Need Help With Ants

Just recently, our house has been invaded by ants. Not the big “I’m here to eat your house down” type but the small, itsy bitsy ones my Mom called sugar ants. The cats just stare at them; they must know that the little squiggly things are horrible to taste. Does anyone know of a non-poisonous solution that I can use to rid our house of these unwanted visitors? Something that is safe for small animals?

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Debbie - May 19, 2010

I did a post on this at the end of March, but in a nutshell:
Bay Leaves
Black Pepper

I’ve been very successful with the cinnamon and chalk – I’ve heard the others suggested but haven’t tried them myself.

Good luck! Ants drive me batty.

Sheryl Ray - May 19, 2010

Try sprinkling Comet or Borax around the outside of your house and along the base boards inside. I have used this for years and does the trick for me. Good Luck

Mrs Koehn - May 19, 2010

If mice aren’t a problem, ants will eat but can’t digest cornmeal. I had the same problem when we moved in here last year, it was AWFUL! Finally two things from the store that are safe are Grants Ant Killer (the little white traps. I reuse them till the ants aren’t attracted anymore). Terro liquid stuff works great, I’ve heard it’s basically a simple syrup (sugar water) with Borax dissolved into it. Pets might lick it and make them sick, I don’t know….

Kris - May 19, 2010

We use a solution of water, powdered sugar and borax and put it in a jelly lid. The ants eat it and take it back to the nest and it kills them. We also just mixed some peanut butter with some borax and put it out and that also killed some ants that were looking for food in my child’s room.

Dawn - May 19, 2010

I swear by TERRO ant killer. It is a liquid bait.
Find where they congregate, put bait in that area, and they will feast on it and take it back to the nest, and within a couple of days they are gone.
I usually find TERRO in hardware stores, and I think Walmart carries it.

Christine - May 19, 2010

I use vinegar in a spray bottle. It disrupts their trails and burns them such that they won’t like going onto counters, floors, etc, that you’ve cleaned with it. I’ve also sprayed them directly with it, including carpenter ants. Otherwise I use diatomaceous earth.

Gina - May 19, 2010

I have always used 1 packet of dry yeast to 1 cup mollasses and stir it together and put it on index cards and placed them where needed. The ants will eat it and take it back to their nests.

Ally - May 20, 2010

have you tried baby powder?Most of the time they wont cross it!

Amiyrah - May 21, 2010

We mix baking soda with powdered sugar and put in tiny bowls near doors or wherever they congregate. They eat it, take it back to the nest and causes their tummies to explode. This also works with roaches.

Mic - May 22, 2010

believe it or not we use dried out orange peels and leftover coffee grounds … keeps the ants from taking over the garden and the dogs aren’t interested in the grounds.

Becky - May 23, 2010

Boric acid (avail at pest control retailers). Mix 1/2 Tbsp with 1/2 cup sugar and enough water to make a thick goo. Just place a dab in the path of their ant line and leave it for 2 days, adding to it when it starts to dry up. You will freak out at the swarms of ants that flock to the puddle. Boric acid is not pet safe, but it only takes a dab and you can put it on the counter where the pets won’t get to it. I swear by this. One of our houses got overrun by sugar ants and after about 3 days, I never saw another one inside.

Sandra - May 23, 2010

Diatomaceous earth got rid of the ants in the chicken yard. I shook it also all around the house outside, and have yet to see ants come inside this year.

amy - May 24, 2010

Hi there, I’ve had ant problems in the past and did a bit of research. Have you ever noticed that ants follow trails? These trails are all lined with their scent, which is what they come back to. So, the trick is to interrupt the scent. Cleaning helps but sometimes you will need to sprinkle cinnamon or clean w/dr. bronner’s peppermint soap.

Hope that helps.

Barb Wolf - May 26, 2010

This won’t stop them from coming back, but will get rid of the congregation you find on your counter with no specific trail. Take a paper towel, napkin or anything you can toss. Put a squirt or two of hand sanitizer either on the paper or directly on the ants. Wipe up and toss. Ants are gone and there is no unsafe chemical on your counter.

Denise - May 26, 2010

You mentioned in your post you have cats. Be VERY careful if using Terro or borax products as this will make your cats very sick. Especially if you are mixing with sugar or peanut butter or something that will make your cats want to eat it!

I have reusable traps that I got on-line that allows me to put out the terro so the cats can’t get at it. (I’ll try to find out where I got them, can’t remember of top of head). I also put it under the sink where the cats don’t go. It is very, very effective, but you need to be careful if you have pets.

Betty - May 26, 2010

I recently started having a problems with ants in my kitchen. I did some on line research and ran across a site that listed among other things bay leaves and cloves. I set one bay leaf and three cloves beside the sink and also in the window sill. The next morning when we got up there were no ants to be seen. I like this remedy because it is non toxic to our pets. Hope you find a solution that works for you. Betty

Kathi - May 26, 2010

I never knew there were so many ant remedies!
My simple and non poisonous solution is for those bigger creepy outside ants, but it may work for the tiny inside ants.
I just sprinkle some instant grits near their trail, they take it back to the nest and unfortunatley for those little buggers, it expands when they eat it and oh well… get the picture…

Laura - May 26, 2010

I’ve recently had the same problem. Removing every scrap of crumb and keeping the kitchen extremely clean has definitely helped but what really helped was an air freshener/disinfectant spray I had made from Vodka and peppermint spirits. I sprayed their trail and it seems to have confused them enough that I only see a few stragglers now.

