Ants, Ants, Ants!

Our house is overrun with ants!
Yes, this happens in Las Vegas every summer when it suddenly turns hot outside (been about 109 or so for the past few days) but this year is ridiculous.

They are coming in from everywhere…all around the sinks (both kitchen AND bathrooms) and even up into the dishwasher!

Last year, an aunt (no pun intended) told us to sprinkle cinnamon around…didn’t help and took forever to get rid of those brown cinnamon stains. We tried another “home remedy” this year and sprinkled baking soda around…not only does our kitchen look like the home of a Columbian cocaine distributor, the little bastards climb right over it.

Short of torching the house, does anyone have a suggestion as to how to get rid of these pests.

BTW, my SO is German…and as any of the Dopers who have been to our house can attest, the entire house is spotless. This is the guy who actually pulls out the fridge and vacuums under it twice a year! No crumbs, no food left out…nothing…still, they come in droves…ants, ants and more ants!

Just now, in my den typing this, I have had a few climbing my legs, up my arms and there is nothing even resembling food in this entire room. Unless you consider me food…but they ain’t biting - yet.


A few people have told me Diatomaceous Earth works great. We have the same problem here when it gets really hot and when it first rains. The ants come in, even with no food around.

They haven’t found their way in here yet, but when they do, I’m going to give DE a shot. It should be available at any home and garden type store.

Forget herbs and spices- the only way to get rid of ants is to poison the buggers. I buy ‘bait stations’ which can be safely used indoors. Put them near the ant trail, the ants walk through and pick up the poison, then take it back to the nest.

I’d like to add that I’m not usually a fan of murdering small creatures, but in the case of ants in the house, I make an exception.

I know you’re in no mood for another ‘home remedy’, but I learned this from my 100yr old granny and was mighty skeptical, myself. My digs at university were horribly ant infested, I really didn’t want to use any poison.

She told me to use cucumber skins. They grow on the ground and have a natural repellent in the skin. She said to use a peeler to make thin strips of cucumber skin and then push them into any and every opening and crack where you see ants. I tried to tell her the place was like a sieve, but she made me promise to try it.

As I always have cucumber in my fridge, I tried it as soon as I returned home. The peel strips you jam in every crack don’t rot or anything, they just dry out, but continue to work.

I couldn’t believe how well it worked, truly. I lived there for another 5 yrs and never, ever, saw another ant. I never did it a second time either.

I know it’s another home remedy. But I can personally attest to a positive outcome, it’s cheap, easy and works. Give it a try!

Good luck!

50/50 mix of sugar and borax. Pack it into the places where you find the ants coming in; the borax is poison and they can’t tell the difference between that and the sugar. They’ll bring it back to the colony and spread the poison for you.

We use Terro. It’s cheap, and it works very well, in my experience.
Good luck.

I use diatomaceous earth and it works well - from the ants perspective it’s like crawling across a field of razor blades, it nicks their exoskeleton, they dehydrate and die.

Buy the stuff that is specifically labeled for use as a crawling pest killer (there’s another type found at pool supply stores which is different and not recommended for sprinkling about the house).

Anyhow a box of DE will last for years. Find their paths and just dust it down with a cheap paintbrush. You don’t have to pour a massive heap of the stuff all over the floor, a little goes a long way.

It’s pretty safe around kids and pets, read the box for notes - basically like any fine dust you don’t want to breathe a lot of it but it’s not poisonous. I have a very inquisitive cat and I’ve had no issues.

And do the usual stuff to make your place less hospitable to ants - you mentioned that there’s no food or water sources. Find the little holes (around pipes and outlets and so on) that they are using and caulk them up. If I notice a path of ants then I figure they’ve laid down their little scent track that tells the rest of the ants “Food this way” so I take care of the ants and then clean that pathway thoroughly with something like bleach or pinesol or another household cleaner, I think that kills the path so they don’t just go right back along it.

If you want to kill 'em at the source (personally I don’t mind ants as long as they stay outside) and you find the nest, the Bug Guy (entomologist who writes a newspaper column and prefers to avoid poisons for controlling insects) recommends pouring a pot of boiling soapy water into it.

I second the use of borax/sugar mixture - we’ve had pretty consistent results with that. If the dry mixture doesn’t seem to work, then try mixing in some water to dissolve the borax/sugar.

Ants are scent-oriented - pretty much any action you see an ant taking is a response to the detection of a scent. This is why the cinnamon/freshly ground pepper/etc. approaches appear to work at first, but fail in the long run. Basically, the strong scents interfere with their ability to pick up the scent of their own chemical trail, causing them to wander around in confusion. After a while, though, the scent of the spices begins to dissipate, and the ants can just form a brand new trail (sometimes right through the spices).

We’ve had the same problem here for four years. In our case, the ants lived on our ceiling space and when the first hot weather hit they would abandon ship (ceiling space) in favour of our cooler house. They also had been in the annoying habit of over-colonising then falling down dead all over our benches, ugh. (Our house is rammed earth and the architraves don’t sit flush against the rough walls). Professional pest control sprayed to no effect and told us it was a hopeless case. Great. We finally got some great advice which was to keep the outside perimeter of teh house completely clear. Move all furniture, pot plants etc. away from the walls - remove every single thing that ants can use to gain entry to your house. Spray beams, uprights and drain pipes etc regularly with professional strength pesticide (look for tetramethrin as an ingredient). There’s nothing more satisfying than sweeping up the piles of dead formic acid bstds that form at the bases.

Take off and nuke’em from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Well, we went out and bought some diatomaceous earth.
Huge bag for $8 and will spread it around tomorrow.

Hopefully it will work as some of you have said it will!