Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tiny Problem With Some Very Small Ants

Yep.  We have ants.  Not tons of them, and not the big house-eating kind, just a few tiny little ants.  Still pretty gross.  They are sugar ants and true to their name they found our sugar bowl.

Some friends and family suggested ant traps and ant sprays to ward off the pests, but since our problem was still small we wanted to see if there was a simpler, cheaper, and more environmentally and pet friendly way to deal with the ants.  With a little research we found suggestions such as pouring boiling water on the colony if you can find it or tempting the ants into eating borax, cornstarch, or cornmeal which will kill the ants.  Our problem still didn't seem bad enough to resort to killing entire colonies, so we kept looking.

Finally we found some natural ant deterrents.  We had a sneaking suspicion that ants might not like vinegar and it turns out we were right.  We've been cleaning our kitchen counters and floors with a vinegar/water mix from the beginning and we've never seen a single ant in our kitchen (knock on wood).  We also discovered that ants don't like peppers or cinnamon.  You wouldn't like it either if there was a pile of black pepper twice your size in front of you.  Death by sneezing can't be any fun.

It didn't turn out that we needed to resort to pepper or cinnamon, because once we removed the sugar bowl from the picture, the ants lost interest pretty quickly.

Just to be sure, we cleaned the whole area, as well as the windowsills nearby (where we were pretty sure they were coming in) with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution.  In the future we'll be keeping our sugar, as well as any other sweets, in sealed containers that the ants can't make their way into.

For more information on natural remedies for sugar ant problems as well as instructions for a natural borax ant trap check out this article on ehow.

There are also several good tips in this discussion forum ("we have pets including chickens and small children"). 

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