So the most popular home remedy for ants seems to be boric acid bait. People recommend mixing sugar water, or jelly, with boric acid. This creates a similar product to the Terro Ant Bait that you purchase at the store. Boric acid is a great product to use against insects. Once ingested, the pest cannot gain nutrition from the food that they eat. Since nearly every pesticide is a nerve toxin, this is an unique mode of action. Better yet, pests do not develop a resistance to it.
Downsides To Using Boric Acid Bait For Ants
First off, ants change their diet through the year. If they are on a protein cycle, you won’t experience great results. They simply will not indulge in your temptation. That is why it is important to identify the pest before taking any actions. By knowing the ant species you can learn what they eat and when.
Keep in mind too that borates/ boric acid kills slowly. A mature ant colony feeding on your bait, is likely reproducing faster than they are dying.
If there is a big colony outside, your homemade bait is likely drawing hordes of ants inside. Try the bait outside first. Alternatively set bait in the basement. This is a very common nesting site for small ants.
Vinegar To Destroy Scent Trails
Imagine how you get ants in your kitchen. One tiny ant scout shows up and finds a small morsel of food. As it walks back home, it leaves a scent trail behind. This scent trail tells worker ants to follow it and go get more food. All of a sudden you got ants!
Once ants start running around your house, stopping them is not easy. Keeping the stove clean, floor swept, and sink empty, is very beneficial. Yet those pheromone trails are difficult to erase. Natural pest control websites recommend spices and such for ants. Generally speaking this stuff works to break the ant trail. Its not like your force field of cinnamon is going to destroy the 10,000 ants underneath your driveway.
With this in mind, vinegar products work great against ants. Vinegar is all around, a great cleaner. Not only does it clean, it erases pheromone trails left behind by ants. Use a solution to wipe down counter tops and to mop floors with. Just remember if you are baiting for ants, you want them to feed on the bait. Leave those valuable trails dissipate on their own. And also keep cleaners away from your bait. That way it doesn’t become contaminated.
Essential Oil Sprays
The key to successfully controlling ants is to locate the nest(s) and treat them directly. Its just like any problem. You need to find the source and remove it. Ants are unique due to the fact that they can travel great distances in search of food. The source of ants is often hidden. On top of that, ants commonly have more than one nest within a colony. This is one reason why ant bait is so effective. You don’t have to find the colony. The worker ants do the work for you, by taking the bait back to the source. If you get impatient with small ants, go outside. Start flipping rocks over. You’d be surprised how many ants you will find.
Focus on locating where the ants are coming from. Even though they emerge from a window sill, that does not mean the nest is there. So take time to investigate. Look for ant frass in basements. Then search outside for trails. Once you find an ant nest, you can treat it directly. Keep in mind that in order to treat a nest effectively, you have to get the product into the nest. A partially treated nest can agitate the colony, causing it to split. This complicates things quite a bit. Essential oil sprays are considered repellent by nature. Therefore you really need to make sure that the nest is fully saturated with the product.
There are many essential oil sprays on the market. Different mixtures work better for different species of ants. Just be sure to read the label. Since they are repellents, we do not recommend using essential oils as a baseboard spray. Spraying the exterior perimeter of your home probably won’t do much good either. Remember, you can force them into other areas if not used correctly. Therefore reserve it for treating nests directly. And just like anything else, keep it away from your bait, so you don’t contaminate it.
Controlling Ants Naturally With A Strategy
Even highly-educated pest control professionals have a difficult time developing 100% organic pest control protocols for ants. So here is a recommendation that works well for us personally. As you may already know, sugar bait is highly attractive. You can buy Terro or make your own. These liquid baits are much like flower nectar that ants naturally feed on. As previously mentioned, there are some downsides to using homemade ant bait with boric acid. So instead of relying on it as your only means of control, why don’t you use it as a lure?
This stuff really draws the ants out. So use it to expose their nests. Place it in multiple locations. Once a healthy ant trail develops, trace it back to their home. Then just soak a liquid spray into the nest location to knock it out. Reserve a small amount of time each day to stalk your prey. Move the bait around as needed. The time and effort is well worth the reward. Always keep bait out of reach from children and other wild animals. Even though you can wash your hair with boric acid, you don’t want anyone except the ants eating it. Once you relocate the ant trails away from the kitchen and bathrooms, clean your living space. Use the vinegar solution to erase their scent trails in the living space. This three-step process works well when done correctly.
Carpenter ants are a bit more difficult to control using this method. The vinegar definitely helps detour them. Carpenter ants primarily feed on dead insect parts. So liquid sugar baits are not the best choice. For this species you can use a protein, like peanut butter instead. These critters are also nocturnal. Therefore your search and destroy missions just occur just after dusk. You don’t even have to lure them. Just walk around after dark outside. Look along the foundation and around woody plants. Once you find the nest you can remove it or try a granular borate bait. Repeat applications are usually necessary with borate baits, especially when used outside. The best method of control is to remove the source. Since they nest in water damaged wood you may need to do some structural repairs, or remove an old tree stump.
If you have moderate hunting ability, time and patience, try out our recommendations. Bait trailing techniques take trial and error. You may need to switch to conventional baits due to bait acceptance and colony size. Be prepared for that. Make it a seek and destroy mission. Have fun and keep it green.