Getting Rid of Ants?

35 Comments
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By an edhat reader

Okay, we have done all the "normal" things, the non-toxic things, to try to deter them--cinnamon, cayenne, also spraying with a water/rubbing alcohol solution. Everything clean. But they seem to be desperate--in cupboards swarming over a skillet that might have a trace of oil left on it, crawling into a crock full of wooden spoons, etc, next to the stove, in the bathroom sink and bathtub, etc etc.

What I'd really like to know is if others are finding them more persistent than ever before, and if you have tips for discouraging them from coming in the house.

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a-1537783350 Aug 16, 2018 10:58 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

You can make your own ant spray, a spray which truly is non-toxic and so safe you can spray it on your bedclothes, yourself, your bathroom and kitchen counters, etc. It's truly shameful that with all the information there is now regarding pesticides and the knowledge we have re: toxins killing more than just the targeted pests, people still resort to poisoning themselves, their pets, their environment. Of course the makers of poisons are going to tell you what they're selling is "safe for humans/pets." Take charge. Make your own spray, use it where you see the ants coming in. Brush the scout ants (the advance search party, typically one or two ants) off the counters and walls when you see them. Spray those areas. Spray the trails when you see them. You can even make up a jar of this spray and use a wide pastry brush to brush areas with the solution. Above all else: be proactive. DO NOT leave out things to attract the ants in the first place. The spray formula-----------One cup water, 1/4 cup vodka + 60 drops of peppermint essential oil. You can add tea tree or eucalyptus oil, too, if you like that. On our large property we are pesticide-free . You can be, too. Yes, the ants are a drag but they will soon be gone . . . until next year.

pii Aug 16, 2018 08:16 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Cool New Yorker story about ants, "Trailhead". Fiction by E. O. Wilson, a noted myrmecologist (ant scientist). January 25, 2010.

hunkymon Aug 16, 2018 07:44 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Chinese Miracle Ant chalk. You can get it on Ebay.

Rto Aug 16, 2018 02:19 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I get 'em one at a time with an ice pick. Seriously though, I've been using Terro bait in my kitchen. They gobble it down and I replenish once or twice a day but there's no sign of them slowing down.

mtndriver Aug 16, 2018 02:58 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I've used Terro before with a little success, not complete. Today they were in the mailbox. I mean, seriously, what is there to eat in the mailbox? Nobody has sent us cookies lately....

a-1537783350 Aug 16, 2018 09:46 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

These ants seem to be protein-specific and are not interested in borax mixed sugar baits. The hard part about poisons is how using some creates a cascade event up the food chain as birds and lizards compete in the same space as the ants. It is a good idea to set up a decoy outside. I use our trash can. also, once the ants establish pathways I can tolerate, I leave them be. Disruption to these is what causes them to find new avenues that lead straight to the kitchen!

Bug Girl Aug 16, 2018 03:19 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Interestingly enough, that teeny tiny black ant that you are seeing is actually a native species that is one of the only kinds of native ants that can co-exist in the same territory as argentines, unlike most. (You really only see Argentine ants in places that have irrigation, FYI. They need more water than our native ants). Possibly due to their size, they don't seem to be outcompeted by the argentine ants. The argentine ants will go after different foodstuffs at different times, depending on the nutritional requirements of their colony. When seeking sugar, they prefer 'honeydew' secreted by other insects, like aphids that they tend (almost like little ranchers with cattle) on plants.

