Ants! Must get control--HELP!!!!!

eureka(SS11 LasVegas/Henderson)December 3, 2007

As you can see I live in the upper Mojave Desert of CA very near the 15 frwy. I have hired a pest service due to continual ant invasions to the house. I'm not talking about a scattering of ants in the kitchen, I'm talking about a full on invasion, like the back of the refrigerator covered and moving to the top where there is no space to be seen between the little jerks. This takes place in every room of the house. There isn't anything in many of the rooms that would be a typical draw. What I'm sure is happening is that the ants have an enormous nesting site under the house. The house sits on a cement pad yet I know that within the walls, the ants have a well developed New York. The other part of my problem is that the front and back yards are loaded also. These ants will feed on any vegetation, plant, bulbs destroying all. There are no ant hills, suddenly while digging for a new plant 8 12" down I'll find a nest. Our yards are quite large for track homes. Just spraying the ground isn't going to fix this. The pest control people say that our town seems to be sitting on top of Ant Central, yet the other two towns that are basically connected do not have near the problems. You'd think with winter and freezing temps an ant could not be found but by golly the house got invaded yesterday on the kitchen floor with no organization or trails except where they entered and upstairs in a toilet room, also acting quite disorganized but some were able to form a trail into the waste can, which had nothing more than used tissues. I'm wondering if the desert areas see a lot of this infestation and has anyone been able to get any control? Any info, research, entomologists are most appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


When I lived in Berkeley, California, I lived in a converted Victoria which seemed to have a thriving Argentinian ant colony beneath the cement slab the house was built on. I had one main area of ant acess, a small hole at the base of a door jamb. One day I poured flea powder into the hole, and tamped it in with a skewer. Ants never again came in via that area.

Argentinian ants are not native to North America. They are small cinnamon colored ants. California is infested with them. They thrive because there are no natural predators because they aren't native to California.

You certainly don't want to poison yourself whilst trying to rid yourself of ants. I had no success when I tried poison sprays. Poison sprays always made me feel sick for a couple of days after using them. I suspect your money is being wasted on the pest control company.

I decided to use Grants ant stakes around the perimeter of the house, outdoors. I placed them as close to the walls of the house as I could. I replaced them every three months year round for two years. Eventually, the ant problem was conquered. However, I continued to put out a batch of ant stakes once a year, just in case!

Your problem sounds horrendous! Have you tried caulking to reduce areas where ants can enter? If you find an ant nest, you can pour boiling water on it to kill the colony. Be very careful in transporting scalding water in and out of the house and into your yard. Don't allow pets or kids to be in your vicinity, when you are transporting scalding water.

I live in New Mexico now. There are at least six types of ants on my property, but none of them have come into the house. I haven't seen any Argentinian ants here.

There is no overnight solution to an ant infestation. The eggs remain viable, when poisons are used. Every time there is a new hatch, the new generation has to be killed.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eureka(SS11 LasVegas/Henderson)

Hi Lorna:

Thanks for the empathy and understanding. This situation is so maddening and I've become quite depressed by it. I go to bed, get up and discover ants all over the counters. We just had granite counters installed and instead of enjoying them, I'm cursing because the granite is a dark brown and not easy to spot the little buggers. So until I realize that the ants are crawling on my hands or clothes, they just march up and over me or get a ride to another part of the house. What a lousy way to greet the new day. After the pest guy comes, often since the ants can't access the outside due to the poison, they will find a spot to come in and will literally swarm from the opening. You can't imagine how many there are. They invade my shower area, the bathtub, the sinks, I even find myself getting a bit phobic about going to bed, lest they decide to invade that also. One night my mother slept over in my son's room, in the middle of the night my mom was up moving around, I went to check on her and sure as shootin' the bed was loaded w/ants.

