At least twice a year our home would be invaded by little black ants that many people call sugar ants. Actually there are a number of different ants that look like these little critters such as furrow ants, acrobat ants or ghost ants.
Whenever you get these ants in your home you will not be concerned with terminology. You will be searching for almost any remedy to get rid of ants. Of course with any insect the best course of action is to keep them out in the first place. This is easier said than done with these pesky prowlers.
You can start by sealing any cracks that will admit them. Using caulk or other sealants try to find any entry point and seal it. In many cases especially in older homes this is not possible. Because these little black ants can crawl through cracks that are almost invisible or are in inaccessible areas you may never find all of them.
Ants are attracted to almost any food sources. Even counter tops or table tops that have had fCredit: Oneclick Learningood spilled on them will attract sugar ants. Leaving soiled dishes in a dishwasher is a sure invitation for any insect. Try to remove any food particles from waste baskets in the home as soon as possible. Keep food particles and scraps separate from other trash in the home and move it to outdoor trash containers.
We found that despite our best efforts at following the above suggestions we would still be invaded by these critters at least twice a year. We tried all the available pesticides and sprays and found that they had no effect. While they might seem to keep the ants at bay for a few hours the pesticides actually had a more lasting effect on my wife and me. Most of them have absolutely foul odors that would drive us from the house for a few hours.
Beware Of Many Commercial Pesticides
Many professional exterminators warn against using many of these pesticides and sprays because they can cause the ant colonies to break up into separate colonies and move to other areas of the home thereby increasing the problem instead of solving it.
After trying all the resources available short of calling in an expensive professional I decided to do a little research on the internet for possible solutions. I discovered almost immediately that one of be most used and effective ant repellants in use for decades is boric acid. Any acid sounds fearsome and before I decided to try it I wanted to make sure there would be no harm to us or any visitors to our home.
I easily found a number of websites that offered good, understandable descriptions of boric acid such as this one:
Here is a partial paragraph from this site with information I found on many other sites convincing me that while any chemical compound needs to be properly handled, boric acid would be safe for use in the home.
"Boric acid is a natural and increasingly popular insect control product. Unlike hornet or ant sprays, boric acid does not kill bugs on contact using highly toxic chemicals. Rather, it acts as a desiccant that dehydrates many insects by causing tiny cracks or fissures in their exoskeletons. This eventually dries them out. The “saltiness” of boric acid also interferes with their very simple electrolytic metabolism."
Here is another site you may wish to review if you have concerns about the use of boric acid.
Credit: AmazonBoric Aid May Be Hard To Find In Your Area.
Having convinced myself that boric acid was worth a try I went about trying to purchase some locally. All of the normal sources such as hardware stores, garden supplies and others do not carry the product in my area. Back to the internet I found that Walgreen's drug store web site has a listing for a boric acid product called "Hot Shot MaxAttrax 1 lb. Ready-to-Use Roach Killing Powder" and notes that it is only available in their stores and not on line.
Our local Walgreens does not carry it however. After reviewing their website however and reading the customer comments I found there about the success they were having using this product I was more determined than ever to find the product.
Here are a few of the comment headings I found on the Walgreen's website:
Best Product Ever
September 5, 2010
May 18, 2010
Pros: Easy To Use
BORIC ACID WORKS!!!!
April 1, 2010
You can visit the Walgreen's website and read the full customer comments if you like.
Amazon Carries A Wide Choice And Variety Of Boric Acid Products
As a last resort I tried the local Home Depot and fortunately they do carry the product. I also found this product and a much broader source of boric acid products on Amazon. Boric acid is very inexpensive and as I was soon to discover the answer to our ant problems.
The product is in powder form and is contained in a plastic squeeze bottle with a pointed spout much like a mustard dispenser. To use it you simply remove the cap, cut off the tip of the spout and spray the powder into areas such as spaces behind and under counters, and in any cracks you can find that may be access points for ants.
The Simple Homemade Ant Trap Proved Totally Effective
Boric acid will discourage ants from foraging in areas where it is sprayed. I went a step Credit: Oneclick Learningfurther and made a few "ant traps" to make sure I killed off all the ants in their nests. These traps contain a mixture of sugar water to attract the ants and borax mixed together. The ants ingest the mixture and carry it back to the nest and infect all inhabitants.
The term “ant trap” is really a misnomer because I did not want to trap the ants. I wanted to feed them the boric acid and sugar water and allow them to carry it back to the nest. In order for this to work you must not mix in too much boric acid or it will kill them at the trap instead of allowing them to carry it back to the nest.
The traps are simply empty jars such as jelly or peanut butter jars. I wrapped masking tape around the outsides of the jars to make sure the ants would be able to crawl crawl up the sides and also the tape would hold some of the sugar water as I brushed it over the tape.
I placed cotton balls inside the jars to about the 3/4 level and made sure they were not tightly packed. I then mixed up the sugar water. 3 cups of water and one cup of sugar mixed with 3 tablespoons of boric acid. Remember not to make the boric acid too strong because you will want the ants to stay alive to make it back to the nest.
I made three of these traps, divided the sugar water between them and placed each one in an area where we were having invasions of ants, one in the bathroom, one in a corner of the kitchen under the cabinets and one in the furnace room. It took about 6 hours for the ants to be attracted to these jars after which there was lots of activity for 3 or 4 hours.
Then all of a sudden the ants were gone. Just that quick. No more little black ants. It has been over three weeks since I used these traps and we have only seen two single ants since then in the first couple of days after the treatment. Since then no sugar ants at all. What a joy. This is so easy to do.
Always Use Caution With Any Insect Remedy Especially If You Have Children Or Pets
We do not have children or pets in our home. If we did I would have placed caps on the jars, punched a few holes in them and then taped the lids on to make them secure. Please be careful if you have children or pets and follow the directions found on the label of the boric acid. Boric acid is a chemical and as mentioned earlier should be used with care.
For removing sugar ants, little black ants or whatever else they may be called this the ant trap has been a perfect solution for us. Hopefully it will prove to be a remedy to get rid of ants in your home.