By in Animals

My Fight to Do It Myself Against Ants

I have been fighting ant invasions in my bathrooms and kitchen for about two months now – at least. The seem to be gone, and then they are back with reinforcements. I have been using Liquid Ant Bait stations and the ants crowd them for several days and then they seem to disappear. I had also tried a couple of Ant Killing Bait Strips to go in harder to reach places, but the ants ignored them. This almost constant invasion is getting very stressful, since cooking or even making a salad is difficult with ants crowding onto the counter as soon as you have cleared them off.

It was suggested I make my own bait that is equal to the Terro, so I checked the various recipes online. Almost all contained Borax. It was suggested in one video that the Terro doesn't end the problem forever because the liquid only kills the adults, but not the larvae and the queen. This video suggested a drier trap would better solve that problem. It was stated that the liquid kills too fast and the ants die on their way home before they can get their poison carried there. I did see evidence for this in my bathroom. After I first put the Terro there, the entire floor was covered with dead ants. It hasn't happened since then, though.

I decided to try the easiest thing first. I poured a bit of into some small plastic and metal lids. It was suggested that I make a well in the middle and put a dot of honey there. Then I was supposed to use a toothpick to stir a bit of the borax into the honey. This would be a bait station I could put anywhere children and dogs (of which I have neither) could not get them.

My honey had crystallized. So I decided to use syrup, since I don't use it anymore. There were many different kind of shallow lids. I used some from small jars, juice bottle lids, and lids or plastic snap-out flaps from vitamin bottles. So far the most popular of these stations is a plastic vitamin bottle lid using a store brand pancake syrup. You can see it in the top photo, which you can enlarge with a right click to open in a new tab. The long strip is a Combat strip. It seems more popular in the kitchen than it was in the bathroom. The active ingredient is different than in Terro and Borax. It is Fipronil. It has both good and horrible reviews on Amazon. Everyone agrees the adhesive strip doesn't work, and my experience matched this. Some say that sugar ants don't like it, and most of my ants appear to be sugar ants.

The photo below shows another idea from the video which I modified a bit. Since many of my homemade traps haven't been discovered yet or are being ignored, I decided to mix some borax with the sweetener to make an almost solid but still moist blob. Then I used a toothpick to lay it on a narrow tile ledge above the sink, since the ants were using it as a path. That seems to work better than putting it in the lids Instead it puts it right in their little faces.

I took the photo.

The last photo shows three methods at work – the almost gone Terro baits, the Combat strip, and my own blob of goo on the toothpick on the tile. I'm hoping tomorrow morning I will see the ants in full retreat. It would be nice to get my counters back.

I took the photo and edited it.

Would you believe those little beasties were even climbing the cord to the blinds?

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved

Image Credit » I took the photo and edited it.

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SLGarcia wrote on September 1, 2014, 5:58 PM

Yuck! Have you sprayed around the outside of your house and around the window sills?

paigea wrote on September 1, 2014, 6:23 PM

I am so sorry you have to deal with this! How horrific. I had carpenter ants once.

Feisty56 wrote on September 1, 2014, 6:33 PM

I recall when I read first about your ant problem. I had no idea it was still ongoing. I hope you're soon able to rid yourself of them. Darn, that money for traffic fines/school could have paid for an exterminator!

Scorpie wrote on September 1, 2014, 7:48 PM

Take the fight to the outside of the house. Ants follow chemical trails which you have to disrupt.

bestwriter wrote on September 1, 2014, 8:18 PM

That was indeed hard work but when hard work pays its worth it. We have a dust called 'Notix' which is normally used on pets. It is safe for use inside the house. My ants disappear the moment I spray it. It is also good for cockroaches. I also have another dust for garden ants. It could be BHC but I am not sure. The grocer has packets of them.Also, I keep my sweet stuff in a moat kind of arrangement. A plate of water on which we keep a small stand and on the stand is where the dish with the sweet goes. This applies to the sugar bowl as well. This arrangement has done away with ants completely. Even food that our pet eats is kept on a moat.

Fractal wrote on September 1, 2014, 8:41 PM

Assuming you live on the ground floor - You need to attack from outside. At the moment you seem to be inviting them in.
Trace them back to the entry point or, even better, to the nest(s). That is where you should mount the attack. Spray the area around the nest with ... whatever is the most lethal compound available.

allen0187 wrote on September 2, 2014, 2:01 AM

You seem to be winning the battle but losing the war. I agree with what others had written. Trace back where these ants are coming from and get rid of their nest.