I really do need to find an entomologist who can recommend something. My mom used to use Grants stakes when we were living in San Fran. I mix up a batch of peanut butter w/boric acid and place it in various spots. The ants love it but continue to come after it and I never see a break in the action. A friend suggested that I dig down several inches along the foundation of the house all around, then pour either the liquid or granuals of Sevin, then replace the dirt. He claimed I'd never see another bug in or outside of my house. Sounds extreme but if I knew that it worked, I'd do it, besides I'm not thrilled by the Black Widows either.

I'll let you know if I find an answer. Again, thanks for a kind ear.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adp_abq(7b NM)

You might give diatomaceous earth a try. It's a naturally occurring abrasive substance that makes cuts in the exoskeletons of the ants as they walk over it (causing death) . Good bye ants. It's available at local nurseries.

Here is a link that might be useful: Diatomaceous earth

    Bookmark   December 4, 2007 at 11:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

510 642 3327 is the general information number for Entomology at the University of California, Berkeley. They used to provide a public information service regarding insect problems and questions. I don't know whether they still offer the service, but probably someone will be willing to talk to you about the ant invasion. If whomever answers the phone does not seem helpful, ask for the number for the Essig Museum. It is a research museum for study of insects. Somebody will be able to offer you some good advice. (I retired from UCB five years ago.)

The reason your efforts at getting rid of the critters seem to be ineffective is that new ones are constantly hatching. With the ant stakes, as well as the boric acid (I believe), the ants do transport the stuff into their nests. Eventually, there will be enough in the nests to feed all of, and therefore, kill all of the new hatchlings. But it is a process--it takes some time.

During winter you will not see black widows. There will be egg sacs, which you can dispose of, but the spiders, themselves, cannot live during cold temperatures. Personally, I fear the brown recluse spiders more than I fear the black widows.

Ants hate the scent of spearmint. I believe they also dislike the scent of cinnamon. You could use spearmint oil, or cinnamon powder around the edges of counters, etc. However, the oil evaporates pretty quickly, which necessitates redoing it every couple of days. I highly recommend getting a caulk gun and sealing everything you can possibly seal.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2007 at 9:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd keep trying with the boric acid. It sometimes takes 2-3 weeks before it works for me, but it always does. However, I have never faced the infestation you are facing. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are having the same problem here in SoCal - Anaheim area. Our house is 40 years old and I am sure they have just built a colony under the cool slab. Recently, I was converting the bathroom to a dual sink and had to cut into the slab and uncovered a colony right in the middle of the house under the slab. The little buggers just crawl through any crack. They will also, much to my dismay, chew away at plastic, caulking and grout, until they get a hole big enough to come through. I also hate to use pesticide, but my wife found out that Simple Green is lethal to the little pests. And the effects are long term, too, i.e. they will not come back to that spot, provided you don't wipe it down clean again.

They also seem to be driven by extreme heat, such as we are having right now in SoCal. I think they come out looking for water and other food sources, when it gets very dry and hot.

My only blessing in the dark cloud is that 1) they don't bite or sting, otherwise it would be a whole different story, and horror one at that; 2) there aren't any subterranian termites under my house, since ants and termites are mortal enemies.

I am going to try the boric around the house and see if that doesn't help.

I know that their colonies are not hundreds or thousands of ants, but literally millions of them, and they are highly organized and intelligent for ants, which makes it frustrating. I can see them communicating which in itself it fascinating, but scary, too.

