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Ants? . . . ANTS!!! — The Grow Network Community
He who plants a garden, plants happiness.

- ancient Chinese proverb

Ants? . . . ANTS!!!

I may be a weird one, but I hate killing anything... including even ants. So, when I noticed a couple of ants in my kitchen the other day, I didn't think much of them. I just flicked them outside, cleaned up everything from dinner, and went to bed thinking all was well..

I woke to the lovely sight of hundreds and, then the next day thousands of the little buggers searching my home over for any crumbs, dead bugs, or anything else they could eat - including my house plants! 😒

Them getting into my house plants was the last straw and I've been waging war with them since then. 💣️

I've been using about 40% borax + 60% sugar, mixed with enough water to make it into a paste/syrup. I put this paste on the top of mason jar lids and set them around where I see the streams of ants originating from. They love the bait and I hope at least a few are taking some back to share with their queen..

When the war began, I did a deep clean of everything with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. I have also been wiping up masses of them with the vinegar solution as I see their lines form. I read this disrupts their pheromone trails and can make them move elsewhere. This and other baits sprinkled with borax have cut back their numbers a bit, but it's day 3 since this war began and I'd like to bring it to an end as quickly as possible.

The one catch is that I also have 2 cats and 2 dogs, so I'm limited with the natural things I can use just as much as I am limited on what commercial chemicals I could use too. Lemon and peppermint oils are both highly toxic to my kitties.. onions where a joke to the ants.. and though I haven't tried it yet this time, I haven't had great success with diatomaceous earth in the past.

Do you guys have any ideas or things you've used in the past to get rid of ants?


  • shllnzlshllnzl Southwestern UtahPosts: 1,025 ✭✭✭

    I used to play with ants when I was a child. They are useful insects, aerating our soil for us.

    Having said that, at my last home, I found them in my dog food and pantry, cat food in dining room, smashed into my shower puff where I did not see them without my glasses, and the final straw was when I came home from work and found them swarming the bottom tray of the birdcage. My poor bird could have died from them! A professional was called there -- that house was built over an ant farm that got successive species as we removed each nest. (I always said we had a million ants there.)

    I still use a professional exterminator around my new home. I get bird safe products and limit the areas that get sprayed. Here we have the infamous Arizona Bark Scorpion that can kill small creatures. We do not want them in the house! (This property has a billion ants but they are not a problem indoors.)

    I use ant bait when needed outdoors. Your borax mix should be working but can be dangerous around children and pets.

    Ants are supposedly repeled by coffee grounds. That theory is still under test.

    I am amazed they were in your house plants. Did they bring aphids too?

    Sorry I didn't have better ideas; I will stay alert for a possible solution.

  • Obiora EObiora E Posts: 519 ✭✭✭✭

    @Linzi I had a problem with small ants earlier this Summer. They were around for only like 3 or 4 days. I did not make a paste but rather added 20 Mule Team Borax and a small amount of white (bleached, refined) sugar to a plastic lid near where I had seen them come in the kitchen. I also washed my counters a couple of times per day with soapy water.

    I initially used Baking Soda (it had worked in the past) but to no avail. I used more Borax than Sugar (don't recall the ratio) but i saw a few ants taking some of the mixed powder before I went to bed and I have not seen them since.

    I realized after the fact that by spraying white distilled vinegar on them that I wasn't doing anything other than stopping the trail of pheromones as more were just being sent to get food. I also made sure that there was no other food for them to consume other than Baking Soda residue (not yet removed) and the powder mixture on the lid.

  • ines871ines871 zn8APosts: 1,412 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @shllnzl re "Ants are supposedly repelled by coffee grounds. That theory is still under test." - Sorry but that test is over. Already tried that: got a 30-gallow dark brown garbage container, full of coffee-grounds. - And sure enough, there were no more ants in the house. - Then, went to use some of the coffee grounds in the garden; and "WHAT IN HECK ! "- there were not 100's nope, more like millions !! in that bucket. Yes Siree.


    @Linzi - Never! use sugar, let alone "60%". Those darling ants will be your house guests, forEver... - Also you will Notice: that with each generation, their bodies will become smaller, but ever faster! - So, I used bleach, full-strength; & eventually they got the right idea, & disappeared.

  • blevinandwombablevinandwomba Central PaPosts: 378 ✭✭✭

    Supposedly sprinkling (uncooked) grits around your foundation will kill ants. We tried it, and I think it helped, but its been a while.

  • Leslie CarlLeslie Carl Posts: 263 ✭✭✭

    I've heard the same about grits, but haven't tried it myself. They say that ants cannot digest the grits and as the grits expand in their belly, they explode. If they feed it to the queen, it will destroy the colony.

    When we had small ants invade our house, we got some ant bait at Lowes that did the trick. The bait comes in small plastic containers that you put where the trail of ants are. It's considered pet and children safe.

