How do I get rid of ants?
By Saadi from Fresno, CA
I've seen several posts about diadomaceous earth. You can find it at your garden center, I understand. Just get food-grade, not pool-grade. Food-grade DE is pet-safe, but don't inhale it if you can help it.
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How do I make a homemade spray for ants?
I get ants in my home from time to time. The only solution for me is to hire an exterminator. They put down a product that the ants carry back to their nest where ever that maybe. The ants in the nest feed on the chemical and die. The nest is wiped out. Reading some of the solutions from posters you will still have an ant problem. They do nothing to get rid of the ants permanently. (06/23/2009)
To kill them use a spray bottle with soapy water in it. To keep them from coming back, use baby powder where ever you've seen them. They won't cross over the baby powder. I put it around my entire kitchen and sweep it into the corners and behind things. Also, remember to clean and vacuum a lot to keep the food and drinks from attracting them in the first place. If they are getting into a pet food dish, put the food in a bowl and then place the food bowl into a deep pan, like a square cake pan, then you can sprinkle the baby powder under the pan. (06/23/2009)
This isn't a spray, I just put dried bay leaves in the corner of our doorways and windowsills. (06/24/2009)
A while back in your column, I saw some homemade remedies for taking care of ants. We get a lot of them in S. CA due to lack of water. Can I get a recap of these suggestions?
Rosalie from CA
Here's a link to most of the ant related articles and requests on our website. Hope this helps:
Sprinkle cinnamon where the ants go (doors, around pet food). They hate cinnamon. The ants will go somewhere else. (10/23/2005)
Spray them with Windex. I tried it and it is very effective. I have also heard that putting vegetable oil on a paper towel and wiping door stops, etc. will stop them from crossing the door stop. (02/24/2006)
While I don't think this will work for you because you don't want to have it around your other pets. For anyone without pets they can use Terro Ant Killer II, they take it back to the queen and it kills her and the colony dies off. Very effective in my experience, but is deadly to pets and other animals.
More outdoor tips at http://www.thriftmeister.com/garden.htm (04/07/2006)
I read about putting fresh mint around in small containers, especially near entrances (windows, too). I tried it and it worked well for me. Hope it works well for you also. (06/22/2006)
I've put a mixture of Borax and honey in small container (bottle cap) and placed it where the ants were, bingo no more ant problem. (07/11/2006)
I have heard that mixing Boric acid in some cream of wheat and then putting it into a straw helps. You then cut the straw into little pieces with the cream of wheat/boric acid mix in it and put it under your house.They will be attracted to the cream of wheat, take it to their queen and the Boric acid will kill her and then all the rest. Just don't put it where pets can get to it. (09/12/2006)
We're Southern California condo dwellers, and we've got a chronic "small" ant problem, too. I believe they are considered sweet and grease eating ants, meaning they really love typical households. Our neighbors downstairs have a dog which means a constant food source. They appear in our kitchen (cleaned antiseptically or not) and in our two bathrooms. Our home remedies:
First, once we spot an outbreak, I spray the entire area with a 50%/50% mixture of water and lemon-scented ammonia. (Yeah, it's a harsh smell, but it evaporates without leaving much residue and the lemon scent helps). This mixture does two things: it kills them almost on contact and more importantly, it dissolves the ant's scent-chemical trail which is how ants communicate. This scent trail is also why they usually come back to the "same old places". Commercial products rarely address this scent trail.
The ammonia solution also "degreases" the kitchen surfaces which is a cleaning plus side affect.
The problem we have is that our surrounding neighbors are likely not as crazy about this topic as we are, so we're fighting a losing battle. Also, we cannot get into the woodwork of the building, where they travel the most. So, it's a battle of fighting the symptom and not attacking these ants at their source, the queen and colony. Try the ammonia folks, it's killer good stuff. (12/27/2008)
By Mike p
Ants don't cross a chalk line. You can actually control where they go by circling them with chalk. Try it for fun. (02/03/2009)
To get rid or he ants outside, you can pour boiling water into their ant pile. Inside the home, cinnamon, baby powder, and salt all keep the pests away. Vaseline and "VapoRub" also work wonders on vertical (straight up and down) surfaces. (02/07/2009)
By Ant Remover