JanetJenson wrote on September 2, 2014, 4:59 AM

Yes, I WOULD believe they climb the cords! The borax takes a while but don't give up. Anything sweet works, I think, but if your honey is crystalized just heat the container and it will get runny again...usually a few seconds in the microwave does the trick.

MegL wrote on September 2, 2014, 7:58 AM

I have never had an ant attack as bad as that, thank goodness. I like watching ants out in the garden but would not be happy with them coming into the house in the numbers you are experiencing! The only time I saw anything like that was when I went on holiday to Greece and left a bag of dried figs open beside the bathroom sink in the hotel room. When we came back into the hotel room, there was a line of ants from the window, right up the wall to the ceiling, across the ceiling, then down the wall again, to the figs. As Scorpie says, ants follow chemical trails that one lays down (in order to find their way back home) and then others follow to see if the first one found food. The more food they find, the stronger that trail becomes as more and more ants follow it, (leaving more trail chemical) until the whole nest of ants may be moving back and forth along that chemical trail. With that problem, I removed and washed the figs (to remove ants and sugar smell) then locked figs away in an airtight box. Once the food source was gone, the ants disappeared.

poddys wrote on September 2, 2014, 3:33 PM

Wow that's a REAL ant problem! I have had problems before in Florida but mostly with the sugar ants. Hard to combat, but you have to just try and keep everywhere clean, and wash up the kitchen and keep anything sugary in sealed containers.

The worst encounter for me was in New Zealand just before a huge storm when the ants under the house decided to move into the roof, via the living room. My ex saw this 2 feet wide column crawling up the wall, carrying their white eggs with them, and sprayed them, which caused them to scatter in all directions. It was a horrible mess to clean up, all in the curtains etc.

Susie wrote on September 2, 2014, 5:15 PM

For some reason the ants have been crazy everywhere this year.

Ellis wrote on September 2, 2014, 8:13 PM

If you can find the nest buy one of those puffer ant killers and fit a tube over the nozzle and puff it right inside...

LoudMan wrote on September 2, 2014, 10:46 PM

We get these things everywhere, too. Our front porch is covered in them all the time. No matter what you try, the ant will likely always return.

LoudMan wrote on September 2, 2014, 10:47 PM

The moat is a good idea.

bestwriter wrote on September 2, 2014, 10:49 PM

You will find half a dozen or more moats doing the rounds here :)

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:09 AM

Nope. I can't see where they are getting in.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:11 AM

I think my husband has hired them to make me want to move back to our permanent address.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:12 AM

It probably could have. The price of my traffic sins!

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:12 AM

I just may have to do that!

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:14 AM

I haven't heard of Notix. I'll have to check it out.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:14 AM

I haven't been able to find the nests.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:15 AM

If I could have found the entrances, I would have done something about them.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:16 AM

I did heat the honey, but they still didn't want it. I won't give up.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:19 AM

There is no food source that I can identify in the bathrooms. I'm careful to remove such sources in the kitchen. I'm just glad they haven't hit the cupboards yet. They seem happy to stick around the counters and the wall and window over the sink.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:20 AM

That would be terrible. I've never seen anything like that before, and hope I never do.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:21 AM

I've never seen them this crazy here before. I'm sure glad they're not attacking the other house yet. They usually leave that house alone for some reason.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:22 AM

I can't find the nest.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:23 AM

I'm not yet ready to accept these little beasts as permanent guests.

bestwriter wrote on September 3, 2014, 1:38 AM

Notix could be a local product. But let me tell you, it is very effective. I just sprayed around pedigree that my dog eats. She likes it to be put down from her bowl.

poddys wrote on September 3, 2014, 2:12 AM

I used to get ants in my room when I was at university, and I solved the problem by spraying ant killer in large quantities into the holes where they were getting in. you should be able to follow them and see where they get into the house, and anywhere that looks likely, fill the holes with ant poison or even just some type of filler. Eventually you should be able to fill all the holes. Might even be a gap in a door or window frame that they are using. Just got to be patient and sooner or later they should leave.

Having said that, they were always in the bathroom/shower cubicle when I was in New Zealand, never completely got rid of them in there.

BarbRad wrote on September 3, 2014, 12:30 PM

I'll take a better loo, as soon as i have time. My lenses just transferred and I've a lot to do right now.