Homemade Ant Killers: Recipes & Tips

When trying to get rid of ants, it’s helpful to first have a basic understanding how they live and thrive:

IngredientsThey live in colonies and one class within the colony is the worker/gatherer/forager. Workers make up approximately 10% of the colony and it’s their job to go out, find and collect food then bring it back to feed the rest of the colony.

They are mainly looking for two things: food and water. If it’s getting cold outside, they also like to settle in to find shelter. Below I’ve listed various home remedies and solutions for control (along with some tidbits of information on their behavior and habits).

Here’s a list of spray cleaner recipes you can try…

Clean countertops and surfaces well with one of the cleaners below, these can also be used to spray them directly.

  • Vinegar
  • Vinegar & Water (50/50 mix)
  • Cider Vinegar & Water (50/50 mix)
  • One of these essential oils: Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree Oil, Witch Hazel Extract (1 tablespoon) plus water–per spray bottle
  • Liquid Dish Detergent & Water (about 1 tablespoon detergent, fill spray bottle with water).

Did You Know: Ants leave a scented trail for each other so they can easily find their way back to the jackpot (the food source in your house). Trails can be both visible and invisible to human eyes, but they can follow the trails with ease. Washing away these trails will confuse them and make it more difficult to find their favorite places. Making your own cleaners with the above ingredients also adds a repellent that they will avoid.


When you provide a tempting treat that is actually poison (known as bait), you want to make sure it’s not too strong that it will kill the ant before it gets back to the colony (sometimes they are gone for days), and that it’s not too weak that it’s ineffective. You want poisoned food brought back to the nest for the rest of the colony to ingest.

The type of food they look for is either sugar or protein, it depends on what the needs of the colony are at the time. This is why a “tried and true” recipe that came highly recommended doesn’t work for you, the bait holds no interest for the particular critters in your home.

Tip: First determine if the ants in your house are after sugar or protein. Leave a sample of each bait out and see which ones they go for. Once you’ve determined what they’re hungry for, set out a few baits with their choice.

Here are a few homemade bait recipes you can try…


2 TBS Boric Acid (Borax)
Jam (or Jelly, Honey, Maple Syrup)

  • Mix the boric acid with the jam or jelly to make a paste. Slather it on a piece of paper, a plate or in a covered container with holes. You may have to adjust amount of Boric Acid if they seem to eat up the bait like crazy, but are getting fatter from it instead of dying.


2 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
2 TBS Boric Acid (Borax)

  • Mix and place in small saucers around the house.


2 TBS Boric Acid (Borax)
Peanut Butter or Bacon Grease

  • Mix and set out in mounds on pieces of paper or plates.


1 cup Confectioners Sugar
2 TBS Boric Acid (Borax)

  • Leave this in little mounds or in covered containers with holes.

Sugar Bait

2 TBS Molasses
1 TBS Yeast
1 TBS Sugar

  • Mix and place mounds on paper, plates or in covered containers with holes.

Important: When baiting so they’ll bring poison back to the nest, resist the temptation to kill them when you see them. You want them to live and take big juicy pieces of poisoned bait back to the nest for the rest of the colony to feast on.

A few baiting tips:

  • Boric Acid can be harmful if swallowed. If you have kids or pets in the home, set the bait in covered plastic containers with a few holes poked in the sides. You could also use glass jars sealed with lids–just poke holes in the top lid. For strong attraction, smear a bit of non-poisoned bait on top of the lid so they’ll find it easily.
  • For best results lay out a fresh batch daily.
  • Lay the bait in areas where you see regular activity and near their points of entry if you know them.
  • Don’t be diligent washing away their trails, you want them to find the bait spots easily again and again. All the workers in the colony can follow each others trails, so even if you killed off the first foragers, their partners will follow the trail they left.
  • You may find that a sugar bait will be popular for a few days, then a protein one is needed as they switch to protein foods. Change your method as needed.
  • If you’ve set out both types (sugar and protein) yet they are attracted to neither, reduce the amount of boric acid used until they starting feasting on the bait.

Did You Know: If a colony senses something is up when its members start dying and begins to feel stressed, the Queen Ant will likely give orders for the colony to split up into a few smaller colonies, trying to preserve as many members as she can. This is why it may take several days of laying out fresh bait regularly–you’re trying to get enough poison into all the colonies to wipe out the whole lot.

Destroying Their Nests

Find the nest and pour one of the following solutions into it. Cover your legs and wear rubber boots if possible, they will be streaming out of the nest while you’re doing this.

Nest Destroying Methods:

  • 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent per gallon of boiling water (add soap after water has been removed from heat). This will likely kill surrounding grass and plants. (Good remedy for fire ants).
  • Pour large amounts of cider vinegar down inside the ant hill. Do this around the surrounding area as well, for at least three days. Will likely kill plants and grass too.
  • Bring water to a boil, mix in salt to make a strong salt solution and pour down nest. Repeat over three days (and pour over surrounding area as well to prevent them from rebuilding in the area).
  • Disturb their dwelling regularly: Flood with lots of water (just use the garden hose and let the water run for awhile). Do this daily for at least a week or two. They will eventually get fed up and move.

A few tips:

  • Ants can live submerged in water for several days so you need to using boiling hot water to kill them. Pouring boiling hot water into the nest is effective on its own but you could also try adding an ingredient (as shown above) to make the remedy more powerful.
  • Pour slowly into nest so the water has time to get into all the tunnels and surrounding soil. Do three times the first day, then at least once a day for the next three days.
  • The best time to do this is when the ants are moving up closer to the earth’s surface (when it’s not too hot or cool). Typically between 10 a.m. and noon on a sunny day is the best time.
  • You could also try liberally covering the mound with one of the repellents listed below (cinnamon, salt, etc.).

Not Advised:

  • Pouring kerosene or gasoline on the nest used to be a common method for killing a colony, but it’s not only dangerous it’s also harmful for the surrounding soil.

Did You Know: They not only build their colonies outside, they can also setup house inside. If you notice small hills inside your home, vacuum them up (and dispose vacuum contents in sealed plastic bags immediately). If a large nest has been built, this is a good time to bring in an exterminator.

  • If it’s winter (below freezing) and your home has ants, you likely have a nest inside the house.

Controlling Them Inside The House

The first line of defense is making your place unattractive to them. Make sure to wipe up spills immediately and wipe off counters, tables and stovetops regularly leaving no crumbs behind. Sweep and wash floors regularly. Don’t leave dirty dishes around the house or in the sink. Keep dry foods (like flour, cereal, sugar, oats, etc.) in air tight containers. Take out garbage regularly and wash out all food packaging and pop bottles before putting in the recycle bin.

Although a sloppy environment will attract them, having them in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a poor housekeeper–they could be after water. If it’s dry outside and there’s not a nearby water source, they will be inside on the hunt for water. They’ll find it in houseplants, sinks and drains, pet water dishes and cups left out containing liquids.

List Of Natural Repellents

Look for cracks or holes in the house where they are coming from, spread any of these repellents around the holes (or combination of items on the list). Also spread around window sills, along baseboards, in corners and outside doors. The theory is that since they are repelled by these items, they’ll turn back. Success of the repellents can depend on the species of ants in your home.

  • Cinnamon
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Bay Leaves
  • Whole Cloves
  • Red Chili Powder (sprinkle liberally or make a paste with water and apply at entrance)
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt
  • Used Coffee Grounds
  • Sage
  • Cucumber Peels
  • Essential Oils: Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus. Swab these around entrance points.

Tip: Plugging holes and cracks with caulking or filling with vaseline will physically block them from entering.

Food Barriers

The ants could be attracted to your pet’s food dish, a potted plant or dish of candies. Either keep food sealed until needed or surround it with a water barrier so they can’t get to the food. Fill a baking pan with water and set the pet food dish (or potted plant, etc.), in the middle. Mixing in a little liquid dish detergent with the water will be a strong repellent as well as prevent the water from becoming a water source for them.

If it’s a potted plant that’s infested, repot the plant in a fresh pot of soil, washing roots clean of previous soil. You can try submerging the pot in a bucket of water for about 15 minutes to make them flee, but this won’t remove larvae that may be present.

Natural Outdoor Deterrents

Look for entry ways into the dwelling via tree branches touching the house (including the roof), drain pipes, outdoor plants, shrubs, etc., trim these back if possible. Otherwise, wrap branches and pipes with a sticky substance that will trap them before they can find their way in (duct tape facing sticky side out should do it).

If your house exterior will tolerate it without staining (test a small area first), spray a mixture of liquid dish detergent and water around the foundation. There will be a soap residue left on the surface as the water evaporates, hopefully enough to deter them from crossing it. Straight vinegar sprayed on the ground around the house can help too (both methods may harm grass and plants).

