ANSWERS: 3
  • There have been several techniques mentioned on Gardenweb (gardenweb.com) and in other threads on various newsgroups. Here are some of the answers: - Try purchasing ant repellent stakes (Grant's is one brand) and finding the point of entry. Place the stakes at the point of entry into the house as well as inside the house; the ants will carry the bait back to the nest and it will poison them. - Use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean where the ants are in your house (for example, on the kitchen counter); this will eliminate the scent trails they make for others to follow. - Use essential oil of peppermint at their entry points (Dr Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap has this as its main ingredient); apparently, ants do not like the scent of peppermint and will avoid it. - Do not kill the ants (by smushing especially) - try to spray them and then wipe up the residue with a paper towel and clean behind. They leave a "death scent" which other ants will find and follow. - Use boric acid (also helpful in cockroach elimination) on their entry points or on their trails - a little mixed in with sugar will speed the dissemination process. Baby powder and turmeric has also been mentioned as repellent (makes it difficult for them to breathe) to ants. - Finally, there is a product that some people swear by called "ant chalk" which contains insecticides that kill the ants. A nice long thread can be found on the website http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/health/ants.html
  • Something to know. There are a variety of types of ants and some things are more effective than others in combatting ants. Often if ants are eliminated from an area another group will eventually move in. This is common with sugar ants or "odorous" ants (sweet-loving ants). Moisture is also a common component in attracting these types of ants. Different ants like different types of food depending upon the season. For example, they may prefer more proteins in the summer (meat, harvesting aphids, termites, etc), but more carbs in the cooler months. Orange oil works well. Read my answers about roaches and fire ants to get more information on making your own natural spray. If you add some tea tree oil and/or eucalyptus oil to the orange oil/soap/water mix, it will be more effective for areas where there are cracks and crevices. Kaliganges' answer mentioned Dr Bronner's peppermint soap...that is a good soap to use when making your orange oil spray mix. The ant baits on the market commercially (like an "ant motel" plastic housing found in the grocery store), although very toxic can be an effective treatment once in a blue moon. Chemicals often kill too quickly. Be sure to minimize exposure to these baits and keep away from pets or children. More on baits. Ants often can detect that a bait is "poison"...at least after awhile. They then stop taking the bait. Baits (good ones) take about 3 weeks to be effective. Often what occurs with many of the chemical baits is that the ants die too quickly and so the entire colony is not wiped out...the food isn't dispersed throughout the colony because many have already died. A boric acid bait (well-proportioned) works. It is important that the boric acid not be "too much", because it will be recognized as a poison and just avoided. Boric acid inhibits some enzymes in the digestion of a bacteria used for body processes and other functions...this is what kills the critters...it is indirect. Boric acid is used as antibacterial topical at hospitals. But it is somewhat toxic and so don't let the pets or kids eat the stuff. The enzyme inhibiting factors apply to humans and other life. But boric acid is a lesser toxic substance than many. Never use boric acid on soil. It sterilizes it and knocks out hope of healthy microbe action which, in turn, leads to problems with bugs or weeds, etc. Mix a tiny boric acid with peanut butter for a bait. Also, a bait can be made with grease. And a bait can be made with a sweetener like sugar. These three offer ants a choice. Sometimes, depending upon the season or type of ants, they prefer a certain type of bait. Terro Ant Bait is a boric acid bait. I have seen how ants just crave the stuff..like flies to butter. This works well and kills the ants at the proper "setting" to ensure a full kill. For immediate kill, use an enzyme soap (one ounce to a quart of water). It works very well. I was amazed. You will get lots of information at http://www.getipm.com/thebestcontrol/bugstop/control_list.htm Of course, removing food and water sources keeps sweet ants at bay. Often, these ants prefer moist areas. Also, "control" is the big word. If you wip out sweet ants or "odorous" ants from an area, later another colony from next door may move in. An excellent, natural plant oil spray is made from 4% rosmary and 4%mint (wintergreen) oils. This sprayed at crevices and such and around the exterior of the house can really do a number. When wiping kitchen counters, a good trick is to wet the counter and sprinkle some cinnamon. Then wipe this up. Ants and crawlies hate cinammon. I have it on the floor of the shed also..works wonders!! I have heard of a variety of different herbs which tend to repel sugar ants. Basil leaves is one. I haven't tried it, so I don't know how effective they are. Cinnamon repels ants and most critters. I use this on the floor of my shed. It works great. Wiping counters down after sprinkling some cinnamon will keep sweet ants away. Actually, hot pepper juice or a tea made from hot peppers repels quite a few critters. Throw in some garlic for applications to chase off pests on plants. If you read my answer about roaches, it will give you some baits you can make from baking soda or boric acid. Also, there is a big list of botanicals and herbs under "Dieting and Nutrition" when you see my name. There is a lot of related information if you click my name. Search mosquitoes also for some data.
  • call an exterminator, i find they do a much better job with pests than i can do by myself

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