For the past several years I have been at war with ants. Argentinian Black Ants to be precise. With cooler weather the problem abates, but the minute the temperatures warm up they are back again. Nothing can be left out, I even have to refrigerate Miss Twiggley's dry cat food
I have worked very hard to build up the population of good bugs and propagators in my garden and every time I was at my wits end with an evasion of ants and was picking up the telephone to call an exterminator I would look out of a window and see a beautiful butterfly flit by, a buzzing bee, or birds at the bird feeders. I just couldn't risk endangering this.
So, I have been trying natural remedies and I have come up with two solutions that in combination seem to be working.
Diatomaceous earth, a benign white powder is excellent in getting rid of ants outside; it simply dehydrates them. I have been sprinkling it around ant hills at the perimeter of my house. So far it has completely destroyed all of the ant nests I have used it on. I will leave some nests in the far back of my garden because I believe in the diversity of insect life in creating a healthy garden.
Inside the house where I can't physically reach the ant nests I made my own ant bait - the ants simply ignored the commercial products I purchased. I tried several recipes I found online all using a combination of borax and some type of sugar/syrup solution. Borax is the killing agent and the sweetner was the attractant. This failed to attract my seemingly gourmet ants.
Then I realized that they really, really, liked wet cat food, the cat food of choice ironically is also Miss Twiggley's - Meow Mix. I used cat food containers with a bit of food left in and mixed in the borax. This is the same 20 Mule Team borax that is used for laundry, I just happened to have an old box in the garage. I added a little water to thin it. The nice thing about the cat food containers is that you can partially close the lid and the ants can still get in.
I made up a couple of these traps, putting one in my pantry and one under the sink. For a couple of days it was a bit yucky because in order for this to be really effective you have to let the ants come, feast, and take the food back to their nest to kill the queen before they die.
As of now, I am ant free! I love when persistence pays off. I wish I could give you the actual measurements I used but it was a bit random - I tried to add enough borax to kill but not so much that the ants wouldn't eat it.
The bait is not poisonous but I would still make sure it was completely away from any pets or children.
This is probably the strangest post I have ever written but I thought this information might be helpful to others that want a environmentally safe way to deal with their ant problem
I hope you have a wonderful and pest free day!