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Ant problem

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zgma | 05:48 Sun 05th Sep 2004 | Home & Garden
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Our house has been invaded by ants - long lines of them in our bathtub, on our kitchen counter, into the dog food - yuck! This happens every year before the rainy season, so it's not new, but I have no tolerance for ants on the kitchen counter this year. What non-toxic remedies have you folks used to get the ants to leave you alone? I should mention that I have a 2-year old, who will pick up anything and put it in his mouth, so anything poisonous for humans won't be used. Thanks!

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I used ant powder and also made sure the sugar bowl was covered. If you know where they are coming in, then perhaps their hole could be blocked. I have them in my front garden, and in the back garden too, including flying ants. Apparently ants do not like water, so perhaps going around the outside of your house with a watering can will help. Actually I was once told watering any gaps that have appeared between a tarmac drive (or anywhere else for that matter) and the brickwork of your house will stop the foundations getting too dry and crumbling. You could try leaving a ajar or something outside with a sugar/water solution in it to attract the ants to it and hopefully drown them.
There are a number of solutions. We had this problem at the start of the summer and I tried a few methods (I have a one year old daughter so I can share your concern). One that worked best was to hoover them up. Apparently if you kill/squash an ant it will produce a scent that attracts lots more ants. Hoovering them up stops this. I put talcum powder in the hoover bag before hand as this chokes and kills the ants when they go into the hoover bag. After 2 or 3 days they stopped coming into the house and we haven't had them since. Other methods are to put a line of chalk or vaseline around where they are coming into the house. They won't cross a chalk line as it chokes them. The chemicals in vaseline are toxic to them so they don't like to walk across it. All the best with getting rid of them.
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Thanks for the suggestions folks. Never heard of the vaseline idea - I'll try that! We've tried cinnamon (worked pretty well one year, but not this time), cayenne (works well, but I'm not using it anymore because of the kiddo), and chalk - no luck with the chalk. We've tried the hoovering idea - these are very persistent ants. I just found a non-toxic orange-peel-based spray in the back of the broom closet, so we'll see how that does. If not, vaseline it is!
Have you tried tracking them to see where they get in?: Usually it's around a gappy window or door frame and you permanently seal it with polyfilla or whatever to stop them getting into the house in the first place.

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