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Please help save me from ants  RSS feed

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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This is excruciatingly painful for me, a 15 year vegan and 43 year vegetarian...........

Ants, in massive numbers appear to be poised to invade the kitchen. A universe of ants. I have tried prayer and negotiation with the ants, and that did not work.

I do not like to, but, in the past have successfully used Terro Ant Killer, which is 5.4% borax in a gooey sugary solution, which is in just the right proportions so that they bring it back to the nest and the queen dies and then they stop coming.

These guys have been consuming bottles of Terro Ant Killer for the last 2 days, and there are just more ants coming. I have about 20 bait stations out for them, and every few hours, all the bait is gone. Almost all of the Terro Ant Killer is gone.

There is no way to get more of this bait before tomorrow morning without that being a massive hassle. I have several tablespoons of boric acid, and some poor quality honey. I can mix about 5.4% boric acid in the honey and use that. In the past, with homemade bait, boric acid and powdered sugar, the ants die, but they do not bring it to the queen and it goes on forever.

Maybe in this situation, the nest is so far away that they die before they reach the nest. I do not like to ponder what that would mean. We have lived in this house for 3 summers and this is the first time this has happened.

The key here seems to me to be the proportions so that the ants make it back to the nest and the queen dies.

Thank you.

I am sorry, ants......

Pamela Melcher
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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Terro works well, I've used it before. The volume of invaders suggests a different approach, the bait stations might be attracting the ants to your kitchen. Perhaps if you could put the bait between the kitchen and the nest it will cut down the visitors. Ants are lazy just like humans, and will take the shorter path to food.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Joe,

Yes, that makes sense. I will explore that.

I found a bunch of videos on YouTube which recommend about the same proportions of boric acid/borax and sugar. I have those raw ingredients, so I can make some and get through the night without the ants taking over the kitchen.

I wish I knew the exact proportions of boric acid/borax that would enable them to get back to the nest, but eventually die. The Terro Ant Killer worked great for most ant conditions. It would be lots less expensive to make our own, but we never seemed to get the proportions right. I know that Terro Ant Killer is 5.4% borax, but do not know how much sugar is in the liquid it is dissolved in. It is very sticky, so I guess lots. I can try to replicate that texture of syrup.

I so do not like killing things...............

But it is us or them, in this case.

I will share any great revelations that I discover on this issue.

Pamela Melcher
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1374
Location: northern California
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You might also think about why, how, and where the ants are coming into your space. In my experience they come in after food....in other words, I'm not cleaning up my kitchen well enough! But in such a case they often make a 'sweep' and leave after a few days. The other possibility is they are looking for a sheltered place to spend the winter. You could try sealing up the space, such as with caulk....minimizing their pathways in and out, and then bait the remaining trails outside the space.....
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I have read that plain old cornmeal does the trick.

Sprinkle it around their nest/hill. They will carry it back to the colony, where everybody feasts on it.
Problem is that it swells up in their guts. I guess they die from acute constipation.


 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, John....I will find the nest. I am not sure where it is, but I have some theories, and I will track it down.

I do appreciate all of your suggestions

But it pains me so much to be killing things - but they are massively invading my home.

I love the cornmeal idea, because itis nontoxic to all but ants.

We will get some corn meal tomorrow and put it around the nest.

Pamela Melcher
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Yeah. I have wanted to try the cornmeal ever since I heard about it, but (knock on wood) I haven't had an ant problem since then. Even if they didn't take it back to the nest, it's just more organic matter for the soil.

My sister has lived in a few places with ant problems, and she just planted tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) around door ways, windows, etc. It even helps keep the flies away too.

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, John,

I hope you do not have ants, but if you do, you know just what to do.

I would say, act fast if they show up in your house, especially the kitchen, as they can get out of control very fast.

I think I will scatter corn meal around in likely places and then just watch the piles and if ants show up, follow them home and put more near the nest.

I hope they stay away. I so do not like to kill any creature

Pamela Melcher

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Alder, Thanks. Those are helpful ideas.

They did start this phase with some peaches that were all brown inside that we did not eat, that we forgot and left in the sink overnight, but in the past if something like that happened, it was a brief interlude. A little Terro Ant Killer and they were gone.

There are just sooooooooooooooooooooooooo many of them this time. It is getting cold here, so I think they are looking for a winter home. I guess we do need to do some caulking, etc., This is our third summer/autumn in this house and nothing like this ever happened before.

Thank you all for your suggestions

Pamela Melcher
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 441
Location: Ohio, USA
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I've had luck with salt, but most ants are after water in CA (if not food).
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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It has been super dry here. Maybe they are after water. That had not crossed my mind. Thanks.

