Ants are particularly hard to get rid of when they claim your yard and home as their permanent residence. Identifying your ants is first on the list to getting rid of them. All 12,761 classified species of ants have very minute changes and are hard to differentiate between the species. Sometimes specific treatments are needed so you must try and identify.
Your local or state university can help. Most have extension services that offer identification of the ant type and treatment options. Type in your state name and “university extension service” into any search engine and you can find contact numbers including emails. Take photos of your offending ants and attach in the email. Generally you will get a timely response and the advice is free.
For most common household ants, the best deterrent is keeping a clean house with attractive foodstuff, dirty dishes and chemicals put away or cleaned so they won’t want to come in. If you have a garden, the pesky critters will try to enjoy that, too. But when they do get into your yard, garden and home, here are some treatments you can try that have been used with success.
Borax, Sugar, Honey and Water Mixture
To kill the most common little black ants or those attracted to sugar,use an old 8 oz coffee mug you don’t want to reuse for a beverage, and add 6-8 teaspoons of borax (I buy 20 Mule Team Borax from any hardware or grocery store), 6 teaspoons of sugar and 2-3 teaspoons of honey, add enough boiling water to fill nearly to the top, stirring to dissolve completely. Let cool and then pour into an empty spray bottle. Shake well and you’re ready to look for ant trails along your foundation outside or inside the house. Spray on ledges, inside window sills, around electric outlets and along the floor and baseboards. Spray enough to leave shallow pools to better attract the ants. The pesky critters ingest the borax mixture and when inside the ant, the borax creates a gas that dries them up and causes their demise. Even after the spray dries, it will still remain effective for weeks.
Water and Ammonia or Vinegar
This remedy is a bit aromatic so prepare in good ventilation. Pour about a pint of water into a bowl with a spout and add a tablespoon or so of household ammonia or vinegar. Mix well and pour into an empty spray bottle you can find at any dollar store. This mixture cleans as well as kills ants on kitchen counters, patio tables, around toilets, bathtubs and window sills. Repeat whenever you see ants again. The great thing about this remedy is it is safe and non toxic around food preparation and dining areas. After the ammonia water dries, the pungent scent goes away while leaving a residual barrier.
Talcum Powder, Cinnamon and Ground Cayenne Pepper
I combined these together to make a non toxic dry mix to sprinkle as a barrier inside our window sills one spring. It worked surprisingly well. The ants don’t like cinnamon and the talcum powder covers up their scent trails they leave for other ants to follow. These pheromone tracks are essentially deactivated by the talcum powder and the ants get lost, starve and die. The cayenne pepper repels ants. Also, you can throw used coffee grounds directly on ant hills.
Terro Liquid Ant Baits
For a more serious ant infestation, use Terro Liquid Ant Baits. There are 6 to a box. Put them 15 to 20 feet apart outside around the area where you see ants. Terro will kill most common household ants as well as the black carpenter ants. Replace every 6 weeks outside and every three months in the house.
These baits contain borax in a sweet liquid to attract the ants. The ants will ingest just enough and carry the borax back to the nest and ultimately back to the queen. These are very efficient at wiping out colonies.
Insecticide Spray containing Bifenthrin, Permethrin or Deltamethrin
If your problem warrants insecticide, then be sure it contains at least one of these ingredients. For the safest application, call an exterminator to do it
These remedies do work if you apply them correctly and replace your treatments when they are no longer active. However it does need to be said, that it’s wise to take the natural approach when dealing with nature. To obliterate every and all ants from your house and yard is impossible and really not a good idea. Ants feed on termites keeping them in check. So the chord to strike here is maintaining a balance in the ecosystem of your property. Go green in your treatments if possible but if the ants take over,call the professionals.