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beachem

Ant invasion - EWWWWWWW and damn the EPA

beachem
5 years ago

Warning- EWW and icky content discussion.

So the super hot weather we had last week drove a huge ant invasion indoors. We came home after a week of taking care of my father in law in the hospital to find squatters. Hundreds or thousands of them.

They came thru the walls into my bedroom then to the bathroom for water. I was going to described the details but am so grossed out already that I'm itching everywhere.

I've been fighting them with tea tree oil, vinegar and water since I'm out of D-limone and it's unlikely that I can get any new shipments soon from my Florida vendor.

All I can do is keep killing and slurring the scent trail. It doesn't stop the invasion.

Now I come home after every other day from caring for my father in law to 4-5 hrs of spraying ants through the entire house. I broke two spray bottles in 4 days. We got additionally invaded downstairs this morning. They even attacked my one and only plant, basil, for the cup of water it's sitting in.

I can't get my normal weapon, Chinese chalk, because the EPA has shut down every single mom and pop market that used to carry them.

It's sad that I never had problems with ants or cockroaches while living in a third world country because of the chalk but I'm helpless here recently. The available stuff (Raid etc..) is toxic and dangerous IMO to use but legal while the EPA deems a stick of chalk illegal.

I used to just draw a chalk line around the house once a year and done. Yes, it's a very dangerous and toxic activity that the EPA in California spent 5 yrs and tons of money sending agents around to eliminate any sources especially since the chalk cost $.97 for two sticks that lasts us 3-5 yrs.

By the way, the ingredient in the chalk is from Chrysanthemum oil. It's also the same thing that the EPA allows big pharma to spray on our fruits and vegetables.

Until I can get chalk from a vendor in China, it's disgusting and time consuming to deal with this. We're storing trash in our fridge and jumping thru all sorts of hoops to avoid attracting the ants and they keep coming and increasing. Our sink overflow and drains are popular but they are everywhere including my bed.

Do you have any holistic way of dealing with your ant invasion?

Comments (47)

  • benjesbride_misses_sophie
    5 years ago

    I have no idea of the toxicity of those baits, but you set them at their marching path, they go in and carry the stuff back to their colony, so you're not just pouring stuff out around the house.

  • House Vixen
    5 years ago

    Third the Terro; a few years of use now and it's such a relief.

    Years of invasion when the temps rose -- second floor bath was much more problematic than kitchen! Had tried all kinds of stuff and after switching to Terro I get a stray ant here or there.

  • rwiegand
    5 years ago

    Big Pharma is spraying your fruits and vegetable? Can I get them to come spray mine too? Is it specific or just the chemtrails?

    More seriously, if you want pyrethroids they are readily available at any hardware store. You can add your own chalk if it makes you feel better. Home Depot sells powdered chalk for chalk lines that should tank mix with a pyrethroid/chrysanthemum insecticide just fine.

    Or, if you have a serious infestation you could call an exterminator.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    You can effectively kill ants using just sugar and borax. Borax like the laundry detergent/supplement. Extremely effective, has been done for years and no EPA involvement.

    Borax and sugar ant control.

  • 2ManyDiversions
    5 years ago

    Great, now I’ll be itching all night, feeling things crawling on me.


    Seriously beachem, I was sorta disappointed in the lack of grotesque and nightmarish photos I expected after reading a “EWWWWWWW” and a “Warning”, halfway hoping for some sort of Stephen King-esq frightmare story to tide me over until IT comes out… but I digress. OTOH, ants in your bed??? EWWWWWWW! And how dare they attack the basil (I love basil). No, I’m not really making light of your plight, it sounds truly horrid, I hate ants. They bite. They crawl everywhere. You must be seriously exhausted.


    I’ve never heard of China Chalk. I’ve tried Dawn dish liquid at other’s suggestions, I suppose you could too, but I’ve found it ineffective. Still... anything at this point, right?


    I use these sticky traps everywhere my dog can’t get access to. They do catch skinks, sadly, and other beneficial critters, but sounds like you’re in dire straits right now! That's all I've got other than essential oils and vinegar which you're using. Good luck!

