The ANTS are marching one by one…
Actually, this year there seem to be THOUSANDS of ants… Everywhere! Typically, I note a few of the tiny ants in early Spring, and I simply spray my natural, botanical insecticide over my counter tops and around doorways. This usually handles the problem. This year there are so many ants- tiny and huge- that I find them crawling up my arms at times! One night while reading in bed, a large carpenter ant was exploring the bedspread. Ugh.
Time to pull out the big guns. I am a “live and let live” kinda gal for the most part. However, this many ants must be dealt with. We can control ants without expensive visits from the exterminator and his toxic chemicals. Here is the strategy: (Please follow the LINKS provided to purchase your items from Amazon)
- Sweep or vacuum your floors and wipe down your counter tops. Vacuum around window sills. Then, mix up some non-toxic ant repellent cleaners for your home, as follows:
- Floors: If you have vinyl floors, try a simple solution of 1 cup white vinegar per gallon of warm water. This will clean your floors well without leaving toxins that may effect your kids and pets. You can add a squirt of Dawn dish detergent per gallon if your floors are really dirty. Just a squirt- a teaspoon or so- so it’s not too sudsy. Now, ADD TWO TEASPOONS per gallon of vinegar/water mix of YOUR CHOICE of any these essential oils- choose by your preferred scent. Orange, Cinnamon, Cedar or Peppermint. These essential oils are very repellent to ants and other crawling insects. Stir it all up well and mop your swept floors. Let dry- do NOT rinse. Got wood floors??? Try using Murphy’s Oil Soap instead of vinegar. Follow the directions to mix a gallon, then add the essential oil and mop as directed above.
- Counter tops, Window Sills: Mix up some DILUTED Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap: 1/4 cup into a 1 QT spray bottle. To this, add 1/4 tsp of whatever essential oil you bought above. Mix gently and use this to spray your counter tops and window sills. You can actually use this all over the house, except on glass. This is not only insect repellent, it is effective against bacteria too!
- NOW for the final step! Prepare a NATURAL and EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE ant bait. The ants will flock to this, eat it up, and take it back to their nest. This will kill the entire nest, although it may take a few days. Mix 1/2 cup of BORIC ACID, 1 cup of SUGAR and enough water to make a liquid- about three cups. Use warm water and mix well until completely dissolved. Place this mixture directly in the path of ants or in areas you have found a great concentration of ants. DO NOT PLACE THIS WHERE PETS OR KIDS MIGHT EAT IT! It is WAY less toxic than most insecticides, but not for internal use. Use a small bottle top from a milk jug or the lid of a mason jar (seen below). Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls and place them around sills and counters.
Take a look at this photo that I took recently. The ants are COMPLETELY ignoring the commercial ant trap. This trail of ants ate from the lid filled with the boric acid/sugar mix (see above) for three days and then disappeared. The ants take the mixture back to their nests, and feed it to their young. This eradicates the ants that have been visiting your home, at least until a new colony moves in.
One more bit of info for you- SOME ants prefer fat to sugar. If your ants are ignoring the sugar/boric acid mixture, you can try this instead. Mix equal parts of boric acid and softened butter. This makes a kind of dough. If the dough is too mushy, add more boric acid powder until you can make little dough balls. Place these dough balls in the path of the ants. This also works VERY well against cockroaches and other fat eating pests.
Best of luck to you- and thank you for staying non-toxic!