Monday, May 16, 2011

Little black kitchen ants

Every spring our kitchen is invaded by little black 'sugar ants' - tiny little black ants that send their scouts in looking for any drops of sugary juice we may have left on the countertop. Usually these invasions are short, we wipe up the mess, keep the kitchen immaculately clean for a couple weeks, and when they can't find any food they go away, and we can quit obsessively sweeping up crumbs. I believe in 'live and let live',  and the ants are really pretty harmless, so every spring I just wait them out until they move on to outdoor food sources.

But perhaps because of the long wet spring we've been having, the ants moved in to stay. They were here for over a month when we started to get really tired of them. They would find something to eat and lead the whole column back to devour it, or there would just be scouts crawling all over the place hoping to get lucky. We cleaned the kitchen several times, and they disappeared, only to turn up in the master bathroom - they had found an open bag of cough drops!

I got rid of the cough drops and cleaned the bathroom spic & span, and they moved back to the kitchen. There always seemed to be some little speck they would find in the sink or on the counter, and the invasion would commence once again. The final straw came when Dave brought home a milkshake and tossed the cup in the garbage, and the next morning the garbage was overrun with hundreds of them swarming all over the cup! Enough was enough!

So I looked up on the internet for ant remedies. I didn't want to be putting poison down that the dogs might get into. I didn't want to be spraying poison all over the place. I finally saw a remedy that looked pretty harmless - sugar and Borax. It said the ants would take it back to the hive and feed it to the queen, and that would be the end of the ant hive. Ok, I felt a little bad about that, but my kitchen was crawling with ants, and I occasionally spotted them in other parts of the house, just looking for more cough drops, and it was time to draw the line.

So I mixed 50/50 sugar and Borax in a small bowl, and sprinkled some on the ant highway behind the sink up against the backsplash, and put the rest in a tiny bowl under the cupboard by the garbage can. I never saw the ants go anywhere near either. However, the ant population in our kitchen dropped drastically and immediately. The next couple days I only saw an ant or two, and for the last week - not a single one! I would not have believed it would work so quickly or completely, and using stuff I actually had in the house. So, sorry ants, I hope it didn't wipe out the whole bunch of them, but if they don't come back next spring, it's not like I'll miss them!

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3 comments:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great idea. We have those little ants now, too. I usually just sprinkle some comet cleaner around the edges of the counter tops and baseboards. The dogs and cats don't bother with it and it seems to create a strong barrier the ants don't want to cross.


~Lisa

heather said...

We deal with ants every year, too. This year since the tree was cut down, I've been seeing big black ants as well inside.

StefRobrts said...

Oh I would NOT like that!!