How to keep an ant problem from happening?
July 17, 2005 11:23 AM   Subscribe

AntFilter: I've noticed a few ants in the apartment. What do I do to make sure I don't get a few more?

It happened because I have an addiction to sweet iced tea, which I often have in a large glass sitting next to my laptop. I left such a glass sitting for a few hours today and when I came back I noticed a couple of ants wandering around near it. Knowing that a couple of ants now can mean a lot more later, I immediately did a couple of things:

First, I figured out where they'd come in to the apartment; I have a nice pair of French doors right by the desk, and while they seal pretty well, these ants were tiny enough to slip through (almost too small to notice, really, unless they're moving). Thinking back to something I'd read about how ants leave chemical trails behind them to navigate, I went and grabbed the chlorine-based spray cleaner I use in my kitchen and bathroom; a few drops of it sprayed on a paper towel killed the ants immediately, and the same wiped across the base of the doors will hopefully eradicate those little trails of theirs.

Then, not wanting to leave anything to chance, I cleaned everything in the apartment as thoroughly as possible. I'm not a messy person by any stretch of the imagination, but I could see a couple things which might be attractive to foraging ants; there was an open box of doughnuts on a counter, which I sealed, and there were some dishes in the sink from last night which needed washing up, so I took care of that.

Is there anything else I should be doing to ensure that no more ants come wandering in? If I see any ants around tomorrow I'll definitely be giving the landlords a call, but I'd rather deal with this immediately and not have to worry about it.
posted by ubernostrum to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Get yourself a bottle of Terro, put some on little cardboard squares, keep refilling them throughout the day if they get empty. Ants will be gone within 24 hours. Once you have 'a few,' more will follow the trail.

It's not really something worth calling the landlord about, IMO.
posted by schnee at 12:25 PM on July 17, 2005

(Previously on AskMe...)

I concur with schnee: Terro kicks ass. It is the only thing that has ever worked for us, and it works like a charm.
posted by jdroth at 12:40 PM on July 17, 2005

Don't let any ant that's in the flat back out alive - ants talk to each other and tell each other where they've found food. Ants that don't come back to the nest with a report send another message - that way lies death...
posted by benzo8 at 12:52 PM on July 17, 2005

Here's a bit of irony: as I was posting my answer to this question, my wife was calling me downstairs. When I answered the summons, she pointed out an ant infestation. The little motherfuckers were devouring a dead fly. The poor fly was covered with them. I placed some Terro for them. In the time it took me to walk to the other end of the house to get my camera, all but a single ant had abandoned the fly in favor of the tasty Terro. Suckers.


The idea here is that the ants eat the Terro, which is a sugary liquid filled with a slow-acting poison. They carry this back to the nest where — oops! ant catastrophe.

And benzo8 is right: don't let the scouts return to the nest. Crush them! When they find something good, they lay some sort of ant highway as they go back for more workers. Bastards.
posted by jdroth at 1:03 PM on July 17, 2005 [1 favorite]

Dust your doorsill, inside and out, with Borax, too. It'll kill any of the little buggers that might wander over to investigate your door.

Unless the place is infested or there's a damged window or door, I wouldn't bother calling the landlord.
posted by desuetude at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2005

I tried another poison where you leave a drop on a piece of cardboard. The ants find it and bring it back to the nest where it kills the queen and the nest dies. It wasn't called Terro, but worked like a charm. We haven't seen an ant in the place since (about 6 months). I can't remember the name. Sounds like Terro's the same stuff. It took longer than 24 hours, though. Carpenter ants can do extreme damage to structures.
posted by wsg at 1:20 PM on July 17, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the quick responses. I went out and wasn't able to find Terro, but did find something which appears to be its functional equivalent. I've laid out the bait and already a few ants have wandered over and taken it, so that should help. Ran into the landlord on my way back, and he asked if I was having an ant problem. I told him I'd seen a few, pointed out where they seme to be coming in, and he said he'd spray the exterior of the apartment for me tomorrow.

So hopefully that, combined with the poison, will do the trick.
posted by ubernostrum at 1:22 PM on July 17, 2005

Ants despise cinnamon, by the way. If you can find where they're coming in and block their route, they will not cross it. Of course, this means having a lot of cinnamon all over the place, and if you haven't been thorough they just find a way around it.
posted by trip and a half at 1:09 AM on July 18, 2005

If you can find the hole in the ground where they are coming up, pouring gasoline down it will clear them up pronto :)

Also you can buy some Ant Traps at like Target for $2 for 4 traps. I think it works the same as the Terro (might even be the same thing inside). They bring the food/poison back to the queen who dies and stops producings offspring.
posted by francisco at 12:57 PM on July 21, 2005

Pouring boiling water down their hole will work just as well as gasoline, and more safely, too.
posted by IndigoRain at 3:09 PM on July 21, 2005

« Older Help me fix my home phone wiring.   |   does the theory of evolution have an explanation... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.