Instructables

Kill household ants - Super cheaply

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On a budget? Got an ant problem? Do not fear, 'cause Domesticated Man and his sidekick Handy Hand have the answer for getting rid of those pesky ants!

Now, the D Man is not impressed with the performance of the commercial anttrap he purchased. It looks neat, but the ants do not seem to appreciate appearances.

The homemade bait on the right...now that is going down well.

Note: This instructable applies only to those tiny little black ants, ths ones that love sweet stuff and swimming in your coffee cup! Domesticated Man must first overcome his fear of bigger ants.
 
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Step 1: Get a base for your Anttrap

Picture of Get a base for your Anttrap
First, you need a thin base for the anttrap. A lot of commercial anttraps make it hard for the little guys to make the jump from being alive to being dead, so pick something that will lie flat and flush with your floor or whatever surface you place it on.
Handy Hand is using a cut-out piece of plastic from a blister pack (inspired, of course, by Domesticated Man)!

Step 2: Borax power for dead ants

The active ingredient here is good ol' fashioned Borax. You can get this useful poison from your supermarket, Hardware store or senile Grandmother.

Why Borax? Well it's slow acting, so the ants will gobble their fill, and then take it back to the nest. And feed it to their Queen and all the unsuspecting citizens of Ant Central.

Oh no! Domesticated Man did not read the warning label, and ingested the Borax! Will he recover in time to stop the ant invasion?!

Note: If you feel bad about killing ants, just tell yourself that you will be destroying an oppressive and Totalitarian government, and ending the suffering of hundreds of enslaved and brainwashed footsoldiers.
sereneone5 months ago
very enjoyable reading.
sgplace2 years ago
Great thread! Let me add some info- Borax and boric acid... Borax is Na2B4O7-10H2O, (20 Mule Team Borax is 99.5% Borax) Hydrated sodium borate - Boric acid is H3BO3 both are a source of Boron the active ingredient.
Diatomaceous Earth comes in many grades but you want to use Food Grade. The % of silica is extremely low so is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA. As a matter of fact I use take a teaspoon every day to help control my cholesterol levels. The DE works great to control ants and other pests. Check out:
http://gettingridofsugarants.org/kill sugar ants with diatomaceous earth

mcates22 years ago
I left a shot glass with a few drops of Southern Comfort on my counter where I had witnessed ants. Not on purpose. I got up in the morning and went to work. When I got home the next day the bottom of the shot glass contained 20- 30 dead ants floating in SoCo. The little buggers probably died happy.
You know you don't have to use disposable mixers, boric acid can be used to wash the dishes with, clean out the sink, and wash many other items, as long as you wash your spoons/ forks after they are used to mix boric acid they're safe to eat with. I use borax in my dishwasher once a month instead of soap for sparkling dishes and flatware, just do an extra rinse cycle!

