Ant Wars. We won (so far).

Ant Wars.  We won (so far).

Moving is never fun, especially when you discover that there are already tenants that you were unaware of.  I never know where to start with unpacking, but the kitchen makes the most sense, because you gotta eat.

Back in April when we moved in, I  started to unpack the kitchen and ended up in a battle against some kitchen ants (sugar ants).  As soon as I started putting food in the cabinets, they started swarming.  We took everything out and came up with a plan of attack – there were a ton of them.  The solutions we came up with was pulling up the old contact paper (thanks Lo), vinegar/soap/water mix (didn’t seem to work), and finally Terro Liquid Baits which actually worked (and they are safe to use in food area).  The ants take the liquid (borax and sugar water type mixture) back to the nest and it kills the entire nest. The worker ants carry it back to the other ants (not sure what their job titles are, except for the queen), tell the others about it and feed it to them, and then they all die.  Once you stop seeing a trail of ants, you know you decimated the nest.  Note that boric acid is a mild toxin to humans and pets if consumed and care should be taken that traps aren’t within reach of children and pets.

We gave it a few days to work and finally stopped seeing ants.  I was comfortable enough to start loading food into the pantries, but was still careful to put open or sweet stuff in sealed containers or baggies.  We left the Terro baits in the back of the pantry shelves, just in case, and I also sprinkled diatomaceous earth along the back crease of the shelves.  DE is food grade/food safe, and it kills bugs that come in contact with it within a day or two because it cuts their shells and dehydrates them.  So if any ants catch a ride on something that we put in the cabinets, they should die before they are able to make a home and reproduce.

I was afraid to post about this earlier in case they came back – which they haven’t – but others did.  Our kitchen windows are old – as in probably 1950 original (as you can probably tell from the pic above) – and they were painted shut.  They were probably painted shut to seal them better from cold and heat, as they need replaced (which we hope to do this year), but we eventually decided we needed to be able to open at least one of them for a breeze and to get rid of kitchen smells.  A week or two after Lo pried the window open and we started opening it, we started seeing a few bigger black ants (Lo calls picnic ants?) on the window frame each day.  We moved a Terro trap to the window sill, and they made their way straight to it and headed back home.  We found where they were coming in but there wasn’t much we could do about it until we replace the windows.  Luckily after a few days of them getting into the Terro, they must have killed the rest of the nest and haven’t been back.

I know this won’t be the last time we have ants…most houses get them and we’ll probably have them a few times a year, but we’ll definitely go straight for the Terro each time.  I know this sounds like a sponsored post – it totally isn’t – they just worked so well.  After having ants in other houses that we’ve lived in, I’m just happy to find a real solution finally.  We have several unopened baits at the ready for when it happens again.  You can buy them at most hardware or big box stores, or order them from Amazon.

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