Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(How I Stopped) The Great Ant Invasion of 2011

or...How to Use Ingredients from Your Cupboard to stop ant trails...
or...How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ants (no, not really...)

OK, warning for the queamish people who do not like looking at ants..I have pictures, OK?

How did I spend my first weekday of 2011?...Observing, cursing, researching, and murdering ants. 

It all started the day before, we both noticed, my hubs and I, ants across one of the kitchen counters--one or two, nothing major. It was raining for 7 days straight prior to this (VERY strange for these parts)and "they" say rain is what sends them scurrying. But I HATE ants, and this being SoCal, when you see one, you know there's a bajillion just waiting to come in. I had an exterminator tell  me once that California is basically just one big giant anthill, and we are all living a on top of it, so there's no avoiding them. But I digress..... I woke up Monday to a bazillion ants everywhere in my kitchen--on all counters, walls, and scouting everywhere else (thankfully, just the kitchen)

I immediately sought advice--on the internet of course. All manner of natural Cure-alls for this plague I faced! Vinegar, baking soda, cinnamon, cayenne. All these I tried, mainly in vain, except for the vinegar- I put it in a spray bottle and sure enough, it will kill an ant on contact. I also spread a line of it and watched as an ant would not cross it. They did not like cinnamon, either, but once in a while a brave one would cross it stealthily, and others would then follow (interesting critters these ants are). Baking soda did not seem to bother them, nor surprisingly, did cayenne. The just went right through it. I was trying to accomplish holding them close to the spot of entry, which seemed to be a seam near my windowsill, and somewhere behind my kitchen cabinets.

Then Hubs sauntered in claiming that "ants hate baby powder"...hmmm. Hubs, not caring too much about the ants, he claims they are just part of the circle of life! In tropical climes they are big enough to carry a human off-this isn't nothing! Ha! Me: "But I literally LIVE in this kitchen!" Hubs: "Lets go out and eat--" Me: "But I started our Dave Ramsey budget today so we can't" 

I decided to try the Baby Powder, and guess what- it works (Did I tell you my hubs a genius?)

  The ants would NOT cross the baby powder line.... for good measure, I left the cinnamon there too...so now all across my counters I have these borders of baby  powder and cinnamon...plus it stinks like vinegar(don't know about you, but the stank of vinegar makes me gag-but ants are worse, so...)
The border

cinnamon border    
Bay leaves and baby powder

 I also put bay leaves and baby powder in my silverware drawer...as my daughter found ants in there too! Ewww.....

I put a small spot of honey on top to lure them...
OK, so now I found I could contain them...so we went out and bought those poison ant traps...you know the kind that claim to kill the whole colony? Oh, yeah, bring it on! So I set them out and waiting, and sure enough, they started to come...

and come...and...ugh!

It was pretty sickening. But by the next morning ..(I slept so fitfully, tossing and turning, wondering what was happening downstairs, were they everywhere again? Would they carry off my dogs this time? Did they find the pantry? Yikes!!! What would I wake up to find! Ackk!)

But lucky for me...........
After 12 hours
It was much, much better....no ants on the counter,drawers, or anywhere but on those traps. And much less of them. So maybe these will work. Hopefully!

So, to recap, this is what I have learned:
Works to keep ants away: Traps, Vinegar, baby powder, 
cinnamon (to an extent) bay leaves(I think)
Does Not Work:  Crying, whining, cayenne pepper, baking soda.

I sincerely hope this doesn't happen to you, but if it does, take my advice. And, one more shot, of my kitchen, cause it looks nice in this photo, right? Ant free---pretty much!
At least I got to clear off all the counters!              

 Make it a Great Day!
Sorry, guys, you lose.


  1. oh i totally feel your pain, my old apartment complex was rittled with ants all the time. i tried it all too, finally ending up with Taro, i think its called, its a little gel stuff that they eat and take home with them to kill their families.
    here is a tip for you though, if you put pie pans of water under the legs of a picnic table, the ants get stuck in the water before they can climb the legs of the table.
    not sure what to do with the picnic blankets though.

  2. Hi Cyndi! Thanks for the picnic table tip! As of right now, these nasties look conquered--we'll see.


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