source: personal experience/ I am a science teacher and deal with boric acid all the time, makes great slime too.
beehard443 years ago
nice graphics though
beehard443 years ago
i normally kill 'em with a spray bottle with alcohol in it
myrrhmaid6 years ago
You can also use powdered sugar and borax. If you have protein seeking ants, use 1/2 borax, 1/2 peanut butter. Put it in an old jar with a lid and poke some holes in the lid, lay it on it's side and Bon Appetit. It really does work.
Mice just love peanut butter (more than cheese); so make sure there's no mouse access to your house or You'll have even bigger problems than ants!
bir006 Zalina6 years ago
Not if you're adding Borax to the peanut butter! Then you'll just have a dead mouse problem (stinky!).
Zalina bir0066 years ago
Really???? Will Borax actually kill mice as well as ants?
bir006 Zalina6 years ago
I'd imagine Borax will kill about anything crawling around your home if enough of it is digested, yeah. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002485.htm
shortw bir0063 years ago
I think you get confused with Borax and Boric acid . Your link goes to a Boric acid website, but you talk about Borax.
bir006 shortw3 years ago
Scroll down, look under "Alternative Names". I figured it was close enough to be relevant. There probably is a pedantic argument about the differences between boric acid and borax here; but the mouse won't know which one you put in his peanut butter.
Borax will kill anything and everything. It will also make your whites really bright if you add it to the washing machine while doing laundry!
a dead mouse problem? oO
iamshocked6 years ago
Just so you all know: I am the President of the S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ants) Residents of this so-called "totalitarian" society have "rights" just like us "homos" (sapiens, that is) and I think you should just go with the syrup and forgo the borax. Just because these creatures will dissolve your house is no reason to kill them!
Well, I know that the S.P.C.A doesn't exist here in Delta we have the community animal shelter run by the municipal government. Eat that S.P.C.A the municipal government told you to get lost. EPIC WIN.
you should check here and look at item number 6.
jabster2k4 years ago
LOL!!!
I seem to be slowing down the ant trail into my room, Last time I done this golden syrup was fine, But not the ants prefer honey...
Arbitror4 years ago
I love Instructables where there is humor infused into it!
Wow this works great I killed a whole colony of big black ants in less than 48 hours! Well there may e a few sick survivors :) lol ,but they'll be dead soon.
vrrusa6 years ago
Fantastic instructable! Great comments and great solutions BUT -- eco-freaks aside -- what you pour on the ground travels into the massive underground lakes (aquafers) that contain your drinking water........... so probably not the best idea to use ammonia or bleach (and NEVER together) or petro chemicals in large quantities on the ground. Also, most brown and black ants co-habitate with termites (who also do not like borax either...) so they are a good indicator that you have termites. Lastly, setting fire to the nests is great but really doesn't work well with the ones that live under the house (with the termites) - try using a mask & goggles and poofing the ground under the house with borax powder. If the borax doesn't come in a poofabel bottle get a plastic mustard/ketsup bottle (the ones with the pointed tops. Shake then poof then shake then poof.....) just do not breathe it or let kids or animal near it. I have also heard the diatomacious earth is great under houses (except be careful crawling under there later.) Anyone want to know how to burn supher and kill anything that is in the house (including every roach, flea, egg, mouse, etc....?) Maybe I will look up my old instructions and put them here for y'all! It is how farmers cleaned out barns each year.
Broom vrrusa5 years ago
"Also, most brown and black ants co-habitate with termites..." Um, yeah. They cohabitate. And hope to get the right to legally marry termites, too. Sure they do. They also unionize. And share daycare facilities. Fortunately, pink fuzzy unicorns are their natural enemies, and stomp on the much-feared ant-termite cohabitation mounds wherever they find them.
"petrochemicals in large quantities on the ground" ahh... the memories... gramps pouring kerosene on the ant's nests and setting them on fire, then leaning back and lighting up a stoogie! come to think of it, it couldn't be that effective, since he used to do it year after year.
kgb25 years ago
I studied and killed ants in my home for a number of years and finally did succeed in getting rid of them This bait idea, unfortunately, is not the answer, although I also tried these types of things but without much luck I am sorry to say. What worked was diatomaceous earth, which is a white powder stuff composed of diatoms that actually dry out the exoskeletons of ants' bodies. Other weapons that worked are: a carpenter ant spray with a thin long red nozzle attached to the aerosol can to get into tiny holes the ants might come out of (somewhat hard to find but go to "real" hardware stores and ask), and liquid dishsoap or liquid laundry soap. Dishsoap is cheap and very handy for when you run into a batch of ants hanging out on some syrup or jelly. Just squirt dish soap around them to form a circle they cannot escape from. They are forced to "surrender". Other useful things I learned: never squish ants. A scent is released that warns the other worker ants. Rather, make small rolls of masking tape, stick your first finger into the roll, and just tap it on the live ant and then leave it upside down somewhere convenient to reuse for the next time you spot one. You will need rolls of tape in handy places like the bathroom and kitchen and laundry.... Another reason this tape idea works well for picking up the worker ants is there is also no vibration, which also alerts them. Of course, your true goal is to kill the Queen and until you find her, and her thousands of eggs, you will be killing endless worker ants. But she can be hard to locate, but watch them the best you can manage and you might get lucky. And start to see your house and property