  • Mint: Plant fresh mint around the foundation of the house (can also have potted inside), or sprinkle crushed mint around entrances.
  • Tansy, Lavender & Sage: Plant as mint above.
  • Mix cloves and ground pepper with flour (3 TBS spice to 1 cup flour) and spread around areas that have heavy activity, this will help scatter them. Do this when there’s no sign of rain.
  • Diatomaceous Earth: (can also use inside) Nice, non-toxic pesticide that is pet & child friendly. Probably the most effective naturally occurring protective powder, this is a great option if their nest is underneath a deck or patio and sidewalk blocks. Sprinkle this in the cracks that they will have to crawl up through. Diatomaceous Earth is easily picked up by the hairy bodies of most insects, whereupon it scratches through their protective wax layers and they also absorb some of this material. The result being that the insects lose water rapidly, dry up and die. Further protection is provided by the powder’s property of repelling many insects. In houses it can be used effectively to prevent the entry of certain insects such as earwigs, ants, and cockroaches, and to control these and others that are present in cupboards containing food, carpets, basements, attics, window ledges, pet areas (for fleas), etc. In all of these examples it is important to place a small amount of the powder in corners, cracks, crevices and other areas where insects might hide. Source: Ecological Agriculture Projects, McGill University.

Old Wives Tale: Make a 1″ line of chalk or baby powder (talcum) around the home, ants won’t cross it. Does it work? Many swear that it does.

False Methods

  • Aspartame: Touted frequently online as originally being developed as an ant poison and an effective way to control carpenter ants. Snopes found this to be false, see: this page for details.
  • Instant Grits: One popular online remedy recommended is to feed them instant grits, instant oatmeal, cornmeal, cream of wheat or couscous. It’s suggested that they will “explode” when the food would expand inside them as it comes in contact with stomach fluids. A study on the instant grits method and fire ants was done and found to be ineffective, (the report from Texas A&M University is no longer online). Also read the info below, it’s highly unlikely that the adults would even be able to eat the grits as they’re too large.

Did you know: Ants carry solid food particles back to the nest to feed the colony’s larvae, the larvae then processes the food and turns it into a liquid to feed the adults. Adults can ingest very tiny, minuscule particles of food (larger pieces are filtered out), but their diet is from the liquid that the larvae provides.

Keep In Mind They Have A Lot To Offer

Think ants are pests? They may be if they’re taking over your home, but outside they’re very much needed. They aerate the soil, clean up scraps and seeds, control termite populations and they’re a food source for birds and other insects. As with all creatures, they play an important part in a healthy planet.

If you prefer encouraging them to move elsewhere instead of killing them, make your home their last choice for foraging by using the above control methods and tips.

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What Readers Are Saying: 209 Comments
  1. rhonda says:

    I just read that grits isn’t suppose to work…….Well, I had those red/black ants. They are pretty big, make huge anthills and bite!! I have rid my yard of three ant hills by using grits. I was told that they took it back to the colony and after they ate it and drank some water it would kill them. All I know is that they are gone and so are the ant hills. I have tried it on the little ants and it seems to have worked on them too. I’m just glad the “biters” are gone. Now my pets can lay in the grass and not have to worry about ant bites.

    All you can do it try it and grits are fairly cheap.

    Good Luck!

    • dawn says:

      I agree. I’ve had problems with the large and smaller ants and I used oatmeal. I ground it up in a clean coffee grinder, then simply sprinkled the powder over the ant hills. Within a few days, the ants were gone and the hills soon disappeared!

    • Kevin says:

      I’ve heard about the grits, but have never tried it. I do know that powdered yeast and sugar, mixed together does cause the ants to explode when the drink water. The ants love it too. Also, borax soap (which is cheap….look for the 20 mule train box, and it really whitens your whites in the laundry) mixed as it says above with jam, honey, sugar, or peanut butter works well too.

    • Gary says:

      If all I had to eat was grits, I’d move too!

      • Jen says:

        Gary has the best comment. Everyone else can go home. xD

      • Mary says:


      • Stella says:


        I have ants infesting my kitchen in the gazillions and I’ve been seriously reading all the post for solutions, but I have to say I needed to wipe the frown off my face…Thanks for lightening my mood. Hillarious.

        • Suzie says:

          Gary nothing better than lots of cinnamon sprinkled heavily for kitchen works great and no harm to humans the ants just vanish.

        • Carla says:

          I live in an apartment so I had to figure out what to do ants were in all the window sills, coming out of the outlets on 1 wall in kitchen area, they were just everywhere. After doing a deep cleaning especially kitchen in every cabinet, stove, baseboards, under fridge vacuuming all the time it was time to start with the home safe remedies. I sprinkled baking soda under stove & fridge, all window sills, and made a spray for cleaning. Spray was water, 91% rubbing alcohol, peppermint oil, dawn dish liquid & started by spraying & cleaning every day several times a day to deter the ants & made kitchen smell good. It took weeks because of the infestation but finally got rid of them in kitchen. I see some dead in window sills remember to clean & put fresh baking soda maybe every 2 or 3 weeks. Outside I’m still fighting them. Boiling water is good pouring all over or if I can find the nest holes directly down in. It is a lot of work but it puts a smile when the kitchen area has no ants.

    • Phillip Blake says:

      That is a useful tip, I’m excited to use it to get rid of the “biters”. I shall implement this imediately, do they eat it without it being wet? Maybe this could save Woodbury.

    • sara says:

      I agree, the grits have worked for me too.

    • Andrea says:

      I agree! I had a huge ant hill, probably 3ft by 3ft. i knocked the top off and poured a whole bag of grits on it. waited a few days and they had rebuilt it, so i knocked it down, poured in the grits again and they left! i don’t know if they died or just got sick of grits, but either way, my grandma was right. No poison and it cost about $2.

    • Holly says:

      I to agree about useing grits to kill red/black fire aunts. I live in Fl.,country part and we get big aunt hills,I would pour the grits on top and all around the mounds(heavy),it would take a day or so ,but it worked.Im 45 and have used this method for years.

  2. Laurie says:

    I have used the chili powder with great results, both inside the home and outside.

    Hey—could we get a similar article on spider control?? We seem to get a fair number of them inside our house and my three daughters scream when they see them. I’d love to find ways to solve the problem.

  3. Samantha says:

    I read about the ants exploding from grits on another blogger and tried surrounding the ant hill with it. NOW I’M A WRECK!! The ants went for the grits all right, but now we’ve spotted mice in the yard. We still have ants and the mice are sticking around. This has been a nightmare :sob:.

    • Beth says:

      Have you tried spraying the grits with borax? Put the grits on parchment paper, spray it with borax/water mix…this way it kills the ants and poisons the mice.

      • Jennifer says:

        If you poison the mice and a Owl or an Hawk eats it, it will kill the bird. It is a bad way for the bird to go too because it’s slow. Please do not poison the mice…

      • Jennifer says:

        Mice hate peppermint oil but a few drops on cotton ball. I went and got the smallest tinfoil pans at the dollar store I could get wrapped them with plastic and then put 4 cotton balls on it and sprinkled pepermint oil 4 each on the cotton ball and they left and have been gone

  4. Kansas A says:

    Excellent article and perfect timing! We have literally thousands of red ants hanging around our pond so I will now try some of these methods and see what works ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Tipnut!

  5. Cat says:

    Every winter I get ants in my kitchen – Minnesota winter brings a lot of bugs indoors. I have a dog, live in a condo, and I don’t necessarily want to kill them, I just don’t want them in my home, so a lot of the suggestions I found were impractical. However, I tried lavender-scented baby powder last year and it worked well. I sprinkled the powder along the perimeter of the kitchen and in a boot tray, which I placed the dog’s food and water bowls in. The ants were gone within a week.

    • debbie says:

      i tried just regular baby powder its working

      • Lisa says:

        It’s the talc in the baby powder that repels them. There are also a number of spices and strong smelling things they avoid, such as dish soap and vinegar. Last year I filled a bottle with vinegar and a few drops of dish soap and poured it all around their entry points, and they were gone for awhile (obviously not still, seeing as I’m on this site.. lol)

        • sara says:

          most baby powders no longer contain talc, so what is it then that repels them?

          • Judy says:

            there is still a lot of talc based powders on the market and they are usually cheap:)

          • TG says:

            Babies. OK, Seriously…the fine particles of dust in the powder 1) Stick to them 2) Make it difficult for them to travel and adhere to surfaces and 3) Interferes with there pheromone communication. Worked well in repelling at our apartment, but at our new house, I would heed Samantha’s story and avoid attracting other pests. Sorry to say, but it’s time to KILL off the colony. They are generously allowed ALL of the outdoor dirt (I don’t own the earth, I just live in it), but my house is not a ANT-HUD home and I have biblical dominion. See they don’t set up house, IN your house but INSIDE your walls. The interior space of your dwelling place becomes part of their colony. Didn’t know you were living in an ant colony huh? Well mostly they don’t like the areas with insulation, but the little crawlers can slip into any corner or crack. I will be doing the Boric Acid/Sugar Water paste for a colony kill and I advise using pure silicon in a DAP gun tube to plug up all the little holes, seams, and cracks they use as entry/exit ports. Does it sound personal? Well, there’s not one room of my house they have not tried to invade and I have my wife’s blessing, so just like Starship Troopers (the Series, NOT the movie) “It’s a bug hunt!” – tell you how it ends later.

