I keep having little black ants on my counter top. I keep it clean with vinegar, but they still come. What else can I try?
By Holly from Lancaster, WI
Buy a product called "Terro". You will have to keep it away from pets and children, however. It really does work, so effectively. (06/22/2010)
I would suggest getting a free termite inspection. I had the same problem then saw evidence of termites and wished I'd had it inspected to begin with. Now I don't have any problems with either termites or ants. Good luck. (06/22/2010)
Mix about 10% 20 Mule Team Borax into Karo syrup. Warm a few seconds to dissolve. Squirt into cracks and crevices where no pet can lick it. It won't kill your pet, but if enough is eaten can give them an upset tummy. It takes a few days, but ant workers suck it up and carry it back to the nest and the whole nest is destroyed. Queen ants live up to 20 years and produce many more queens. (06/22/2010)
Some of the suggestions here are toxic, chlorine bleach, Sevin powder, etc. Be careful not to leave any excess of boric acid/borax powder around if you have infants crawling around or cats in particular as studies have shown toxicity for both when they come in contact with this natural element.
With that said, I had a farm in a remote area with massive mounds of fire ants, and I also have the little ants inside my house, but these are not "sugar ants" they bite like small fire ants. They are common in Texas. I have experience with these, and here is what works, but you have to be persistent and repeat applications even when you do not see any more ants to keep them from returning.
Outside, fire ants live underground and the mounds you find are not where they live, just where they come and go from huge networks of ant farms. You will not be able to eradicate the ants, but you can keep them from living in and near your building.
Outside, mix corn meal, borax (laundry product), and diatomaceous earth (from garden supply, sometimes labeled for crawling insects and ant control). Apply around the outside of the building, in crevices, around exterior doorways, windows, and on top of ant mounds. If it rains hard, reapply right away. Don't breathe it in, it will irritate you. Diatomaceous earth is mined from deposits of tiny sea animal skeletons. The sharp edges slice up crawling insects like razor blades. The corn meal causes them to bloat and they carry this back to their mounds and this will reduce the size of the mound, even kill some queens, etc.
Inside, you can put the borax and diatomaceous earth under the sink and places your cats and babies cannot get to, but you can also dust your carpets with it, use a broom to work it down into the carpet mat, and after 20 minutes vacuum up any excess. Some will remain inside the carpet, not enough to harm kids and pets.
Borax has dehydrating properties and tends to shrivel up crawling insects. Works for flea control, too.
You will see ants for a day or two and then they may suddenly disappear inside the property.
While you are bothered by an ant attack, use white vinegar diluted with some water and a few drops of liquid dish soap as the spray on almost anything and this will keep them under control and kill the ones you see while you are waiting for the powder to work.
If you think you have nests inside your walls or refrigerator, and you are not getting results fast enough from the powder, I suggest you do one bug fogger treatment, but not with the ones you commonly find. You need the bombs that have Pyrethrum or pyrethrin (not other things that sound similar, but are not the natural chrysanthemum derivative) as the only active ingredient. If you have allergies to chrysanthemums, do not use. This is also toxic to fish, but it biodegrades and is not toxic to other animals or humans. Great for getting rid of fungus gnats. Here is one online:
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