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    We used Terro ant baits and borax quite effectively.

  • fourzoas10
    5 years ago

    I had them in my kitchen this summer. I located where they were entering, at the baseboards and at one point where the counter joins the wall. A line of caulk at these areas eliminated their entry.


  • beachem
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    LOL 2manydiversions.

    My husband was so gross out when I described the black mass that attacked his Ricola cough drops and ran up my arms that he refused to let me say anything other than ant. He stopped me from photos.

    I tried the Terro bait last year and we went from hundreds to thousands that turned our balcony black with ants. They came from as far away as Mars. The bait was effective at attracting but our ants seems resistant or too many colonies. One month later, our terminator found and killed a colony in our neighbor's yard before the invasion ceased.

    I've outlined our kitchen doorways, cabinets, and island with diatomaceous earth to limit what I have to deal with tomorrow when I get back from the in laws. Every single cabinet and drawers with food has a dish with a cotton pad soaked with peppermint oil.

    I'll try to get the neighbors to allow our terminator to check their backyard next week. I don't like them spraying inside the house because every time they do, they're wearing masks and telling us not to be in that area for 3-4 hrs.

    On the brighter side, I'm able to report that our Azurite granite stood up to being soaked in vinegar and tea tree oil for 2 hours before I was able to get back and wipe. Highly recommend leathering and busy granite. If there are any damage, I can't tell.

    There was nothing on that counter except the little basil plant and pull boxes but it was swarmed. I couldn't tell due to the stone color until a bunch ran up my arm and I shoved my eyes two inches away from the surface.

  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    5 years ago

    You need a professional exterminator. This is not a typical ant run which is quite common.

  • barnaclebob
    5 years ago

    Instead of going on some ill informed rant about the EPA and your beliefs on what pesticides actually work why don't you actually do some research and find that there are very safe ant killing products on the market.

  • new-beginning
    5 years ago

    I can't tell you how to keep them out of your house, but if you want a 'safe spray' that should kill them mix about 2 oz blue Dawn dish detergent and 2 oz orange oil in 1 gal of water and spray away. If you can find the 'mound', just drench it too.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    5 years ago

    Terro is just borax and sugar syrup, but it's only effective on ants which feed the queen. It doesn't work as well on ant colonies where it's every ant for itself, like crazy ants.

  • Mimou-GW
    5 years ago

    Windex, seriously

  • aktillery9
    5 years ago

    Darn! I just went to look at what my husband uses for our ant issues (and believe me, we have had some serious issues)! Sure enough it is the Terro. I am sad to hear it is not working for you. We have so many types of ants all around our house and also in our home. It has been infuriating! For us, the Terro has killed them literally in their tracks. I hope you find a solution. I truly feel your pain. Ants are like roaches, they have lived forever and they just won't DIE!

  • PRO
    MDLN
    5 years ago

  • mayflowers
    5 years ago

    I had an ant problem when I lived in California and I hated spraying and wiping them up. Then I got out my vacuum and sucked them up. It was much easier and they never came back out of the bag. The dust must have killed them.

  • Indigo Rose
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Shuddering! Terro has also worked for me. Before discovering that I used ammonia or vinegar depending on what I had, to remove the trails. But I never had anywhere near the numbers you are experiencing. Then again, even one line of micro ants would be enough to freak me out. Good luck!!!!!!

  • beachem
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @anglo yep that Terro bait is what we used last year.

    @newbeginnings I was using vinegar, water and D-limone (industrial grade orange oil) but I ran out and switched to tea tree oil. It's killing them but I was looking for a deterrent.

    FYI, the diatomaceous earth is working at reducing the number of ants. At least at the trails I've found. I've no idea if new trails have been forged.

    We're getting the gardener to come and check for hills in the backyard then Terminix next. We have them spray the backyard once a quarter so it might be from somewhere else.

    We've been using Chinese chalk for decades since my grandma's times but all our stores confirmed that they've given up on selling it now. We couldn't get it last year either.

