Getting rid of ants without harsh chemicals

Do it Yourself 18.3K Posts 1.9K Discussions

Hey guys -
I've got a small ant problem and want to get rid of them without all the chemicals, sprays, etc. Does anyone have any effective techniques that work to get rid of them?

Medium fbprofileJoshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets | http://www.biggerpockets.com

Seems like I heard over the years from my grandmother that rice will work. Not sure if it is true or not. It might be one of those old wives tales...

My aunt ..(.seriously no pun intended) was just telling my sister on Easter about using cinnamon. She said they won't cross it or somethinglike that .
You could probably google it I guess.

The only thing I've ever found that works is powdered sugar mixed with boric acid (not boraxo) about 2/3 sugar to 1/3 boric acid.

It's poison, so place where pets and kids can't get it.

The ants carry it away, so it isn't there very long. I place it on the ant hill and put an excercise pen around it so my dogs don't get it. The dogs aren't attracted to eat it, but can get it on their feet and lick their feet.

For the kitchen, you can place it under the sink and under the stove and fridge so kids can't get into it.

It takes a couple of weeks to kill all the ants, but it will wipe them out.

Spectracide Bug Stop is a long term control, so if you get desperate, spray it where the ants are getting in and it stops them long term. They claim up to 9 months control. The stuff works on ants and flour weevils, might work on spiders.

It does not stain paint, or any flooring that I've put it on so far. Just spray it where your kids aren't going to be touching.

I just throw a cup of sugar in my neighboors yard.

peppermint essential oil - just rub it around where they are entering the house if you can find it.

its very strong and will burn your eyes if you don't wash them after handling it so be careful. its also a great digestive tonic and great for sore muscles.

Have you tried the peppermint oil, Dave? I'm assuming it is pretty effective . . . is it just a barrier that they won't cross?

Medium fbprofileJoshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets | http://www.biggerpockets.com

My mom has used borax laundry detergent for years. It kills them. She will line the edges of the walls and counters with the powder and they walk through it and carry it back to their hills and it kills them out. It takes a week or so, but is effective.

Hi, Amber my mom used that and it took awhile but worked! Now here is another issue, fire ants. If you have those critters, take a shovel and pick up some and put them on another pile of them. They are seperate nests and they will kill each other off! Bill

Medium logoscopiccroppedblue2Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy | https://generalrealestateacademy.com

Originally posted by Financexaminer:
If you have those critters, take a shovel and pick up some and put them on another pile of them. They are seperate nests and they will kill each other off! Bill


That actually sounds like a lot of fun. Like applying Saul Alinsky tactics to pest control

Originally posted by Financexaminer:
Hi, Amber my mom used that and it took awhile but worked! Now here is another issue, fire ants. If you have those critters, take a shovel and pick up some and put them on another pile of them. They are seperate nests and they will kill each other off! Bill

FIRE ANTS

Here's a really sneaky way to get rid of fire ants. (All's fair in love and the war against insect pests.) The only way to get rid of an infestation is to assassinate the queen. Wait until a dry spell is about to end. Sprinkle instant grits on the fire ant hill. The workers will carry the grits to the queen for her royal meal. She'll eat the grits and when it rains, she'll drink. And that's what will kill her. The grits will expand in her stomach and she'll "bloat" to death. Once she's out of the way, the leaderless ants will die off. (This suggestion came courtesy of the Tightwad Gazette II book.)


Once when I had a bad ant problem I followed the track to the nest and put out one of those traps where the ants take bait back to the queen and in about a week the entire nest was destroyed. You can buy them for a buck or two at any hardware store.

The easiest, most effective ant control I've ever found was one I heard on the former garden guy on the radio in Houston. Mix MINT JELLY (it really has to be mint jelly?) with BORIC ACID, cut some 1 inch by 1 inch squares of light cardboard, like shirt cardboard and make a thin SANDWICH out of the paste.

Put these around the kitchen and bath, inside of cabinets, very effective.

BTW, the "mix some from another pile" thing with fire ants actually doesn't work. I spent 30 years in TX where they were like the state pet. You've got to kill the QUEEN.

frank

LOL, getting rid of the fire ants is kinda fun! The step I left out is that you need two or more hills and you need to take enough from one hill and put on another, you also have to take some from that hill and put them on the others. It's mixing the all up and in alrge enough quanities. It's too bad the little armies don't wear uniforms so you know who is who in the battle, lol, but if there are enough say from two hills on one, they will get to the queen, as mentioned, that's the key to them dying off. I had these critters in my back yard in Louisianna, a couple days later they were all gone, maybe the survivors just moved on, don't know, but I didn't have a problem. Maybe the Texan ants didn't have sufficient numbers in the battle to be effective as history has shown us. Bill

Medium logoscopiccroppedblue2Bill Gulley, General Real Estate Academy | https://generalrealestateacademy.com

The best thing that works for me (although I'll admit it isn't a non-poison option) is to use those little black ant bait stations. You can stick them all along their little trail (walls, counters, the underneath of cabinets, etc.). The ants take the bait back to the colony and it kills off the group. It's a really quick fix too--usually, the ants disappear in a few days.