as an ant might see it. Sometimes the Queen is outdoors and the workers come in for food, for instance. So look for rotting wood outdoors and douse it with diatomaceous earth daily, digging around the wood area and killing any ants big or small--and watching everywhere for "winged ants"--oh yucko--just step on it for heavens sake. Sometimes they are between the floors of a house, around the windows or in your houseplants, or in the walls. Sometimes you might hear them if they are carpenter ants and you can plot against them...yes, it gets to be a bit of warfare so don't blow it if you find them--prepare for the kill and be serious about it. Ants also "get up" fairly early--by 5 or 6 am and "go to bed" at maybe 7:30 or 8 pm--at least sugar ants do. They have regular paths they use too, and are "convenience" oriented for food and water. They are usually not too far from what they want to eat or drink--but think in "xray"--the parts of the house you cannot see but know are there: behind the dishwasher, near a toilet like under the floorboards, between your first and second floor, behind your wallpaper (!)etc. Spraying with the carpenter ant spray can do a quick kill-down if you find the nesting area, and then follow up with the d.earth powder (available from FEDCO seed catalog in bulk--google it), which is non-toxic to humans and pets. When I happened on the nest I found holes in my floorboards the ants had made under the rug. I sprayed, and then shot the d. earth in with the vacuum by hooking the vacuum hose up to push air into the hole so as to spread out the d. earth the best I could. I got lucky. You can skip the carpenter ant spray if you can stand the ants any longer or just get it over with because it takes up years of your life otherwise. Oh those ants kept me pretty busy...now when I see one I go after it with a lot of gusto. They are sooooo capable...way more capable than we are!!
diatomaceous earth has nothing to do with ant bodies. It is the exoskeletons of diatoms, tiny, ocean dewling animals. Hih in silica, it can wear holes in exoskeletons. It would be hard to wipe out a colony of ants with it. It does not work the way poison taken back to the colony does.
clinker !!, the previous commenter (kgb2) didn't say that diatomaceous earth was made from ant bodies; he actually said it was formed from diatoms. In fact, everything in your comment is mentioned early in his comment.
bob.smitty kgb25 years ago
Comment is too long... i fell asleep in the middle, and woke up when i read "way more capable that we are!!"... Until i see an ant driving a car, i will disagree with that statement. You don't see ants having "people farms" and kids everywhere (to many a mom's consternation) have ant farms just for the fun of it.
No, no, I'm actually writing this from an ant-controlled people farm right now. The ant overlords are just kind enough to let us have wifi. Now if you'll excuse me, it's feeding time!
WAIT.... are you #1948? If you are hey. It's #2983 from the pen to your left remember?
That's the longest comment I've ever seen.
tell me about it
avergari5 years ago
I read online everywhere that black pepper worked to deter them. so i poured black pepper everywhere in my kitchen, and then the next morning, to my surprise, They Busted Right Through The Black Pepper and continued to wander around my kitchen!!!! my son eats rice cereal, so i put some of that down because i read it will make them explode when they bring it home. we'll see. all i know is that its VERY un-nerving watching ants lerk around my kitchen just so that i can feed them rice cereal. this sucks!
triumphman6 years ago
I did the same thing, sortof, here is my bait plan: I took any cardboard square, placed a small blob of honey in the center (size of a dime) encircled the honey with borax, the little fellows went right for the honey, got all sticky, and as they left, to go feed the queen and young ants, they passed over the borax MOAT, and took it back to the nest, even tiny dustlike particles are deadly to ants! So they literally wiped out the nest themselves. It works great, just have patients! Oh, yes, make as many traps as you need and place them where they are seen, like behind the microwave, fridge, or stove, and sink too! But ants are like mice, they reproduce like crazy. So new ants and nests are out there and looking for your crums. Be diligent and keep a clean home. Less food means less ants. Be well! Triumphman....
Your a doctor?
webbhost6 years ago
dont quite get it... In the last pic you see the borax syrup with god knows how many ants on it. Are the ants dead at this point? Reason I ask is cause they look like they're either dead or stuck.. but if thats the case how do they take the "food" back to their colony to feed to the big mamma?
63 ants(i counted;))
domesticatedman (author)  webbhost6 years ago
Hi webbhost, the ants there at the end are busy feeding and still alive. A few may get stuck, but for the most part they manage to go back and forth without becoming trapped.
Do you think this would work on roaches? Not the huge shiny brown ones, but the smaller tan and black kinds. We just moved into an apartment that has a roach problem, and the exterminators already been sent out here twice =(
according to this linklink, it should. item #6 purportedly takes you to a brilliant, devastating roach killing formula... only it doesn't work.
I've actually since heard from someone that borax will kill roaches. The suggested putting it inside the walls by removing electrical outlet cover, and powdering it and using a broom to push it through the carpet fibers into the carpet padding. I'm going to try the inside the walls thing, but I won't try the carpet method since I now have 2 cats and I'd like to keep them alive.
Actually I'm having a look at that, if Something good comes up, Domesticated man and Handy Hand will try it!
niksfree5 years ago
The most readily available poison (oops I mean sweetener haha) that will knock over ants is what some people put in their coffee or buy soft drinks laced with it and a certain politician made millions while head of the FDA when he allowed its use for human consumption. The product is aspartamene, also known as nutra sweet etc. It ends up in the nest and viola no more ants
