Ever since we’ve lived at our current home (17 years), Bill and I always joked about the house being built on an ant hill.
We seem to always have a constant parade of ants in the kitchen and bathroom. Even in my office, which is a sunroom, I have a somewhat constant parade along the window sills and an occasional ant on the computer.
For 37 years I’ve had ants in the garden. They get to be a nuisance sometimes, but are usually not destructive so I just live with them; mainly because they’re part of the soil life that has a purpose whether we know what it is or not.
Several years ago when I put grow bags along the edge of the garden, I found out in a hurry the ants loved them! Any seedlings planted there couldn’t do much growing with the disruption caused by a colony of ants taking over. If you have framed raised beds you may have had the same problem. Ants love those enclosed areas.
I did a little research and found that Borax would get rid of the ants. (I used 20 Mule Team Borax.)
Here’s What I Did
Mixed a teaspoon of sugar (to get the attention of the ants) with a teaspoon of Borax (kills the ants) and a teaspoon of water. Then I soaked several cotton balls in that. I laid the soaked cotton balls on top of the soil in the bags and left them a couple of days. I never saw the ants on the cotton balls, but nonetheless they disappeared by the next day. I removed the cotton balls and trashed them. Never had any problem after that until the next season. Then I repeated the process.
I tried the cotton ball approach in my kitchen and it didn’t seem to work. After a bit more looking around the internet, I finally found another way to do it that was even easier.
Mixed 1/4 cup of Borax and 1/4 cup of old crystalized honey I had in the cabinet (you can use sugar) with just enough boiling water (about a cup or so) to dissolve the Borax and honey and make it liquid.
Poured a little of the liquid into the plastic caps of jugs (any bottle or jug cap will do) and set two caps in my kitchen on the counters and one cap in the bathroom on the sink and one cap in my office on the window sill. Ants flocked by the hundreds to the caps and drank. I was really surprised that by the next day I didn’t see any ants.
I think whether or not they flock to the cap right away might depend on the variety of ant. I’ve used it since then and had the ants seem to totally ignore the caps of liquid at least when I was around. But then two days later the ants were gone.
And by the way, in the house you really don’t need the caps. You can just pour a drop or two anywhere and the ants will take it all away.
I put the liquid that remained (about 3/4 cup) in a glass jar with a screw on top and marked it Borax Ant Killer. It’s lasts indefinitely and I have it on hand when ants appear again. We’re usually ant free for 4 to 8 weeks.
This method is even easier than the cotton ball method. So now I use it in the grows bags as well. I place a cap full (contains about 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. of the liquid) on top of the soil in each grow bag. Works great. When I don’t see any more ants I remove the caps.
Be on the Safe Side
Be sure to mark the container you store it in and keep it out of the reach of kids and pets. In other words, the usual precautions. Always be on the safe side when it comes to kids and pets or even accidental misuse by adults.
This spring, quite by accident, I got rid of all the ants around our home. It’s been 3 months and I haven’t seen one ant. That’s a first in the 17 years at this house.
I’ll give you the details in the next post.
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