Saturday, May 10, 2014

Homemade Ant Killer Does the Job

Ants.

Along with flies, ticks, mosquitoes and fleas,(and the giant spider that was creeping across the Zumba studio this week), they're the huge downside of warm weather. In fact, they were crawling into my house and along random edges long before I considered it really spring. But if you're trying to go green, what do you do?

I'll admit. I went around the outside of the house with some of that bug barrier spray earlier this year. But guess what? It didn't keep them out. I don't know if they come up through the walls or what, but I still had tiny little ants marching around my house on their eternal search for food and shelter.

In the past, I've purchased a Borax based ant bait called Terro, and it works. It is natural, but not every store carries it and it comes in a really small bottle -- I guess so that if ingested it wouldn't be enough to really poison someone. Still, it does the job.

But what about all those pictures on Facebook and Pinterest citing a homemade ant killer? Does it really work?

Yes.

Monday night a full fledged invasion had begun in my kitchen and I could not determine where they were coming in. There was a steady stream of ants marching up the cabinet near the pantry and across the front of the counter all the way to the kitchen sink. There wasn't really anything to eat along the way. Maybe they were thirsty.

I dug up the recipe for the ant killer on Pinterest.

All I needed was 2 tablespoons of Borax, 1/2 cup of sugar, a cup of warm water and cotton balls. I've seen some different ratios for the ingredients, but this is the one I went with.

I keep Borax for my laundry (it seemed to help with hard water stains before I started using Eco Nuts) and it's pretty inexpensive as well for a big box that lasts forever and has a lot of uses. It is hazardous to ingest, even though it's natural, but the amount used to poison ants is generally not enough to hurt people or larger animals.

I mixed up the ant killer in an old glass jar (it will need to be refrigerated because of the sugar) and soaked a few cotton balls, which I then placed on the edge of the counter where the ants were hiking. Since we don't drink bottled water or soda, I didn't have any small lids to put the cotton balls in as recommended, so I just put the cotton balls down.

I never did see the huge ant party that the Pinterest pictures showed, which frankly was a relief but made me wonder if it was working. My answer came Tuesday morning when there were no ants marching on the counter. All week long when a trail of ants has popped up, I've soaked a cotton ball and placed it on the trail and by the next day -- no ants!

By the end of the week when I started to put this together, it took accidentally leaving part of my breakfast out to attract them.

Because of any potential poisoning risk, I've tried to place the cotton balls out of reach of dogs and children, but seriously, who's going to chew a cotton ball? I had a friend who called last year upset because his dog had eaten the ant bait boxes! The crunchy plastic was entertaining, but there wasn't enough Borax to hurt her.

The cotton balls dried out and I soaked them again, just to be sure, but the ants did not return. After two soakings, they have to be tossed because they are hard.

I still have most of a cup of ant killer in the refrigerator and will quickly put an end to any invasion for the rest of the summer and the total cost is probably way less than a buck.

So if you're looking for a solution to those little annoying ants, I'm vouching for the cheap and easy one. You figure out how to explain the cotton balls around the house.


2 comments:

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