Is there any effective way to keep them from coming in and spoiling our food–short of calling an exterminator or spraying Raid (with that awful lingering smell!) in the kitchen? I had even mopped the kitchen floor and a day later ants were crowded around a seam in the tiling, in an area I had mopped! (That is, I had mopped the whole floor; nothing special about the seam). They seem unusually aggressive and to have a highly acute sense of smell…
I feel your pain. I get those flippin’ ants in my house every summer. You’d think they’d learn how much I hate them and just stay away. But nooooo…
Anyway, I’ve had good luck with those little Raid ant traps. I’ll set a few out, and in the morning, there’s little anti-bodies all around them. Hehehehehe…
Likewise. I’ve always had best success with the little Raid (or other brand) baits.
Unfortunately we haven’t been able to use them recently, because our dog would try to eat them.
Forget the spray – it doesn’t work nearly as long as it stinks See if you can find the places or places where the ants are coming in, and block it up, then use traps. Get the kind that stick to the walls if you have pets (but make sure they’re still out of reach.)
My sympathies! They’re a pain, aren’t they?
We had a really bad infestation one year. (Life hint: do not store honey in one of those decorative ceramic jars w/ a hole for the little swizzle stick thing. The ants set up a supply line that looked like something on The Discovery Channel, right across the pantry.) Like you, I didn’t want to spray Raid all over the pantry and kitchen.
The Raid ant traps worked pretty well, but what really solved it, decisively, was Terro Ant Killer. It comes in a little bottle; it looks for the world like Karo Syrup. You put a few drops on little pieces of cardboard (away from pets and children!) and then watch the ants croak.
It worked great. The first day, the invasion slowed down; by the second day, only a few stragglers were weaving across the floor, and by the third day, no ants! And I mean, we had solid LINES of the things traipsing in. The Terro attracts them, and they carry it back to the nest so–kaput: problem gone.
IIR, I found the Terro at a good hardware store. Anyway, it might be worth a try.
Ah, yes ants. You can have the cleanest house anywhere & you still get ants. Or you can have a really dirty house & get no ants.
Ithink they come in looking for food & water. Why not set some outside for them?
Blech, ants…they are the worst. I have success with the ant traps once they’re down to a managable level, but if you have the whole infestation like we do every spring we go the boric acid route. It’s the cheapest thing going (you can get huge bottles of it at the dollar store.) You have to be super thorough with it and be sure not to get any where pets or kids will get into it. Dump a continuous border along the base of your house (we also use the outdoor stake traps incase some don’t get the hint.) For inside the house dump it behind all appliances, in the backs of cupboards and for good measure I dump some in the bottom of the trash can, in case any make it that far. Keep everything edible in either the fridge or plastic containers (i.e. don’t open the cookies and leave the package on the counter, toss them in a baggie or a Tupperware.) I’ve also heard that they don’t like the scent of lemons, so mopping with something lemon-scented might be helpful…I have a big bowl of lemons right on the counter and haven’t had a problem for months.
dougie, are they coming in through the seam in the tiling? If so, you can try sealing it off with something, and see if that helps.
We had ants coming into our basement (into the room where the cats eat) and getting into the catfood. GROSS!! I finally figured out that they were getting in through a crack in the (cinderblock) wall, caulked it up, and voila! no more ants.
Never attribute to malice anything that can be attributed to stupidity.
You want to get rid of the ants? Go get a bucketful of spiders. That should take care of them.
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
they also don’t like water.
ANyway, how come no one talks about finding their nest & dealing with that?
Also, there are some bigger ants you could probably get that eat those kitchen ants.
I think I must be the only person on the planet who likes the smell of Raid. I don’t go around inhaling the stuff, of course, but I don’t find it at all unpleasant. This is probably because I used to delight in spraying the stuff to kill ants, and my warped little mind associated the smell with that.
Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.
Read Italo Calvino’s brilliant short story, “The Argentine Ant.”
I believe it’s in the collection entitled ADAM, ONE AFTERNOON.
You will still have ants in your kitchen afterward, but you’ll feel better about them.
“they also don’t like water.”
Well, here in So Cal they sometimes come in along the plumbing pipes looking for water when there hasn’t been rain for a long time. So you can get ants even if you are really careful about keeping food cleaned up and put away. My parent used to get ants in their bathroom all the time. We just keep ant traps around, especially in the summer.
I found a “natural” remedy a few years ago that seemed to work very well. Oddly enough, it was peppermint.
Those crawlies found an easy entrance in a door jamb of the house I rented. I put a little pile of dried mint and changed it out every few days or so. I did that all summer and seemed to work very well.
I think you can use any mint, they simply don’t like the “smell” of it.
For another natural remedy, try fresh Bay leaves. They have to be fresh, but something about the oils (or whatever) in the leaves repells ants. Distribute the leaves around where the ants get inside, or use them to create a barrier around what you want to protect.
Good Luck; ants are a pain.
If I recall correctly you live in SoCal. In that case, the ants you have are probably the same ones I have, the little teeny Argentine ants.
Lysol kills the ones you spray it on, and slows the others down. Dilute bleach works pretty much the same way, but be careful what you spray it on… some things aren’t all that colorfast.
Terro works reasonably well if you can find it around here (we import it from the Midwest whenever we’re back there). If you can’t find it, it’s basically borax and syrup, so you might try that if you’re desperate. The problem is that for some reason, this year the ants are so bad that they’ll eat all the Terro and there will still be ants left.
However, I finally got lucky and found a web page that suggested cinnamon. I sprinkled a little of that on the floor in the corner of my kitchen where they were coming in, and they REALLY don’t like to cross it. They sometimes manage to find a way around it by going up the wall, but it’s not like before (I came down one morning to find a black river across the kitchen floor from the corner to the trash can under the sink). I suppose you could rub cinnamon oil on their trails instead.
The site is http://daphne.palomar.edu/wayne/wayne.htm if you want to read more about the ants.
Interestingly, after the recent earthquake the ants all disappeared for a while. I finally started seeing a few of them again a few days ago. I don’t know if it was connected with the earthquake or if the timing was a coincidence.
Oh, about the suggestion of getting bigger ants to eat the little ones:
Argentine ants are quite capable of killing or driving off the much larger termites, wasps, and bees. Any ants which will take them out are likely to be even MORE obnoxious (fire ants, maybe, or those army ants from the Amazon could probably do it).