Medium logo 02   extra largeTerri Pour-Rastegar, Blue Sky Homes, LLC | 803‑517‑6579 | http://www.carolinabsh.com

Terri mentions a great solution - ant bait. Terro is the best product for that. What Terro uses, however, is simple borax and sugar water. You can buy borax at any hardware store, mix it with the most appropriate bait for your type of ant (sugar water, grease, or peanut butter), put it in tin foil cups - and you have a better product for a third of the price... A great website for this is www.antsgetrid.com. Hope that helps :D

Another vote for Terro. Ants eat it up and it kills the queen... I have knocked out some serious Argentine ant colonies (which can grow to be ENORMOUS) using Terro.

Havent seen the suggestion of dimaciuos earth (sp). It is the active ingredient of 20 mule team borax,,,also is a natural organic farmers friend since its approved for killing insects in organic grain.

Also known as silica sand. It is very lite and fluffy,,harmless to pets and humans,even rated as food grade edible.

It is abrasive to insects only, scratchs there endoskin and causes them to dehydrate. Great stuff for spreading around a home for insect control. Inside and out. It feels like talc powder.

I'm also looking at solutions for killing small black ants in my mothers home. I have no idea where they are coming from perhaps they have a nest inside the walls, but they are getting everywhere. My mother-in-law keeps a clean home but they still come out to play.

I will try the 20,000 mule train which I have had other recommend as well. Basically it is borax based.

I've lived in the Tampa area for 16 years and have had a huge problem with Caribbean ants literally every day until I finally figured out how to keep them out of the house this year. It came to me at 3am after a dream that ants were crawling on me...they were!

Firstly, and I know this seems counterintuitive, but you have to stop trying to kill them. They come back for their dead and eat them so all this does is give them more food and make them thrive. Second, stop putting pesticide everywhere! This kills any natural enemy they might have that could take care of them for you. You need to understand that pesticide works on contact only and given they have hundreds of nest, you will likely not make contact and the pesticide in granular form does absolutely nothing anyway. Third, they absolutely hate mint and cannot walk through anything sticky such as petroleum jelly. I literally painted a 2 inch wide line of generic dollar store Vaporub all the way around my house 6 months ago and they will not cross it, (nor, it seems will any other kind of bug). Lastly, to kill any that are left around the house, you really only need a spray bottle with soapy water or vinegar and water. Once you get rid of the ones inside and keep the others out you're done. A note: you will need to scrub the Vapo Rub off the house when you want to repaint the house.

If you know where the mound is you can try this;

1. Take an empty, clean, 5 gallon, plastic, paint bucket.
2. Cut a 6" hole in the middle of the bottom of the bucket
3. Line the bottom of the bucket in syrup (sweet, sticky stuff)
4. Set the bucket over the entrance hole of the ant mound
5. In about 2 weekes the ant's will have moved into the bucket and moved
the queen into the bucket as well.
6. Carefully turn the bucket upside down...fill it full of water
7. Put duct tape over the whole and let the water fill bucket sit for a day or so.
8. Take Xanex so you won't feel guilty about the entire colony of ants you've
murdered.

Originally posted by Just Don:
Havent seen the suggestion of dimaciuos earth (sp). It is the active ingredient of 20 mule team borax,,,also is a natural organic farmers friend since its approved for killing insects in organic grain.

Also known as silica sand. It is very lite and fluffy,,harmless to pets and humans,even rated as food grade edible.

It is abrasive to insects only, scratchs there endoskin and causes them to dehydrate. Great stuff for spreading around a home for insect control. Inside and out. It feels like talc powder.

I use DE for killing ants in my mailbox. Yes, I said mailbox. This summer, I had an infestation of black ants in the mailbox, and after a couple days of sprinkling some DE, they were gone. Works well for ants and fleas (for those with pets).

As previously mentioned by others, we have had good luck using a solution (cannot remember the ratio) of mint jelly with 20 mule team Borax. It will take about 3-4 days, but the ants are attracted to it almost over any other food item. It has worked well for what we call sugar ants (small red ants that want to play in your pantry or countertops).

We had carpenter ants and they differ from termites, which use wood as a food source and will eat sound wood. Carpenter ants do not eat wood; they nest in wet or water-damaged wood. Sometimes they find a void to serve as a nesting area. Keeping wood piles away from your foundation and any wood siding etc from direct contact to soil will help.

My primary residence had been neglected for years when I bought it with a leaking back addition and when I tore in for remodeling, the carpenter ants had destroyed everything. After rectifying why they were originally there, I started treating with an outside pest granules that worked great, problem is a year or so later the main ingredient that made them work so well was outlawed ( diazinon ) after that, every spring I started the battle all over again when the warm weather would come the huge black critters would appear. I tried the taro and etc traps, but nothing worked that well because what you need to do is kill the nest each time, not the individual ants. After many trials and endless searches, I found one that worked and worked GREAT. Take GRAPE jelly ( only Grape for whatever reason ) and mix in a small amount of the powder boric acid ( safe and available everywhere including dollar stores, drug stores, home centers etc ) put small amounts of it out on disposable plastic lid containers or such and place them in your home where you see the most ants. Here is another REALLY important part, if when you examine those areas you see dead ants around it, do NOT remove them, leave them as the other ants will carry them back to the nest, the object is for the ants to not only eat the poison, but make it back to the nest to poison the others. You will need to dispose of your jelly traps regularly as it can mold if left too long.