this stuff is toxic to ants? I know it will destroy your optic nerve, cause all sorts of nasty side effects in the human body, and trick your hunger center into thinking you need to eat more (which is a MEAN trick considering they use it in diet food). But do the ants actually go for it, or do you have to mix aspartame in with a proper sugar?
Toxic to ants? For gawds sake! This thing is toxic to humans! like you and me! Does it have any redeeming qualities to it?
budman14046 years ago
In this part of Oklahoma folks put a few pennies in a zip lock bag of water and hang them by door openings to keep flies at bay, don`t know the theory but a lot of `em do it.
Well, here in the big city we put $100 bills in a Vuitton bag of Dom Perignon and hang them by the door to keep girl scouts selling cookies at bay.
I've never seen this. What part of Oklahoma are you in?
Delaware county, far Northeastern corner, I deliver liquid oxygen to homes and see this a LOT. I think light refraction is supposed to be the way it works(?).
I'm in Oklahoma City, and I've seen people try it for a while. Later I see the same people hanging out fly paper or bug zappers, because the shiny thing trick doesn't really work. Too bad, because it seems like people around here would rather leave nature alone and unkilled. Except for mosquitoes. We all hate mosquitoes in OKC.
RaNDoMLeiGH5 years ago
I loved this instructable! It was fun to read. We use this same recipe but saturate cotton balls and put them in glass bottles (Coke bottles) to leave outside by their holes. Inside we put them into milk bottle caps. It is extremely effective. My mom-in-law recently discovered that you can wipe an ant trail with vinegar and they won't come back. I don't know how long it lasts but she said they've been gone for a month or so from one wiping.
bhunter7365 years ago
Thanks for the recipe. We just had our annual ant battle and borax with honey worked wonders. It took a while, we back up to open space and there was what seemed an endless run of ants. For a few days I thought I was just feeding them. Then I added bait outside the house too. The rush slowed and I checked outside to find tons of ants at those baits. Almost a week later, no more ants. I checked outside at the baits and no ants their either. Yah! Around the perimeter of the house I spray yearly with commercial repellent, but it only helps reduce the problem. To further reduce the problem I put diatomaceous earth into the crack between the cement around the sides and front of my house and the foundation. This helps too. Keep in mind this stuff will cause cancer and bleeding in the lungs if it gets kicked up in the air, so wear a mask or pour very gently. As stated before, it is non toxic and will not hurt the environment, so it is good until the rains come and wash it away. Anyway, next years battle will involve the same recipe but I will put baits outside right away. You have to put them where animals can not get to the sweet treat. Keep that in mind for your pets and your neighbors.
altomic5 years ago
Um, talcum powder. Ants don't like talcum powder. sprinkle it around your house and under if you have a crawl space. where ever it won't get wet. Ants don't walk on talcum powder. the ants don't die so its a really good budhist karmic solution for detering ants.
what if they live inside your house... thats what his is for
Um. Karma is Hinduism... xD
crf250rider5 years ago
stop domesticated man! dont eat the borax!
bwl4fun5 years ago
How about carpenter bees? Does Domesticated man have any ideas about ridding ones house of carpenter bees?
bon93585 years ago
For sure, ant will never be extinct. It is one of the greatest survivor on earth. Even how many times you kill them. But we can reduce their number. This is one of the best way to do. TQ.
dchall86 years ago
DUDE! You have a serious ant problem!! We need pictures of your goo after a week to know if it works. Back in the 70s I used a mix of sugar, molasses, and yeast smeared onto cardboard. It worked slowly but it was a complete victory after a week. They liked it so much they ate it all and I had to reload. This only works for ants that like sugar. I'm still trying to figure out a mix for ants that refuse sugar and go for protein. Fire ants fall into this category. Why does this work? Apparently the ants will take all the sugar (or protein) they can get back to the nest. Many ants do not eat the sugar directly but they eat either bacteria or fungi that feed on the sugar. In a sense they are farming the bacteria/fungi with food from your kitchen. When you contaminate their food supply with boron or yeast, their food becomes inedible. With an essentially poisoned food supply, they die of either boron poisoning or starvation.
Maybe you could use "whey", the protein supplement.
olddawg dchall86 years ago
I like this one! Equal amounts??
The fire ants in Florida do not seem to be as picky. They'll eat just about everything, including sugar.
jridley dchall86 years ago
Be careful when you shop; borax and boron are very different things. I doubt you'll find an easy source of boron though.
Estwald jridley6 years ago
Borax (boric acid) IS the source of boron. -Ray-
domesticatedman (author)  dchall86 years ago
Thanks dchall8! That about the farming, didn't know that, really cool info. I will add a pic after a few days to show what happens.
portlockboy6 years ago
You are really on to something here,cheap, long lasting. here is a little something from a website.
"Registered in 1983 for control of cockroaches, ants, grain weevils and several beetles, it has also been used as an herbicide along rights-of-way and as a fungicide for citrus, and as a wood preservative/fire retardant, and even as an insect repellent in insulation. As an insecticide, boric acid acts as a stomach poison for ants, cockroaches, silverfish and termites, and as abrasive to the insects exoskeleton"
"Boric Acid is the "secret ingredient" in so many commercial treatments for insect control. Boric acid (100%) powder is odorless and nonstaining. Kills roaches,termites, fireants, palmetto bugs,ticks,bedbugs, fleas, boxelder bugs, carpet beetles, centipedes, crickets, earwigs, grasshoppers,millipedes, scorpions, slugs water bugs,and many many more creepy crawly insects.

