natural chemical that alters ants' scent and which ants avoid.
• My husband was in conversation recently with a gentleman in the pest control business. This man preferred to use environmentally safe methods to control pests. His recommendation for ants was: equal parts Windex and Ivory Soap. Simply mix, and spray problem areas.
• Most ant poisons have a sweetness to them that attracts most but not all ants. Some ants are attracted to grease. Observe your ants and see what they like, maybe you need a different bait. Also, though this is sometimes difficult, see if you can trace them back to where they are getting in, because caulking is usually the best solution, as it prevents recurrence.
• I live in south Florida, the bug capital of the world, and I don't use anything toxic in or around my home. I discovered a safe way to get rid of ants. I found Shakley's Basic H. It is a non-toxic soap made from soybeans. I take a pint spray bottle, fill it 1/3 with Basic H and 2/3 with water, mixing gently. Follow your trail of ants to try to discover where they are entering. Spray a thin stream of the mix around where they are coming in. I also spray around my door frames and into any openings where they might enter. Caulking any little holes or openings is also helpful. Please remember this is a SOAP. Do not spray where it will be stepped on and someone will slip. I reapply it as needed. Try to keep it off painted surfaces as it will eventually bubble the paint. You can also put three tablespoons into a Miracle Grow feeder full of water and spray outside around the foundation of your house. It will soak into the soil and get into the nests. Do this once or twice a month until the problem abates. As an added bonus, use the same mixture in your feeder and spray your lawn to keep it flea free. I also keep the little spray bottle handy to spritz any bugs that try to dash in the door when it's open. If it can kill a palmetto bug (roaches that are as big as B-52's), it will kill anything!
• I had a bad problem with them last year and tried everything. Then, I read in a book to place Bay Leaves on your counters and preferably along the trail where they are coming in (if you can find it). It worked. Now I make sure that I keep some behind my canisters, etc. on my countertops.
• We use plain white chalk drawn in a line at the place they come in they wont cross for some reason and also I use comet cleanser sprinkled where children/animals don't go.
• So far this has worked in my house. First you need to find out where they are coming in at. To kill ants that have entered your home without poison I use straight Simple Green. Believe me it works. Then after they are all dead, clean the area and spray the area with a peppermint spray. Fill a spray bottle with water and add approximately 10 - 15 drops of peppermint essential oil , sometimes called Peppermint Spirits. Ants won't cross the area because they hate the smell. Hope it works as well for you as it has for me. Please note this can be dangerous to cats !
•Ants will crawl away from mint. I did this as a science experiment and it worked. Just plant mint all around your house. Especially near doorways.
• A line of cayenne pepper usually stops them from crossing over it.
• Try putting some whole cloves around. I put them on the window sills and door jams and also sprinkled a few around in my bottom cabinets. It worked.
• I recently purchased the book The Garden Guy A Seasonal Guide to Organic Gardening in the Desert Southwest by Dave Owens. Below is quoted information that may help you out. Dave Owens, does the Garden Guy's segments on KTVK (Channel 3) in the metro Phoenix area during Good Morning Arizona. C.L.
Outdoor Ant Control
Supplies: 1 to 2 gallons water
Stove or barbecue grill
Instructions: Heat water to 160 to 170 degrees. Quietly sneak up to the mounds of ants and pour the boiling water down the hole.
Note: I normally try to do this between 11am and 2 pm.
Indoor Ant Control
Supplies: 1 tbsp. boric acid
1 tbsp. mint jelly or peanut butter
Small cardboard box
Instructions: Mix the boric acid and mint jelly; spread mixture on a cracker. Punch pinholes in a cardboard box; place cracker inside. Place box in an area where ants cause problems, but away from children and pets.
Note: The mint jelly or peanut butter lures the ants in and the boric acid kills them.
Indoor and Outdoor Ant Control
Supplies: Diatomaceous earth
Instructions: Dust food-grade diatomaceous earth along the ants pathways.
Note: The white powder will cut through their exoskeleton and they will dehydrate and die.
Indoor and Outdoor Ant Control Supplies:
1 1/2 cup Cream of Wheat
Instructions: Place a dish of Cream of Wheat where the ants can access it.
Note: After they eat it, the cereal expands and the ants will explode.
• Red chili powder !! I've been using it to repel ants for years. Make a paste using a little water, find where the little black pests are coming in and going out and paste the area. you can sprinkle the powder too, but I find adding water makes it more potent. The ants hate the stuff. Brooke and Mary B.
• To trap ants leave an open bottle of maple syrup (cheap stuff is ok) the ants love it and they drown happy. Just make sure you your children and sig. other know about it (LOL). Also I have had luck with the Torro ant poison. It's like a syrup. This they take back to the colony. - Lucy
• Mix borax with sugar water. Place it on the ant trails and where the ants are coming in. It kills any ant that eats the mixture. From CSinbad
• Some mint oil and mint chewing gum help repel ants in a house. placed a stick or open pack of chewing gum on a shelf. Outside you can plant mint around the foundation. It makes a good groundcover and is fragrant when it's stepped on. I hope this helps. Please let me know. - Diana
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