  • illbtruillbtru Posts: 7 ✭✭✭
    edited September 2019

    Nothing beats food grade diatomaceous earth (DE)!! We use it all the time to deter insects. Ants hate it!!! We have been using the same 50 pound bag for years! Use only food grade DE, never pool grade(toxic)!!

    We use an insecticide puffer - remove the plug from the top, fill with DE and puff where you need it! Only one down side to DE, never allow it to get wet! DE must remain dry! BTW, the puffer and DE can be purchased online.

    We even use it outside under hummingbird feeders. We re-apply after rain or irrigation.

  • seeker.nancyseeker.nancy Posts: 411 ✭✭✭✭

    @illbtru that is a great way to use it. I bought an older flour sifter at a garage sale. It works good also. After using it I put it in a gallon Ziploc bag so I don't have a mess in the house and virtually none gets wasted lol.

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 58 ✭✭✭

    It sounds like you are on the right track to getting rid of the ants. Borax is taken back to the nest and it make take a few days or a week but it does shut them down for awhile. If I get ants it happens in late summer and then in summer. We used to live in a duplex that we were sure was on an ant hill. It is important to go around the outside of the house (we used to find the ants on the wall of one bedroom) and use the borax solution.

  • one.etteone.ette Posts: 58 ✭✭✭

    That artificial sweetener in the yellow packets... it's poison to them. And everything else as well actually.

  • lmrebertlmrebert Posts: 279 ✭✭✭

    I agree with diatomaceous earth... but desperate times call for desperate measures... one of my best friends who is an herbalist and health coach.. her husbands business is and extermination business... we had such an ant attach.. in every closet, bathroom coming out in hundreds when we turned on the faucet, in pantry. Kitchen... we had to move our purses around so they didn’t attack them, in baby wipes (the honest brand) there was not a place safe in our home... I called my friend.. I was ready to move!!! She said to get Tarro... you do have to hid from pets for sure and I hate messing with nature but I’m thinking that all the ants were told “ hey... no pesticides over in this place come- on!!!!!” And war was waged... so we did not move... ants are at bay... although they are looming in my garden... I keep watch with Tarro ready because with all this organisism around here we may be out of balance! This stuff works. We will set it under a heavy rock in the path and let it do it’s work to keep it away from kids and pets etc... can find at Home Depot! Good luck!! The struggle is real🤛🏼

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 187 ✭✭✭

    Those ants are sure a nuisance. Every year, early summer they invade my kitchen and upstairs bathroom. I’ve used the borax method as well as the terro baits (which do work well), always trying natural measures first. The only other thing I tried that may have helped a little bit is cinnamon; I put the sticks up on the window sill above the kitchen sink along with cotton balls dropped with peppermint oil. This seems to slow them down. Once or twice it actually kept them at bay and other times I’ve had to resort to the commercial ant bait.

  • HassenaHassena Posts: 119 ✭✭✭

    Great suggestions! Sometimes on has to bring out the big artillery. Before we do that...any essential oil sprayed around their trails, entrances into the home would work. We have dogs and cats and use essential oils regularly. I believe it's only toxic if ingested. Anyways, we have yet to have a sick animal.

    Spray the oils where they are coming in.

    Put DE outside around the perimeter of the house. We also use EcoSmart Granules. Supposed to be safe with pets. We sprinkle this around the home too. It smells so good! We sprinkle the outside about twice annually. Wait for a few days of dry weather. Rain/water will shorten the effectiveness.

    We also use the liquid ant bait traps when things get real bad. We hide them in places where are animals can't get to them. It helps a lot.

    Our home was vacant of humans for years...grass/hay (in the pastures and even right up to the house) was 3-4ft tall. The insects, spiders and all sorts of creatures nested in the vacant home. Our first few year was a HUGE learning experience. What ever you do, do it often, especially anything natural. Let them know to get back outside...

  • csinclair461csinclair461 Posts: 96 ✭✭✭

    I have had ants for several years, they come and go. Small ants that have multiple small colonies with more than one queen in a colony, and they smell like nail polish when they get scared or when they are killed. If I set out Terro, they eat it, but because they have multiple colonies, it doesn’t make a dent. They have set up a colony in my answering machine 2x, under a couple flower pots, and other places. They ignore the borax mixtures. They die quickly with soapy water and a little essential oil, either lemon or clove. Deterrents like coffee, peppermint, etc, they do avoid, but it doesnt get rid of them, they just walk around it. I have had great success with olive oil. I wipe it around a jar I don’t want them in, or around the cat dish. It lasts until it gets wiped off. Probably will call in an exterminator next, but need to find one I trust- am chemically sensitive, and have paid exterminators who have killed all the bugs but the ones we were after.

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