black little ants indoor - how to get rid of them?

ptien(z9 ca)January 5, 2004

Hi all,

We spend 30' each morning getting rid of ants inside our house. They are little black ants. I believe it doesn't


Is there anyway to make them all goes away or die?

Spray we bought from the store doesn't really work, kill today appear next.

Thank you very much.


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marquest(z5 PA)

20 Mule Team Borax. Sell in the grocery stores with the detergent. Mix half powdered sugar with the borax and sprinkle some on them. They take it back to the nest and they should be gone in a week. When you first start to see them sprinkle them. If you know the trail sprinkle the trail. I spinkle around the windows and doors.

I have gotten rid of all ants with this stuff Big black ants, red ants.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 2:25AM
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    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 6:45PM
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Rocky Grewal

if your place is very clean and there are not any bits of food anywhere inside your house, you will not have ants inside. If you vaccume often enough then the ants will have no reason to explore your territory.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 8:00PM
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laa_laa(Sunset /8 or 9)

I disagree. Ants do not only come for the crumbs and grease only; they will enter a house when the weather suddenly turns very cold or when there is a lot of rain and the ground outside is soaked. They seem to crawl in through the electric outlets, especially those on an outside wall or on the wall next to the garage.
We had a pesticide service for many years that controlled the black ants as well as the black widows, but stopped it because we became alarmed about using too many chemicals. After a few years we began to have occasional entries of ants. Our home is built on what were previously fig orchards and we believe there are miles and miles of ant tunnels under the ground. When we have an invasion, I always wash every thing down with an extra scrubbing of Clorox, just in case, and then spray the electric outlets both inside and outside of the house.
It controls them for awhile until the next extreme of weather.
By the way, many people say that the little black ants are Argentine ants, and that if you have these ants, you will not have termites.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2004 at 5:55PM
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i squirt em with 409 cleaner and those i miss seem to get lost --- think it masks their scent trail

    Bookmark   January 13, 2004 at 10:12PM
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xanadu(8/9 N.CA)

I squirt with slightly soapy water, it kills the ant and masks the trail they leave for other ants. After a while they stop coming but you have to keep at it. They find the tiniest opening. Some came through the door frame into my bedroom. An organic cleaning site suggested cinnamon sprinkled at doorframes and window sills. It worked, nothing seems to come through those tiny gaps anymore but the cinnamon looks kind of strange :) I used to use the tree stakes for ants placed under the sink or other areas they seemed to congregate. The regular ant baits never worked for me but the tree stakes have a jelly-like substance that attracted them much better and they carry it back to the nest. I don't use it anymore because the other methods are less (or not) toxic and work for me just as well.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2004 at 3:46AM
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nanatina(3b CDN/4b USDA)

About 15 yrs ago I had this problem in an older house I lived in. I used hairspray! The cheapest hairglue you can find. If you spray the ants they actually melt - then spray any corners or areas where you think they are coming in. I only had to do this a few times and they were gone and never came back!!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2004 at 6:59AM
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shard(z9 CA)

I tried the 20 Mule Team Borax mixed with powdered sugar, and it worked like a charm! The ants gradually dwindled in number until about a week later when they were finally completely gone.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 1:49PM
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link04(z5 IL)

Yes, the borax.. I've had a little success with putting lemon slices at the potential "entrances" of the critters and that helps. Also, vaccuuming is essential, yes, but if you have children (I have 5) a little few dried up pieces of play-doh on the floor will attract a ton of ants over night.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 4:16PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

I also disagree with the statement that if your house is clean you won't have ants. The mice are the same way. Never have mice in the house till we have a cold spell and then watch out!!

I also use the 20 mule team borax and sugar with great success over the years and always keep a box in the house.
Lay a thin line in where they march. They will not cross the line for long. Don't know whether it just masks their trail or acts like diamateous(sp) earth and cuts them up (or both) but this works too.
I don't care if they are completely gone (from the area) or not, I just don't particularly want them in the house.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2004 at 9:39AM
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booster1(z4 IA)


Will the borax hurt cats? I have two. My one, believe it or not, like to eat anything green. Grass, broccoli, lettuce, etc.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2004 at 8:27PM
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mycalicogirls(4b-5a Nebraska)

I've worried about the toxicity of Borax too. The box always says it's poison. With kids and cats and dogs, I'm just too scared to leave that stuff around. Oh, I started spraying any ant nests I find out in the yard with Camicide spray and my tiny ants have nearly disappeared. I got those big black ants coming in too, but they're nearly gone after I put out Combat Roach Baits (I had seen one roach and freaked out). I actually found dying ants on the floor and I'm sure they must have eaten the Combat. Molly

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 7:55AM
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thorspippi(z9/s14 CA Sacramento)

I've noticed that ants come in during the driest part of the year here (Sacramento, CA). They appear near the sinks, toilets or tubs. I gather they're looking for water.

