Little black forager ants (I believe they’re sugar ants) have been appearing on two windowsills in my apartment. When I open up the screens and stick my head out I can see them scaling the brick exterior. And as I mentioned before, there are tons of ants in the garden too. Amazingly, they don’t seem to have found their way into the kitchen yet, but I have seen some lone rangers crawling around on the floor in the living room and bathroom. I imagine that if I don’t act their numbers will likely grow.
I’ve been reading about environmentally friendly ways to keep ants out of the home and it seems that there are two different approaches. The first is to deter ants from entering by keeping surfaces clean at all times, storing food in sealed containers, and strategically placing natural ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice, castile soap, baking soda, or vinegar in the areas that the ants frequent.
The second approach is to actually exterminate the ants by using a slow acting homemade insecticide bate made from sugar, water, and borax (or boric acid—an odorless, non-volatile powder that is considered a safer alternative than more hazardous synthetic chemical pesticides). When the mixture is placed on pieces of cardboard or absorbed into cotton balls, the forager ants will feed on the it and carry it back to the nest where they pass it to the other ants, eventually killing the colony. When an insect consumes boric acid, it poisons the stomach and affects the insect’s metabolism. Every source I’ve found that gives a recipe for this bate cautions readers to keep it away from children and pets. Boric acid can be toxic to humans and other mammals if inhaled or ingested in large quantities.
I’m going to try my luck at deterring them before resorting to the poison. I have all of the deterrent ingredients mentioned above on hand. All of them were purchased in bulk without packaging.