When trying to get rid of ants, it’s helpful to first have a basic understanding how they live and thrive: They live in colonies and one class within the colony is the worker/gatherer/forager.
Workers make up approximately 10% of the settlement and it’s their job to go out, find and collect food then bring it back to feed the rest of the group. 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 & 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 (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 forager before it gets back to the settlement (sometimes they are gone for days), and that it’s not too weak that it’s ineffective. You want poisoned bits brought back to the nest for the rest of the colony to ingest.
The type of nutrition 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 treat holds no interest for the particular critters in your home.
Tip: First determine if the ones 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 of 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.
Sweet Sugar Treat
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, resist the temptation to kill the critters when you see them. You want them to live and take big juicy pieces of poisoned bits back to the rest of the group to feast on.
A few tips:
- Boric Acid can be harmful if swallowed. If you have children 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 treat on top of the lid so they’ll find it easily.
- For best results lay out a fresh batch daily.
- Spread around in areas where you observe regular activity and near their points of entry.
- Don’t be diligent washing away their trails, you want the food spots found 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. 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 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 groups 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 mound while you’re doing this.
- 1/4 cup liquid dish detergent per gallon of boiling water (add soap after pot 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 it 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 temperature to kill them. Pouring boiling liquid 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 liquid 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.).
- 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 dwelling.
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 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 packaging and pop bottles before putting in the recycle bin.
Although a sloppy environment is an attraction, 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 drinking source, they will be inside on the hunt for fluids. They’ll find it in houseplants, sinks and drains, pet dishes and cups left out containing liquids.
List Of Natural Repellents
Look for cracks or holes in the structure 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.
- 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
- Used Coffee Grounds
- 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 their entrance.
The ants could be attracted to your pet’s supper dish, a potted plant or dish of candies. Either keep food sealed until needed or surround it with a liquid barrier so they can’t get to the food. Fill a baking pan with water and set the pet dish (or potted plant, etc.), in the middle. Mixing in a little liquid dish detergent will be a strong repellent as well as prevent this from becoming a hydration source.
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 so they 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 dwelling 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 solution evaporates, hopefully enough to deter them from crossing it. Straight vinegar sprayed on the ground around the dwelling 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 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.
- 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 expands inside 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: Foragers carry solid food particles back to the nest to feed the larvae, the larvae then processes it and turns it into a liquid to feed the adults. Adults can ingest only very tiny, minuscule particles (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
TO ROMAINE – 20 MULE TEAM IS BORAX WHICH IS A LAUNDRY ADDITIVE
– BLAG FLAG IS A SPRAY INSECTICIDE SMELLS BAD – LAST RESORT
– WINDEX IS A SPRAY WINDOW CLEANER THAT IS PART LIQUID DETERGENT
HOWEVER I LIVE IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO CANADA & I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT GRITS ARE EITHER BUT I HEAR AMERICANS EAT THIS STUFF – RECENTLY I SAW A COOKING SHOW WITH IT & IT LOOKED LIKE A PASTY GLOB SO NO WONDER ANTS HATE IT TOO
FYI – I USE WHITE PICKLING VINEGAR FOR SOME THINGS AS IT IS STRONGER & IS GOOD FOR KILLING WEEDS BETWEEN PATIO STONES
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).
The upgraded version of grits is now called Polenta 🙂 Grits are usually made from white corn, polenta from yellow.
Try Bulk Barn
what is good to kill roaches,that want bother my asthma?
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.
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.
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?
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.
So would cornmeal work in place of grits? I have plenty of cornmeal…
thanks for tips we have ants every where even in my rubber tree plant
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.
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.
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.
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)
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 !!
Thank you for posting this wonderful information!! 😀
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.
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).
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…
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.
To rid yard of fire ants put baking soda on it for several days.
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!
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?
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.
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.
Splenda DOES NOT WORK!! they go right over or beside it
I read somewhere that ants eat fleas? I suppose there is always a good with the bad. Great blog!
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.
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.
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!!
I heard that grits work for fire ants, can you tell me if it works for black ants as well.
I put salt on the ant hill, and all it did was make them mad. terrible idea
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!
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….
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.
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.
the grits worked all my ant hills are gone and now my sisters kids can play in the backyard safely. ^_^
INSTANT grits works for me! I have pond and pool…ants love both! Instant grits works for me!
Amen Lee! (on the carpenter bees!) Thanks for all the tips. Will be trying soon!
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.
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?
PLEASE HELP ME!!!
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.
Great info, only I’ve recently discovered that tiny red ants in Australia are eating their way through the silicone caulking in our kitchen.
I use Borax + powdered sugar – equal amounts. Been doing this for years and it works great!
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.
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
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?
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.
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
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. 🙁 fingers crossed.
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. 🙂 happy cats and fewer ants.
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.
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.
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.
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.