Sugar ants are a real nuisance and hard to get rid of. We've fought them off and on for the last 4 years. I've even posted on here before (as have many others) about using a solution of Boraxo/boric acid mixed with sugar for them to take back to the nest. Unfortunately, I have found that this is usually a temporary fix, as they just keep coming back. I've even heard they'll build nests in your walls.
To get rid of them on a more permanent basis, you're going to have to treat outside around your house too. The summer before last, we had a real problem with them. We'd get rid of them, but they'd be back in a few weeks in another area of the house. Finally, I bought a bag of insecticide granules and sprinkled it completely around the foundation of the house out to about a foot away, making sure to get it right up against the foundation too. To easily sprinkle, put the granules in an empty Pringles-type container and poke holes in the lid. Be sure to read the directions on the insecticide to see if you need to wet it afterwards.
I also continued to "feed" the little monsters in the house. Also, doing as I usually do, I kept a spray bottle of soapy water on the kitchen counter to spray any I saw. Within days, they were completely gone and never came back the rest of the year!
This spring, we didn't treat around the house and as soon as it warmed up, here they came. By mid-summer, they came back with a vengeance. I'd never seen it so bad! I'd spray, kill, and wipe ants away every time I'd go in the kitchen, but when I went back in, there'd be more. At one point, I sprayed more than 50 ants on the counter and 15 minutes later, there were more than 50 more, for hours! They spread from one counter to the other and into my stove. It was a nightmare!
And no, my kitchen was not dirty and I had everything in plastic. We've had a major drought here and they were coming in for water (one year we even had them build a nest in the dishwasher).
It took me a month to remember that we hadn't sprinkled around the house; they were coming in through the foundation. I was outside at midnight with a flashlight and my insecticide taking care of it! Within days they were almost all gone and within a week we didn't see another ant and haven't seen one in months!
This spring, I'm going to be shaking my can as soon as it stops snowing!
By Judy = Oklahoma from OK
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No need for poisons. They are a danger to you, your pets and harmless critters. Better 20 mule team Borax solution that kills queen ants is about 10% 20 MT in squeeze bottle with Karo syrup. Warm a few seconds to dissolve. Squirt in cracks and areas where pets will not lick.
This solution will not kill your pets but enough eaten and they will have a sore tummy. Worker ants will carry sweet solution back to nest. Queens will die. nest will die. queens can produce many more queens in the 20 years they live. When you see the workers eating, let them continue for a few days. Poof - nests are dead.
Sorry everyone, I didn't realize there were questions here :)
The borax/sugar combo works amazingly well for short term, but it will not get rid of them permanently - I tried for many years. The ants will take it back to the next & kill the ants there - then in 2 weeks the eggs hatch & you have more ants. They will build nests in your house & walls, but it seems they like to build them right up against or under your foundation. We've even tried using the foam sealer spray in cracks in our foundation, but they find another place to come in.When you have them crawling on your kids in bed, or on you sitting on the couch - enough is enough & you need to use the chemicals.
That's interesting information about these not being real sugar ants, I'm going to have to look them up. Thanks.
Hi! What kind of insecticide granules did you use?
Thanks! We have the same problem here in Mobile, AL.
I am also very interested in the kind of granules you used.
muttmom - as I said, I've been using the borax/sugar solution for more than 4 years now. It used to work very well before the weather changed, treat them once or twice a summer & no problem. Now, I re-apply when the eggs hatch out 2 weeks later. This might get rid of them for a month or two....but they keep coming back.
They come in through the foundation of the house. The only way to get rid of them then is to keep them from coming inside in the 1st place. I don't like to use poisons either when I can help it, I'm an outspoken advocate on these forums for borax to treat ants & fleas. But in this case, I was tired of dealing with this every few weeks during the warm season. When they swarm your kitchen, crawl on you while you stand there long enough to cook or wash dishes & you have them crawl on you while you sit on the couch - it's time for poison!
We didn't have such a severe problem a few years ago, when it wasn't so dry & the winter was cold enough to freeze them. The last few years are so dry, they are going into homes for water & the winters are so mild it doesn't kill them either. This last summer was an absolute nightmare of ants.
We finally had to call in a professional exterminator. That didn't last either. After that I used Terro. What I was told by the professional is that they are not true "sugar" ants, as they normally come in for water and warmth. This explained why once they were only in the bathroom and not the kitchen. They resemble sugar ants as they are very tiny. I was always brushing one off me, and I had nightmares about them.
I just read in today's paper that these ants are called Caribbean crazy ants or hairy crazy ants. They've been around at least since the 1800's.
They are very small and when one is killed, it gives off a chemical that attracts many others. So killing them can create a huge problem.
The article said that Borax, etc. will not keep these ants away, that even many professionals can't get rid of them for long. Only one professional that they interviewed was able to get rid of them for any length of time with very strong chemicals. It's great to be earth-friendly, but if ants like this were crawling into my house, I think I'd talk to a professional.
Search crazy hairy ants and you'll see that some of them are coming into Texas on hay bales brought in to feed the cattle because of the drought.
I hope you find a good solution down south because otherwise they'll be spreading everywhere. Good luck.
I loved that you kept your sense of humor. Your comment "Shake my can" cracked me up. Thank you, I needed that.
It would sure be nice to have the name of the granules you used.
I live in Arkansas, and we have had this problem for the last decade. I too used the borax-sugar solution for about 5 years, but it will only get you so far with these ants. I even went through the yard pouring it on every ant hill I saw. The problem was the neighbors, who did nothing in their yards; their ant hills proliferated, and the ants spread into our yard, giving us another population to treat.
I've recently started using food-grade diatomaceous earth. I buy a 50 lb sack at the feed supply store for about $40.00. it's harmless to children and pets - you can eat it. Some sites say to not breathe it in, but they are referring to the non-food grade, which is treated differently and is a poison.
I sprinkle it in my home, around the house foundation, around the yard, and on ant hills. Rain carries it in the soil, where it still kills the ants. By the way, it kills roaches too, yet will not harm worms. I reapply it every year, since we are over-run in our neighborhood with these ants. It's like a plague.
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