How do you get rid of those tiny ants once they are in your house? Is there a home based solution, other than an insecticide? We have found some in the kitchen, have sprayed and put out ant traps, but they are still around.
By John from Chicago, IL
Borax powder on the carpets, door jams, under appliances, etc. They take the borax granules back to the next and it kills the nest. Hope that helps.
You may want to have your home checked for termites. I say this because I had the same problem and found out I had termites that I didn't see. After treatment for termites I've yet to see any ants around my house now. Good luck. :)
How do I get rid of the tiny ants?
By Judy from Wichita, KS
How do I get rid of tiny red ants? My home is sprayed every three months inside and out for any insects. I have not seen any other insects, except for tiny red ants. They are everywhere, throughout the kitchen and in unopened packages of food. They are in every room of the house. They are around the plumbing, the sinks, even on the beds, and around my computer.
I had to replace my 9 month old printer because they made a nest inside it. They are the size of the very tip of a ball point pen and they do not bite. Only when a few gather together or make a trail can you even notice them. I live in south Texas just outside of Corpus Christi. Please help me get rid of these ants.
By A Galloway from Mathis, TX just north of Corpus Christi, TX
Spray with insect spray. Maybe you don't need to pay someone to spray in and out of your house. Put the unopened stuff in freezer, good luck. (12/27/2009)
Karo syrup and about 10% 20 Mule eam Borax, warm and shake to dissolve. Dribble in areas that pets and wildlife cannot get to. In cracks, between boards, back of cupboards, etc. Workers will eat and carry back to nest. Queens have to be destroyed. They live up to 20 years, all the while producing other queens. Let the workers eat and carry back to nest. It can take a week, sometimes a little more for multiple colonies. Works on most ant colonies. Also, it is safe. (12/28/2009)
Go to a home improvement store like Home Depot and ask them to show you the ant motels. They are put out by the same company that puts out the roach motels. They are little traps that you place around where you see them and they will be gone in a couple of days. I think Raid makes them. They work like a charm. (12/29/2009)
Sprinkle Sweet n Low and Nutra Sweet around. Ants carry it back to their nest. It's cheap and won't hurt to try. (07/25/2010)
I have a client that has tiny little ants in their bathroom and hallway, and now starting to go into the living room. You can barely see these ants. What kind of ants are these and how can we eliminate them? Thank you for any and all advice.
By jmz2005 from IL
If they are tiny black ants, they are locally called "sugar ants", but the correct name is pavement ants. They are after anything starchy that can be used for food, and even hang around sinks. There are several tips on this site, and can be found by searching on Google or another search engine. (05/05/2009)
The type you describe is probably "Argentine", they are a big pain where I live in California. They came from South America, but were accidentally introduced to the USA (plus many other areas) where they've thrived. The colony/nest often spans entire city blocks underground, and out here they're also all related so there's no inter-colony warfare to reduce numbers like elsewhere. They usually start sending "scouts" into houses in search of food (or water, if it's a dry climate) from late spring through fall, and invade (often with a double-size queen) if they find anything attractive. They're not poisonous as far as I recall, rarely bite, taste extremely hot to most animals, and (weirdly) are the cobweb/daddy-long leg spider's favorite food.
As far as getting rid of them is concerned, I've tried every darn trick I read about, because I don't dare use anything that might trigger my (severe) asthma or hurt my cats. As far as I know, almost nothing works, they're super-hardy little buggers. I finally found a brand with safe ingredients called "Poison-Free Ant Killer" that works really well. I spray any trails I find back to their entry points, they die instantly and those spots seem to stay ant-free for another year or two. Their website seems to be Saferbrand.com There's a useful FAQ about what's in there, if the person you know is curious. Hope this was useful. (05/06/2009)
When you say so tiny they are hard to see, that rules out both Argentine and pavement ants. Argentine will travel in thick lines usually and pavement ants hardly ever come inside. Sugar ants however are a different story. Most people call all kinds of ants sugar ants. Pharaoh and Thief ants are the two ant species that are super small. They both can be very difficult to get rid of without help. I know this site is for home remedies, but you may need a bug guy. For more info check out pestcemetery.com (08/12/2009)
By Dutch 1962
I am losing a battle with small ants in my kitchen on my counter tops, sometimes in my bathroom since this started. I have used a can of Raid without success of eliminating them. My house is clean-I swear!
My liquid lemon pledge kills them on the spot but I think we chased them to the cupboard. I bought Terro liquid yesterday and put it on cardboard and strategically placed the pieces. While they are gone off the counter tops, they are in my cupboards now-I threw food away! Do I need the bait traps instead? I cannot find a nest inside or out.
Oh My Goodness I thought I would die this morning. Are they sweet ants? They are tiny as can be and we have never seen anything like it before. We feel like the Terro made it worse. Please help!
Susan from Columbus, Ohio
We had these ants and the final straw was when I opened my work bag to find 50-100 inside! How embarrassing! We tried traps etc. but had to call an exterminator. One $95 visit from the exterminator and I have not seen a single ant. (03/27/2008)
I too have had this problem and after using Raid and Pinesol they never went away, they just moved from place to place in the kitchen. I finally got pest control to come out and they went away. I kept putting it off because I didn't want to pay, but it worked so I know it was worth the money. (03/27/2008)
If you are seeing them on the Terro, just be patient, in a week or so they'll be gone for good. If they are not on the Terro, mix a little bacon fat with it, and see if they take that (if they're not sweet eating ants, they're likely fat-eating). Once they take to eating it, you'll see an increase, because they think they've found the holy grail and the whole herd comes to eat. Then they take it home and...
