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Natural Ant Control? - Answers for Hanoi

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Natural Ant Control?
jenlani posted May 19th, 2009 at 8:38 pm to Help!.
Viewed 5556 times. Answered 33 times.

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.

Answers (jump to newest answer)

May 19th, 2009 at 9:04 pm
Good Answer jenlani marked this as a good answer

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

May 19th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

In Ca Mau i set fire to the trail into the kitchen with lighter fluid, which was very satisfying, but was re-invaded days later.

You can never get rid of them totally, but i found sealing everything ediable in plastic containers, nothing for them to eat/scavange, they'll soon move on.

May 19th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Ant Rid

May 19th, 2009 at 11:22 pm

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.

May 20th, 2009 at 9:18 am
Good Answer jenlani marked this as a good answer

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.

May 20th, 2009 at 9:43 am

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. :)

May 20th, 2009 at 10:35 am

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.

May 24th, 2009 at 3:28 pm

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?

May 24th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

hmm, it works for southern ants - sorry it didn't work for you. maybe vietnamese ants need something stronger? chili spray?

June 6th, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Did anybody tried the cinnamon technique.

I just saw some of those little tiny ants and i was wondering the practical outcome of this post.

@jenlani: any positive feed back on all the suggestion?

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June 8th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

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.

June 8th, 2009 at 4:54 pm

thanks for the feed back, i'll try these as well


June 11th, 2009 at 11:17 am

what about cockroaches?!? anyone figured out how to get rid of those horrible creatures?!

i put my hiking boots on and jumped on one repeatedly and it SITLL LIVED! I don't know much about physics, but there are had to be considerable forces of gravity and downward force in play there!

June 12th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Ants --> Talcum Powder. Cheers.

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
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October 11th, 2009 at 12:24 pm


I found this on why ants hate lemon juice so much:

and in case that doesn't work, where can I buy Borax or Boric acid and what's it called please?

and one more thing, how do you put those nice clear links in?


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October 11th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Cinnamon mixed with lavender oil did the trick in our kitchen. You might have to follow them a couple days and see where they create a new track, but after three or so days it worked fine. All gone, never came back.

October 11th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

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.

October 12th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

There was a previous discussion on Borax (
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?

October 12th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

So far the ants have had a taste of my yummy sugar/bicarb mix and walked off. They giggled about chilies, surfed on the wave of water.

Ants = 3
Pippasweetie = 0

They crossed the line this morning by partying in my sealed sugar container. Bringing out the big guns borax...I'll be back.

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
May 16th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

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!

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May 17th, 2010 at 2:39 am

a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar works for ants and cockroaches. Its all natural so you can use as much as you like.

May 22nd, 2010 at 8:29 am

tea-tree oil.

May 22nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

condensed milk mixed with sulphuric acid, placed in dabs all over the kitchen (infected area to set), definitely does the cockroaches , i think ants too

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
I need a power cable for this
August 7th, 2010 at 9:39 am

those irritating little shits are living in my towels no matter how often I wash them. Both me and my girlfriend have been bitten to well..bits, by coming out of the shower and unknowingly rubbing them all over ourselves. I want to gas them. Can I gas them? who will gas them?

August 8th, 2010 at 9:27 am

Cornmeal, they have it at western canned foods, leave a little pile of it for your ants. They eat it and it expands inside them and they blow up!

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August 10th, 2010 at 4:30 am

I tried lemon juice on my floor...

Not sure if it was that or the bug kill I got at the supermarket, but I've never had them since (and it's been a year!)


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August 10th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

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.

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August 10th, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Some very simple and natural remedies are listed on these sites..

August 11th, 2010 at 7:54 am

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.

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August 14th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I say buy some lemon juice and attack attack attack!

Apparently the worker ants take it back to the colony and it destroys the entire colony by infecting their food supply...

clock iconThen Some Time Passed...
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May 23rd, 2012 at 1:55 pm

^ Time for a bump.

I have long lines of ants on my table. Is it microscopic crumbs that are attracting them?

For using lemon juice, can I just buy a lime, cut it up and put it on a tissue and wipe the table with the lemon juice?

Will this work? Thanx.

May 23rd, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I left a small glass of whiskey out over night once. In the morning, I found a lot of ants dead inside the glass. I don't know what attracted them to the whiskey but it might be worth testing this out by leaving a glass on your table.

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May 23rd, 2012 at 2:55 pm


The same thing that attracted you to the Whiskey probably attracted them. They were on for a party. Wipe the table with Whiskey.


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