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Discussion Starter #1
Our son has recently moved to Houston, Texas to a small apartment. He is being over-run with ants -- they even set up an entire nest in one of his dress shoes overnight!

We know ants are a huge problem in Texas -- and it's only January! What are your best suggestions to keep them from wanting to come into the apartment? Unfortunately, he can't really spray the entire building, etc.

I remember something about borax but I've searched and can't find the how-to. We're especially looking for less/non-toxic solutions. (No children around - just college age students)

Thanks --
BW
 

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Garden Recipes

Grease Ant Recipe
1 lb. Bacon
4 tbs. baking powder
4 packages yeast
Corn meal

Fry the bacon and collect all the grease. Save the bacon for something else!
Add some corn meal to make a paste (not too much)
Add the baking powder and yeast and blend everything together.
Place the mixture in jar lids
Place the lids in ant paths (under the refrigerator is a good place if you have animals)



Classic Ant Recipe
This is the one that gets repeated every week on the radio show.
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. boric acid powder (available at the pharmacy)

Bring water and sugar just to boil and stir in boric acid.
Place mixture in small jar lids and place in ant paths.
Remaining mixture can be stored in a tight, well marked container in cupboard.
Keep jar lids filled and out of reach of children and pets. You can place it under mesh or another can, so ants can get in but animals can't.
 

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my granny used to use bone meal powder along the baseboards where they run, they take it away, I assume to eat it, and they die. I dunno why. use pure bone meal, its cheap where you get fertilizer.
also, boric acid works, my mom uses that.
i'd dust their trafficways with sevin dust, it kills everything.
 

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Just stirring some borax into honey will work, IF they are the type of ants that are interested in sweet stuff. If not, into bacon fat should work. Put it out on flat lids from something or other.

NOTE THAT borax in honey or syrup tends to skin-over, and he may need to stir it every day with a twig or matchstick.
 

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www.terro.com this is a very thick liquid with a sugar base with a big dose of Borax. It will work on any ANT that likes sugar. It really worked good on my Carpenter Ant infestation...fordy :eek: :)
 

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As an professional exterminator, my suggestions differ a little from the others above.

Its important to figure out what kind of ant it is: know your enemy. A microscope and handbook or a ag dept entomologist may be needed to identify the species. Or, take a specimen to pest control company. I do this for people at no charge. Most ants live outside or against/under the structure and send foragers into the house. Ants that would actually nest in a shoe overnight are unusual. In Colorado they could be pharaoh ants or perhaps odorous house ants. Both of these ants are challenges for even the professional. I know Texas has both of the above plus many other problem ants.

Pharaoh ants are extremely small, nearly translucent honey colored. Pray he doesn't have these. Their reaction to pesticide sprays or harsh chemicals like cleaners is to create 100's of new colonies. An infested house can have more than a thousand colonies. An entire small colony could easily live on top of the electrical switch box inside the wall. I found a 3" x 4" x 1/4" plastic container for labels in a desk drawer with an entire colony inside: several queens, larvae, pupae and thousands of workers! If he has these ants he must study if he intends to solve the problem himself.

Odorous house ants are another possibility. The nest could have up to 100,000 ants. They move this nest every 16 days (if I recall correctly) like clockwork. They are bigger than the pharaoh ant and darker. They are speedy and almost chaotic. This ant depends on aphids. They often invade the house after a rain that washes the aphids from the trees.

The absolute best way to solve an ant problem is with bait. Its also the least toxic. It must be slow acting - this means the toxicant must be dilute. Too much toxicant will prevent it from getting to the queens. A dilute mix gives the poison time to work through the colony. If you use boric acid, keep it at less than 5% by weight. Ants can change food preference from day to day. Find something they like. Its hard to weigh 3% of a small amount so you may have to make a lot. Mix thoroughly. Jellies might work for the odorous house ant, but probably won't for the pharaoh. Try peanut butter, pet food, etc.

Commercially available baits are worth a try. The key is whether the ants will take it. If they do, whatever you use will work. Combat granular is excellent, as is Amdro (could be Siege Pro now). I don't think either of these will work on the above ants. Good active ingredients to look for include hydromethylnon, boric acid, and abamectin.
good luck
gobug
 

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Ok... I live in Houston....

Tried and true method of removing ants.... in houston...

package of Instant Grits... MUST BE INSTANT
equal amount of powdered sugar...

pulverize together in a blender or food processor... then leave in a dish for the ants...

the ants eat it... then drink water and explode... destroying every ant that eats it... including the queen..

the reason that it must be instant grits, is that they expand with water

we use this "secret" recipe on all ants, including fire ants... and it works...

Lynn in Houston
 

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I got rid of corn ants with those round tin ant traps you can get in the supermarket - they never came back either. But they don't work on the thatch ants that build piles of needles and twigs outside. Got an exterminator for carpenter ants.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
He'll be getting all these suggestions tomorrow. You can imagine how miserable he and his roommate are! They've been stuffing socks in all their shoes all weekend and putting them up hoping the ants will at least decide someplace else is a better place to nest!

Hopefully before the week is out they'll be ant-free! I can't thank you all enough for all your advice.
BW
 
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Didn't you say he moved into an apartment? Then isn't it something to let the landlord know about, unless you are adamantly opposed to spraying?
 

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If they are fire ants, Amdro works best in a residence.

If they are the sugar ants, I ditto the advice on Terro Ant Bait.
 

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Becky
I overlooked the fact that your son is in an apartment. He and his roommate need to raise a fuss. If the apartment management doesn't listen, have them call the health department. Make complaints daily. Capture samples.

A possible problem: if the ant is the pharaoh ant, they could take it with them when they move out. The pharaoh ant can nest in just about anything, including paperwork. I've even found them in a sealed envelope. gobug
 
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