Kim - May 26, 2010

Diatomaceous earth (aka Silicone Dioxide) is a safe bug killer. It will kill ANY kind of crawling insect, INCLUDING BEDBUGS!!! It is not a poison, and is completely safe for any animals or kids (just don’t let them inhale it – it is a powder). It’s a fine flour-like powder and it works by scratching the shell of the insect and they dehydrate within a few days. As soon as the bug steps on it, it’s dead (it just doesn’t know it, yet). It’s pretty cheap, too.

The only thing is, once it gets wet, it doesn’t work as well anymore and you have to re-apply it. You can also put some in one of those squeeze-bulb-snot-sucker-thingys they make for babies and “blow” it into tiny cracks & crevices.

We had an infestation of bedbugs (BAD! We had a roomer who brought them in and didn’t tell, and we ended up having to remove the floorboards of the room to get at the main nest). My husband had a buddy who worked in pest control and has some powerful insecticide that wasn’t allowed to be sold anymore. They sprayed the bedbugs with that stuff, and they just shook themselves and kept crawling around! Once we used the diatomaceous earth, though, they were gone within about 3 days.

Ever since then, it’s the only thing I’ve ever used for crawling bugs, and it’s never let me down!

Take care, hope this helps!!!

Maggie - May 26, 2010

I had these really tiny ants in February and March. I tried a variety of the solutions above including one that my sister gave me. Draw a chalk line and they will not cross it. Well, my ants were brave and they walked over the chalk, past the bay leaves and through every other remedy I tried. The only thing that worked was finding their entrance into the kitchen and using Ant/Roach spray directly into the slit in my kitchen wall. My entry spot was where the radiator (the old steel type with coils)attached to the floor. I sprayed there – careful to keep it where the dog could not touch it and within a day, they were gone. Now, I keep an eye on that spot and if I see even one ant, I respray. I really didn’t want to use the chemicals but my ants were too hardy for the non-chemical solutions. Hope this helps.

Becky - May 27, 2010

If all the above dosen’t work, the ants may be Pharoah Ants. They act a bit differently in that they send out a “Reconnaissance Team” of ants to inspect the area. If you kill those ants (and they don’t return to the colony) the colony senses danger and divides in two! Makes a new queen and now you have TWO coloniies. And so it continues. So if you kill what you see w/ a zap of spray, you may never get to the root of the problem. The only way to kill P hairoah Ants is baiting, where some gooey bait is squirt near where you see them emerge, adn they take the bait back to the queen, which kills her. When she dies, the colony dies. Check a local hardware or feed store for bait. Otherwise, you may have to call a professional.

Kris - June 3, 2010

I agree with the diatomatious earth. We had bad problems 2 years, called the pest guys and they still kept coming back. This year I used diatomatious earth and not had one single ant. Get the food grade and it’s safe for pets and little ones but be careful of the dust. Two of my kids have asthma so I usually put a dusting of it where I need and we leave the house to let it settle. They aven’t had any issues. Good luck!

Stephanie Rogers - June 3, 2010

If you want to kill the colony just feed them cracked wheat. They take it back to there nest and feed it to everyone, then die. Works great, cheap and nontoxic.

Heather - June 3, 2010

piece of hot dried chili peppers….works really good !!!! every time i used it…just be careful if you have little kids

Becky - June 3, 2010

Nearly forgot! SPLENDA will also kill the queen! She can’t digest it!

Mary - June 18, 2010

Place a small tubberware (like the one that brings whipped cream cheese) filled with a mix of half borax, half peanut butter and a few teaspoons of sugar and water enough to make it a thick mass without dry spots. Poke holes on the lid to let the ants in. Place it in a corner of the affected room. Results vary from a few days to a couple of weeks depending how many colonies are getting into your house and I still see occasional ants venturing in, but no more invasions!

Jessica - October 6, 2010

My mom, I remember years ago- had a HUGE ant problem. We tried all kinds of over the counter sprays..NOTHING WORKED. Then my grammaw, told us what they used to do when she was a little girl and it worked! First, you take a couple eggs- beat them up and add enough baking soda (Arm & Hammer, generic, etc.) and make the mixture into a into a paste. Then take(drinking)straws and cut them into 3-4″ pieces. With a spoon or whatever works for you, ‘stuff’ the mixture into the straw pieces. Then lay the straws down where ever you seem to have the most activity of ants or other bugs.

We did this and the next morning not only did we find dead ants all over, but the ones who survived most inevitably, carried back the ‘poison’ to their queen- and once she ate it the colony would be sure to die. We never had a problem again. WHY DOES THIS WORK? Two reasons: 1.) Ants are attracted to PROTIEN, hence they ‘smell’ the eggs and are drawn to it. 2.) Baking soda has an ‘expanding’ property that once it is consumed by ANY insect, will expand in their intestines and kill them. HONESTLY, I have even sprinkled baking soda on floors at night and in the morning woke to find various little bugs dead from their feast on the baking soda!! I like using the baking soda for bugs since it is non toxic to my child as well as my animals…..BUT highly effective for those pests! Sorry this is so long, but I wanted to share what my family from the Hills of Tennessee has known for a long time. =)

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