          • maggie says:

            I think it sufficates them.

          • gloria says:

            Go ahead and try the powder, maybe the ants don’t know that they’ve taken the talc out!!

      • Deniece says:

        We used to have them so bad I would put a baby powder on a paper plate and put whatever I was drinking in the middle so they would suffocate. It’s not necessarily the talc it’s the powder that gets in their lungs. It’s a great way to keep roommates from eating your strawberries. Mine found some strawberries and was sitting where I had the plate and saw what she thought was powdered sugar…needless to say, she didn’t like strawberries very much for awhile! LOL TRUE STORY

      • terry says:

        worked for me too!!

  6. Tara says:

    I read all of these ideas and they sound great but i can not find the nest and thay are eating or i am finding them in or dogs dishes (food) now what do i do i have no idea where to even start looking????
    Anyone have any ideas

    • debbie says:

      try surrounding the dishes with baby powder

      • Dmaur says:

        Mix borax with honey and spread thin lines of mixture along the ants normal routes (where you usually see them). It takes a couple days and you may have to reapply daily. For larger colonies switch the honey bait with a similar peanut butter mixture as bait. Ants can alternate between protein food sources and sugar sources. Too much borax will kill the ants before they can bring it back to nest but too little will just feed them. Try equal portions of borax to honey/pb.

    • Pat says:

      I too would like find that out. How do you find the nest?

    • Brett says:

      Try putting boric acid 99% pure( real economical and indefinate shelf life) anong the trail they are traveling in such a way they walk through it for 4 or 5 inches. Give it 2 or 3 days and VIOLA ! This can be difficult to find. Usually in dollar stores and such. Keep away from food toxic to people and animals too.

  7. Jeff says:

    I was wondering what the best way to control/kill/dispose of ants that are attracted to and/or are around honey bee hives??? Thank you!

    • Justin says:

      the bees will kill any ants that enter the hive but i have the same problem with them sitting on the inner cover lid.

      • Cathy says:

        Actualy, too many ants can cause a real problem in beehives. I have resorted to putting my hives on 4 legged stands with the legs in coffee cans of used motor oil. Of course, now I have to shelter the coffee cans to prevent rain from causing the motor oil to overflow onto the ground. My hives look like little spaceships with their tinfoil pie plate umbrellas at each corner but I have no ants in my hives. We live in a sandy area and are overrun with ants. In the house I let the spiders stay and they keep the ant population down. I know where the spiders live but keep it a secret to stop the kids from freaking out.

        • Terri says:

          You could use the diatomaceous earth around the legs or chalk. Just reapply after a rain.

          • Katherine says:

            Use some sticky 2 sided tape around the legs. I put a wide strip going up a pole to my flowers and was amazed at how many ants and ear wigs I stopped from wreaking havoc on my hanging flowers.

    • Donna says:

      I had ants on the kitchen counters. I killed the ones I saw and the trail of them. I cut about 8 jalapeno peppers in half and put one at the beginning of the trail and in every corner of the counters. I didn’t see ants for the rest of the summer and so far not this year either! A friend of mine told me to try this and it seems to work! I waited until the peppers were all dried up before I replaced them. I don’t know if placing some peppers around the beehives would work or if it would hurt the bees.

  8. Jessica says:

    what perfect timing! I remember reading this article last year and being so impressed with all of the information you had here but glad I didn’t need to worry about it! But this year is a whole different story because ants have appeared out of nowhere this week! Gonna try some of your tips now so Thank you tipnut!!

  9. Evie says:

    Vinegar is good to get rid of ants, it will kill your lawn however it will grow back and fill in.
    When you say boric acid (borax) do you mean in place of the boric acid as they are not the same thing?
    Boric acid is dangerous to animals but will kill cockroaches if used in the home , it should be behind stoves etc. where a child or pet can not touch it.
    The vinegar will kill the ants without making a recipe. Hope that helps.

    • Christy says:

      Seems to me that I once looked at the ingredients on a box of “BORAX” and it just listed “BORIC ACID”- Don’t remember if that was the “active ingredient” OR the ONLY ingredient lol…
      After reading these tips I now know HOW we are getting ants! I put “ant killer”, (powdered Boric Acid) All along the base of the house we were building before they put up the sheetrock. I had not even finished patting myself on the back when I was suprised to see some “scout ants” and couldn’t figure out where I missed with the Boric Acid powder inside the walls! Then I read (here!) that any tree branch touching the house is like I-85 for them! Thanks for all the hunting tips! I am happily testing Peanut Butter vs Maple Syrup… In the words of Elmer Fudd, ” Be VEWWY VEWWY QUIET….” ! Thanks to you ALL!

    • Katie says:

      Borax is a brand name for boric acid.

  10. Betty Reinwald says:

    I have used the instant grits for several years to get rid of ant hills along the common area where I walk my dog. I throw a handful on top of the mound and it works! Just be sure to do this before a rain is coming. I read about using grits in a Master Gardeners column in the local newspaper.

  11. Bob Biga says:

    I’ve been told by a friend from Florida that his exterminator said to spread hominy around your foundation to get rid of ants and termites. Our home own-ers assoc. lays down mulch every year and I can’t see where that can be helpful in keeping away ants and termites. Spread the grits from your foundation to 4″ away. What happens is they take samples back to their colony and they explode. I know that sounds crass but it works.

  12. Wolf says:

    So planting Mint, Tansy, Lavender and Sage around my house is supposed to keep the ants away from the foundation and coming inside?

    Sorry, that’s not working for me. In fact, I seem to have MORE ants this year than previous years and I definately have MORE Mint, MORE Lavender, MORE Tansy and even got a Sage this year.

    So either I have super resistant ants or those plants just aren’t working.

    • lori c says:

      i have ants IN my mint. They are after the flower nectar. Mint is NOT a repellent. I would think all sugar ants would be to any nectar-producing flower.

  13. Viola says:

    I too am having an ant problem this year. The red and black ants have made a home in my brick wall surrounding my garden. I have tried grits and it did not work. I have been watching the ants and they seem to be carnivoreous. I only see different types of bugs going in between the rocks back to their nest. They also have 6 different ways to get into the nest through the where the bricks are butted to gether. Can anyone help in on what will work to get rid of these ants?

  14. Hamptonfarms says:

    I was told that ants WILL NOT cross over a line of salt. I have actually made circles of salt around ants, poured salt on top of them. And they have all not only walked on or through it they continue to WALK ON TWO BY TWO!

  15. Katherine says:

    Help! The recipe for borax and peanut butter doesn’t tell how much
    peanut butter to include with the two tablespoons of borax.

    Protein Bait
    2 TBS Boric Acid (Borax)
    Peanut Butter or Bacon Grease

    Can you give me the amount of peanut butter or bacon grease to mix
    with the 2 TBS of Borax?


    • Cherrie says:

      I would imagine 2tbs of each. That’s what I’m going to try today.

      • sunshells says:

        I made up a similar recipe that made quite a bit. Unfortunately the ants are avoiding it like the plague. I tried adding more peanut butter and that did not help. Also I found that the ingredients settled out into layers and needed stirring. Not effective for me.

  16. Patsy says:

    I just read other articles, and one written by a scientist that states, boric acid and Borax or not the same thing and are not made of the same chemical compound. While Borax is good to mix with things to kill ants, it is supposedly not effective on roaches and to kill roaches you definitely need the product labeled “boric acid.” I mixed some peanut butter and Borax to kill some ants that are coming in my house. I set the bait out on the porch and it has been covered in ants all day and night. I hope to goodness it’s going to kill them and not help them multiply. LOL

    • Cherrie says:

      I sprinkled baby powder around my porch door and the ants are gone. Not sure if it will kill them, but it’s a good deterrent for the time being.

    • Dan says:

      If memory serves, borax is sodium borate, and boric acid is effectively hydrogen borate. There is a difference. But in reference to their toxicological effects, they could probably be used interchangeably for ant poison. A 25/75 yeast sugar mix seems to be very effective. Try to grind it up in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to a very fine powder. When/if they eat it, the water in their stomachs will activate the yeast. It will then ferment the sugar into ethanol (booze) and carbon dioxide. Then they bloat and die.
      Sorry if I sound like a nerd, I can’t help it.

      • Judy Tyler says:

        T yeast sugar mix seems to work best, but my daughter has many cats and kittens that roam freely in her home and we are trying find something she can use for tiny grease ants. She has used bleach clean all around her counter and floor and mop boards, but still has the ants. I am going to have her try the baby powder. Any other suggestions are appreciated.

      • pammy says:

        I’m also going to try that. I hope it works because if it doesn’t I’m gonna have a new problem. Drunk ants. It would be hard to convince them to go to AA.

      • Greg says:

        Thanks Dan,
        Without guys like you I couldn’t have fun hunting and exterminating as apposed to hunting and killing. Now I have fewer holes to patch. LOL!!!! Thanks for the info.