During the winter, they come in when it's raining too much. Then they appear in strange places.

Some show up looking for sugar at various times of the year. So, for example, we'll go into our medicine cabinet for something and find that they're swarming the allergy/cough syrup bottle (we both have allergies pretty badly). Even though we *thought* we cleaned it all very well. It doesn't take much. We'd need to have clean-room quality cleaning to completely avoid them.

In any case, we just spray their trail with Windex--all the way back to whichever wall we see them coming out of. Kills the ones inside, and wipes out their scent trail.

Being janitors, we have spray bottles with Windex handy all the time. So it's no big deal for us. :-)

BTW, When we find ants in our customers' buildings, we also spray with Windex, wipe well and leave an ant trap. But the trap is mostly to assuage the customers' peace of mind. Those traps don't do all that much, in our opinion. Wiping out the scent trail seems to be the best method.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 8:18AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Wiping down counters with a vinegar and water solution (often) is said to help, and I've read where people will put a little dusting of cinnamon where they can enter and they don't cross it. Diatomaceous earth is both pet and kid safe, that works too...

And dirty has nothing to do with it. A friend who has a little espresso shop has a terrible time with them and he easily passes the food/safety health inspections that most of us could not....all he needs to do to prompt an appearance is open a bottle of a particular flavoring syrup (I've forgotten which one he says it is)...these bottles are kept with a tube like pour spout on top during the day and the ants immediately know it's time to congregate...

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 11:20AM
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digginDan(z5 NY Catskills)

We put small cuttings from our tansy plants near the areas where they enter, window sills, etc. It works great and is a nice chemical free alternative.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2004 at 11:55AM
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The cleaners some of you mention are much more toxic than most of the newer insecticides being used these days! Actually, table salt is even more toxic than many new insecticides. I think many people are just afraid of the word "chemical." (Actually, that's called "chemophobia".)

OK, go ahead and pour vinegar (aceitic acid) over your counters and maybe you will drown the ants. Add some Tabasco sauce also. If you throw in olives, lettuce, and some cheese, please invite me!


Here is a link that might be useful: Ant Research

    Bookmark   July 18, 2004 at 10:16PM
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WishingWell13(z5 IL)

Spray rubbing alcohol over the active ants. They will evaporate. Then, wipe down the area with more rubbing alcohol. It's safe, and it works.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 3:23PM
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I never saw ants evaporate, must be interesting!

Did you know that spraying a flammable liquid is not safe? It is extremely dangerous! Please donÂt tell people to do that.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 10:20PM
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joefromsd(San Diego)

You know what I discovered last year? Use any of the orange Citrus Cleaners. You can get em in a spray bottle.

Instant knockdown ! Acts as a repellent too, if you keep it up ! I've found that you can even dillute it 50% and it still works instantly.

I'm in San Diego, and this time of the year they come in looking for moisture, usually down my kitchen and bathroom drains.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2004 at 1:06PM
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Orange oil? The main ingredient is d-limonene. Natural and "organic?" Yes. Toxic? Yes.
I did a research project using orange oil (d-limonene) on carpenter ants. It will kill carpenter ants and I assume it will kill just about any other insect it touches directly, if you really wet the insect with it. Also, carpenter ants in an enclosed space, like a wall void, will be killed by orange oil in a few minutes. I suggest that you use orange oil with care and donÂt breathe the fumes. If you would like to read a very detailed toxicity study that shows environmental effects, look here (link below):

Here is a link that might be useful: toxicity of orange oil (d-limonene)

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 8:24PM
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flwrdrmgirl(S CA)

Thanks for the info on orange oil. I don't know if I'll try that anymore. Also, I don't agree on the 'clean house' ant factor. Besides coming in your home because they sense food, I had an Orkin exterminator tell me that ants will enter your home looking for a water source (i.e. kitchen pipes, plants, bathroom). He even told me not to leave those ant bait traps lying around your home because they only attract ants!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 9:37PM
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joefromsd(San Diego)

I've been having the same problem. Think my problem might be solved !