I can try a closed Terro Ant Killer station at the ground level outside, which is probably where they have their nest, and that would be closer to the nest and that way we may be able to get rid of the queen (s?)

Pamela Melcher
 
Alice Mason
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I was just surfing the website and saw your post and had to reply... I hate killing ant colonies too especially since I live in Arizona where horned toads primarily eat them. I had problems with them defoliating my trees so I did some research and it was hard to find a solution without killing the colony, but what worked for me was Green light insect repellent granuales (I buy them at lowes http://www.lowes.com/pd_250140-38888-80512_0__?productId=3028303). I like to wait until night, or when they are less active, and make a perimeter around the trees or in your case house. Then I swept out the trails. That helped until a heavy rain washed away the granuales and they found the trees again. The granuales are made out of cedar dust (waste from the furniture business) and it disrupts the ant's sense of smell so she can't find her way back home to tell the other ants where to go. This way the colony lives on and you don't have ants in the house. It would help keep other insects out of your house too

Alice
 
Steve Hardie
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I have found that, similar to cornmeal, grits work very well. Depends on what you have in the cupboard. The ants can't resist them and can't digest them. They make it back to the colony to share, as well.

This approach seems to work best for the small red ants. The larger red and all black ants don't seem to like them as well. The little red ones just disappear in about a day or two.

Hope this is helpful.
 
Hadley Burton
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I'm sorry for the necropost, but I'm having the same problem Pamela had. I have little black ants in my kitchen and bathroom, and they've become immune to the Terro baits.

I like the idea of planting tansy around the doors. I've also heard that planting mint or lavender around the foundation will help keep ants out. Anyone know anything more about this?
 
Jay Green
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John Polk wrote:I have read that plain old cornmeal does the trick.

Sprinkle it around their nest/hill. They will carry it back to the colony, where everybody feasts on it.
Problem is that it swells up in their guts. I guess they die from acute constipation.




John I have used the cornmeal numerous times with good effect. I just put a lid filled with cornmeal on my countertop and they will carry it back to the nest all by themselves. Within a 3-4 days you will start to notice a drastic decrease in ants and pretty soon none. Be sure and keep your cornmeal out and refreshed because new colonies are trying to establish throughout the spring and summer. As long as I keep the cornmeal out, no ants. Put it away and I slowly but surely I'll notice scouts putting out feelers~pun intended~for a new place to inhabit.

After a couple of years of that, didn't have to put out the cornmeal anymore....but I'm sure eventually they will come back to haunt a person.

I have recommended this to several people, some of whom were on the verge of paying for exterminators, and who are now glad they didn't...cornmeal doesn't cost much. From what I understand, the corn is corrosive to their intestinal tract~much like it is to many animals/insects~and causes ulcerations and the subsequent septicemia as intestinal bacteria enter their blood stream and kills them.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, folks.

I really appreciate your sharing what has worked for you.

The ants are starting up and this year we KNOW we have to get right ON it. The Terro worked last year. We are trying it again.

I do not like to kill anything, I have been vegan for 19 years, but we seem to have to be more clear about setting boundaries with these ants. If we start as soon as they appear, we will wind up killing less of them in the end.

I do not like to think that way, it feels very old paradigm, but wow we had a mess last year. It was sad and quite a project to get rid of them.

And we will plant peppermint around the foundation. I have a set of peppermint plants that need a home.

Wishing ant freedom for all.

And happiness for the ants as well, far away from anyone they would irritate.

Many Thanks and Many Blessings,
Pamela Melcher
 
Jon McBrayer
Posts: 17
Location: North Georgia
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I once had a steady stream of ants crawling through a crack in my front door. I used a spray bottle with vinegar and water to discourage them. I also removed the food source they were getting into. I still see a scout every once in awhile (which gets squished) and then I'll do a quick spray around the door again.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thank you, Jon. What concentration of vinegar? That sounds like a good thing to try.

Happy Spring!
 
Jon McBrayer
Posts: 17
Location: North Georgia
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It was probably around 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar but I was certainly eye balling it.
 
Rory Rivers
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Your situation may be too far gone for this course of action, but I didn't see it mentioned here yet. Ants find food by following pheromone trails left by other ants who have found food. Vinegar seems to do a really good job of making those pheromones hard to smell.
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thank you, Jon and Rory. That is great to know. They are only just starting up this year. It was only so bad last summer because we did not understand how bad it could get, and did not act swiftly to get the situation in control. We are on it this year!!!

Happy Spring!
 
Lacia Lynne Bailey
Posts: 92
Location: Seattle, WA
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John Polk wrote:...My sister has lived in a few places with ant problems, and she just planted tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) around door ways, windows, etc. It even helps keep the flies away too.




Tansy is very toxic to livestock so don't plant it if you have farm animals!
 
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