  17. Sylvia says:

    Thank you TipNut for your article on ants. I have 3 rental homes and all get invaded with ants, we have used an exterminator however even they say they can’t keep the ants away forever. I will be printing this article to hand to the renters, using some of the recipes should keep them at bay. thanks again

  18. linda says:

    couple questions and comments
    After sprinkling lots of sea salt and Morton Kosher salt in cracks we had inside near lots of ant my husband asked, ” won’t that mess up our new maple and older saltillo floors like salt in the winter does in snowy climates. ( we live in Scottsdale AZ so no problem with salt in the winter).

    I immediately started brushing it away from the maple:)

    In times past I have used inside the house d: boric acid without traps (but afraid for our little curious dog) , chili powder, and chili peppers ( again concerned for our dog and staining , and diatomaceous earth( but label says it too is poisonous)

    • Valerie says:

      diatomaceous earth is safe for pets to ingest AS LONG AS it is food grade DE. The kind you get at pool equipment stores is unsafe. Make sure it says food grade and you can use that anywhere around kids and pets – totally harmless, but does help deter bugs.

  19. Carlotta says:

    I was able to find the Boric Acid (Borax) at Home Depot. The way to keep your grass from dying is to Water real good everyday! Using Boric Acid helps control the weeds and makes a nicer, greener lawn, but you will have to water. I found this out from a friend.

    • Sarah says:

      Borax can be found at the supermarket in the laundry or cleaning isles. I can always find three horses brand, I’ve been using it for years on my organic garden bed for slugs I sprinkle it on the wood surrounding the garden. It’s also a great laundry booster! It’s all natural and forgive me but I can’t remember the desert that this natural mineral is harvested from. Remember just because it’s natural doesn’t mean its not toxic to LO!

      • Chris says:

        Sarah…borax is mined in Boron CA.in the Mojave Desert. It can be seen from the road there is so much of it. Its very strange.

  20. Carlotta says:

    Sorry, my Bad! I just got back from Lowe’s, and the info I previously gave you was wrong. Ammonium Sulfate is what they use to make you lawn green and removes the weeds. I bought something called, MaxAttrax Roach Killing Powder with Boric Acid. It’s for roaches and ANTS as well. I know this stuff is good cause the home we moved into, found out had roaches. I got aggressive with those little buggers and this stuff WORKS… Hot Shot makes this product, so I plan to try it with the ingredients above. Sorry for the wrong info ladies!

  21. Lucy says:

    Another quick and safe way I’ve found to kill ants is the cleaner 409. Whatever is in it kills the ants on contact. I discovered this one day when I found a herd of ants having a party around a glob of jam left out on the counter. Just spray on them and wipe off, they will be dead and their trails are erased in one fell swoop! I used to use this trick when I worked at the Boys and Girls Club. We had ants but weren’t allowed to spray pesticides while children were in the building, but 409 was okay.

    • carman says:

      I bought some glass cleaner at dollar store. Mean green or something like that. Doesn’t clean glass but does a number on the ants.

  22. John says:

    I have found that Windex stops the little buggers cold. We’ve had sugar ants off and on all winter and whenever we spot them out comes the Windex. Its a quick fix for the ones on the counter tops but probably doesn’t do much good in controlling the population. I’m fixing to try the Borax and jam recepie right now. Thanks for the tip.

  23. Val says:

    To get rid of the mice, leave jar lids with soda in them (this was in Mother Earth mag many years ago). The poor things can’t burp! unfortunately you’ll need to bury them! I had some little ants and lived in an old home. I noticed they were coming in where the molding met the floor, so I sealed the gap with clear acrylic calk, like you use in bathrooms or kitchens. Problem solved! If you have household pets be careful that they don’t get into remedies made for the pests.
    Years ago we rented from someone who stopped the exterminator at the building. about that time Black Flag came out with a product (don’t know what it’s called) that was fairly safe for humans but damaged the reproductive organs of the pests. I really do not care for chemicals but the neighbor had the nest and the exterminator said both properties needed spraying monthly. I ended up using the bf product myself and within 2 months I stopped seeing the cockroaches! The ones that I found were malformed.

  24. Carole Longman says:

    I got all my surfaces cleared off and went to the drug store for the borax and they told me they don’t make it anymore because kids were getting sick when ” blind” mothers grabbed it instead of whatever they really wanted.

    Is there any replacement that will work in the same way?

    • T Dawn says:

      Carole, a drug store is only going to carry limited products. Go to a grocery store, or home supply store. Borax is found in the laundry aisle in grocery stores. It’s been on the market for over 100 yrs – they haven’t stopped selling this naturally occurring mineral. Borax, brand name 20 Mule Team, is safe for many uses. Helping to deal with pests is just one.

      Boric Acid is usually in the area of a store that carries insect killing products. They are 2 very different products.

      Try again. Good luck!

      • Jennifer says:

        You can find Boric Acid at your local Pharmacy. You might have to even ask the Pharmacist. It is used to make an eye wash for pink eye…and I guess killing ants. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Stanley says:

          You can also buy it at the dollar store.

        • T Davis says:

          Thank you for the info about Boric Acid and Pink Eye. I have laughed, tounge-in-cheek, every time I see Boric Acid in a Pharmacy. I used to be an exterminator and was unaware of any other use than killing insects.

  25. DONNA says:


    • melissa says:

      Diatomaceous earth is very effective on all types of insects. It is only effective until it gets wet, so it’s probably better if sprinkle it when you’re sure you’ll get a few days in a row without rain. Hope this helps!

  26. Austin says:

    Tobasco Sauce

  27. BEN GREGO says:

    My oh my the things people can come up with……why not just keep getting rid of ants simple????

    Just use CINNAMON………yep, cinnamon…..sprinkle it where you’ve seen them, and they will soon be gone…..and no harm to kids or pets!!

    So please, let’s keep things simple…life’s complicated enough!!!!!!

    • Susan Rushton says:

      Cinnamon never worked for me. They didn’t like it, so they avoided it and came in someplace else.

      • roland says:

        this is a deterant, not a killer! the same with some things U buy to get rid of fire ants. it does not kill then it makes them move to the house and yard next door! I bet UR neigbors love it! LMAO

    • Mary says:

      I’ve used two methods: When I see ants outside, I put up a barrier of mint leaves where I don’t want them to go. This works on Japanese Beetles, too. It doesn’t kill them, but it sends them to your neighbors or someplace else!

      If your basement is draintiled, you’re in luck. I had a horrible, embarrassing infestation of ants throughout my main floor, but especially in the kitchen. I went downstairs, mixed a quarter cup of 20 Mule Team Borax with a quart of water, and poured it in several places between the basement wall and the lip of the plastic draintile liner. This borax/water spread throughout the draintile system. Apparently, the ants had to cross this to get into the house, and it became their watering hole, then quickly killed them. I did it again a few days later, and within hours there was not an ant to be found. They haven’t come back in months.

    • Mary says:

      Cinnamon is a repellent, so yes, they will go elsewhere. I have the same problem as Donna and am going to just get pesticide – nothing natural is working.

  28. Dara says:

    I just moved into an apartment that has a lot of sugar ants in the kitchen. All I had on hand was some ground pepper so I sprinkled a pile in corners and pushed it between the linoleum and molding with my fingers. I killed all the ants that were out on the floor but I haven’t seen anymore come out since then. I’ll probably wash the floor with vinegar tomorrow to get rid of any trails left behind too. I wish I could easily move the fridge and stove but they’re pretty stuck from not being moved regularly.

  29. melissa says:

    I had to re-read this post as the sugar ants are a real nuisance this year. Am I ever glad I did! I had forgotten about the diatomaceous earth remedy. I’ve got cats and a dog and small children about and always worry about toxic pesticides. I also have allergies to petroleum based products and can’t even try exterminator services. Diatomaceous earth has worked great for me for pest/insect control. It has been effective for fleas, earwigs, house spiders, roaches; you name it! I like it because it kills pests inside the house but doesn’t harm us. Thanks again for the great advice!

    • elaine says:

      Where do I buy food grade Diatomaceous earth? I just can’t get rid of the ants tried cornmeal, boiling water, soapy dish soap and water this got rid of the nest but they just moved somewhere else.

      • Natureguy says:

        We searched and finally found 5, 10, and 25 lb. bags of it at our local Farmer’s Co-op. They are used for helping get rid of bugs in certain feeds for livestock.

      • PAT says:

        Food grade Diatomaceous earth can be ordered online relativly inexpensive for 10 lbs. lasts forever. Just type in Diatomaceous earth intersting info on it also. Also our local feed store carries it. you might try one of these sources.

  30. Ryan says:

    Another recipe for protein: The ants didn’t go for the peanut butter (may have been too much borax, not sure), so I scrambled an egg with about half teaspoon of borax mixed in. They are all over it.

    Ditto on the Windex for a quick kill. Came home to ants all over the counter and the first thing I could get my hands on was Windex. Sprayed them down and it killed them immediately. Couldn’t believe it.

  31. linda says:

    what is Diatomaceous earth and where can I find this.would like to have some liquid remendies for spray bottles.

  32. Kai says:

    These are great recommendations but unfortunately, most of them will not work with ghost ants, especially boric acid mixtures. Ghost ants are so small that they don’t seem to be attracted to anything with boric acid in it.