This is the time of year. I always get them in the spring (around April); although they don't get past my window sill because out comes the Terro. I can count on them every year; but they're an annoyance, that's all. (03/27/2008)
My grandma taught me this and it worked the one time I tried it. Vinegar in a spray bottle, that's it. Don't dilute. I sprayed it on any doorways, window sills, whatever. The higher traffic areas I re-sprayed 3 times. Haven't seen ants again since. Good luck! Chris (03/27/2008)
If you can find some corn cobs they will not only get rid of the ants but keep them away. I would go to Walmart and get some corn that is for squirrels, shell the corn off and put the cobs in the cupboards. My ex's grandmother taught me this. (03/28/2008)
My hubby had that issue with them here every year and would spray stuff all over. What I did, and we have never had a problem since, is sprinkle baby powder (or talc powder, body powder etc) all over the inside of the cabinets. I have been told they will not cross it.
Well I have seen them cross it but it did stop them from coming in at my house. In spring, I do the outer perimeter of the house with it and inside the cracks/edges of all the cabinets/windows. After doing this once each year there isn't a problem at all. Last year I just did the windows and door ways, and no ants.
The nice thing is that baby powder is cheap, non toxic to animals or kids, doesn't bother food, and sticks around forever, and you can use whatever scent you want. I had jasmine talc powder and loved having it scent the room when I opened the window a bit. (03/28/2008)
Just sprinkle cinnamon wherever you see them. They won't come back and it will smell nice. (03/28/2008)
If you put out cornmeal they will carry it back to the nest. It takes several days but somehow they can't digest it and it kills them all. I agree terro doesn't seem to work. We had it out for months before we saw results and they were just temporary. Best wishes. (03/28/2008)
Living in Hawaii where nature is abundant--including the fauna, ants can be a problem. Until you can solve the problem, I learned that mixing a little Dawn dish washing liquid and water in a spray bottle then applying to the trail, will melt them on the spot. (03/28/2008)
Our youngest daughter had this same problem in her home that she and hubby had just built and purchased. To make a long story short the house was built and sitting on top of 4 different ant hills. Terminex was called in and they told the kids about the ant hills under their home; said they had never seen anything like it before. Go ahead and hire a pest control person to rid yourself of the problem once and for all. Good Luck. (03/28/2008)
I too wanted to write that the terro does work, you just have to be patient. I use it, and recommend it to others. Also, you can call the cooperative extension in your area and ask them. They give advice on practically anything you can think of! They told me to sprinkle baby powder on the carpet, and vacuum as usual. They die in there, so they don't crawl back out. (03/28/2008)
The boric acid and sugar mixed with a little water and put on cotton balls in a container works for us. You can find the right mixture online. I keep it in a baggie marked POISON! Do not let children or pets near this, the ants will hoard in it and then take it back to the nest and it kills everything else. Good luck!
Editor's Note: The mixture is 2 parts boric acid to 1 part sugar and a little water. WARNING: Make sure to put this where it will not be found by children or pets. (03/28/2008)
My Elder on the Cherokee Reservation used cornmeal. But it should be sprinkled on the outside of the house and porch. (03/31/2008)
I live in TX and everyone has sugar ants. They live in the walls and structure of your home. Mixing boric acid powder with honey or jelly will do the trick but it will take up to a month and it has to be placed where they can eat it. They do not like the scent of cinnamon or cloves, so if you can strategically place this out, it will work as a deterrent. The baby powder on the window sill works as well if you have pets in the back yard. If you do not have pets in the back yard, you can just use boric acid powder. You can also dust the attic with boric acid. I opened all of the electrical outlets and put powder in there too. They also do not like the scent of bleach, so once a week I would wipe the cabinets down with bleach water just so I wouldn't have to see them. They are definitely a royal pain! Be patient and put the bait where they can get to it and it will eventually kill them off. (04/02/2008)
We are having a real problem with them this year in Tulsa. I swear I've never seen anything like it. They are all over outside & we keep finding new cracks in the wall they have discovered to get into the house - I swear to my husband that they must have nests in our walls & attic - it really freaks me out!
One day my husband spilled a Sonic Cherry Lime-aid on the floor & used a white towel to clean it up, he threw the towel on top of the washing machine (dumb) & when I got up it the AM, the towel was completely black with ants & there was a trail going down the side of & under the washer that was 4" wide with ants! I nearly lost it right then!
I've been mixing hot water (1/2 cup) & powdered sugar(1/4 cup) with a drop of food coloring (so I can see it), then adding approx. 1T Borax & stir til dissolved. Whenever I see them in the house or outside, I put some in shallow milk cap lids or a couple of drops about quarter-sized in their path & pretty soon the little buggers are gathered around like cattle at a water tank, gobbling the stuff up. They take it back to their nest & die, then the others eat them & die too.
Within a day or 2 they are all gone - until the next bunch pops up somewhere! It is really hard not to kill the ants I see, but I know that the more of them that eat it, the more I'll kill in the long run. I haven't seen any around for a couple of weeks, but my son tells me he found a new bunch by our garage, so tomorrow I'll feed the starving things! My animals have never seemed interested in it, but I try to keep it at the back of my counters & against the walls or under furniture just in case.
You can keep a spray bottle of water with a few drops of dish soap, it kills them on contact, but it won't get rid of the ones in the nest like this does. (06/04/2008)
Having the same problem here in AZ. I bought some oil of peppermint and they seem to be gone. I will wait a couple of days and see what happens. (09/17/2008)