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Abundance of small (about 1/8 inch) brownish reddish ants

  1. Sep 6, 2005 #1
    Hi All,

    I thought I would tap the collective brain to help solve an ant problem that we have in our new apartment. We have an abundance of small (about 1/8 inch) brownish reddish ants. They are definitely in the walls and on both floors of our house. I have been baiting for about 3 weeks and that doesn't seem to be enough. I am hesitant to call the apartment management, since they do everything half-#$%^&. I am also afraid that they will try to use some sort of pesticide that will be dangerous to our cat. I have been unsuccessful in any attempts to find the nest. We have found the ants primarily in our bathroom and kitchen, crawling in and out of the woodwork. Anyone have any good solutions? Of course, my wife and I are dirt poor right now since we are both living off of my small fellowship, so anything that is cheap would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2005 #2


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    The poisons in the baits may be too strong, killing the worker ants before they deliver the poison back to the nest. You must get the poison to the nest and queen!
    Here's some tips and a simple boric acid recipe for ants - start weak and add more poison as necessary:
    To keep your cat out of it, put it in a container with holes small enough to let in the ants only.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2005
  4. Sep 6, 2005 #3
    One old fashioned. and very animal safe way, is to push ground cinnamon into the cracks along the woodwork. Ants won't walk through it.
  5. Sep 6, 2005 #4
    I've had this problem in California (don't know if you have the same sort of ants), too, and I'm hesitant about poisoning my dog. I find that baits, in general, don't work very well. But look into the Terro brand of products - they work quite well.

    Anyhow - my personal solution, which I find works extremely effectively, but is ugly: I use lots of Dawn antibacterial dishwashing liquid, undiluted. (Any brand of dishwashing liquid will probably work). I use it (sometimes with a combination of paper towels) to block the openings where the ants are coming through. And I will set up liquid barriers which the ants do not seem to want to cross, even after the liquid has dried a bit.

    The key is to find the exact openings where the ants are coming through and set up blockages and barriers using dishwashing liquid. I have found that this eliminates the ants very quickly. The problem is that sometimes they find new openings, so you have to block those off too. But my kitchen is now ant-free.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2005
  6. Sep 6, 2005 #5
    One ant killer that actually works, at least on California ants, is Diazinon. I pour the granules all around the perifery of the building , outside, where they are sure to encounter it looking for a way in. It seems to cut their numbers back tremenously till th next ant season. Course, they don't live in the walls here, only in the ground outside.
  7. Sep 6, 2005 #6


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    You should ask MIH. She had this problem last year. I think it required having an exterminator come in though when it got that bad, and that means having the landlord pay for a hotel for you and your cat if you can't stay there when the extermination is done.

    Other things to do in the mean time are to keep all food items in tightly sealed containers (especially the cat food...that stuff seems to attract ants like nothing else I've ever seen...they should deliver ant poison using catfood as bait). Clean under all the cabinets, refrigerator, etc. Get up every crumb from everywhere. Seal around any cracks or crevices into the apartment, especially around water pipes (a favorite place for them to sneak in). It won't get the ants out of the building, but if you seal them out of your apartment and don't give them any good snacks (crumbs, open food, etc), they will move on to visit a neighbor instead. Oh, and SCRUB any areas you see them coming in with a good detergent to wash away their scent trails that they follow to find you again.

    If you use baits, remember they take a while to work and you need to use the kind they carry back to the colony, not the ones that just kill the ants that come in contact with it. An exterminator can apply something that will work much faster and inject it directly into the walls.
  8. Sep 7, 2005 #7
    leave them alone they are harmless, if you have ants you won't have cockroaches in your building. I use to have ants in my appartment and I even feed them sugar, cute little things.
  9. Sep 7, 2005 #8


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    Harmless? You ever been bitten by one of those buggers?
  10. Sep 7, 2005 #9
    yeah i have been biten by ants and those big one in the forest, :eek:
  11. Sep 7, 2005 #10
    Sure they're cute and friendly, and tell good stories, but try asking them to pitch in on the rent and see how indignant they get.
  12. Sep 7, 2005 #11
    ants hunt other insects among them cockroaches, is that not enough ?
  13. Sep 7, 2005 #12
    Has anyone here ever had to do the "Fire-Ant Strip and Dance". It seems they always climb up your clothes to either between your shoulder blades or close to the twigs & berries before they bite. If they're just sugar ants its no problem but fire ants leave festering blisters/pustules and they are painful! They are one of the main reasons quail have all but disappeared from Texas. Diazanon works and so does Sevin Dust. Talk about "Scorched-Earth Policy", I got tired of using sissy bug killer sprays and bait and completely dusted my yard with Sevin and then put a circle of death around the house of Diazanon. I also spray Pyrethrin in bushes to chase out skeeters. The neighborhood birds glow, but no bugs.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  14. Sep 7, 2005 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    It seems that many of the ant poison companies fail to use something that the ants actually want to eat.

    As I always say, it's a great idea but there's just one problem: It doesn't work!.

    So, take some of those ant hotel thingys - the little octagonal plastic discs - and poke jelly in and around the hotel. Then, make sure to place it along the ant's path and somewhere away from the cats. When I did this, after weeks of no success, the next day all of the ants were gone.

    As a kid I once had a grocery bag filled with dirt and those nasty S California biting red ants dumped all over me. We had just dug up an ant colony [for god knows what] when some big kids came along... I had hundreds if not thousands of bites.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  15. Sep 7, 2005 #14
    Well... my wife got a different kind of bait and it seems to be working. So far, they are actually going to them- it seems anyway ( I don't have the patience to actually watch their seemingly meaningless meanderings for very long). And we have noticed a marked reduction in the amount of wondering ants in the last 2 days. We only see them on the wall behind the kitchen foucet and they never got into the cat's food, which is only one room away. They were in the cabinets above the sink yesterday, and today I haven't noticed them. I also had the idea, at least once it gets cold enough, to leave all the windows open one night once it gets down to the 40's and see if that will do the trick. That may just cause them to move into a warmer part of the house though. Thanks for all the ideas guys. I will give them all a shot if I don't see marked improvement in a week.
    Some things I have learned about ants since this has happened:

    The colony (depending on species) will actually go through phases of dietary needs. They may need a heavily greasy diet, or sugary diet depending on things I don't have time to learn. So, this may influence the type of baits they are willing to take.
  16. Sep 7, 2005 #15
    We have ants all over the place in our rental property, but as far as I have been able to tell the nest is either outside, or under the house, not in the walls. Its an old house with lots of gaps underneath the walls, so they come in absolutely anywhere, anytime there is food or water left out. Eventually I got frustrated, bought a few cans of surface spray that lasts six months, and then sprayed around the edges of every room in the house, sort of creating a boundary between us and them. That was about 4 months ago, and I haven't seen an ant since.
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