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Me vs. The Ants: I Won!

December 23, 2012

I am proclaiming victory in my war with ants! They battled valiantly but I’m bigger and [now] smarter.

If you live in California you likely battle ants twice a year: In the summer when the heat drives them to seek cool places in your home, and in winter when the cold and rain drives them from their nests. Since I’ve lived in CA (in several different homes and cities over the last 23 years) I’ve battled these tiny creatures many, many times. I’ve spent a lot of money on poisonous solutions that introduced toxins into my house and around my family and pets. But no more!

About three years ago during a particularly troublesome invasion, a friend told me about Borax. He had been using it as his wife had breast cancer and has a subsequent aversion to poisonous chemicals in the home. At the time I didn’t read up on how to use Borax for ants and just did what he did — placed the straight powder at the entry points (which then was behind the fridge and in a corner of our kitchen dinette). Even though this was not supposed to work well, it did. We did not see any ants in the house until this past week.

But of course, as is the case with ant invasions, the timing was great — the morning after my mom came to visit. They came out of the wall between the laundry room and garage and covered the floor all the way into the bathroom mom was using. They were everywhere! Thankfully, a couple of weeks ago I had been reading about natural pest control and was ready to do battle. Here is what I did:

I mixed liquid soap and water in a spray bottle and sprayed the entire floor. In 30 minutes or so I swept up all the dry, dead ants. Then I placed two jar lids of Borax powder mixed with blueberry preserves (it was organic, maybe that helped!) at the entry site (I pushed them back between the wall and the dryer so the dog could not reach them). Then I mixed several drops of peppermint essential oil into a little two ounce spray bottle and sprayed a “line” a foot in front of the entry area.

Borax

Two things magically happened: 1) The ants immediately gravitated to the jam. (The point here is that they carry the Borax yummy goodness back to the nest where it begins to wipe out the colony.)  2) The peppermint barrier kept the ants from crossing into the rest of the rooms. (Apparently they hate peppermint as much as they love organic blueberry preserves!) I had to reapply the peppermint a couple of times and use the soap and water spray to clean up strays, but in less than two days the ants were concentrated in and relegated to a small six-inch corner and by the third day there were none to be found. Hallelujah!

A quick search on the internet reveals similar stories and recipes (including orange peel in water to repel like the peppermint, and Borax plus sugar and water instead of jam). Check it out — you’ll likely be happier with this solution than with Raid or other toxic chemical sprays.

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