  33. Sarah says:

    Ever since I was a child I have had a problem with random ant infestations where they seem uninterested in any food or bait but seem to love biting me. They once made a nest in my matres as a child and one even recently burrowed in under my toenail. I have no doubt in my mind that certain sub-breeds of ants are carnivorous and hard to find good bait for.

    I have noticed that the most recent batch of these seem attracted to fake vanilla extract. I hope to mix some of this with borax in a sealed container (with small holes, to make it pet safe) soon to see if it is effective in killing them.

    I mention this because I hope that the fake vanilla extract as a strong attractant, to resistant ants, can help some people.

  34. truyen Nguyen says:

    I would like to know wher to buy TBS Boric Acid (Borax). Thanks.

  35. Lara says:

    PLEASE, buy only FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth, all non-food grade types (like the kind you get at a pool store) are toxic to pets and humans.

  36. Susan says:

    I had tiny ants on my bathroom counter and in the sink (I think they wanted water). I rubbed a bar of soap (I use Caress) along the edge of the counter and on the counter around the sink. I did that last night and by this morning, the ants were completely gone!

    • Nancy says:

      So many people seem to think that just because they don’t see ants after they have done something simple like “rub a bar of soap along the edge of the counter…” that the ants are gone. I have news for you. The ants are simply avoiding that particular area. Ants will infest the inside of your walls or under your house or in your roof where you can’t see them. The ones you do see are only looking for food or water and although you may temporarily deter them, don’t be fooled into thinking you have gotten rid of them. I totally believe in trying home remedies to get these pests out of my home, but they can do considerable damage where you don’t see it. You need to take the time to find out exactly what type of ants you have first and then find out their nesting habits. You will also need to determine where they are getting in and take steps to stop it. If all these efforts don’t work, you should call a professional. Ants can and will be incredibly destructive if not stopped. Good luck to everyone!

  37. Joe says:

    This is an excellent thread. My wife and kids have been telling me for the past few weeks about isolated ants in the kitchen and family room — probably were the explorers. I was kind of just ignoring them and hate having the exterminator around. Why can’t we all just get along?! lol. Now we have 20 or so moving around. They are big black ants that I believe are carpenter ants. I’d prefer using a natural remedy over calling the exterminator. I’m going to clean with vinegar and then sprinkle cinnamon by the door where I think they are coming from. Not sure if I have to bait to get them to return to the colony. Will let you know.

    Quick question though: How long should it take to get rid of them if I try this method with the vinegar and the cinnamon?

    • McKenzie says:

      Carpenter ants are wood destroying pests. If any part of your house is made of wood, you better call a real exterminator.

      • Ellen says:

        An important thing to remember is that carpenter ants, as gross as they are, are telling you that you have rotting wood somewhere and it would be advantageous to find out where so you can replace the wood.

  38. Joe says:

    I didn’t have any vinegar, so I used cinnamon instead. It seemed the ants were entering the house through the sliding glass door in the kitchen. So, this is what I did:
    1. First tested spraying Windex directly on ants. “What’s an ant eater’s favorite song? Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead ant dead ant deat aaaaaannnnt.” Yes, Windex kills the ants within about 15 seconds. Amazing. Also tested sprinkling cinnamon on the ants. It didn’t kill them, but they seem to run away like mad. So, the tips on this website work!
    2. Cleaned kitchen thoroughly with diluted hand dishwashing soap and water. I scrubbed all countertops, the table, and the floor (tile).
    3. Sprinkled cinnamon by the sliding glass door.
    4. Killed all the ants (there were about 15 of them at this time all around the kitchen).
    I did this two nights ago. Yesterday morning, there were about 3 ants roaming around the kitchen — the seemed kind of lost. Out came the Windex. Killed ’em! Throughout the whole day, there were about 4 more ants, isolated, and I killed them with the Windex also. I just woke up (5am this morning) and killed two more ants. So, overall, I am quite happy.
    I have not baited yet. I want to see what happens with this methodology first.
    Do I really have to bait? Won’t the ants find somewhere else to go?

  39. busy grandma says:

    shhesssh I have tiny black ants that cover counters and get in cabinets, but dont get in the food, wierd, huh? so how do I bait them or get rid of them, tried insectide and vinegar, they are all over the house. in bathroom, kitchen , on couch…….sometimes just 2 or 3 at a time, sometimes trails help

  40. Elizabeth says:

    What about cinnamon oil? Is it too harsh for rubbing on wood? I’ve got a teak wood bed frame, and have had problems with ants off and on for years. I have a water bed (no leaks), but I imagine they can still detect that there’s a water source there, but I DO NOT like sharing my bed with these biting critters (guess they like protein, too ;~). It’s close to a bedroom window, and I know how to deal with that area, but they’re already “in”, so I have to deal with the bed problem. I’d rather not have cinnamon powder where it will easily blow off onto the carpet and sheets (ceiling fans in the deep South), but the idea of cinnamon really appeals to me…anyone out there ever try the oil? If not, I’ll let you know how it works out. This is the best site! Thanks for all of these great ideas!

  41. christina says:

    o my gracious… wish i had sugar ants or carpenter ants as opposed to the evil fireants of the Southeast alabama region. we have several huge mounds this year in our yard and have tried all these things to kill them and they are just immune to it. seems like the harder i try the bigger their mounds become. the bites are very painful then itch terribly for days after forming a pimple like bite on my body. i know we have a aweful issue when my 3 and 5 year old dont even acknowledge when they have been bitten and have several bites on their feet and legs that i discover at bath time. fire ants are from hell and they have adapted and overcame many forms of termination…. HELP!!!!

    • Angela B. says:

      The best thing I have found for fire ants is to pour a pot of boiling water on top of the mound. It will kill the queen and the ants will leave. I hate those buggers!

      • Van says:

        Fire ants make tunnels about 75 feet long. Killing the mound does not eradicate the colony if they have built a number of tunnels. Our city (Buena Park, CA) sprays all the yards every year or so to kill fire ants. They may use Vector to do the work.

        Have reduced most of the sugar ant colonies in house by finding their nests and caulking shut. Some cases have had to build and culk boards like back in corners of kitchen cabinets where an “L” is formed. Another place was between the granit counter top and cabinets. A case of caulking every visible and invisible crack… if you see an ant disappear,, caulk. So far I have used 3 tubes of white caulk and one tube of clear silicon. The liquid bait traps seem to work very well. They contain many dead ants. Since the colony may contain 3 queens they seem to divide when sensing something is wrong. Somedays it seems like they have been vanquished, but they pop up again…yes have sealed off out side cracks, holes and dug below earth level makine sure concrete has no holes well as the stuco. The volume is definnitly reduced. I say we have and keep a clean house,,but they do like this old place.
        Making some borax peanut well as jelly to place aronund out side of house to catch them or draw them out side.


    • Pat says:

      Pour boiling water on them. It won’t eliminate the problem, but it will take out a significant number.

  42. martha says:

    ants have invaded car,especially around wiring near door. have washed area with vinegar, however they keep reappearing. Any suggestions?

  43. Donna says:

    We built a playground for our grandkids. The base is sand and recently fire ants have appeared. I don’t see a mound. Since one of the boys is autistic, I need to use something organic and safe so the area is not contaminated. Any suggestions? I was thinking about dusting the entire area with cinnamon…but haven’t seen any entries that say it will work on fire ants.

  44. Christina says:

    Cinnamon worked beautifully! They were coming out of a little hole, and after spreading cinnamon around the hole, I haven’t seen one since!

    Thank goodness!

  45. Dude says:

    I have also tiny black ants that cover counters and get in cabinets, these ones eat food, During the day I see few but they come mostly during the night when we switch our lights off and when we wake up we find them on top of curboards/ stoves, I tried to check if theres a hole where they coming from but i can t find it. PLEASE I NEED HELP!

    • Tami says:

      Find their trail and outline the area w/ pure peppermint oil. Make several “baits” inside the area.Got to find what they are looking for. They do not like peppermint oil and 99% will not cross, it kills them. It confines them to the area but stay alive to take the bait back to the nest. I just soaked a cotton ball and made a circle so they weren’t ALL over my kitchen. Worked pretty good and smells good…mmmmm minty! Also, it works for mice..they are allergic to peppermint oil and run. So in our motor home I put cotton balls w/ a few drops of oil in little cups and placed them in drawers and under counters so far works well and smells good too! Hope this is helpful!

  46. She says:

    I have ants on my counter, and around my kitchen. I’m not sure which of these formulas to use(because I read all your comments)
    So which one is best to use?

    • Trudi says:

      Try rubbing surfaces with an original scent bounce dryer sheet. I’ve been using this for years. They also repel flies and mosquitos, just hang one from your pocket or rub it on clothing.

  47. Kim says:

    This article was great. It gave me a lot of ideas. What worked for me was using a a small spray bottle with a fine mist and filled it 3/4 with water and added about 30 drops of each of these essential oils: cinnamon, clove, and orange. Shake well before each use! Everywhere I saw the ants I sprayed with this mixture. I have not had a problem with the ants at all. The extra bonus of this mixture is that it is pet safe and non toxic and it smells great!

