Killing ants with kindness

I need help figuring out how to kill a lot of indoor ants without using professional or chemical products. They are everywhere! I did a search on the subject and tried the first idea, which was to spray soapy water on them. It may have killed some, but they are back in full force.

Looking for personal stories of redemption and triumph over the mighty ant. I am pretty much homebound right now, and I just can’t stay inside and inhale a bunch of chemicals. I suppose down the line it’s a possible solution, but for right now I am looking to kill them softly. Thanks - beckwall, who can’t yet bend over to flick away little crawly things on her foot

My mom once claimed to have killed ants with Life Savers and toilet paper. She left a wet Life Saver near to where the little buggers were congregating, and just periodically wiped it off with wet toilet paper and flushed them. She said that after a few days, she had killed the entire colony. I have no proof that this works, but she claims it does.

Why no chemicals? Is it because of pets/small children? There should be some that are safe to use around pets and kids. Maybe those trap thingies that the ants crawl into and take poison back to the best with? I came home one weekend to find a BAD infestation. I coutned over 30 ants on the kitchen floor. Bought some of those traps and some spray stuff. Sprayed all I saw, left traps on the floor, saw two more since then, and didn’t kill them, let them take poison back to the nest.

I would think soapy water on the floor would be the * last * thing you’d want right now. Even worse than chemicals.

The ant trap thingies are a good start. There aren’t any loose chemicals being sprayed about because the ant (theoretically at least) is carrying it all home to Mom and the kids. You could look into spraying the foundation outside the house which would hopefully act as a barrier to keep the ants from coming in.

Aside from that, find out what’s attracting them and remove it. If the ants are following an obvious path, then scrub it to remove the scent traces that they’re using to lead them to the scrumptious food.

Take a saucer. Put a dab of jelly in the center. Surround it with yeast. Leave it where the ants can get to it. Wait a few days. Not very kind, but it avoids use of chemicals.

Hate to break the news to you, but soapy water is a mixture of chemicals.

Try using borax. It kills ants and does not present a significant risk of harm to humans.

Plain sugar is one I have heard of.

Just keep on feeding it to them and eventually it kills the colony.

I have no idea why it might work, something to do with those empty calories maybe, but I remember someone on this board stating that workers carry it straight to the Queen and too much of it kills her, hence the colony is destroyed.

Combine the above two hints: Equal amounts sugar and borax will do them in.

Ants do not like the smell of peppermint, so put a couple of tablespoons in a spray bottle of water and spray around. Your house will smell good, and the ants will leave quickly.

I’ve told this story before so forgive me if you’ve heard it.

My then 100 yr old grandmother (who raised 13 children, living in a shack, married to a subsistence farmer!) taught it to me.

I was complaining of ants in my first student digs (unlikely to see any repair), I really didn’t want to use any chemicals. She said this is what she had always used.

What I was told is that cucumber, which grows on the ground contain, in their skin, a natural ant repellent. She said to peel a cucumber and cram the pieces into any crack I could find where ever I thought they might be coming in. She assured me it would not rot, only dessicate and yet continue to be effective.

I wasn’t really convinced, but I had a cucumber and the ants were really bugging me.
So I followed her instructions, all the while being heaped with abuse from my skeptical roommates.

I’m here to tell you it worked exactly as described. Never saw another ant, lived there another 4 yrs, never had to repeat the procedure.

(I made a lovely cucumber salad with the remains, yum.)

Now, not very many people I tell this story to give it much weight, the few, the open minded, and those with cucumbers on hand who actually give it a try never fail to tell me of the outstanding success of something they were so skeptical about.

Got a cucumber? Give it a try.

I immediately looked at your location because the ants out here in California seem a lot more annoying and tenacious than the ones back in the Midwest. The others have suggested all that I was going to say except for one trick. Ants won’t cross petroleum jelly, so if you want to confine them or prevent from from getting on an area, smear a small amount around its edges.

I have two kinds of ants: sweet ants and meat ants. The sweet ants are more common but easier to discourage. They hate orange cleaner. Actually, it kills them if it touches them. I clean the counters with orange cleaner, and I spray it down the cracks behind the counter or anywhere else they might be coming in. It really helps.
The meat ants laugh at the orange cleaner and the powder traps, but they’re not nearly the problem that the sweet ants are.

I also have carpenter ants, and I’m going to have to do something about that real soon. I have cats and dogs, and I really don’t want to have the nasty professional chemicals saturating my house. On the other hand, I’d like the house to stay standing.

Ah, life in the country.

Malt-O-Meal cereal (puffed cereal) is supposed to kill ants - they eat it, take it back to the nest, etc. and by then the cereal has started to expand and kills them.

Bailey White said her aunt hired organic exterminators to kill the ants and roaches. After two days, she had to fire them. The stomping was driving her crazy.

I don’t know about killing ants with kindness, but I can kill kindness with ants!

We’ve got those nasty little Argentine ants here. They come in a few times a year. When it gets really hot and when it starts to rain are the two times a year or so they’re a real problem. There really is no getting rid of them, during those times (right now being one of them), we just have to keep our kitchen extra extra clean. We have to seal our sugar, and store our peanut butter in the fridge, because they are small enough to enter under the jar lid and follow the threads of the jar until they reach the inside, where they get stuck.

This prompted my youngest son to come up with his own extermination process a few years ago when he overheard my husband and I complaining about them.

He suggested: “Why not smear underneath the house with peanut butter, where they’ll get stuck and die?”

We did not take his advice, but we sure did get a laugh out of it.

Ants are currently busy destroying my lawn :frowning:

I’ve been using diotomaceous earth as a ant-killer, and it’s fun to find out where they go, and douse their tracks/holes with the stuff. It’s non-toxic, and I got a huge bag for less than $10, and it’s fun tracking down the entry points, and squirtying the DE in there. One time I shot in a bunch of DE, and a crapload of ants, some carrying eggs came out of the hole and took up defensive positions. The DE kills ants by eroding the exoskeleton enough that they dehydrate and die, so that’s why it works, even though it’s non-toxic.

Earlier this spring we had an ant problem in our kitchen. We bought a package of Terro, applied a few drops of the borax solution to the cardboard tear-outs, and put them in locations where the ants congregated, but out of reach of our dogs. It took about a week to completely eliminate the infestation.

The product cost about $5 and we still have most of it left in case the problem recurs.