Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ants be gone!


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

Image result for argentine ants

 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.

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 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!


10 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this information. Every time I go out in the garden there are new ant hills and if they get on me, you can't believe how they bite me. The bite swells up and drives me crazy. I get like hives from them. It will last about three days and then go away leaving a red spot. So I have to be so careful, if I see where they are I get my bug spray and spray the hill. They are the little black ants, like specks of pepper.

    I have also heard that if you put sweet and low all around the hill that will kill them. I haven't tried that yet. I have a problem with those big brown water bugs. There is a branka in the park with standing water in it and they come from there. I sprinkle the Borax across the bottom of where the door closes. I've called the parks and they do nothing. I don't even know why we have these department as the pawn every thing off to another dept.

    Have a great rest of the weekend.

    Mary

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  2. You might try giving them (non-poisonous) treats outside on the four corners of your house, such as some thick sugar water. Being kind to my ants has helped this situation a lot and recognizing they have a right to live. And this, while I basically live on a giant anthill.

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  3. I have used sugar and borax and it really works.

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    1. I tried this and for some reason it did not attract my ants - cat food however worked like a charm.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I hope that I do not need to use it but you never know!

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  5. I think we have more of a problem with ants here because it is so dry. You live in such a lovely moist climate that it probably isn't a big concern.

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  6. Adrienne, I used to have lots of ants (tiny little black ones) but, knock on wood, haven't had them for a long time. They certainly are gruesome little buggers. We have alot of bees, honey and big black ones, but thankfully they stay outside where they belong..Happy Weekend..Judy

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  7. I don't mind them outside but in the house they are a real problem. I really like most bugs and insects but not in the house!

    Have a super week!

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  8. Thank you so much for your great post!!! We are having ant problems as well....I will be borrowing some of the Princess Posie's food!! I have plenty of borax since I use it in the laundry!
    Blessings to you and again my thanks,
    J

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    Replies
    1. Hope it works for you. You have to be patient and let them come and eat even tho it is yucky.

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