Bug Girl Aug 16, 2018 03:19 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Interestingly enough, that teeny tiny black ant that you are seeing is actually a native species that is one of the only kinds of native ants that can co-exist in the same territory as argentines, unlike most. (You really only see Argentine ants in places that have irrigation, FYI. They need more water than our native ants). Possibly due to their size, they don't seem to be outcompeted by the argentine ants. The argentine ants will go after different foodstuffs at different times, depending on the nutritional requirements of their colony. When seeking sugar, they prefer 'honeydew' secreted by other insects, like aphids that they tend (almost like little ranchers with cattle) on plants.

mtndriver Aug 16, 2018 03:04 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

We have a few trails that go directly across doorways along the thresholds, on the exterior of the house. They come out of one tiny hole in the wall and go into another on the other side of the door. I have let them be there, but wonder what they are doing inside the walls....I know we could seal the openings, but like you say, their next choice might be the kitchen again. We definitely have at least two varieties here, one really small and one about 1/8 inch ("normal"), and maybe a third species that is a bit bigger. Sugar does not seem to be a target, just protein, water, or fat. One spot of egg yolk on the stove and in a half hour there is a convention there.

paglinsb Aug 16, 2018 09:44 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

We call Lenz Pest Control. The perimeter of the outside base of the house is sprayed. Keep pets away until the spray dries, and then it is only a threat to the ants!

Flicka Aug 16, 2018 09:25 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

VEE-CEE, Carpinteria got it's name from Gaspar de Portola in 1769 when he led an expedition up the coast and saw Chumash building their Tomals (canoes) under a Sycamore tree, it's still here, and named our place La Carpinteria, "the Carpinteria's shop).

CCHandyMan Aug 16, 2018 09:08 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

One of the tricks that was handed down to me by my grandmother about 70 years ago was to sprinkle fine corn meal around the trail of ants. They pick it up and take it back to the nest where all the other ants and the queen partake. They are unable to digest it and it winds up killing the colony. And it's totally safe to have it spread all around your yard and house as it's non-toxic to kids and animals.

Terrapin Flyer Aug 16, 2018 08:19 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

The active ingredient in Terro is Borax. Yeah it’s poison...if you’re an ant.

beachbiker Aug 16, 2018 08:07 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Terro is effective but is poison. Inside the house, I use Terminix Safeshield spray. Works. Nontoxic to pets and humans.

a-1537783350 Aug 16, 2018 07:34 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Terro ant baits! OSH has them. Get the package of six if you have lots of ants. Read the instructions.

a-1537783350 Aug 16, 2018 07:13 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

These ants are a world wide plague. In the Mojave they have displaced native ants which are food for the horned lizard which are declining since there are no native ants to eat. In South Africa they have also displaced native ants which pollinate some proteas hence they are in decline as well. The poster is right in that this species can be viewed as one huge colony from San Diego to Redding. In the book "Among the Ants" the author wrote that the weight of them is about the same as the weight of humans in Carmel! Think about that. They can even compete with the fire ant which is another introduced species. Best to use a licensed pest control business which have access to materials the public cannot obtain. They are like the Borg and resistance is futile. We have had them crawl into our freezer through a very small seam and freeze to death at the entrance. Google it, not uncommon.

Roger Aug 16, 2018 07:21 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

They are in my freezer as well I should look up ant recipes...

Z Aug 15, 2018 03:52 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Set a faucet dripping outside, overflowing into a bucket, maybe 5 to 10 gallons per day. Most ants will go there rather than into your house. Cheaper than chemical warfare, works better too in most cases.

--phantom-- Aug 15, 2018 02:04 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

We use Riviera Pest control. Gabe does a great job and nothing is applied inside the house. 805-455-8282

420722 Aug 15, 2018 01:46 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Terro gel traps are the best! Place them where ever you see the most ants. It will take a few days but it’ll work.

KellyCrawford Aug 16, 2018 08:02 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Where can I buy these Terro gel traps? I like Terro products.

mtndriver Aug 15, 2018 12:26 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Thanks for all the tips. Hate to use anything that would be toxic to animals or people, but maybe it's time to make a call.

a-1537783350 Aug 15, 2018 01:41 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I have a cat, who also has some health problems, and I sprayed. They make sprays now (basically perimeter blocks) that are safe for pets. It dries and creates a barrier along the foundation areas and won't wash off, so it's supposed to be safe.

sbcook6691 Aug 15, 2018 01:25 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I have been having a terrible problem with ants. I was reading some articles on how to naturally kill ants since I have a parrot. The article suggested finding the ant mound or entry to the house and sprinkle cornmeal all around those places. The ants disappeared after 3 days. A smaller colony came back after a month, so I put some more cornmeal out and they have not been back. You can buy the cornmeal in any amount you want at Tri County Produce or Spouts.

