I took this picture outside. The ant was on one of my window boxes. It’s hard to take a picture of these little buggers because they are so QUICK.
Two years ago we were seeing these big, black, carpenter ants (called that because they like to nest in wood, not eat it) all over the house. We knew we had a problem but didn’t know where they were until one day I was painting the floor of the little front porch... I just repainted it again (it gets painted every year). I did a post on the front porch makeover HERE if you want to see what I did with it this year.
Here’s the floor of the front porch.
After I painted the floor on this porch two years ago I noticed that there were little dirty crumbles all over a certain area near the chimney on an otherwise perfectly painted wooden floor. I was like “what the heck”? Mike, my nephew was here at the time and he went out and looked up. He didn’t see anything but got on a ladder and started pulling boards down (the ceiling of the porch is wood). Then all of a sudden he pulled a piece of wood off and a huge bunch of ants fell down and they kept falling out of that small porch attic for a long time. To make a long story short, Mike sprayed the nest with RAID and we swept up a huge pile of dead ants. BELOW
After that we didn’t see any more black ants.
Moral of the story? Find the nest if you can, spray it, kill the queen (we saw one dead really huge ant which we figured was the queen) and you will be shed of the ants.
That was recently. About 15 years ago we were having a problem with black ants coming in. That was a siege that went on for years. We had the exterminators come every month and spray inside and out of the house. We wouldn’t see them while he was spraying and we never saw any in the winter but come May and boom! they were right back again. This went on year after year. At that time they were coming in around the back glass doors. I didn’t know how to keep them out at that time so I just killed them when I saw them. David, son, was little and had a pet toad which I had to get bugs for it to eat every day. One day, a light bulb went off in my head (why not kill 2 birds with one stone?) - I set the toad near the back doors and he would eat the ants. He didn’t get all of them, of course, but he ate and I got rid of a few ants while I did other things around the house. I set him there a few times a day to eat.
Within a week, I noticed that I hadn’t been seeing ants anymore. I asked hubs if he had seen any ants. From that time, they must have up and moved out. I think the ants that got away from the toad sent out an alarm to the nest (this is conjecture, here) and the queen decided to move which means they all moved. GONE. I hadn’t seen any ants until the front porch problem.
Moral of the story? Find a natural predator. (How about an ant eater -- just kidding. ha ha) Ants are intelligent though. They know what is a safe haven for them. Okay, so maybe no one is going to go out and get a toad to kill the ants, but it DID happen and I don't think it was a coincidence. Okay, it might have been. Let’s move on here....
Recently, my sister, Carol (other succulent sister) who has been having an ant problem for years in her downstairs bathroom (ants like to be in a place where they have access to water). She decided to spray Clorox Clean Up in the place where she has seen them come out of. She hasn’t seen any since and that was 2 weeks ago. I’m not sure that is the end of the battle with those ants, though. She may have to reapply.We’ll see..
Moral of the story? Find out where they are coming in and spray something really offensive and toxic, like bleach, in that area. One year my sister had tiny ants coming in from the kitchen window area. Should I tell the story about the raspberry syrup she had on the counter? She gives a few squirts in her iced tea to flavor it... Uh, well, it was nearing the end of the bottle (I was visiting at the time. She lives in PA) and we saw lots of little black flecks at the bottom of the raspberry syrup bottle. Yep, the ants crawled in the spout and drowned, of course. We were grossed out!!! Anyway, that time, I went outside and located where they were coming in – a crack on the side of the window, flushed the area with bleach and that was the end of those ants coming in.
David, my son, told me to make sure I wrote about the cayenne pepper. One time we had sidewalk ants in our family room addition. Yup, they were living in the house that time. Oh, I might as well tell the story of what happened. I went out on the back deck from the family room and when I looked down at the stairs I saw a row of tiny ants all marching up the stairs, the part of the stairs that is like a ramp. I don’t know what they call that. I also saw where they were going... right into a crack in the siding of the house. I followed this marching row of ants through the grass to a small garden in the middle of the yard. Under some leaves which I swept away I saw a huge colony of these tiny ants. It looked like they were all excited about something and each one had a tiny white oval thing in its mouth. Then I followed this marching line of ants back to the house again. I looked at where they were going again - into a crack and INTO MY HOUSE!!! OH NO!! They were moving from the garden and right into MY HOUSE!! I ran into the house, found hubs and took him out and showed him what was happening. I told him to spray that area right away with the poison we had which you attach to the hose. Then I went back into the house and went about my business.
Next day: I went out and looked at the garden where the huge colony of ants had been. They were gone! I asked hubs if he had sprayed the poison. He said, “no”. “NO?”, I sputtered. “NO?”, again. I was incredulous! Let’s just say the sparks flew around that day! I looked at the crack in the siding. I looked at the stairs where the ants had been marching. I looked at the place in the garden where the colony had been. EMPTY! Nada. Nothing. No sign of any ants at all. Guess where they were? Yup, they had moved into my house!! That was a horrible feeling.
Moving on. We had those little ants for some years and finally David read about cayenne pepper, red pepper that comes from a chili pepper so it’s HOT and spicy. You are supposed to sprinkle cayenne pepper all around the perimeter of the room where the molding meets the floor. The ants moved out. I didn’t get to see them move out, though, like I saw them move in...
Links about cayenne (red) pepper as an insecticide...
Homestead Roots has a recipe for using cayenne pepper and garlic. You might want to check it out.
There are also natural repellents which I tried one time. The basis of it was tobacco juice which is touted as one very strong insect repellent. I soaked the tobacco (I bought some chewing tobacco - and put about a cup in a gallon of water and soaked it overnight). To that mixture I added Lemon JOY dish detergent (for some reason bugs HATE lemon). I think there was another ingredient also but not sure what. However, many of the places I looked at online said that tobacco in water was enough to extremely deter bugs. I sprayed this around the backyard to discourage mosquitos. I also sprayed it around the foundation of the house.
Everything I saw online said that tobacco was one of the strongest “natural” insect repellents. One woman said that she used to get mad when people driving by would flick their cigarettes onto her lawn. Now she separates the filter from the tobacco and soaks the tobacco in water. She said there haven’t been any ants anywhere that she’s used this.
A link to more about tobacco use for ant control.
Finally, I’m going to tell you what I use now to keep bugs out of the house. PLEDGE furniture polish. Remember when I said that bugs hate lemon? They really hate lemon oil and I find that they won’t walk over this. I spray this around windows and around floorboards.
You will not believe this but I found another person who uses Lemon Pledge also to keep bugs out. This person says it will deter ALL bugs. Link is HERE. Tobacco is also used in that article for bug control.
Earth Easy has more than a few ways to control ants without pesticides.
I hope you’ve found some new ways to deter ants from getting in your home. Barring that, maybe you’ve had some amusement with my own battles and methods of ant control.
Best wishes, my friends,
Hi there and WELCOME! So happy that you came by to visit. I'm Linda. I’m the blogger (on the right).
My sister, Carol (left in the picture) is a super creative person and she loves learning new things to make and do. I do, too,
and I blog about what we do right here on Crafts a la Mode by Two Succulent Sisters.
I’m so looking forward to having you join us and would love to have you join our community by subscribing via email or RSS feed.
Leave me a message and I will follow you back.
Check out our party page to find out WHERE WE PARTY!
Fine Craft Guild