But like I said, try Simple Green inside the house.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have used Boric Acid with flour and sugar made into a paste and placed into "roach Motels." That makes it hard for your animals getting to them and then make sure you place them out of the reach of your cats and dogs, etc.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Try my recipe. Take few handfuls od wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) throw it into a bucket (10 liters) and fill it up with water. Leave it for 24 hours, you should give it a stir every now and then. Then put it thru sieve and use this "absinth tea" to chase away those ants from your yard. You can spray or just pour it on ant's nests, paths etc. It won't harm anybody in your house but those ants.
My best recipe is to use DDT, which is banned from the 50's last century. I know somebody who still has it. Having used this stuff once I never saw ants in my house anymore.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have battled those big red ants that are common to the SW for years. Last year I purchased Amdro Ant Block at Lowes.
Tried it on 1 colony - 24 hours later no ants: PERIOD.
So I used it on all the colonies I could find even went to my neighbors house looking for them. Neither he nor I have ant problems any longer.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 3:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i am not sure if it grows here, but as one poster said spearmint is supposed to work. You could plant spearmint all around the perimitter of your foundation and I have found that ants will not cross a line of comet (or at least most types of ants). After battling with ant holes in the driveway with every kind of concoction known to mankind I finally dumped about 1/2 cup on the large black ants in their hole opening. they moved after a day but it was close by so I dumped another 1/2 cup on their new hole and havent seen hide nor hair of those ants again. I imagine they picked up and moved by digging another opening somewhere, but at least they are not near where we park our car and get out so they can bite my DD.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Eureka - If you are still following this post, I woudl very much like to make contact with you....

IÂm writing from a TV production company called Darlow Smithson Productions, based in London, UK. IÂm the producer on a new series for Animal Planet about infestations.

This series examines both the 'natural history' of various types of pests and how they behave, in addition to the human angle of homeowners who find them a nuisance.

I've been looking through various forums for stories about ant infestations and came across your post about the problems you face in your home with ants. I would like to find out more about this, in particular if the situation improved and how you dealt with it in the end.

It would be great to have a quick chat with you. Please could you email me your contact details so I can call you up for a quick conversation? Mine follow...

And if there is anyone else out there with a comparable story, please do get in touch. We're looking at all types of infestations.

Many thanks

Rebecca North

Extreme Infestation for Animal Planet
Darlow Smithson Productions
+44 (0)207 482 7027

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 12:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ants - Works perfect in our cottage. Just put a dish or bowl or whatever container of cornmeal on the floor. The ants eat the cornmeal and die. They cannot digest it. Not a perfect solution but worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ammonia will kill most ants on contact, too. We had a fire ant hill outside the employee entrance where I worked. I poured a gallon jug of ammonia followed by several gallons of boiling water into the nest. Case closed.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 2:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have ants every year that come in the house looking for stuff to eat, thru tiny nooks and crannies. Yes, the house is caulked etc, outside. I tried all kinds of poisons from hardware store, pellets, etc. We had 3 different exterminators out and to no avail the ants came back. Then, I discovered Terro Ant bait. It's safe around kids and pets. (In fact my ding dong dog ate one of the ant traps and nothing happened). They are a liquid filled bait that you set out. You'll see activity pick up as their little friends find the trail and come to dine. I almost took the bait up a few times cause I got scared it was getting worse. Then over about 48 hrs, the activity decreases and goes away. Leave the bait out for another day after the activity is gone, and the ants are gone for the entire season. They take it back to their nest, feed the queen, and the whole nest dies. They are really cheap and they work. They also work on those big nasty carpenter type ants. Love love love!!! the stuff!! Can find them at Wally world and Home Depot most of the time.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help get rid of Scorpions - have dogs
Help!!. My friend has a new wooden house in the South....
I am new users here
I am new here. And i have a website about dell drivers...
West Texas Grape Tomato Hybrids/Varieties?
I moved to the Amarillo area a little over 2 years...
Please HELP tree selection and questions?
Hi everyone! I am so excited to finally start my gardening...
Red rock used for desert landscaping, how hot??
I live in an HOA with lovely natural desert dirt and...
Sponsored Products
It's On My List Shower Curtain
$69.99 | Dot & Bo
Bronze Droplet Table Lamp With Cylinder Shade
$39.95 | Lamps Plus
Clutch Office Chair in Burgundy
$129.00 | LexMod
Indoor Ceiling Fans: Hampton Bay Everstar 44 in. Brushed Nickel Ceiling Fan AL54
$99.00 | Home Depot
Fluted Umbrella Base
Grandin Road
Sweet JoJo Designs Hot Dot Decorative Throw Pillow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™