ANTS - Knowledgebase Question

HAMILTON, Ne
Question by jeannec_jc
April 13, 2010
Last summer I had little ants in my house and ant eggs in my shanty. I called Terminix, they sprayed 1st treatment, second treatment in Dec. The ants are back and Terminix says barrier only good for 3 mos.I've already paid $250.+. Help find the right product to do it myself and last!


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Answer from NGA
April 13, 2010

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For the most part, ants do not cause any serious problems in gardens. Exceptions to this are the species that bite or protect aphids. Ant hills in flowerbeds and lawn areas can become a nuisance, however, as can ants that come indoors when foraging for food, returning to outdoor nests. If you have ant colonies that you wish to control, there are several things you can do. A good least-toxic method is the use of boric acid baits. Boric acid baits can eliminate some ant colonies in about one week. The trick is to not kill the ants at the bait station, but to get the ants to carry the boric acid back to the nest, poisoning the members of the colony that never leave the nest. Most ants feed either on sugars or on protein, fats, or oils. To see which type you have, place small dabs of jelly and peanut butter (not mixed) where ants are seen and watch which food they are attracted to. If they are attracted to the jelly, you can make a boric acid bait by mixing one-half cup jelly, such as apple jelly, with 1 1/4 tsp boric acid powder. Punch several holes in the lid of the jar, then screw the lid on tightly and seal with tape. The holes should be large enough for the ants to pass through to reach the bait. Place the bait jar on its side where the ants will come in contact with it. If the ants are unable to gain footing on the jar lid, you might want to scratch the surface with sandpaper or a pebble. If the ants are attracted to peanut butter, use that for your bait rather than jelly. If you find many dead ants around the bait station, which ever bait you use, lower the amount of boric acid in the mixture. If you are still finding live ants after a week to 10 days, increase the amount of boric acid. Although boric acid is of very low toxicity, it is best to place bait jars where children and pets cannot reach them.

There are a number of sprays you can apply yourself. Combat or Spectracide ant bait products, Ortho Home Defense, or Sevin 50% powder all kill ants and there is some residual effect, but all will need to be reapplied a couple of times during the summer season. Even at that, the cost is minimal - less than $10 for a gallon of Ortho Home Defense.

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