Zoology or Animal Biology
Garden Insects

What is a good homemade ant killer?

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2009-09-13 23:22:07

Quite by accident while away from home, I found out that

toothpaste will kill ants immediately on contact (it was all I had

available when I noticed an invasion one night.) These were very

intrepid and adamant ants, even resistant to squashing. But when,

in desperation, I smeared a glob along their marching path, they

stopped dead in their tracks. I don't know if different brands have

the same effect, but what I had on hand was some cheap off-brand

stuff. It also kept them at bay when I globbed it around their

entrance hole, but I don't know if it kept working after the

toothpaste dried.

Other than that, I've seen numerous recipes for homemade bait,

with the active ingredient being boric acid (Borax.) You mix it

with sugar, honey, molasses, or any other sweet to bait the ants,

then they take it back to their nests and the boric acid poisons

the entire colony. The ratio of boric acid to sweet ingredients

varies widely in the recipes, and I think you just need to

experiment until you find the recipe that works for your variety of

ant. I'd start with a cup of honey or corn syrup with 2 Tablespoons

of Boraxo mixed in first, then see how the ants take to it. If

there's too much Boraxo, they might not take the bait, but if

there's too little, they might gobble it up without dying. Some

ants like meat/protein, so you could also mix the Boraxo with bacon

grease or peanut butter.

With Boraxo, you have to be careful that it's kept out of reach

by kids or pets. One idea I read online recommended putting the

bait in plastic containers with holes punched for the ants to get

in, but I don't know of any toddler who can't open a yogurt

container. I'd just be really careful if I had kids around. Make

sure the ants can get in & out, but not the kids or Fido.

Another thing I've read for a bait they take back to kill the

nest is using baker's yeast mixed with a sweet. The idea is that

the yeast will expand and kill them when they eat it. I don't know

if it works as well as the Boraxo recipe, but the advantage is that

yeast won't poison kids or pets.

There are other things that work, if you just want a spray

poison to kill them immediately (such as bleach water, ammonia,

vinegar), but it seems worth it to take the time to bait them so

they'll eventually die off and never come back.

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