EMI Photo Aug 15, 2018 12:02 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Diatomaceous earth is inexpensive and works well if you can deal with the white powder. Its non-toxic as long as you don't inhale it (respiratory irritant) Works well to block their trails behind/under furniture, in cracks, attics, and other places where you can sprinkle and forget it.

a-1537783350 Aug 15, 2018 02:41 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Good for flea problems too. I guess you can use it as a physical barrier to block them, but the idea is that once the powder gets on an insect, it scratches their exoskeleton to the point that they eventually dehydrate and die. Point being, a little goes a long way. Lemos has food grade diatomaceous earth for very cheap.

a-1537783350 Aug 15, 2018 11:49 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I don't know if this is true but someone years ago said that these are non native ants, something like ARgentinian ants, that are particularly aggressive and probably imported on plants of some sort. Does anyone know if that's true? They do seem like a different type, but then again, maybe they are just more aggressive b/c of the drought. They do seem much more prolific though. Everywhere you look outside, there are lines of them.

a-1537783350 Aug 16, 2018 10:04 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Carpinteria did not get its name as a hub of the lumber industry. It got its name from the Spanish explorer who observed the natives making wood based boats and stuff. Really makes me wonder how these myths take hold.

Vee-Cee Aug 15, 2018 01:41 PM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Yes, these are Argentinian Ants. They were actually "accidentally" imported about 100 years ago from the cargo ships that used to deliver lumber here on the Central Coast. (As an aside, Carpinteria got its name because it was a hub of the lumber industry). Anyway, the reason these pesky brown ants are so successful is because they are the ONLY species of ant, that when they encounter a rival nest, they JOIN forces, instead of battling it out, as other species do. Other bad news about them, is they spread diseases in your garden as well. They are like the equivalent of plague rats to our trees and plants, so you really need to keep them under control outside as well. I've found for indoors, Terro traps work well, and for spot cleaning and deterrence, Shaklee "Basic H", which is non-toxic. It comes in a concentrate and is a great all-around cleaning product as well.

REX OF SB Aug 15, 2018 11:39 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Several years ago we were hit especially hard with an invasion of ants. The "Kumbaya" approach, including cinnamon, dryer sheets, peppermint oil, etc., didn't work at all, so we hired Hydrex (now O'Connor Pest Control). That was the last time we ever had an ant in the house. O'Connor comes every couple of months and sprays outside the house, and ours seems to be the only house on the block without ants. An added benefit is that we also no longer have fleas since we began the ant-control regimen. While I like the idea of a "natural" approach to dealing with pests and vermin, the simple truth is that it just doesn't work, whether you're battling ants, termites or rodents.

LocalMatt Aug 15, 2018 10:59 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

Gel baits work. Find where they enter house and follow the line of ants. Squeeze gel bait found on Amazon and after a few weeks you will likely have killed the problem.

a-1537783350 Aug 15, 2018 10:59 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

I think they have become more persistent and much more numerous as well (they are everywhere). Last year was a nightmare for me - I literally had swaths up and down my bathroom walls including in the shower. And this year, for the first time in 10 years, we got them at the office too. I too gave up on the "natural" approaches - they work for occasional light invasions but not what we are seeing now. Terro seems to work for me. Vinegar as well, to wipe out the pheromone trails they leave for the others. And this year, I too did the annual perimeter spray and am keeping my fingers crossed that it holds up. Might do another spray this weekend for good measure.

a-1537783350 Aug 15, 2018 10:31 AM
Getting Rid of Ants?

The ant invasion happens every year about this time and won't let up until the first rain. We gave up on the non-toxic approach two years ago and pay the pest guy $100 to do his annual spray. We have seen almost no ants since but neighbors and family have them this year in the same numbers as always.

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