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Ants in my kitchen - help me get rid of 'em!

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I'm not the world's best housekeeper, but I don't think I'm too bad!

That being said, a family of ants has taken up residence under my kitchen sink. I know that I can encourage them to move on with vinegar, but how exactly do I do that? Just pour vinegar in small puddles under the cabinet? Or put it in a spray bottle and hit the cabinet walls? How frequently should I reapply?

post #2 of 39
I dont know about the vinegar, but when I had ants I had success putting boric acid around the edges of cabinets, windows, etc....I think it's safe for everyone except the ants, and I recall that they bring it home to their nests and it kills them all. Sorry all you ant lovers, I just had enough at a certain point!
post #3 of 39
Do people really love ants?

My MIL used a product called Terro which had borax in it. It was only 5% borax and didn't say what else was in it. I looked up the MSDS and it didn't give much info either.
I wonder if you could make a simple sugar with borax in it. That would attract some ants to eat it and take it back to the nest for sure! One thing you have to be careful of is that you dont' put too much out, though. The way MIL used it was to put out a few drops and once it was gone give it a while to kill them off. If she saw more ants a week or two later she'd put out a few more drops.

Good luck and if you find any great secrets please share!
post #4 of 39
Sprinkling cinnamon around the area they live in will drive ants away. The scent throws them off. Google it
post #5 of 39
when i researched how to get rid of anthills outside i read that you can put out cups with vinegar (not sure if it was deluted or not). it is supposed to attract ants and kill them when they get in contact with it.
it was written that you could also pour boiling water or boiling water with vinegar on the anthill to kill off ants.
im not sure how practical solution that is for a kitchen kabinet, but im sure there is a way to try it out. maybe spraying or something.

lemon, cinnamon etc can be used as making borders the ants will not cross.
usually people put them on the ants trails, along doors etc, to keep ants out of the house.

cleaning the kitchen with vinegarsolution or lemonsolutions might help to keep them from spreading.

when i had flies in my kitchen i put out jars with diluted applecider-vinegar and sugar. it attracted flies bigtime, but i had to put soap in to make them stick and die. maybe the same will work on ants.

good luck!

found this:

Trace a line of ants to find out where they are entering the house and then seal it off. You can also try pouring a barrier of any of the following at the place where ants enter the house: cinnamon, cream of tartar, red chili pepper, salt, dried mint or sage, or cucumber peelings. Also try that old gift perfume you don?t like. Some perfumes may kill or repel ants.
For heavy ant infestations, mix a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of borax with 2 tablespoons of water to make a thick syrup. Soak cotton balls in mixture and place the cotton balls on something flat so that ants can get to it. Place it in the middle of the ant infestation. Ants will eat it and take it back to the nest. Slowly but surely, the numbers will diminish. Have patience. Keep well out of reach of children and pets.
Attach bands of sticky, adhesive materials around base of plants and trees to deter ants, which can carry and colonize aphids. Ants like the sweet secretion of aphids and protect them from natural enemies.
Border gardens with bone meal.
Mix 2 tablespoons boric acid, 2 tablespoons sugar and a cup of water. Soak paper towels, place on dishes, and set out for ants. Keep away from children and pets.
Mix 4 ounces of mint jelly with 2 level tablespoons of powdered boric acid. Cut small squares of masking tape and dab mixture on tape. Stick on floors behind cabinets and appliances. Take precautions for children and pets.
post #6 of 39
I had success using bay leaves. I just broke them in half and placed them in areas where the ants seemed to be coming from and/or congregating. Kept them away all season.
post #7 of 39
I used to manage an Environmental Medicine practice. Most of our patients had allergies and sensitivities to chemicals so could not use your traditional mass produced "safe" products. What we used to recommend to patients was put apple jelly in a small saucer and mix boric acid in with it. They will come to get the jelly and carry it back to the nests which will kill the queen ant, and with no queen there are no workers! I hope this helps.
post #8 of 39
similar to pp, I've heard that this works:

peanut butter (two tablespoons), jelly (two tablespoons) and boric acid (one teaspoon). You can place these baits where roaches or ants are foraging, making sure to keep out of the reach of kids and pets.

