They are known as "sugar" ants, the layman's term for various species of tiny pests that can get into, around and under almost anything in their never-ending search for food. Although they have a sweet tooth, they're not fussy eaters and will consume almost anything edible, including starches and meat. Entomologists advise that the only long-term solution to the problem is to find the nest and destroy it, thereby killing the queen.
Dissolve 1 tsp boric acid and 10 tsp sugar in two cups of water. Soak wadded toilet paper in this solution until fully saturated.
Put the paper in jars and leave the jars in places where ants are getting in. Add more solution when the toilet paper starts to dry out.
Drench the nest with insecticide. After the first treatment, watch surface ant activity. If it resumes, soak the nest again, as many times as necessary to get rid of the ants and the queen.
Treat a swath of soil 3 to 4 feet from your house with either wettable powder or granular insecticide to act as a barrier. Renew the treatment every two to three weeks while the ants are active.
- If the bait kills the ants on the spot, it is too strong. Dilute the solution with water so ants live long enough to return to the nest and share it.
- If the ant problem is seasonal and not too severe, ready-to-use ant insecticide labeled for indoor use should take care of it. There is no evidence that non-chemical substances like spearmint gum, red pepper, orange peel or herbs kill ants, entomologists say.
- Flooding the nest with water or gasoline won't work, entomologists say.
- Keep all insecticide out of the reach of children and pets.