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Help with Ants

Below are suggestions from UTers about how to handle our shared ant problem. Other ideas are welcome!

"I have had excellent luck with the Grant's for Ants traps. They eat the food, take it back to the nest, and poison their clan. It takes a few days but usually works quite well. Wiping over their trail with soapy water seems to have a discouraging effect, but usually means they find another route and doesn't do anything about the source of the problem."

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"We have recently combatted our most recent invasion using some little boric acid bait tabs, I think they're called "Tero." Boric acid and sugar is a traditional, non-toxic to humans, home ant preventative. These little tabs are about an inch square and don't appear to leak or otherwise cause a mess.

"Rather more convenient than the do it yourself bait soaked cotton balls. The tabs (or soaked cotton balls)are placed in the way of the ants and left for several days. The workers carry the bait home to the colony and Queen, which kills the colony (magically?). They seem to be working very well. If your problem is of epic proportions, it may be too late."

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"I just had the worst ant invasion since I moved in in 1996. The good news is that with meticulous cleanliness and the return of warmer weather the numbers have dwindled in the last couple of days. Currently their only destination is my freezer (perhaps they smell the remains of the holiday ham) where they promptly die. (What looked like a mountain of brown sugar in my freezer turned out to be dead ants). I would suggest washing dishes IMMEDIATELY for several days--that is, not using your dishwasher unless a single meal generates enough dishes for a full load. If there's nothing to eat, they stop coming. When things were at their worst my 5 & 9 year olds got adept at finding the entry holes & blocking them with playdough. (I have extra playdough if you need it). For awhile it really works, but eventually they find a new opening somewhere else.

"If you can't wait: Try the website for UC parents, then click on household services/exterminators/household pests/ants. People rave about Grants ant stakes. Others suggest diatamateous earth. If you'd like to try the latter, I'd be glad to give you some. I bought a bag of it years ago but decided not to use it just yet because I have small kids around & I can't keep track of it. It's not toxic if you touch or ingest it, but you don't want to vacuum it up because if it gets in the air & you breathe it, it could irritate (even damage?) your lungs. You could leave it in their path.

"But really, between blocking holes and NEVER leaving food around, not even in the dishwasher or garbage disposal, they WILL eventually stop coming."

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"I find that a single approach usually doesn't do it.

"On the rug: sprinkle baking soda and leave it for awhile, then vacuum. Sprinkle more baking soda on the pathway (now vacuumed of ants) and then vacuum after awhile. Then put down ant traps (any grocery has them, little black plastic disks, Grant's).

"Kitchen and bathroom: Windex them up, store up all food tightly and keep counter clean. Ditto for dishwasher. You might want to activate the heat button for this period."

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"This has been a particularly bad season for ant infestation. A product that has proven quite effective for our ant problem is "Victor Ant Spray." It is non-poisonous, and after two or three rounds of spraying, the ants have disappeared."

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"We had the same problem. Fortunately, I mentioned it to our upstairs neighbor. He gave us some Terro brand ant killers, which are little plastic traps filled with boric acid in liquid form. As he predicted based on his experience with the product, it took about three days of diminishing ant hordes feasting on the mixture before the invasion was wiped out, but it most certainly did work.

"Boric acid is about the least toxic formicide. You can safely leave a trap in the bottom of the dishwasher (that's where ours came in too) and others on counters and kitchen surfaces. They are not appetizing to children and pets. I don't know where the Terro traps were bought, but they are the most complete answer to ant invasions that I've come across."

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"I got an ant investation as well. Perhaps the traps are not working too well. I have a canister vacuum cleaner and I am able to vacuum them away. I also found a hole where they seem to be emerging from a nest in the wall, so I sprayed some BlackFlag Ant and Roach killer into the hole, which seemed to do the trick for a while. It also helps if all organic refuse is placed in plastic bags, and sealed or tied."

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"Such a bother! We found a "natural" bug repellent, with menthol and rosemary, I think, at Ace hardware. We've been using it regularly and it is very effective, although it makes the house smell like Ben-Gay. Good luck! "

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"I am using a so-called non-toxic spray from Ace Hardware that has eucalyptus and mint as active ingredients, but I doubt even that is something you want kids to get into their mouths. Have you tried the orange oil? I keep hearing it works wonders. "

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"If we are to get an exterminator I doubt if it would help unless we did the whole complex, and we would want to try to find someone who uses a non-toxic method because of all the kiddos and pets..."

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"I've found that spraying Windex along the edge of the window or door that they seem to be coming in works well. I had a terrible infestation before Christmas but that treatment to the sliding door onto my balcony kept the hordes away!"

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"No need for an exterminator. You can get terro packs (boric acid) at Berkeley Ace on University (near campus) for under $10 (for a package of 6). I cut open the pack, place it on waxed paper to keep the liquid sticking on the carpet, etc., and put the pack directly in an established trail of ants. When they find it, they will start swarming and will bring it home to their family and friends. Sometimes the ants stop coming after a single day, sometimes it takes several weeks, but it always works. You need a separate pack for each trail, even if there are several different trails in the same room.

1. If they don't notice them, get some ants on a sheet of paper and blow them onto the trap (with a few drops on the waxed paper)--those few will tell their friends within minutes.

2. You may not be using enough traps. Typically one is dealing with multiple attacks, and each trail needs a separate trap. The ones on the counter won't discover the poison under the sink.

3. A really established invasion may take several weeks to stop; a trap set up within hours of a new trail will generally stop them within a day or two.

Good management may buy me a few weeks or months with no ants, but they are always sending out scouts, so each will require a new trap (or a partially used one moved from somewhere else).

Sometimes a troop will crawl out of the bathroom faucet, and down the cupboard, but I have a trap waiting for them on the floor...and it has worked."

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"I use Terro Liquid Ant Baits (available from Orchard Supply). They are easy to use and ants ingest poison and take it back to the nest. I put the ant bait next to the place where ants are streaming in. I also used Raid, but not in the kitchen."

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"We have resorted to using ant bait around our condo outside. It seems to be helping, although I know it isn't a popular solution.

Grants for Ants seems to work pretty well for this purpose."

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I had also struggled with ants for more than a year--tried everything and nothing seemed to really be working. Eventually, I went online and did some research, found a bait (image below) with good reviews and got some. I have used it a few times when ants came out with in masses. I saw them carrying the baits on their back. It really worked as well as those reviewers observed. It seems my ant problem is largely gone--I can still observe a few of them from time to time."

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