    • Jenni says:

      I just tried this and it worked wonderfully and my apartment smells great! It was a little pricey for the oils, but they will last a long time and I can double it as an air freshener ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

  48. German Calcetas says:

    My house is infested by ants of the small Argentinian type ants. To get rid of them I have been putting out since about three weeks a mixture of sugar, yeast and syrup as above advised. However it is my feeling that these ants are even getting more!
    Could it be that I am just feeding these ants?

  49. SR says:

    Wow, what a great article. The feedback is wonderful too.

    I had a bunch of small ants in my room. And i didn’t want to use toxic chemicals anywhere near my bed and belongings. So, i actually spent a few days procrastinating. I wasn’t sure how to proceed. So, anyway, while waiting, i observed their path. I saw that their trail led out at the corners of the windowsill. First I used toothpaste. This worked at first. But the smart buggers quickly learned to circle it. After reading this article and comments, i sprinkled baby powder everywhere — all over the wall surrounding that window, on the windowsill… I probably went overboard — but it’s baby powder. Anyway, this so far has worked very well. I watched how confused they got. They couldn’t find their way out. And now the wall is empty of ants. Yupee!

  50. Dan says:

    Boric Acid and (Borax) are not the same thing and do not work the same.these formulas are not going 2 work if u use Borax

    • Terry says:

      I was going to say the same thing. For years people have confused the 2 as being the same thing but they are NOT…Boric Acid IS NOT Borax and vice versa

      • Curtis says:

        No borax and boric acid are not the same, borax is a salt of boric acid, yet both do kill ants.
        the top three boron containing ant baits:

        Drax (5% boric acid in a sugar solution)
        Enforcer (5% borax, 4% boric acid in a sugar solution)
        Terro-Ant Killer (5.4% borax in a sugar solution)

  51. Bob says:

    I’ve used 20 Mule Team for years on the small piss/sweet/sewer ants that invade our kitchen every year in the spring. I put these around the house outside in a container and in front of trails in the kitchen. A mixture of 1T each of 20 Mule Team,Honey and Sugar and 1/2t of Peanut Butter. Mix well, and spread on cardboard or in a container with pencil holes around the bottom. Use cottage cheese,cream cheese or any other small plastic container with a top for child and animal safety or outside. For 3 or 4 days you’ll have hoards of ants eating. Don’t kill them because then there will be none.

  52. Myriam says:

    I’ve tryed that mix and it worked well on red ants. Equal WEIGHT of each : Boric acid, icing sugar and peanut butter, starting with the weight of the boric acid contain. I live in Quebec and Boric acid can be found in drug store, often “behind the counter”, ask your pharmacist… I mix the 3 things with a pistel and mortar so the mix come close to a “rough flour”. The smallest parts are, the easiest they’ll be to carry into the nests. Last summer, I watched the ants killing each others by “drinking” from the mouth of the dying one. After just 1-2 hours, there was a spot about 6 square inches full with thousands and thousands of dead ants, hehehe! ;o) At the same time, it didn’t worked with at all with bigger brown or black ants, but thanks for the clues about the egg! Might have to try it next summer. Good luck to everyone.

  53. Angie says:

    You can also use grits on a live ant bed. They will eat the grains and once they get to a water source, voila, no more ants.

  54. Mike says:

    You will not find a single product that works better than Gold Bond powder (I use the foot powder) to deter ants. It works as baby powder does with the addition of it’s active ingrediants eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil. I sprinkle it in cracks and crevaces where ants will cross. Test it out. Sprinkle out the powder in a circle surrounding a group of ants. If any do manage to cross the powder, watch them for awhile. Eventually they will stop and deal with the irritation of the powder.

  55. romaine says:

    I live in Johannesburg South Africa, and do not know what is grits, 20 Mule team,black flag and windex. could someone tell me the equivalent here.Just tried the sugar and borax they seem to be going away from, rather than to it, and the peanut butter and borax they get stuck in if they go onto it and die, will be going to buy boric acid instead, seeing that I now know its not borax. How do I find the nest? lots of little sand heaps around the house and now in my bathroom between the tiles. Seems to be an explosion of little back ants for the last 2 years. Please help.

    • Louis Wolhuter says:

      Just came across the comments of Romaine of Johannmesburg. Corn meal is known as mealie (maize) meal in South Afica. Hominy grits, or grits, is a more coarsely ground version and is sold locally as “braaipap”.

  56. MAUREEN says:




    • Shoveljack says:

      Grits are nothing more than ground Hominy corn in a dry form to be reconstituted with water as a food and is much like cornmeal in consistency. I would think that a corn flour would be more effective as it is smaller particles and ants can’t digest corn at all(so I’m told).

      • Christine says:

        The upgraded version of grits is now called Polenta ๐Ÿ™‚ Grits are usually made from white corn, polenta from yellow.

    • Bobbi says:

      Try Bulk Barn

  57. sandra says:

    what is good to kill roaches,that want bother my asthma?

    • Gerri, Ontario says:

      Boric acid got rid of cockroaches for me 25 years ago. sprikle around baseboards counters etc, not harmful to pets. roaches get it on, their feet, antenai they lick it off & it dehydrates them, gone in days.

  58. Stacey says:

    1/4 cup vodka mixed with 4-5 muddled or chopped up spearmint leaves – place in spray bottle. Sprayed on sugar ants and they died almost instantly.

  59. bonnie says:

    I live in a rental house. Have not talked to the landlord in years. Sugar ants every summer.Have tried many things.They are everywhere.Old house with alot of cracks and leaks. I have done caulking windex boric acid 409 etc. I have pets so I am very careful.Any thoughts?

    • Johann says:

      Insects have tiny pores in their exoskeletons that allow oxygen gases to enter. This is absorbed into their tissues for metabolism. These pores easily plug up with talcum and other fine powders like diatomaceous earth. Mix them in equal amounts with boric acid powder and you have prepared the commercial product ‘Roach Pruf’! They will smother and the boric acid crystals will destroy their exoskeleton. If you don’t want to puff the powder on surfaces or it is always a moist area, the powder will solidify and be no good, then use boric acid and/or citric acid(a fruit molecule found in powdered fruit drinks). Mix them with jello let it set and crumble around nests. I also soak wood sticks some splintered to hold more liquid bait and some as small as wooden tooth picks. I insert larger sticks deeply into the tops of mounds and the tooth picks into smaller holes or crevices. The sweet and protein combination is guaranteed to attract all kinds of ants, the boric and/citric acid will kill the larva, ants and queens. Red ants especially. Good hunting! Thank a scientist. We also can advise about global warming and antibiotics.

  60. Judy says:

    So would cornmeal work in place of grits? I have plenty of cornmeal…

  61. Dona says:

    thanks for tips we have ants every where even in my rubber tree plant

  62. Misha says:

    I use baby powder in the kitchen and salt or vinegar outside. The great thing is SPIDERS also hate vinegar cos they apparently smell with their feet so I spray all my doorways and windows with vinegar – just the cheap nasty spirit vinegar from the supermarket.

  63. Azline says:

    Borax does NOT appear to be toxic to carpenter ants in the slightest. I have been feeding a captive ant a 1:3 mixture of 20 mule team borax in sugar water. It ate some right away, and is perfectly fine after 24 hours.

  64. Rinaldo says:

    Killing ants on site is extremely easy using a spray bottle with a mixture of 10 parts water and 1 part liquid dish soap. Spray this mixture and they’ll immediately react… it only takes about 30 seconds until termination.

    We had a major infestation of carpenter ants. I was lucky enough to find the nest + the queen. Now I’m struggling with a satelite nest. I’m using various mixtures with borax + icing sugar; borax + honey + cane sugar; borax + peanut butter.

    Small Red Ants and Black Hill ants were extremely attracted to the following mix:
    2 Cups Icing Sugar
    1 Cup Boiled Water
    Mix the icing sugar + boiled water and stir until disolved.
    Add 2 Tablespoons of Borax and stir until disolved.
    Put the mix into bottle caps and distribute close to the problem areas.

    Tonight I’m trying the borax + scramled egg mix for the remaining Carpenter Ants.

    Unfortunatley, this has become a hobby.

    Will report my findings at a later point in time.


  65. Ronald says:

    I have found that ants really like watermelon, just put some watermelon in a blender, take the borax and mix it with the juice. I added some jelly and sugar to it also and the ants are going to it ALL THE TIME! 1 cup watermelon, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp jelly, 2 tbsp borax (Boric Acid)

  66. Lou says:

    Stopped a severe carpenter ant (Florida) infestation cold by putting out the borax and sugar mix in their activity area.
    Also killed an active nest in a garage door frame by using killer spray and blocking the entry-exits with caulk.
    Sprinkling borax along and around doorsills also seems to help.

    Vive le borax !!