I haven't tried it yet, but plan to the next time we have ants.

post #9 of 39
I used an equal mixture of sugar and borax sprinkled in the area, and had good results.

Good Luck!
post #10 of 39
Are they sugar ants or fire ants?
post #11 of 39
I wouldn't have thought to use sugar in the borax! The ants in my bathroom are driving me crazy. Good suggestion.
post #12 of 39
Sometimes boiling water poured into the nest can decrease the numbers.

What worked well for us was to religiously keep our kitchen clean (that's where they went most). We watched where they walked - what path they used - and made sure to clean that area with our typical spray cleaner. We use a mix of borax, Dr. Bronner's soap, tea tree oil, vinegar and water.

I made sure there weren't crumbs left on countertops, cleaned up all spills right away, etc. We checked to see that our food was well sealed in containers in the pantry, that sort of thing.

It took a few weeks, but eventually they went off to find easier food sources.
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I'm off to find some borax.

I have no idea if they are fire ants or sugar ants... and I'm not sure that I really want to know I guess they are sugar ants, since they haven't really stung me. They are small, black critters if that helps.
post #14 of 39
Those are sugar ants.

If it were fire ants... well.. you might have just had to raise the white flag. They eat through pipes and scoff at death.
post #15 of 39
My ant update: The borax 'n' sugar has sent several ants into their death throes, and I feel good.
post #16 of 39
lemon juice...in a spray bottle mixed w/water...keeps all animals and insects away...even works on trash for racoons and dogs...and it's dirt CHEAP...
post #17 of 39
Originally Posted by Penelope View Post
My ant update: The borax 'n' sugar has sent several ants into their death throes, and I feel good.
Wait, this is a problem actually. If they're dying as you watch, they're not taking the poison back to the queen. Other workers will just keep following their scent trails. You need to make a weaker liquid solution so they can carry it back.

Unfortunately, our ant problem is so monstrous that we have to use chemicals (outside the house seems to work, at least). I've tried every damn natural solution I could find, and those little b*&%*&^$ outwit us every summer :

Also, if your ants are not going for the sugar bait, you can make the same solution using peanut butter as your bait--some ants like protein and some like sugar. Some change by the season :

One thing that worked for us the very first summer we lived here was sprinkling dry rolled oats around. I sprinkled oats around the patio, and within an hour, it was all gone. We didn't see a single ant the rest of the summer, it was awesome. However, I must have successfully killed off the first colony, because when the ants showed up the next summer, they didn't go near the oatmeal, and the problem kept getting worse and worse. Ugh. Today is day three of our annual infestation, and I'm inches away from a minor breakdown
post #18 of 39
I had sugar ants in every room but the kitchen and bath in the house I bought. The home inspector told me to cut back the bushes, which I did. If the bushes (or other vegetation) are near/touching the house, then the ants get in more often.

And, I use Torro when they still get in, but cutting back the bushes helped a lot.
post #19 of 39
You can also mix borax with honey.

I haven't used borax yet-I have a little one, so I'd only be able to put it out while we are away. But I do have an ant problem, and it drives me nuts! You have mey sympathy.
There are some very effective chemical ant killers out there. Dont' think the good ones are available except to licenced exterminator though. I'd try other stuff first. I worked for pst control company, and I always advised borax forst for indoor ant problems. (we did very little interior wok, and none when I first started there, so it was ok with the boss for me to suggest it)
post #20 of 39
Originally Posted by melissel View Post
Wait, this is a problem actually. If they're dying as you watch, they're not taking the poison back to the queen. Other workers will just keep following their scent trails. You need to make a weaker liquid solution so they can carry it back.

Dang. I was feeling so smug! *Some* of the ants are doing fine. We just flushed 10 of them down the toilet. Maybe I'm just seeing the reallly unlucky ones?

Sigh. I hate ants.
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