Ants : This past year have been on a rampage here in Fl, the insect capitol of the world. This homemade treatment has worked very well on both carpenter ants and pharaoh ants."

Other sites listed below
http://alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/boric_acid.html

Thanks for getting us started in the right direction...
solo.card6 years ago
Noo! Not cool! Don't kill the wee ants, what did they ever do wrong to you?! There are much more effective ways of getting rid of ants without resorting to anticide! One good trick is to smear mens aftershave around the place they get into the house, they don't seem to like it much.
you have never had a bad infestation of ants have you? in short, they multiply if you leave them alone. they will take over and destroy the wood structure of your home. once my grandmother woke up in the middle of the night, went downstairs to to make some tea, and one of the walls was a crawling black sea of ants. she threw the boiling water on them. it was f**king nuts.
In my experience, even slightly elevated temperature kills off insects. Boiling water was probably an overkill. Typically a hair dryer blow kills them in seconds (especially if used to keep them cornered). They have no body temperature regulation and are also very sensitive to dehydration. Steam from a steam cleaner is also effective (although it doesn't dry them, but still...). Both were successfully used to abruptly end a cockroach infestation, without resorting to poisons or messy squashing. Heat gets them even in their little hiding places.
jaysbob salec6 years ago
I don't think running to get the hairdryer would be you first reaction when holding a pot of boiling water and seeing an undulating black sea crawling across your walls. He did say she was making tea after all, I think the water was just a knee-jerk reaction. and to the person who doesn't want to kill them I'll misquote an old adage, the only good ant, is a dead ant.
pyro13 jaysbob6 years ago
We had a huge colony of them in my backyard. One day last summer, they attacked my dog when he was laying in the grass. I pulled up the ppaving stone they were under, saw the queen, then she was instantly covered with a mass of ants for some reason, so i went to get the can of petrol and my lighter, that got the job done. =D no more and colony =D
In my experience burning is better than boiling water, though a large hit of boiling water does seem to set them back considerably, and probably kills the queen and eggs/larvae. Some of the older farmers used to use termite poison (can't recall the name, now forbidden by our nanny-state government). The main secret seems to be in getting whatever death you're peddling down deep into the anthill. The most "scientific" approach I saw was one farmer who drove a piece of rebar as far as he could into the middle of the anthill, wiggled it around, and replaced it with a piece of 2" metal pipe, shoved down about 6" or more. He then poured diesel fuel down the pipe, and while it was soaking into the nest, he'd throw a metal ring (actually the bottom third of an old 55-gallon drum) around the nest to help keep the fire contained. Sometimes he'd add more to the pipe, and he'd let some soak into the soil inside the ring. A lot of the ants were dead by this time, apparently, but when he lit it off, there wasn't much doubt that the colony had come to an end. If I remember right, he did it around dusk, thinking that all the ants would be back home. If this seems too drastic, the pipe & metal ring trick might help a boiling water or vinegar application, also. And if you don't have any old metal drums to cannibalize, some stacks of bricks or the top half of a drywall bucket would probably do nicely. Main thing is to be smart about the fire, keeping a close eye for hours after it goes out, and soaking the area thoroughly before you leave. There is no such thing as too much water.
once, i had this huge tree stump in my back yard infested with ants. so, i trilled probably 200 holes in it about a foot long, and over the next two days, periodically poured thick, black, used, disgusting motor oil into it. finally, i build a fire around it and lit it all up.
Sounds like it might work fine. Should also keep the zillions of little tree saplings that will continue to bud up from the roots & stump. Many years ago we used to kill dandelions by gouging the root down as far as we could reach, and squirted a tiny bit of used motor oil directly on the remaining root. It never grew back. This was a pretty common way of killing weeds in the Pacific Northwest back in the 50s, though time-consuming. As kids, it was our little chore once a week. The oil killed a couple of inches of the surrounding grass, so there were always little yellowins-brown spots on the lawn, but the next year the number of weeds was reduced drastically. The third year we did it after we moved into one house, the lawn was pretty close to weed-free and looked great. Probably would make the eco-freaks today have a major hemorrhage, but the total amount of oil we used was probably less than was spilled changing the oil on our cars during the same period.