  67. Brenda says:

    Thank you for posting this wonderful information!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  68. Jonesy says:

    I spent $100 on BugBgone and Bayer. They come back a few days later. They come from across the street in super colonies to establish another 3 farms on my property each night. Running water down the street is not right even though it works but feeds them water. Ice cube Borax is a temp thing although they won’t cross water. I just found Chinese Chalk, cypermethrin will work but for how long. Amdro I heard has a pheremone to attract them and kill the whole colony. Terro does not kill the whole colony, not even close. Raid lasts for 1.5 days but is strong deterrent. I sprayed the Ortho across the cement and they just crossed it. Seems Amdro is the best hope for now if it kills the whole colony. Otherwise I have to use chinese chalk every day. Boric acid might be the same as Chinese chalk. If you do the homemade Borax, you need different flavors and the Borax should be 3% to the whole. It does not need to be a lot of sugar, they come for water. The newest Terro bait stations are great for reusing different flavors. Corn Syrup is different from Sugar. Immitation maple syrup, rotting peaches, Orange Pineapple slushy maker should be rotated in time. More Borax than less is bad because they figure it out too fast then. It’s easy to get them out of the house in 12 hours using 5% Borax but it’s a sticky mess. Boiling the Borax to make it clear might help make it harder to see for the ant.

  69. TriedAndTested says:

    DON’T bother with the cucumber slices or skins as a repellent. Within ten minutes the ants will be swarming all over it and enjoying it immensely.
    Boric acid does work, especially when mixed into a paste with cake sugar and water, though it can take a few weeks. (Our kitchen was infested).

  70. Heartspell says:

    I’ve used “grits” for ant piles outside for years and it does work! I don’t now how but it does here in FL. I’ve also been using the water/sugar/boric acid mix inside my home this year. My pets smell it but will not touch it. It seems to be working but it takes a while and you have keep checking it/replacing the liquid. I’m thinking of trying a few of the other suggestions here…

  71. Janice Kessler says:

    Anti-ant mix…1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1/4 cup Borax (20 Mule Team washing Borax) sprinkle wherever you see ants of any kind inside or out (may need to repeat after rain). Keep it in a tightly closed container. Uses – in kitchen (in sink if they come up in drain), along floorboards, at base of hummingbird feeders, around large ant holes in yard near house. Repeat daily until ants are gone. This will destroy nests. Give it time to work…up to a week. If you see dead ants, use less Borax since ants need to take this back to nest to feed to others in order to totally be eliminated. Keep in camper as well to use around the campsite and fire ring areas.

  72. j. rodman says:

    To rid yard of fire ants put baking soda on it for several days.

    • Lana says:

      Baking soda seemed to work well on a huge mounds of red and black ants. (Not fire ants) They were a 2″ wide marching army up the tree (with wasps going in too) and after sprinkling baking soda on the mounds and around base of tree they are all gone!

  73. Karin Kloosterman says:

    I have read on numerous sites that borax can be quite toxic if children or pregnant women are exposed to it. Why is it being touted as a natural killer time and time again?

    • the nana says:

      20 Muleteam Borax lists directly on the box that it is only a problem “if injested” or “gets into the eyes” which seams completely normal behavior for any soap product (if you ask me). But please correct me if I’m wrong; and if you are really talking about boric acid. And if that’s the fact, then you need to determine what you are discussing. They ware two completely different products (as is also mentioned above.
      I am very excited to try my purchase today of borax!! And will be using for many other uses as well. Very inexpensive compared to what my landlord has wasted on other products. The exterminator she united even told me (and told her explicitly), that unless she he’s them return several times, AND she takes down a dead apple tree in the yard, that the ants will never leave!! I beehive him.

  74. gen says:

    Re getting rid of ants:

    I tried a variety of things to get rid of the ants that plagued my kitchen for a couple years, then I used Splenda (or one of the other aspartame sweeteners) and it worked wonderfully. A couple years later the ants returned, and BAM! it worked again. It took one week before the ants disappeared, but disappear they did. I don’t know what Snopes said, but if they said this trick doesn’t work, they’re wrong.

  75. stacy says:

    I read somewhere that ants eat fleas? I suppose there is always a good with the bad. Great blog!

  76. Marie says:

    I’m looking for a formula to use on my vegetable garden. Last year was my first attempt growing a garden. I was so excited when my little vegetables and melons started to grow. I guess the tiny black ants got excited too. They destroyed most of my garden. I bought food grade powders and sprays. Nothing helped. It’s almost time to start planting.

    • Richard says:

      I have used “Garden Safe” brand mixture in my garden. It claims to be “Organic Gardening”. It claims to be “up to Day of Harvesting”. It works for me. Also look for ORTHO Rose and Flower dual action insect killer. It may also be what you want to use, but it does NOT say anything about fruits and vegetables.

  77. Mandy says:

    I’m only getting ants coming up the kitchen sink. We have a black sink and dark countertops. It’s driving me INSANE! Our counters are naked. I’ve looked under the sink, window sills – everywhere. Any ideas for strictly the sink? I drink coffee so have consistently done that and am currently pouring vinegar down. Help me!! Desperate!!

  78. Ruth says:

    I heard that grits work for fire ants, can you tell me if it works for black ants as well.

  79. Cody says:

    I put salt on the ant hill, and all it did was make them mad. terrible idea

  80. Barbara says:

    Easy solution distilled water a few drops of essential oils like lavender, cedar wood, lemongrass or peppermint. Spray it and they’ll be gone in no time. Peppermint essential oil also works wonders on mice!

  81. Cher B says:

    Borax and Boric Acid ARE NOT THE SAME THINGS!!! Boric acid is an acid and is highly toxic and will work to kill ants. Borax might kill them but not as efficiently. Only boric acid is regularly used as an insecticide. Google it….

  82. Lee says:

    Just used a mixture of Borax and diatomaceous earth and it did the job in three days.

    By the way, this is the most entertaining site I’ve ever visited!

    Now if someone would just solve the carpenter bee problem.

  83. Anthony says:

    You give the recipe for protein trap as 2 tbsp. of Boric acid mixed with peanut butter or bacon grease. But you give no amounts for either peanut butter or bacon grease. How are we supposed to figure that out? Thank you.

  84. casey says:

    the grits worked all my ant hills are gone and now my sisters kids can play in the backyard safely. ^_^

  85. D Sims says:

    INSTANT grits works for me! I have pond and pool…ants love both! Instant grits works for me!

  86. LD says:

    Amen Lee! (on the carpenter bees!) Thanks for all the tips. Will be trying soon!

  87. FW says:

    Under nest-destroying methods, adding salt to the boiling water will ruin your soil. Most plants, including vegetables and flowers, won’t grow in high salt soil. There is no way to easily remove the salt after it’s poured onto the ground.

  88. Rhiannon says:

    I have black/brown ants, and no idea what they want! We don’t leave any food or drinks lying around and empty the bin daily!
    They only seem to come out around 10/11pm, I have been spraying them and their hole with dettol bleach some die instantly , other just get angry and run faster! It’s almost like the spray works as a steroid! I wash the floor with bleach mixed with washing up liquid daily but am at my wits end now!
    I do not have alot of money or easy access to a supermarket, so does talc powder really work? Or shall I just squeeze undiluted washing up liquid where they’re coming in?

  89. Barry Litchfield says:

    For control of fire ants – Get a shovel and stir up the ant hill (making the fire ants boil out of the mound). Scoop up a shovel full of ants and dirt and quickly dump that shovel on a different fire any mound. Continue mixing the ants around from one ant hill to another every few days for a couple of weeks. Eventually the ants will all be gone from your yard. The rival colonies go into mortal combat and kill each other when you mix them together. Try it! It works in Austin Texas in my yard. It doesn’t cost anything, and no poison or chemicals are involved.

  90. Laurie says:

    Great info, only I’ve recently discovered that tiny red ants in Australia are eating their way through the silicone caulking in our kitchen.

  91. Jim says:

    I use Borax + powdered sugar – equal amounts. Been doing this for years and it works great!

  92. desert magic says:

    The California desert has every kind of ant (black, red, fire, sugar, protein)and they ‘WERE’ all making homes on my little plot of land. I started sprinkling boraxo by itself in my kitchen (floor,countertop, stovetop), and in two days there is no sign of ants.

    Headed outdoors to experiment. A very populated ant area was gone in hours with one very small introduction of a cotton ball with a solution of sugar water and boraxo.

    Having that much success, I cut the clear plastic protective cover of an organic egg carton into 6 sections of two each putting boraxo and sugar in one hollow, and peanut butter and boraxo in the other hollow. These were placed at the bottom of mesquite, palm, oleander, etc.

    In one day I had to really look to find an ant. I proceeded to my snowbird neighbor’s places where paths of ants made it impossible to stand in one place safely. It seems that the treatment at my place took care of theirs, too. YAY!!

    I played with maple syrup, jam, granulated sugar, peanut butter. All seemed to be effective using boraxo. I got all the ingredients from WalMart. The boraxo is in a 76 ounce box in the laundry detergent section and is about $3.50.