Went to Home Cheapo looking for a large bag of diazanon, and just happened to ask the clerk if there was any new ant control on the market. He pointed me to Ant Bait Stations made by Zep. They come in an 18 pack. I was a little skeptical because any bait stations I've used in the past have been completly ignored.

I put em down about an hour ago, and holy smokes ! they're Swarming with ants now ! OK ! I put all 18 of them around the kitchen, bathroom, and out by my dawgs' water dish, which also gets covered with ants.

The bait gets carried back to the nest. Death to the Queen !

    Bookmark   August 13, 2004 at 7:44PM
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jbcarr(7 VA)

If they are pharoh ants, they need to be baited. They live in walls, and the only way to kill them is with a bait that they carry back to the nest, and feed the rest. Spraying with chemicals can actually make them divide the nest (a survival technique), so ID of the ant is important.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 9:03PM
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A few comments:

Here is the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for ZEP ant bait stations (

I would suggest you not use or buy Diazinon, which is an organic phosphate insecticide. Technically, it is a nerve poison. It will probably be taken off the market in a while and go the way of Dursban, which is also an organic phosphate. Why not use a liquid bait like Terro, which is much safer and preferred by most ants over many of the hard gel baits found in so many bait stations?

Remember, adult ants can not ingest solids, and so for many ants, liquids work better. On the other hand, ants like Fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), will pick up solid baits like Amdro and bring it back to the nest, where it enters the food supply of the colony and kills the queen. Therefore, it is a good idea to identify the ant you are trying to control, and buy the correct product.

Here is a list of some common products (link below) so you can compare how dangerous they are.


Here is a link that might be useful: comparative toxicities of some common products

    Bookmark   August 18, 2004 at 9:53PM
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I have had much luck with "Tempo"not only can you use it inside but you can use it outside and it's safe for the animals after it dries and it's great for other peste like spidermites, meallybugs,aphids, etc. the list goes on and on.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 8:56PM
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Here is the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for TEMPO (link below). Notice that you should use a respirator, gloves, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: TEMPO MSDS

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 7:05PM
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i have been having problems with ants lately , and it is because of the rain.

well this morning i woke up at 4:30 with ants all over my pillows.
i go wash my sheet and i cant go back to bed because it scared me to wake up with ants all over me.

i clean up everything with clorax and spray stuff for ants.

well around 3 o'clock i go to changee my outfit because i am go to town. there are ants on my clothes. not all but the casual side of clothes , which i mostly where a lot.

i dont understand why they went in my bed and on my clothes. i understand it has a lot to do with the rain, but why in such an odd place.
and how do i get rid of them?
some of them even bit me.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 6:10PM
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Any other ideas here? they are crawling all over my kitchen walls by my sink, I have found them in my cupboards and even starting to invade my fridge, ( the seal is bad) I have found them in my bathroom and in my office on the complete other end of the house! I can't find how they are getting in. we spray the outside stuff all over the outside of the house, we have gone through three jugs already this summer.
HELP!! I am about crazy with them!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 8:41AM
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Kill them with any household cleaner. I have Seventh Generation and Clorox Green. I didn't like those toxic sprays because the smell will linger for hours.

Constantly disinfect and cleaned the counter whenever there's food.

Sprinkle Chili Powder along the edges of the counter.

The Raid Ant Baits worked last year but did nothing this year. I also tried the Combat gel - didn't work either.

Temporary move the garbage can elsewhere unless cooking and dispose every night.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2009 at 8:57AM
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Diatomaceous Earth is NOT kid safe. It is a potential carcinogen when inhaled.Otherwise it's not so bad.

You can read the MSDS sheet here. I'm a chemist and we treat it very carefully in the lab, unless it is wet and then not so hard to contain.

Please look up suggestions from other readers before taking one person's word about safety.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:30PM
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Isabel - I too found them in our bedroom all over our pillows, walls, windows, under, over and in bed. The black ants. What a mess. It is raining like crazy here (So CA), so they must want to come on in and be dry (?). Last night, I wiped all baseboards and hardwood floors with vinegar/water solution. Previously have used cloves which they don't seem to want to be near. Not sure what I'm going to get today to keep them out. Hard to see them on the dark wood flooring in our house. I'm sure they are in other rooms as well. Not fun at 9 pm to have to change sheets, wash sheets and get rid of those black ants. Hope you found a solution to your problem.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 8:13AM
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I just bought our house , I've been living in it less than 2 weeks and I'm getting invaded by tiny black ants. I've tried everything .. please helpi can't stand it. My house is clean. I haven't cooked much cause I'm still moving out of old house. So what's the problem

