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Ants in the house  RSS feed

 
Simone Gar
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Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Any idea how to deal with it without using toxic spray? We have tried DE (does nothing) and these little container ant traps (maybe reduces them?) and nothing works. What else can we try with ants in the house specifically kitchen (we don't leave food out).
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Something that looks like a tiny crumb to a human -- looks like a huge mountain of food to an ant.
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 167
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Something that looks like a tiny crumb to a human -- looks like a huge mountain of food to an ant.


I understand. I am not saying our kitchen is perfect and crumb-less but it's very clean.
 
Casie Becker
gardener
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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We've been transferring all our food storage to glass canning jars (bale closures) in part because so many insects can get into conventional packaging. We were unpleasantly surprised during this process by how much food debris had started to accumulated on our upper cabinet shelves where we could not easily see it. That quickly accelerated what had been a slow and steady process.

Another thing that brings ants inside in Texas is water. Do you have any leaks? Other than that, the best thing I can think is to seal any cracks you can find where they might be making their entrance. Hopefully you've already found them all when looking for good places to spread the diatomaceous earth.

Pay special attention to things like electrical outlets. Some species are actually attracted to electrical currents. It can cause expensive repairs to things like air conditioners here when the accumulated bodies of those that have been electrocuted start causing shorts.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Simone Gar wrote:Any idea how to deal with it without using toxic spray? We have tried DE (does nothing) and these little container ant traps (maybe reduces them?) and nothing works. What else can we try with ants in the house specifically kitchen (we don't leave food out).


We're trying lemon oil and if I remember to wipe things down with it it seems to help.  We have the very very small ant, with a sharp smell if you touch them.  They come in hoards at certain times, especially after a rain.  They are carnivorous mostly...not drawn to sweets so much as a bit of chicken or grease.  We try to keep things clean and dry and that does help but they are still around, waiting, I guess.  These ants are under every outdoor pot and in the mulch in the garden.  I don't mind them outdoors and am trying to get used to them in the house....checking my water glass and tea cup before using, etc.  They are all over this town.  We've never had a problem with ants like this before....
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 167
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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We have everything in glass too. We don't have much insect pressure inside houses here usually but we do like to keep everything tightly sealed anyways. And prefer glass.

They are on the counter and floor. I like the lemon oil idea I don't have any but a orange oil cleaner I will try.

I have never heard of water or current to be attractive to ants. I will check for that!

They are outside too but as Judith said I don't mind them there.

 
Casie Becker
gardener
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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The electric current is an expensive surprise to many,.  I don't know how common it is, but there are a minimum of two species with that weakness here.  It's yet another reason to hate fire ants.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
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Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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In many places I've read that tansy will help keep ants out of the house.
I have only recently purchased tansy seeds, but in reading further about tansy, I have hesitations. In some states, it's illegal to plant tansy due to its invasiveness. Therefore, I have yet to plant my seeds.
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 87
Location: Long Island, NY
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Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Borax.

Grape Jelly

Peanut Butter

Plastic containers

So, we have to understand how ants cannot eat food directly. Didn't know that? Their pincers and not jaws, they are for cutting and holding food to take back to their queen that CAN eat. They also take food back to the nest to feed the slaves they have encircled and that feed them honey dew.

Some colonies love fats, some love sugar.

We want to get the food back to the nest--feed the queen and when she dies, they will all die--hive biology works that way.

So, take two small portions of grape jelly and peanut butter (cheap stuff is ok--we don't need to go all organic)

Get them warm if they were in the fridge-no need to heat them, just leave them on the counter for a while.

Get some borax powder

So, to 2 TBS of bait, add about 2 tsp borax and mix well. IF we kill the transporter with too much borax we defeat the purpose--we want them to take it back to the nest.

Take a small plastic lidded container--like a take out container and punch holes LOW all the way around.  Layer in some paper towels and wet them. Then spread on half the paper towels a blob of peanut butter and half with jelly and kind of spread it around.

Then replace the lid--staying moist is important.

Then the detective must come out. Find WHERE they are coming into the house-ants leave pheromone trails to follow--you want to put the bait trap in that path.

Now comes the part that most folks wont like--the trap will be swarmed with ants....eating and taking food back to the nest....and about 4 days later--no more ants.

 
Anne Miller
pollinator
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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I always keep a dilute solution of vinegar in a spray bottle.  I use it to spray my kitchen counter tops.  Every now and then I would come home to find dead ants on my counter tops.  So the vinegar kills them.
 
Simone Gar
Posts: 167
Location: Alberta, zone 3
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Thanks everybody. We'll try a couple of things. We found out where they come from, so first step is done I guess.
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 441
Location: Ohio, USA
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Find out what they want and then make it not worth it. Like in CA, they always went for water, so I'd sprinkle the counter with salt or baking soda at night. Worked better than the toxic guck and other stuff. Here they like sweets, so I close those of at early spring, when they do most of their foraging. They come, they look, they leave. We don't kill the scouts because they'll just send more and why should we take their life if they can coexist with us peacefully?
 
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