Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cheap Ways to Fight Ants

When the heat and rain come, ants and other insects seem to multiply. Keeping them in check doesn't have to wreck your budget.
J.D. Roth, author of the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly said he and his wife Kris were at war with the ants in their old home. The exterminator charged $100 per visit and did not solve the ant problem.

In his new home, he has banished ants with Terro, a borax-based ant control. Sold at discount and hardware store chains, Terro costs about $5 for six traps filled with a mixture of borax and a liquid carbohydrate.

''Borax is one of the safest chemicals,'' said Stewart Clark, director of research and development at Senoret Chemical Co., which makes Terro.

Lured into the trap by the liquid food, the ants carry the mixture back to the colony, which is wiped out by the substance. Clark says he uses five to six traps per season.

Here are some additional suggestions from Frugal for Life about fighting ants with low-tech/low-cost methods. The list includes:

White vinegar: Fill a squirt bottle and spray on surfaces that attract ants. Also recommended: a 50-50 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water.

Cinnamon or black pepper: Shake either spice onto areas ants like.

Windex and Ivory Soap: Mix equal doses of window cleaner and soap on squirt on problem areas.

But when should you call in the experts? Damage-causing termites and disease-carrying cockroaches often require professional exterminators, Clark said.

Termites, which can seriously damage a home and furniture, can remain destructive if a single area is missed during the extermination. Professional exterminators typically offer insurance and guarantees against failure.

This is from my latest column in the home & design section of the Miami Herald.




Survivalwoman said...

used Diet Coke , Splenda , and aspartame to fight the the fire ants i had to deal with in texas. I don't remember the exact since but the liquid is sweet but not enough calories to keep them alive.

Worked pretty good for me in a house or even camping

James said...

Oh yeah. Taking care of ants is easy, just find the nest and destroy it. If the nest if outside, you can just use the hose and thats completely free - except of course for the cost of the water!

That sounds kinda violent, but if you have an infestation, sometimes its the only way to go.


Add one cup of ammonia and one cup of rubbing alcohol to your vinegar 'spray' - this does an even better job, and it deodorizes the house as well.