  93. Sheila says:

    grits work good on them also just sprinkle around the mound and they bring into the mound and then when it rains the mound blows up and the ants too

  94. Viola says:

    Interesting to note that Snopes only tested one kind of ant. I accidently left my artifical sweetener opened on the counter. When I got up the next morning it was full of many small dead brown ants. That’s when I stopped using artifical sweeteners! I since tried to use it on the tinest ants at the cottage but they have no interest in it!!! Sooooo… what really kills rather than deters them, that isn’t toxic to pets? Oatmeal is huge, how do they ingest that?

  95. Nick says:

    FYI Borax is sodium tetraborate.. Boric acid is hydrogen borate, a very different compound which is hazardous to humans, but you’re not going to find it in a retail store, so no worries about picking up the wrong substance.

  96. Somebody says:

    Man I read all this and these comments…we are inundated with sugar ants in my kitchen. It’s been rainy all summer and these guys have figured out how to get in…my husband and I found where their ending point was( a jar of honey in the pantry) go figure anyhow I’m financially strapped but I had ground cloves and cinnamon in the spice drawer mixed the two together and ran them back to where they started…too funny, put the powder down in a little trail along the inside of the cabinet that they had stopped in and waited a second…run like crazy back the way they came to the next cabinet…powdered it and run some more, they hate the stuff…they give themselves away going back the way they came…we finally traced them back to where they were coming in and put borax and the cinnamon clove powder down waiting to see what happens next

  97. Lorie says:

    Resolve carpet cleaner does the trick as far as killing the ones swarming on my carpet after the cat puked a hairball. Gross but not a moving ant in the bunch. I tried catnip (part of the mint family) in the past and that seemed to help as a deterrent. I sprinkled some where they may their trails and in various cracks. I have also create a cinnamon solution and a catnip solution so I could spray larger areas. They are FAR worse this year than in past years. If these don’t work, may need to go with an exterminator, but I hate that idea because of wanting to keep pesticides to a minimum for my cats. ๐Ÿ™ fingers crossed.

  98. Lorie says:

    Catnip (also part of the mint family) works as a deterrent, but…you may find your cats remove any lines of catnip you put down. ๐Ÿ™‚ happy cats and fewer ants.

  99. Tanya says:

    Im dealing with super nests (ants of four different types come out and get food). I had ants in my house before I even moved into it with an ant trail going to my toilet for water. If I dig anywhere in backyard.. heaps of ants start running out of holes.

    This year Ive ended up with ants in my ear twice and had to call a doctor. Worst still I woke up while menstrating to find ants had got into my bed and were all over me, I get bitten a lot in bed. My house often looks like something out of Africa with 1 inch wide ant trails all over it.

    Ive tried near everything.. sugar they dont like, bacon fat thou they are attracted to it.. they will repell backwards very fast as soon as they feel it as if they dont like the grease feel, maple syrup just a few will eat that, ant rid- they dont really like it much but even thou I went throu 5 bottles of it last summer which didnt make a dent in the numbers of these ant colonies.

    The one thing which may of helped some was grits which I put all over a couple of their nests. I also ended up resorting to pouring boiling water over their nests daily but that didnt get rid of them either, they just moved their nests (one lot them moving into my neighbours shed).

    I tried mixing blood and borax..but they seem to know when I’ve added the borax and wouldnt touch it. I tried egg and borax. Right now seeing this problem is quite extreme again.. 1000s and 1000s of ants throu my kitchen right now, I cant walk throu there without getting them up my legs.. Im now trying mixing cat food with borax. Fingers crossed this will work and they will keep eatting it till the nests are gone (they seem to get smart after a while I found out last summer).

    I cant call in an exterminator as I have huge issues with chemicals and can get very severe reactions.

    Anyone dealing with super nests like myself, I wish you luck. Before I moved into this house I truely thought ants were easy to fix as I’d always been able to do so with a couple of bottles of antrid.

  100. Bonnie says:

    Not being an American I have no idea what grits are. Looking them up on the internet gives different definitions. Could someone tell me what the ant killing grits are that you are referring to and how do I make them. Thanks from down under.

    • Jillie says:

      Grits is coarseground maize/corn meal. You wouldn’t want to grind it yourself. The type of grits is not signficant to making bait for ants.

    • Shelly says:

      Grits are ground up corn (corn meal) that is cooked in water for a hot cereal breakfast. Apparently when dry corn grits are dumped on ant hills it either kills them or repells them. I had not heard of using grits for this purpose until I just read it here.

  101. chasity says:

    Actually the aspartame does work…I have used it. And ants have made mounds in my mint, so not sure about that one deterring them.

  102. Paula says:

    OH – I HAVE MORE THAN I CAN DEAL WITH! I’ve tried everything and the little buggers just move over or down deeper? Does anyone have a great idea about finding the nest so I can rid my yard of ants? I dug a whole two feet deep and they started to come out by the masses. I used a bunch of the recipes right on top and all around it for weeks but it doesn’t seem to be getting deep enough? I even disposed of the dirt I dug out. HELP!

  103. john says:

    I am told if you get rid of the ants the spiders will be gone as that is what spiders eat.

  104. Tammy says:

    I have started using small jars and punching 3-4 small holes in the lids. Fill with some Terro liquid bait and lay them on their sides next to the foundation of the house. Ants can get in but I’m not worried about the cats.

    We’ve lived here 24 years but only have had ant problems in the kitchen the last 4. But this year I’ve noticed tons of them crawling up the brickwork on the outside to under the siding! Guess I’ll have to just use bait every so many feet outdoors from now on and stock up on some baby food jars.

  105. Clark says:

    Wonderful posts, I grew up a farmer now in city and use many homemade natural products, one is lemon dish soap on everything yard, trees, plants, etc. it has many benefits. About 5 years ago I had carpenter ant home office invasion and won by using Maxforce bait. Last night found nests with 1000s of Carpenter Ants in old apple and semi-old maple tree. This is not homemade but any bug killer with active ingredient ‘Permethrin’ kills, toxic yeah, but big 1″ long+ winged carpenter ants have to go bye bye. I’ll hunt for the queens, hope she died in the tree.

    Finding Nests: Bugs come out at night, so wait till midnight go on an extensive hunt with a good flash light. The Queen and nest are the keys. Good Luck! Toxic comments expected and welcome.

  106. betty says:

    cut all tree branches off laying on your roof,or touching the side of your house, thats how all the ants got into my house.

  107. Krishna says:

    Hey guys, i wanted to know if bleaching powder can do anything for the ants. Recently i applied dry bleaching powder all along the periphery of my building as it is a commonly found chemical and comparatively cheaper and also i heard it repels flies and cokroaches. ???

  108. Karen says:

    I know ants like sugar and I don’t like them in my home so I’ve found a way to keep them out for the Summer.

    Get a plastic ice cream container (keep the lid on)
    Cut a rectanglar hole at the bottom
    Place it where the ant nest is located
    Take off the lid
    Lightly cover the bottom with sugar
    Then replace the lid

    My work is done. It will take a very short time for the ants to find it. This will keep the ants out of my house until it’s time to stir the sugar or replace it. I’m happy and they’re happy and they can continue to do what they are suppose to do.

    What you stated above:
    “Think ants are pests? They may be if theyโ€™re taking over your home, but outside theyโ€™re very much needed. They aerate the soil, clean up scraps and seeds, control termite populations and theyโ€™re a food source for birds and other insects. As with all creatures, they play an important part in a healthy planet.”

  109. Missy says:

    I saw that baby powder worked for some people, would any kind of powder work for example face powder or body powder?

  110. Donna says:

    Does anyone know if white vinegar can be used instead of cider vinegar?

  111. Brenda says:

    Texas has big problem with fire ants, and this works. Never use this around edible vegetables or fruits. Don’t use where it might run off into waterways. Toxic to animals & humans. Wash any part of body or clothing that may come in contact. This worked for a year, & I’m not complaining because I’m allergic to their bites. They are members of the hymenoptera family as are bees & wasps. Mix & let sit 24 hrs–5 lb white corn meal, 2 c white powdered sugar, 2 boxes cherry or strawberry jello, 16 oz. Orthene powder (acephate is generic). After 24 hrs, sprinkle around ant mounds without disturbing bed. I turn over 5-gal plastic buckets & place heavy rocks on them to cover large mounds and use clay plant pots with heavy rocks on smaller mounds. I twist the bucket or pot a lit to get it into the ground a little. I keep the mounds covered for weeks before lifting the pot or bucket. We live in the country so our dog is inside our fence, & I’ve never found one overturned. Rain washes it away, so covering the mounds serves several purposes. Best to treat in late spring or if new mounds appear after a rain.

  112. Liilii says:

    Pine oil, neem, cedar, tea tree, etc. will effectively kill ants. Visit the Wondercide company for their insect/yard spray, see the ingredients in it and tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar and witch hazel, use the Wondercide then the last three directly on ants inside the home and their trails. It works for me. Fire and sugar ants. Takes a few minutes for them to die but they do. Cedar/cedar oil is a natural insect killer. Pine Sol kills insects and may wreck trails, forager entries/exits and get the ants to leave, in less saturated areas.

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