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The ants go marching......Convince me not to buy toxic ant killer?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

We've got ants!! 


They're coming into our kitchen (and oddly, into our bathroom upstairs....which is not connected to our kitchen) and I've HAD IT!!


We've tried, for the last 6 months to use eco-friendly products, including ones that they're supposed to take back to the nest and slowly kill off the whole colony. We have simply created fat, eco-friendly ants.


I need them OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!! I can't keep sugar or flour safe until I buy new canisters that seal (the ones we own have heavy lids, but don't seal).


I don't want to be friendly with the ants. I want to kill them all. I want them to find another place, far from my kitchen, to get fat and happy. I'm about 3 days from going to Home Depot and buying the most toxic product I can find.....



post #2 of 16

I made an ant-spray by infusing mint (I have a bunch in my garden) into rubbing alcohol.  I spray it on them and it kills the little buggers.  The mint and alcohol combination seems to eradicate their scent trail for a while and it takes them longer to find their way back.  They got into my pantry last summer and I couldn't keep them out of the honey etc....I ended up filling a shallow pan with water and putting all the jars of molasses, honey etc. in it so they couldn't cross the water to get to them.


If you can find their nest outside, pour boiling water on it.

post #3 of 16

One summer, I cleaned out our spices and "drew a line" around key areas of our house with all the expired spices that *might* have any effect, according to research on google and in my various books. We weren't going to use those spices anyway, so we may as well try it before pitching them. Worked rather well!


I could never find the nests, but I have read and heard that boiling water works. I also read somewhere that boiling vinegar also works.


I make my own sprays that seriously discourage ants. It doesn't kill them, but it stops them from entering the space while wet and it discourages most of them even when it dries.


We also put certain items in the fridge during ant season and we always have sugar and flour and such in sealed glass jars. However, most of the time, the ants around here aren't interested in food. They want water and coolness (it's relative since we don't have A/C).

post #4 of 16

Can you possibly find where they've coming in and seal that up? That's the best thing I have found and sometimes I'm actually able to do it. They come in our kitchen and bathroom every spring. A few days ago I was down on my hands and knees trying to clean under the cupboards and just happened to notice the crack where they were march to and fro. I just put packing tape over it. We are getting new cupboards in a few weeks so I am hoping those will stop the problem.


We've also done the traps which seem to slow them down for a while but they always come back. I noticed dh lurking around with a can of Raid lately too. Sigh...he must have been really fed up to do that - normally he wouldn't. They're gone for now!

post #5 of 16

We had great luck with a borax solution (roughly 1tsp borax, 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 C water). You dip bits of cotton in it (we used Q-tips) and place it NEXT to the ant line. They were gone over night. 


post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Not sure where they're coming in -- I'll try boiling water where I think it is and see.


We've tried the borax and sugar. We even bought a commercial solution in case we weren't getting the proportions right. They're getting fat and happy on it. Very fat and very happy.

post #7 of 16
  • Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder that kills ants by pulling all the moisture from their bodies. Since it works by absorbing moisture from the ant itself.  Non toxic and inexpensive.
  • Also, Cornmeal can be used as a weapon against ants, and it's not poisonous to people or animals. Ants eat it, and after consuming water, the cornmeal swells inside their digestive organs, killing the ants 
post #8 of 16

I'm in a new place and inundated with BIG ants.  I am in a custody battle and the home inspection is in two weeks.  I feel like I don't have a choice in terms of getting the ants out quick...what can I buy that is the least toxic but WILL *WORK* QUICK!

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

I haven't tried cornmeal yet, but I will. After that, it'll be diatomaceous earth (I've got cornmeal in the cupboard - diamotaceous earth requires a trip to the store). After that.... maybe dynamite?


Originally Posted by tccandlsccmom View Post

I'm in a new place and inundated with BIG ants.  I am in a custody battle and the home inspection is in two weeks.  I feel like I don't have a choice in terms of getting the ants out quick...what can I buy that is the least toxic but WILL *WORK* QUICK!

If you've got BIG ANTS, you may well have carpenter ants and those need to be treated professionally as they do major damage to your house. I know the last thing you want is to spend more money, but if you can't identify a clear outside source for them (such as a wood pile close to the house), you will need to treat them. http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/ants/Cants.shtml


post #10 of 16

Every year I get ants in my kitchen and every year I use Cornmeal.  I pour a cup or two in a line under the fridge (where I see them coming) and that does the trick IMMEDIATELY.  

post #11 of 16

Ants love my bathroom.  They come for the water that gathers in the drain seal, toilet bowl, water droplets on the shower walls and tub after showering.  When I towel dry everything, I come back to find a long trail of them that continues down into the drain pipe, so I have to dry everything and then plug all of the sinks, but they still go for the toilet.  I'm also at wits end.  Food grade diatomaceous earth worked great in my garage for fleas but is a huge mess in the house.  The fine powder gets everywhere and destroyed my vacuum's filters - so, it works but isn't practical.  


What DIDN'T work in my house recently:


(food grade) DE - too messy

peppermint oil - they scattered initially but within an hour they swarmed in huge numbers, more than before the oil.

cedarwood oil

pinesol cleaner wiped onto the surface

daily cleaning with a chemical spray scrub free cleaner


post #12 of 16

I mix boric acid or borax with some jelly to feed to the ants.

post #13 of 16

Orange Glow! We had a huge ant problem as soon as the weather warmed up. I never really tried anything besides those little plastic baits and they didn't seem to work, but they were driving me crazy.

One day a few weeks ago I saw a carpenter ant on the counter and I lost my marbles. We'd just paid a few hundred dollars to have a tree that was touching the house removed, since that's how/why they were coming in.

There happened to be a bottle of Orange Glow on the counter and I happened to be in the mood to watch an ant or two squirm. whistling.gif

One squirt killed it immediately. 

After that, I took off all of our toe-kicks (ours are removable) and hosed down the area under the cabinets, all around the baseboards in the kitchen, every window sill in the house, and around all of the exterior doorways. I haven't seen a single ant since.

post #14 of 16

I have had the best luck with 1:1 borax and sugar. (I know you said you tried it, but maybe the dry version will work?) I don't do the liquid/cotton ball thing, I just put some in a container and leave it in the room(s) where I see them. Then I go outside and sprinkle it around the nest and wherever else they congregate, including the entire perimeter of the house, in the cracks right up against the outside walls.


I have also tried boiling water on the nest. That did nothing for us, as far as I can tell, but maybe we just have THAT many ants around here!


Orange Glow is a great idea, and one I'll be trying this year if the borax doesn't do it.

post #15 of 16

I had GREAT luck with cinnamon. You have to put a big thick line where they are coming in. They won't cross it, apparently. Seriously, we had tons of ants in our kitchen, as as soon as I put the cinnamon down, the number of ants dwindled very quickly. We killed the ones that we saw, and no new ones came in. I was about to move on to toxic stuff (I think we had ant traps in baby proofed places), but thought I'd try this first, and was really happy with it.

I think you can try to figure out where they are coming in by giving them food and watching where they go. Or I think I read you can sprinkle them with cinnamon, and watch where they go.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Well, I think they're gone for now. I've removed the borax/sugar solution, put out a little cornmeal. Then the next day I poured boiling water along the place where I think they come from. I saw a few in the next day or so, but none in the last couple of days. When it rains again, I'll see if they come back (they tend to come in when it rains).


I tried all sorts of variations on the borax solution -- dry, wet, both.


We've done the cinnamon trick but it only lasted a few days. Cloves work nicely too. But if they've found a major food source, it's not going to deter them for long.

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