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 9:22AM
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We have been having ant problems for the past two weeks. I can't find their trail or where they are entering the house. I see them wandering aimlessly in random places, clean the areas, and they reappear the next day. How well does the cinnamon work, if I can't find the trail will the borax/powdered sugar work if I sprinkle it on the ants I do see?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 6:23PM
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I've got the tiniest little ants in my kitchen. The red pepper powder boarder on where the enter is working very well. We also keep all food off the counters and wipe, wipe, wipe the counters after any food is prepared. I have a cat and dog so I'm concerned about their health - go natural if you can, then hit the heavy stuff if you need to.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 11:29AM
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The best way to get rid of ants is to burn the house down. Remove all pets and Kids, leave the mother in law, pour gasoline all over and light with a match.
No more ants, no more mother in law, and no more house. Works great!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I am in Israel for the summer and rented an apt in an old building so it would be impossible to seal up all the holes. I read that putting corn meal or cream of wheat on their trial will get rid of them. The cream of wheat makes them explode and they can't digest the cornmeal. I could not find cream of wheat here so used corn meal. I had a ton of ants on the third floor porch and they have almost completely gone after a few days. However I also used it on the bathroom sink and it has not worked at all.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 5:58AM
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* Posted by funkmetric 8b ( on
Sat, Jan 10, 04 at 20:00

if your place is very clean and there are not any bits of food anywhere inside your house, you will not have ants inside. If you vaccume often enough then the ants will have no reason to explore your territory.

You have got to be kidding me... Apparently you don't live on the same planet as us normal people because your statement is complete bullsh!t!! I vacuum my house at least twice a day, have no open food or any other food sitting around, wash dishes either once or twice a day and all dishes are rinsed completely before they go into my sink, plus I am constantly wiping EVERYTHING down with Clorox and/or Lysol wipes due to the fact that I have two small children. But even with all of this cleanliness I still have an ant, spider, and field mice problem, and I wont even get on the long list of unwanted animals and insects outside. No matter how clean your house is you can still have unwanted pests(and I don't just mean family and in-laws :-) which I'm still trying to find a repellent for) These pesky little black ants are super ants or something because I've tried every spray in Wal-Mart and Dollar General along with the bait traps and dryer sheets. I can't find their ant hills or how they are getting in(same with the spiders and field mice) I guess the thing that hinders me most is the fact that I live in a very secluded wooded area... I tried to get away from nosy neighbors and ended up with unwanted guests(can't win for losing) :-( I just bought some Borax after spending forever trying to find it so since I can't find the ant hills or their entrance way I'm going to make the borax bombs... there seems to be a lot of luck with Borax so hopefully I will be lucky too. I'm a tattoo artist so I've got the perfect containers for the bombs!! To the ones with the fire ant problems... my sympathies are with you and I wish you the best of luck. Does anyone know about the little reddish orange bugs that attack the he!! out of you when you are outside?? All I know is that they are attracted to white... those little microscopic bugs bites hurt like crazy any ideas of how to get rid of them or does anyone know what they are??

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 6:54PM
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To add to my previous post... I am up for all suggestions except putting sugar or something sweet outside in the yard for them. I've used nontoxic and toxic products but would prefer the nontoxic due to the fact that I have two small children, two dogs and more animals to come soon(My kids have started requesting animals). The ants are only in my laundry room, office, and kitchen around the sink and counters but no where near the cabinets or pantry, and only on upper areas I have yet to see them on the floor. As previously stated... I have no clue where their ant hills are or where they are coming in my house at.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:41PM
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I had success with Taro. It's a clear liquid that comes with cardboard tabs. Put several drops on a tab place where you've seen ants.

You will see a whole bunch of ants... They take the liquid back to their nest. Repeat . Be careful not to wipe the area as the pheromone attracts ants to the liquid. In a couple of days. You will not see ants. Then clean area where you had card board tabs. World like a charm. Also ants will not cross salt. You can put a small amount in door ways.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 3:01AM
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Ki1010, those little red/yellow bugs are called thrips. They are attracted to light green and yellow and moisture. I am not sure what products you could use to control them, as mine seem to invade the backyard for two or three weeks and then just go away.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 5:38PM
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something that has akways worked for me is alum. Sprinkle it right in their path line and zippo they are quickly gone

