How to get rid of ants that are in between my window screen and window?
July 25, 2013 5:05 PM   Subscribe

How do I get rid of ants that are between my window screen and window?

Today was to be a lovely day so I decided to open my bedroom windows up (2nd floor, if that matters). When I opened one of the windows I had the pleasure of finding it filled with ants and ant eggs. I did my best to clean out the ledge before leaving for work but had no ant traps and couldn't miss work/be late today. When I came home I found new ants (not as many) and no visible eggs. I placed a number of Terro liquid ant baits (my hardware store recommended them) between the screen and window and inside the house, on the ledge. It seems as though more ants are now making their way into the house.

Will the Terro stop them, even though some keep coming in? Should I do something else? How do I know if I need professional help? Thanks!
posted by anya32 to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Response by poster: PS I am not opposed to natural remedies but also know that they have not always worked for friends.
posted by anya32 at 5:07 PM on July 25, 2013

The whole point of those ant baits is that they lure the ants with a delicious smell, and then they carry the poison off to their nest and everybody (or almost everybody) dies. Hate to be blunt, but there it is.

Given that you've only just found them, I would have wiped off the ledge, and continued to wipe it for a day or two, and that might have been the end of it. You can remove the bait now, if you like, and see if that will just work. But if you're using the bait, you've got to leave it there and tolerate the presence of the ants who it lures.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:16 PM on July 25, 2013

Terro is very effective but it does take a few days during which time you'll see a lot of ants. Then you will see fewer ants. Then you won't see any. That's when you can wipe up the bait.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:23 PM on July 25, 2013

Terro is actually pretty natural. It's just sugar water and boric acid. Both of those things exist in nature. As bug killers go it is one of the more eco-friendly ones, and unlike many chemical pesticide sprays, the traps do not leave residues that can harm people or pets in the house. Terro traps WILL attract more ants before they make the ants go away, as you discovered, but they do work.

Ants follow a chemical scent trail to find their way around, so one thing you could do to minimize the number actually coming inside your home is to try to disrupt that trail. Here's what I do when I have ants coming in the house (which actually makes me feel like a terrible terrible person because I am a softie vegetarian hippy treehugger who catches spiders and puts them outside, but ants can't be caught easily and ants in my food / clothes / bed are NOT COOL):

I place Terro baits OUTSIDE the house, at the spot where the ants are coming in, or, if I have to place the baits inside, I put them as close to the ant entrance as possible to minimize the ant excursion into my territory. Then I vacuum up the visible ants. Then I scrub scrub scrub every surface the ants have been walking on with multiple cleaners appropriate to those surfaces to try to disrupt their trails. So for example on my wood floors I will use Murphy's Oil Soap and then Method wood cleaner and do it like 5 times. On a window with a metal sill I would probably use Method's mint-scented window cleaner. I try to pick cleaners with strong botanical scents because that seems to confuse the ants more.

It will probably also help long-term to seal the place the ants are coming in if you can do so once the Terro has them under control. You could try putting weather stripping around the window screen if they are getting in through a gap between the screen frame and the window.
posted by BlueJae at 6:50 PM on July 25, 2013

I had ants invade my house and used EcoSmart insecticide that I found at Home Depot. It looks like it is made out of a mix of various plant oils. It did kill the ants and the mint oil is supposed to be a good barrier. It solved most of the problem (they are always finding new entry points) and left things minty fresh.
posted by cgk at 7:36 PM on July 25, 2013

If you can see where they might get in, it wouldn't hurt to use caulk or tape to block any obvious entry points while you wait for the bait traps to do their thing.
posted by dottiechang at 9:20 PM on July 25, 2013

Simple Green kill ants instantly.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:43 PM on July 25, 2013

Give the Terro a week or so and the ants will disappear. If they don't, you might have to burn the house down (I hate ants).
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:50 AM on July 26, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! The Terro is working - and it is taking its time, as many of you said would be true. We still have a few ants showing up but hopefully that will stop in the next few days.
posted by anya32 at 3:47 AM on July 27, 2013

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