thanks jaysbob. i think you are the only person who realized that.
Aah, well you can pour boiling water if you wish, but one method that has worked in our part of the country (MI) is to start May 1 and pour a steady stream of ammonia all around the base of your house. Repeat every month at that same time for 4 months - this is supposed to take care of any of the little buggers that are trying to get inside (there's no problem with pets as they don't like the smell). However, some have found it useful to continue til the first frost. Guess that would depend on how bad your bug problem was. Also, don't be stingy with the amount of ammonia you spread - it doesn't have to be thick, but just a nice steady stream. Hope that helps some.
But what if they are already in the house? Won't that keep them in?
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holy $#1+, what the heck where u thinking man?
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There's this one place we used to pass that was sort of like a farm (even though I'm in a pretty suburban area) and it had a gigantic fire ant hill... the entire ground around it was literally fire ants - always, no lie! The whole ground would be red, and we'd have some fun and chuck some rocks into the thing. It was amazing that none of them got squashed...
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HAha, how ironic :P
hehe. I would a LOT of fun with them. Throwing molotovs into them, m80's, and soaking the whole thing in gasoline. Maybe set it on fire. I know gas without fire kills them all, but lighting it only kills some (the queen supposedly can survive it)
she didn't survive my gasoline attack. ;D
These ants, they are not very friendly. They deserve to die.
vomajeff6 years ago
Very funny and informative solutions. I am enjoying them all and knowing for sure (now), that 4X black powder wasn't such a good idea.(besides leaving a huge crater). I have mayfly season approaching. besides living in the dark for a month, any suggestions on keeping them away?
Jdurban6 years ago
Brilliant and funny! You are going to save me a lot of time and money my friend. I am always having to deal with those damn Argentinians!
Thanks for this instructable! My wife and I have been fighting ants, even though we can't figure out what they're feeding on (we keep our house clean I swear!) This is easily the funniest Instructable I've ever read.
domesticatedman (author)  toekneebullard6 years ago
Much thanks, toekneebullard! If you haven't done so already, try following them around a bit. Sometimes they only go cavorting after dark, and then it's easier to track them. Finding the nest is a big plus!
the commercial ant bait/poison "Terro" is the same basic formula. VERY effective stuff.
whats a good more household poision to use windex? bleach? very basic/acidic things?
tercero6 years ago
Borax also works on silverfish. You can use dry powdered sugar and borax or cornstarch and borax.
This is a really good killin trap My dad said it was like the remedys in the old days
lol... great instructable! i loved the domesticated man and handy hand :P ferrel it made ant killing sound like fun! :)
This was funny and sadly much needed in our house. Thank you very much.
dart70ca6 years ago
I did this with carpenter ants a few years back. Here in the Northwest, ants don't tend to get so out of control as in hotter climates so one summers' treatment set them back far enough that we didn't have them coming into the house any more. Destroying the pheromone trails helps keep any survivors away as well. While the recipe I got from my friend's Dad used icing sugar instead of syrup, and the mixture ratio was about 1/3 borax to 1 sugar, it still worked.
dm_prince6 years ago
After being invaded by ants for the past 3 or 4 summers, I found similar recipes for ant death, but this is by far the funniest. My only recommendation is to not skimp out on this stuff. Make big batches. Pints, not tablespoons. Be very generous with your ant food. I have bottle caps full of the stuff everywhere. If the ants eat it all they will continue on to your cupboards.
AndyGadget6 years ago
I was going to put the ants' point of view and suggest a friendlier way of diverting them from your house, but reading the comments it looks like ants in the States are a bit different from the innocuous little things we get in the UK. Go for it! I suggest napalm.
jakdedert6 years ago
