Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ant Problems

When the weather got hot a few weeks go, ants started crawling all over my room. I've been trying to find some alternatives to toxic insecticides so here are some reviews for pet-friendly ant elimination strategies.

1. First, I tried peaceful coexistence. My instinct was to recoil and want to kill all of them, but I tried to recall the relaxed attitude people had when I lived in Brazil where ants crawl around indoors all the time. You just make sure to cover up any food you leave sitting out, and leave it at that. This strategy lasted for about one afternoon when I was out of my house and ruminating philosophically about the ant problem from afar. As soon as I came home and saw the ants crawling inches away from my bed, the killing urge came back.

2. I tried to deal with them using household items I already had, after doing some internet research. First, I used a soapy sponge to get rid of their pheromone trails. Then I cleaned their stomping grounds with vinegar, and then sprinkled some cayenne pepper. I also read that ants hate cinnamon and tea tree oil. These techniques actually worked for about five days. I would only see one or two, and I could deal with that. But then yesterday, the ants came back so badly that they had gained new territory by crawling all over my walls.

3. So, things got serious yesterday. I finally got out the bucket of plaster our landlord left in our apartment and used it to close off cracks I suspect the ants were using the get in. Then I coated their stomping ground with vinegar and cinnamon (didn't smell as bad as you think). Finally, I broke down and went to the drugstore, and bought boric acid which I heard is the best non-toxic substance to deter the ants (and roaches). It looks kind of sick to have white powder on my floor, but so far so good.

Stage Two -- Ant removal

Once you have intercepted ant desire to enter your house and closed off their entrance way, you may have some stragglers who are crawling around looking for a way out. I am not very good with dealing with these guys, because when it comes down to it I hate to kill ants with my bare hands.

1. Use a broom to sweep the ants into a dustpan and then wash them down the bathtub drain. This technique is a little melodramatic, but works well for ants on the floor. It was a little cumbersome in my tiny room, however.

2. I admit I panicked a couple times and used some spray cleaner to kill bunches of ants. Obviously this works, but kind of defeated my anti-chemical mission, and plus cinnamon and windex smells really bad together and now I associate that aroma with crawling ants.

3. Try to get the ants to fall in to a cup and wash them down the drain. This was okay, but the ants don't want to go into the cup.

4. Get the ant to climb onto a piece of cardboard and then flick them out the window. This worked okay for capturing the few stray ants I saw crawling, but after awhile I guess they figured out my plan and started detaching from the wall every time I got close to them with the card. Hmm.

I will keep you updated on this situation.


  1. i knew you wrote this review the minute i saw the title.

  2. i have to admit that i have had my share of ant problems down here in flori-duh and i know the evils of chemicals and all but man it's really nice when you go from hundreds of ants to no ants in 45 minutes ( i timed it last time) and then don't see them again. so if worse come to worse go get those little anti ant traps and put them at the door way and window before you have to spend more days on this war.

    also, i loved the video interlude :D

  3. so the traps worked for you? i hadn't had good luck but maybe i will give them a try if it comes to that.

  4. please i need to know if any body can help me with ants on my fruit trees

  5. Every year at my parent's house they have an influx of ants. They always try Borax to no avail. This year, my mom tried pouring Mr. Clean into the ant holes. Now, for the first time ever, they are really gone! Mr. Clean, who knew?