It Feels Like They're on me Right Now
August 19, 2006 11:33 PM   Subscribe

HELP!! What began as a minor infestation is now a siege! Red and black ants have all but infested our apartment. Please, please, please help us eradicate them.

We live in an apartment in northern Texas and seem to have attracted the attention of some vicious local ants. We aren't the cleanest, but we don't live in squalor either.

Up until now, the problem was a mere annoyance. Tonight, we came home to find our carpet swarming with the little bastards. I couldn't cross the room without them crawling all over me and biting. We vaccumed them up as best we could, but already they're returning. I shudder to think what we'll wake up to tomorrow.

Please, if anyone can help us crush these invaders, we'd be most grateful. Doing a big clean first thing tomorrow, but I want to make our apartment as unfriendly to ants as possible. We've got a couple ideas as to where they're getting in - a couple holes at the edge of our carpet and an as yet undetermined spot in the closet.

Any help is most appreciated. We have to live another month in this place. Thank you some much for your time, MeFi.
posted by EatTheWeak to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Terro gel has been a miracle ant killer. I had carpenter ants something fierce a while back and it was the only thing that took care of them. It's pretty inexpensive and doesn't get chemicals everywhere.
I think it has been mentioned in other threads here at mefi.
posted by idiotfactory at 11:44 PM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

You might find some answers here.

I've heard in several places that if you find where they are coming in and cover it with baby powder, they won't be able to find their way in.

Good Luck.
posted by gregschoen at 11:45 PM on August 19, 2006

I live in Austin, TX, and we just bought some Fire Ant from the local H-E-B grocery store. There was a crate full of it just sitting outside the store because apparently it's the season for ants.

Fire Ant is powdery ant food that ants pick up and then bring back to the queen ant, finally killing her.

We pulled up our carpet and found they were streaming in from outside, and so we sprinkled Fire Ant by the edges of the wall, underneath the carpet. And we also sprinkled lots of it outside on the anthills. If you see a small growing pile of dirt, it's an ant hill.
posted by philosophistry at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2006

A lot of hardware stores sell a thick clear syrup for killing ants. It's sugar syrup with borax dissolved in it, and the ants take it back and feed it to the queen, which kills her. When the queen dies, the nest dies.

I've used it when I've been attacked by ants, and it works great.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:49 AM on August 20, 2006

You've probably already thought to check for any food that might be drawing the ants; i.e. packages of cookies left partially open, pizza in the garbage can, etc. But have you checked to make sure that there isn't any water hanging about? I had a leaky bathtub faucet and learned the hard way that the little bastards would go through hell and high water (figuratively speaking) to get to the steady supply of H2O I thoughtfully supplied. I'd kill them off with poisons or what have you, but they'd just come back again. But once I fixed the leaky faucet, the ant problem disappeared.

In addition to the faucets, you may want to check for house plants that tend to drip after being watered, leaky pipes, etc.
posted by Clay201 at 1:41 AM on August 20, 2006

After you vacuum up the ants again, put large amounts of borax in the carpet and anywhere else they might be coming in or congregating. This really will keep them out of your carpet.
posted by Melsky at 4:13 AM on August 20, 2006

You should try to find the nest (if that's at all possible), it's the only way to really stop them from coming back, especially if theyve got one in you house. FWIW, we had a serious ant problem a couple of years ago and discovered a nest in my brother's unused toy box, killed it and were ant free from then on.
posted by cholly at 4:35 AM on August 20, 2006

I had a problem with ants getting up the side of the house and into my window. I used all the ant killers, but found that pouring water down the window and the side of the house helped too. I think ants leave a path for others to follow (or follow each other? my animal behavior class was a while ago) and the water eradicates that trail for the rest to keep finding you.
posted by gilsonal at 6:31 AM on August 20, 2006

Thank you so much for all your help!
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:16 AM on August 20, 2006

Ants are smart and adaptable. None of these great solutions will work as long as you have another food source laying around. Eventually they'll learn to avoid the poison food and go further into your house to get to the good stuff. In order for these solutions to work, you'll have to eliminate *all* other sources of food for the ants. This means meticulously going through your house and cleaning up everything that they'll treat as food.

Clean all of your countertops and cabinet areas and then wipe them down with vinegar or rubbing alcohol to eliminate the ants' smell trail. Before putting any food back in, make sure everything is sealed in airtight containers or ziploc bags. Do the same to the other rooms in your house; all ants aren't attracted to sugar and sweet stuff, some like grease and oils.

Caulk any place that they're getting in and place your bait on the outside of your house near their trail of origin. The key to success is eliminating their source of food from within your home and supplying them with enough bait on the outside to kill the queen.

Good luck.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 7:20 AM on August 20, 2006

echo what Steven C. Den Beste and Melsky said. i used Boric Acid - borax. i also found the nest and poured some antifreeze into the hole.

good luck
posted by Davaal at 7:28 AM on August 20, 2006

unless you have pets or really young kids, terro is the way to go ... that and looking around your yard for ant hills so you can spray them with raid or other insect killer ... spraying the outside holes where they're sneaking in can help, too

you'll never completely eliminate them but you can keep their numbers down
posted by pyramid termite at 7:30 AM on August 20, 2006

Give the receipts to your landlord!
posted by UncleHornHead at 7:36 AM on August 20, 2006

I would second the water comment - ants like food, they'll swarm for food, but there's plenty of food outside too. But if you're supplying them water, and it hasn't rained in a while outside, nothing will keep them away from that life-giving substance because you're the only game in town.

This is "ant season in Texas" because the whole state is in drought conditions right now and humans have the sweet, sweet water.

Borax + eliminate any household sources of ant-water.
posted by jellicle at 8:59 AM on August 20, 2006

Wow. I dealt with an ant problem with the liquid ant-killer. It worked really well - they take it back to the colony and it kills the queen. But your ant problem is on a whole other level. Maybe try it anyway.
posted by Dasein at 10:07 AM on August 20, 2006

Isn't this invasion a problem for the owner? S/He should provide professional fumigation.
posted by Cranberry at 2:45 PM on August 20, 2006

Grant's Ant Stakes for the outside. For the inside of the house, I use a spray bottle filled with water and liquid dishwashing soap--spray it on areas where the ants are coming in and on surfaces inside.
posted by Miastar at 4:27 PM on August 20, 2006

Non-chemical way to kill outdoor ants: Pour boiling water onto the ant hills. Use it as a temporary measure until you can get to the store to buy whatever else you decide to use.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:38 PM on August 20, 2006

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