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Help...our kitchen has been colonized by a nation of ants! Does anyone know of an effective way to get rid of ants that does NOT involve spraying toxic chemicals all over the place? I've looked for those little ant traps like they sell back in the states, and haven't been able to find any. So any natural remedies or other tricks you know of would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Here're a couple of links. I haven't tried any yet, but we also have the same problem - teeny-weenie ant getting into everything, it drives my wife nuts.
We used to use something called "Ant Rid" back home, but try as we may, our housekeeper has absolutely no idea about how to get rid of them, she just cleans around them...
Getting Rid of Ants
Natural Ant Control
Jen, we looked for months for those ant traps. I don't believe they exist here, and we found out why. In October we went home for a month and brought several of those ant traps back with us. A complete waste of time and money. These Vietnamese ants wouldn't go near the stuff! They just made a new trail around it. Whatever is in those traps does not attract Vietnamese ants. I even put a couple drops of cola in the trap. They went in, grabbed the goods, and split without taking any of the poison.
I think the bottom line is to keep everything sealed well, as Nat said. Buy some quality plastic-ware. If they don't have a solid supply of food, they'll gradually migrate elsewhere.
We have used this trick for an ant infested kitchen in India and our kitchen here. It takes a little time but is non-toxic and it really and truly works:
Mix bi-carb soda with a little sugar and water until you make a paste. Leave it in a small open container near a place the ants traffic. Leave it for a couple of weeks and replace when it gets too full with dead ants. It took about 2 weeks for our kitchen to be ant free and then we had to repeat for about 4 days a little after that. I haven't had any in the kitchen for a few months now.
Also, an old southern trick: cinnamon. Ants can't stand the smell, plus it messes up the scent trail they leave. Pour a thin line the encircle the area where they come in on the floor. If it's on the wall, mix cinnamon with a little water and spray onto the areas where they are coming in.
If nothing else, your house will smell nice - better than the residual lighter fluid idea, anyway. :)
as per natinnam / grateralus - everything in sealed containers. They will go elsewhere if no food to nibble on.
Our maid also leaves chillies in the fridge, with the veg and by the cat food (which is prone to ant nibbling) which seems to deter them.
A line of any type of powder (talc / salt) along the bottom of doors / windows also helps but they'll probably just go around it as granteralus suggests.
The other day I was getting a little antsy, so I boiled some cinnamon in water, filtered it and then put it into a spray bottle and tracked down some of these pesky, little critters.
Sprayed the antichamber and part of the trail - all it did was antagonise them. They must have anticipated my efforts because a few days later they had a new trail. It's enough to make you reach for antacid! I thought the cinnamon water would be the antidote to this problem, but it's all proven to be a bit on an anticlimax.
How'd you go?
Hey everyone, thanks for all the input. Here's the update:
-> Cinnamon/Pepper: They definitely avoid both of these, and for a few days the traffic was cut way down, but there are so many ways in, they eventually found another route around and so in the end it hasn't helped a whole lot. But I like the cinnamon pretty well cuz it also smells nice. :)
-> Vinegar: This works pretty well! I've been spraying a fresh coat around the edges of the sink, floor, etc. wherever they're coming in, and for a few days, it really stifles them. But I have to keep it up because it seems to wear off and lose its potency after a few days. And the smell goes away after it dries, so it's not as bad as I thought.
-> Bi-carb soda and sugar paste: trying that right now, will report back later.
-> Cucumber peels (a few sources recommended this): seems utterly ineffective to me. Tried it and they just marched right over the top of them.
We had reasonable results with talc but in th end managed to get ahold of some ant baits - no more ants.
Roaches - don't step on them, squash them or anything them, it makes them a tad upset so they spew eggs all over the place wich not only creates millions more, but produces roach attractan pheremone's which also attract more.
Use a glass or bottle, capture them and physically remove them to a neighbour's yard or somewhere in the street.
You could try asking for borax (boric acid) at one of the chemical supplies shops, there's one in Trang Tien Street.
There was a previous discussion on Borax (http://newhanoian.xemzi.com/en/aska/answers/qid/2283).
Since my personal stash is running low I'd be interested to find a local source.
In this previous discussion it was suggested (by a cool mother of 2) that borax was sold in the markets with the name "han the". Can anyone confirm this?
Did borax for a while, with an evil grin of death ... but after some time, the word got around antville, and none of them touched the stuff again again, no matter how much sugar. Clever little buggars!!
Now I follow a containment strategy, with everything in airtight boxes or in the fridge. Seems to go ok, but sometimes they get me, if I'm a little slow putting things back, or forget a coffee cup somewhere.
I try not to get upset anymore. Difficult.
Did you guys notice that they really stink if you squash a bunch of them? Yikes!
My resident expert on many things Asian and who tracked down those ant buggers a bit further up the coast tells me lemon juice and vinegar does the trick.
But here's the deal. Don't be tempted to remove any trails left by the ants. The reason is division of labour. The workers do the " hunter-gatherer" routine and leave a pathway for the more prolific egg laying crew to wallow in. After having a bit of sojourn at the hot springs, the most fertile return home to croak and destroy the eggs in a( very slow ) process.
NB: When they talk about," The Ant Colony" and "The Queen Ant", be advised that there are many colonies and queens to be lemon-juiced with extreme prejudice...not just one.
Go buy some Raid Insect Killer. They have it somewhere in Hanoi, I've bought it before. Then buy some sugar or anything thing that contains lots of sugar such as candy. Next you take the Raid Insect Killer and spray the sugar and leave it out for the ants to eat. Try to mix the poison and the sugar well together. Leave the poison sugar for the ants to eat. What happens is that they take the poison food back to the nest for the queen to eat. Once you kill the queen the entire colony will move. Hope this works for you as it did for me back at home in Canada.