Absolutely simplest, cheapest, fastest way to cure an infestation of ants: Clorox Cleanup...the squirt cleaner that contains bleach (although I imagine any weak concentration of chlorine bleach might work, it might be that the soapy stuff it's mixed with has an effect). Simply find the ants 'line of march' and spray it liberally. This has two immediate effects. It kills the ants that it touches almost instantly; and it destroys the pheremone trail that they lay down to navigate to/from whatever is attracting them. If you can't trace them back to the source (hole, whatever), it may take a couple of applications over a couple of days. If you do find it, it's almost instantaneous...and leaves a nice, clean surface as well! Disclaimer: this stuff is toxic, as household cleaners go. Bleach, even in low concentrations, is pretty nasty--especially if it gets on your clothes, so be warned. However, most household surfaces, except for carpet, are pretty immune.
I suspect that if you dug a little trench around the anthill and poured a fair amount of bleach in it, it'd soak in and keep them from their expeditions for some time -- maybe enough to kill the nest. Being a big fan of overkill, I'd probably poke a hole in the nest and dump the rest of the bottle down there, too. Bleach is cheap, as well as deadly. One warning, though, if you spray their trails -- bleach will pretty much murder any nice grass or plantings it sits on, so I wouldn't soak a trail going across a nice piece of manicured lawn. Bleach will also mark brick or concrete sidewalks, also (actually cleaning the parts it touches), so use some forethought when spraying those trails with bleach. Might be the soap in the Clorox Cleanup, as well as the bleach. I have some recollection that soap or surfactants can interfere with insect respiration (breathing),
Yeah, so far this has been strictly an indoor strategy. I don't much care if ants want to live, just that they stay out of the house. (OTOH, we don't (yet) have a serious problem with fire ants here in Middle Tennessee.) I don't use spray pesticides indoors at all, so this is a relatively eco-friendly solution. I use the product for cleaning all of the time anyway; which is how I happened upon this use for it. Another re-purposing--although considerably more hazardous (strictly an OUTDOOR strategy): I accidentally found out that Gumout brand carburetor cleaner will kill wasps faster than any insecticide I've ever used. The spray can it comes in, shoots a nice 10' stream...knocks them right off the nest....
A less toxic substance is any "green" cleaner that has a citric acid formula, like orange oil. I use Sun and Earth brand. The citric acid kills on contact and cleaning around cabinets, baseboards, and door jams seems to discourage them from coming back. Plus safe on countertops and where kids and pets play. And a nice orangey scent! Great Instructable!
A few drops of mustard oil (the strong types with good, strong odours) at the corners and at the entry points deter the ant from entering your home.
johncar6 years ago
Some years ago I had an ant problem. I bought a commercial product which relied upon the ants taking the product back to their nest. When it did not work I contacted the manufacturers. Apparently during some month of the year( can't remember when but it was in UK so woud differ from country to country) the ants don't take the poison/food back to the nest.
nice it looks like it works very well I have been attacking 2 ant hills with watter stomping and all that fun stuff but it just hinders them a little bit its still fun though. well written istructable good idea. +1
cwarner7_116 years ago
A much simpler, cheaper and more environmentally friendly solution to an ant problem is fresh ground pepper. Get a pepper grinder and pepper the ant trails back to where they are entering the house. They will find a new entry point at first, but after a couple of doses of this treatment, they move on to bother the neighbor. And it does not kill the ants, only drives them crazy. So they can continue to contribute whatever it is that ants contribute to the biosphere...
They don't like cinnamon, either, or peppermint - we had a spray bottle with water mixed with peppermint extract to spray in areas. This was only very temporary, tho - we had to eventually resort to ant traps.
stacye6 years ago
This was an awesome Instructable. Very clever in the way it was written, and a practical application. I'm glad it made the weekend feature.
ThunderHun6 years ago
It seems that you really plan your executions very well! Any hints or tips on getting rid of similar in irritation fellow employees?
UberPug6 years ago
hahah, every instructable needs a mascot!!
Prometheus6 years ago
Hilarious instructable and very well done! Love the censorship of your action-figure's crotch rofl!
pm326 years ago
Great post. Anyone got something to get rid of, or repel flies
thrhymes6 years ago
great. I like the humorous approach. i will try that, just because it seems to be fun.
LornaB6 years ago