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 9:46PM
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I'm 15 and cuz i left my lunch box down stairs for so long we got ants i felt horrible so i took care of em then they moved UPSTAIRS where i keep the computer stuff so i killed em there and now theyre in the pantry BUT being the genius i am I went and
emptied out the pantry
washed it out
sealed all open food
tossed infected food
then i dumped distiled white vinegar on the shelves and wiped it all around
then I took raid and put it on a cotton ball with some ductape out side (after going on a raiding rampage around the house and killing all of the colonies i saw outside there wer 3 i dumped hairspray and boiling water on them some of the ants acutally melted! XD awesome spectacle
anyway i found the crack the ants came through and I put stuck the raid soaked cotton ball on the hole with the duct tape and ive waited about 15 mintues and no more ants are coming out of the hole!!!! I febreezed the cabinent cuz when u opened it u got a face punch of vinegar XD and im putting the food back in! My mom's gonna love me for killing the ants so now you know clean it vinegar is and seal the crack with a raid soaked cotton ball and duct tape. we dont have any pets or babies so its fine for us and we do have grandbabies over some times but they dont get down that low so were good on the babies eating chemicals thing here XD make sure to where gloves when handling the raid cottonball and wash ur arms and hands before touching food again oh and if they come back do it again im gonna do this every 3 weeks just to make sure thhey never come back just keep replacing the cotton ball if you see any other ant-worthy cracks then just cotton ball them too i also wiped down the electical sockets with raid and lysoled my computer (THEY WERE INSIDE MY LAPTOP!) so i hope my long post helps! oh and for extra measure i may add some mint just to see if that works

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Baby Powder! I sprinkle it along their path and across their entryway and it works like a charm, I just vacuum it away after a day or two.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:03PM
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We just bought our new dream hom, a log cabin in need of some love. We just had it stripped to re seal and I think we dis lodged every liitle black ant in the county. I have had a 1" stripe of them down the wall across the sink, over counters and up the fridge. I tried the vinegar rinse and while my kitchen smelled clean it still made my skin crawl and my nerves stand on end. I took not of every organic idea on this thread today and tried them all. Tansy in the cracks, cinnamon, salt,, no, no...noooo! I did not have any alcohol to melt them with then I remembered my bug spray repellant. It is a new "Eco friendly" brand. Its carrier is an alcohol and in it is oil of cinnamon, lemon grass and rosemary and wintergreen. While I was un thrilled about putting it on my skin, it seemed like the lesser of all the many evils. So I sprayed some on my counter. INSTANT DEAD I followed along the line...dead dead dead. I sprayed my whole counter top and then saturated a pice of paper towel and shoved it in their entrance/exit crack. It has been over an hour and only a few stragglers but they step in the spray and are soon dead as well. It is called ECO SMART organic insect repellent. So far so good.

1 Like    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I found cinnamon to be effective. Thanks for the natural remedy. I try not to kill things and would poison only as a last resort.... like if my life was threatened. That stuff is poison! :)

This post was edited by ajita on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 15:36

1 Like    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:34PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I won't use Borax around my cat. I know a pest control guy. He said only Combat traps work for roaches, maybe other bugs too? He said they dry out sitting on the store shelves. You need to run water thru all four holes in the trap so the bait is damp.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:42PM
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I have used cinnamon, lemon scented dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and other strong-smelling wipes with mixed results in that they discourage the ants short term, but need constant renewal and don't get rid of the nests. Now I use Terro liquid bait traps which have boric acid in them, which while it shouldn't be eaten, is used in eye wash and eye drops and has a level of toxicity that I am comfortable with, though I would be cautious using it if there were any chance of pregnancy. I put the traps in closets and cupboards and on windowsill between the screen and the glass and where ever the ants are coming in that I can block off from critters. This way they can't be accessed by animals, but the ants can get to them and take it back to the nest. It has completely cleared up the issue for me.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Carlo Bueza

Hey, try some physical control first before using chemicals. I used boiling hot water and it worked. I found great tips on how to get rid of little black ants here:

Cheers buddy!


2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 6:57AM
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I woke up in the middle of the night to let the dog out and found thousands of tiny ants in the kitchen. I saw their trail coming from a hole where the floor and cabinets meet. For a really quick fix so I could go back to bed when I let the dog back in, I sprayed them with alcohol and filled the hole with Vaseline. I wiped up all the ants smashing any survivors and then went back to bed. Will have to deal with the issue eventually I am sure, but at least they couldn't get through the Vaseline.

2 Likes    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 8:29AM
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