getting rid of ants without chemicals : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I've just moved into a house after living in apartments for the last 9 years. I love my big yard but I'm finding ant hills. I don't want my dogs getting into them or the ants to decide to come into the house,I remember reading somewhere that chewing tobacco tea will kill most insects but the ants really weren't affected, other than getting a little drowned. Any suggestions?

-- dawnweger (, February 04, 2000


Two classic methods. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Carefully take it outside. With a spade, turn open the ant hill in motion, then quickly pour the boiling water into the hill. The other method is to take a big shovelful of one ant hill, dump it on another hill. Then take a shovelful of the second hill, carry it back to the first, dump it. The rival ants will supposedly battle to the death.

Be careful using tobacco/nicotine in any form. It can easily kill you and/or your dogs if handled or applied incorrectly.

If you're down south and have fire ants, you may need professional help. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (, February 04, 2000.

Are these fire ants? If they are, good luck! I know we tried for years to kill or at least move them, by non-chemical means. Absolutely, positively no luck. No one I know has had any luck with eradicating them by "peaceful" means.

We finally made the decision to use whatever methods were necessary to get rid of them (except near edibles) after a severe allergic reaction episode with one human, and then later, a dog. Even the chickens steer clear of them.

Sorry not to offer any help, but fire ants can be dangerous, not just a nuisance to be tolerated; sometimes people move to areas that have them, but they're unfamiliar with them, and learn the hard way. I sincerely hope someone else has some ideas for natural control/predators.

-- Sylvia (, February 05, 2000.

We have this solution to offer. We have tons of ants here in Central Florida which were a big problem in our yard and garden. We discovered that the output of our greywater system caused said ants to either movve or die, we don't know which. I suspect that the soap in the greywater broke down the waxy coating that insects have on their exoskeletons and caused them to become dehydrated and die. Just a theory. We tried Amdro and hot water but all they did was cause the little buggers to move to a different spot. If you don't use greywater, I'll bet that soapy water will do just as well. Good luck, John and Pat

-- John and Pat James (, February 05, 2000.

Here is a nontoxic method that may work. Sprinkle uncooked grits, directly from the box, around the area where the ants are located. They seem to kill the ants. I assume that the ants eat them and they swell inside the critter causing their internal organs to burst. I have used this method on the small sweet ants and carpenter ants.

-- Rich (, February 05, 2000.

Can't help you with the greater part of your problem, but I will give you this hint. If ants are invading your sugar bowl, simply put a bay leaf in the bowl. It does not alter the sugar in any way, but ants will avoid it like the plague! Pehaps it will also repel them from other areas, but I have not tried that. Good Luck! Brad

-- Brad (, February 06, 2000.

I have battled ants in every house I moved into and tried every method I could find or invent. Sometimes, stirring the anthill down to where the eggs are, then sprinkling borax on them works. Cinnamon sprinkled around your foundation will keep them out of your house. One time I had a harvester anthill under the house all the way to the floorboards and lots of these bitey critters in the house and I could not reach the hill from the crawlspace. I took a soda pop can that still had a bit of soda in it and added boric acid until it was slushy and tossed it to the anthill. In two weeks, all the ants were gone.

I have since read that the secret to using boric acid is making the mix weak enough that they take it home to feed everyone, but strong enough to kill them. Also, a sweet mix for sweet eating ants, grease mix for grease eating ones and protein for the "nursury."

I like using the can or a small mouth bottle so kids and pets cannot get to the bait, and the rain doesn't wash it away.

-- Laura (, February 07, 2000.

We also had so many ant hills when we bought our property that I thought they were prairie dog hills! Tried the grits method and it didn't help these ants, so I sure will try the borax method too. They are sure a problem.

-- Jan Bullock (, February 08, 2000.

If they're fireants, it's a real problem. I've had some success with boiling water, Orthene, and once I even shoveled up a mound and flung it across the yard, with success. Even if you eradicate them in your yard/property, they will soon move into your yard from surrounding property. They love to colonize ant free areas, and are simply and ongoing battle. Good luck.

-- hannah (, February 10, 2000.

Hi-I love to herb garden & found that ants seem to hate my mint! Plant it around your foundation, it worked for us. Also, if they slip inside, somehow-- put dryed mint in their path or mint tea bag. Then sit down & have a glass of iced mint tea, or hot, that is just for you to enjoy. Hope it works for you!

-- Sonda Bruce (, February 11, 2000.

Diatomaceous earth has worked for us in Arizona, sprinkled around exterior perimeter, interior baseboards, etc. We use a sqeeze bottle to "puff" into cracks. Good luck.

-- wk grady (, April 19, 2000.

I have not tried this method; but a trustworthy friend has told me that ants will not cross fluoride. Apparently you mix toothpaste and water, mix until its a flowing thin liquid then pour on the area that ants visit.

-- mitch hearn (, April 08, 2001.

If you decied to go the chemical route, I have had sucess killing ants (not fire ants) with kerosene and soap. Mix a little powdered soap (real) into a pint or so of kerosene and pour on the hill. It is not necessary to set afire.

-- Lynn Goltz (, April 08, 2001.

On a different thread, someone mentioned diatomaceous earth (DE) as an ant killer, even fire ants. I don't have fire ants, so I haven't tried it.

-- Joy F (So.Central Wisconsin) (, April 08, 2001.

I tried wiping 1/2 a lemmon in their paths, on the paintwork indoors and that worked. I now have them all over the garden and am going to try all the suggestions I just read! thanks

-- lynn (, October 15, 2001.

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