Are you South African, Domesticatedman? Just recognized some of the labels - Make your money go further! Anyhow - great instructable - will def give it a go when the ants infest my humble abode again......
nepal596 years ago
Hi from Italy, you are right, the recepy is ok and if you can add some drops of any beer.... and you will see the difference!
Cool! Great Instructable! Very Humorous! Thanks Joe
Jacojvv6 years ago
Nice Instructable,I have been using this method for a while and found it to work well.You can also mix the borax with peanut butter and suck it into a straw with a syringe,that way you can cut pieces of the straw and place it all over the place.
Ezara6 years ago
Your pictures were very cute and descriptive.
Thoth6 years ago
Borax/boric acid is not very toxic, having an LD50 of about 4g/kg (meaning a 150 pound person needs to eat 300 g of the stuff to potentially die). Its a food additive in the EU and a component of many eye washes. The way it kills mainly is because it is tiny crystals. It is ingested and causes physical damage to ants, roaches et c. Only effective on insects. It is as if you swallowed shards of glass. Citrus Oil is an effective "green" insecticide but has to make contact with the insect.
lansmart6 years ago
P.S. GReat job 5/5 from me.
lansmart6 years ago
can it work on fire ants? you know the red headed black body ants that are very aggressive.
matthewabel6 years ago
I am so happy to be part of the destruction of an oppressive and totalitarian government! Is this basically what the name brand Terro stuff is? Because I have read about Borax's miraculous anti-insect tendencies and thought this would be a good idea. Glad to see it was, and in both an informative and interesting manner.
chabias6 years ago
So....does Domesticated Man survive?? Great instructable. Super funny! ~:o)
thx for the instructable i havnt tried it yet but as soon as i convince my mom to let me buy some borax ill try it
ugg, ants, gross lol awesome idea, save people loads of money!
GreenDay6 years ago
Would this work for ants at my workplace, or is this for residential use only?
domesticatedman (author)  GreenDay6 years ago
Hmmm...Should work, though it may be harder to control, if there's a lot of people moving stuff around. I suggest putting it somewhere out of the way, and warning everyone about it. I've had co-workers who would eat anything. Really.
It seems I have borax at my house, I think I'll give it a go. You get a +1 from me.
highwaykind6 years ago
So...what if I don't want to kill them, but send them on a nice little detour (aka: not my home)?
You could find out where they are entering your home and completely block it with a line of talcum powder. Ants will never cross a powder or chalk line (don't know why, just that it works every time without fail). After about a week, the pheromone trail should have dissipated to where they can no longer read it and the ants should have picked out a new home so it should be ok to clean up the talc. Also be sure to empty any standing water laying about (unfinished glasses of water, pet bowl, etc.) to get rid of any ants in your home when you set down the powder line. Ants are mostly water (like us) and will die without water after about 3 days (like us).
Plant a nice little candy trail to your neighbors house :)
LOL! Why didn't I think of that before :)
fib3roptix6 years ago
You are a freakin genius domesticatedman I will kill ants with enthusiasm now
jaysbob6 years ago
if thats only after ten minutes you must have (had now I guess :D) a pretty serious ant problem. Or the trap is just crazy effective. almost makes me want to try and attract ants just to try this out!
Bitsi6 years ago
Love the presentation. Will there be more episodes of domesticatedman and handy hand? Can I hire them for a party? Would they like to guest-host my next instructible? :-)
thinkahead6 years ago
Ah man this way all the ants do is eat the syrup. You left out the single most important step. '
itstemo16 years ago
Dude thanks... I need this for my house back in Mexico. Those ants are my second guest. They even made there tunnels inside my electrical outlets, and made holes on my tiles. I have seen them kill a live cockroach after it try to eat one of my traps (which didn't work). Anyways... I am so trying this. I think the queen lives under my house so it is impossible to kill her with my regular methods.
I took some chocolate and borax put it in a really old rusty pan and cook ti up till it mikes together then i pour it on a piece of paper and let harden and wlaah my cat leaves it alone but my dog i have to hide it from
brewabel6 years ago
Really cool idea. Currently using the cheap jelly and borax mix. Another sweet yet lethal combination. Will incorporate the "easy access" holder though. Currently using a bottle cap, which makes them work for it a little more.
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