  • michoumonster
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    when we had a drought here, we had ants invade our house for water too. i mixed borax with honey and laid out the traps on tupperware lids left in various places along their path. don't use too much borax or they will know and not touch it. they bring it back to their nest to eat. then after a few days, they just disappeared.

    i also heard that it depends on the type of ant you have and that sugary baits sometimes don't attract protein-eating ants, in which case you should use peanut butter mixed with borax.

  • wishiwereintheup
    5 years ago

    For Pete's sake, if it's that bad, call an exterminator and you're done.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    i also heard that it depends on the type of ant you have and that sugary baits sometimes don't attract protein-eating ants, in which case you should use peanut butter mixed with borax.

    Yes, that is true. Just be sure it's where pets and other critters can't get at it.

  • palimpsest
    5 years ago

    It's the chalk delivery system that's the problem with Chinese Chalk, not the pyrethrine alone. You can't distinguish it from regular colored chalk, and people have used it like chalk and kids have put it in their mouths or eaten it. Often the colors are lead-based as well.

  • Chessie
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Chalk? Tree oil? Vinegar? Huh? Go get some Terro. Easy peasy.

    You said you tried it last year, but I would use it again. Make sure you are using enough. And examine the ants to make sure what you are dealing with. With this many, it's likely to be crazy ants.

    http://www.terro.com/crazy-ants

  • Chessie
    5 years ago

    FYI - diatomaceous earth WILL kill them. For certain. If they walk through it, they will be dead in 15 minutes. But it won't do anything for the colony out in the yard. I keep a small hair-color bottle filled with DE when I see one or 2 on my counter, I put the DE behind the counters and in the window sill (that's usually where mine come in) and then I also place a Terro bait there too. That usually does the trick. Twice a year I go around the house with this stuff...Spectracide Ant Shield granules. I spray around the house with Talstar - it is fantastic. http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/talstar-talstar-one-p-97.html 

    I ended my exterminator services 3 years ago because I still was getting ants in the house, even though they came once a month or whatever. My own methods have worked much better, and cheaper.

  • beachem
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    @wish I do have a terminator service. My yard is sprayed quarterly and my house monthly.

    @chess I don't want to use Terro because I don't want to attract even more into my bedroom. I can't find where they are coming in yet. It seems to be from cracks in the wall.

    I prefer to place any traps outside. Last year, the traps were horrific, we placed 10 on the balcony in front of the French doors and replaced daily. It was so gross how many came for weeks. I can't handle seeing that on my bedroom carpet next to my bed.

    I will look up crazy ants.

  • Chessie
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If you use the Terro, not only will it allow the nest to be affected, it will show you exactly WHERE they are coming from. Place the Terro next to the wall where you see them. They will all form a line to that bait. Are you on a crawl space?

  • joverbey
    5 years ago

    Try Bengal Ant and Roach Spray. Works wonders.

  • just_janni
    5 years ago

    sometimes extreme chemical warfare is warranted. I tried using all that tea tree oil and "natural" lemongrass kitchen ant killer - and that crap only worked when I DROWNED them in it. Besides taking my kitchen torch to an ant mound, I'll stick to the chemicals for immediate ant genocide trying to focus on the outside of the house too. Feel like it's "once and done" and then I move on.

    I realize that is not for everyone - and I try to be pretty natural / environmentally sensitive, but have my limits dealing with ineffective methods. Especially with ants. Hate those little bastards.

  • Chessie
    5 years ago

    2ManyDiversions, LOL!!! Those pics are hilarious. Hope she gets these critters gone soon!


  • benjesbride_misses_sophie
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    If Terro traps don't work they must be grease ants (as mentioned above) and you could try mixing terro with vegetable oil or peanut butter. https://www.thespruce.com/control-of-thief-and-grease-ants-2656351

  • dovetonsils
    5 years ago

    Did you try ordinary chalk?

  • jakkom
    5 years ago

    If they're the Argentinian brown ants, it's part of a "super colony" that is estimated to spread across the ENTIRE West Coast.

    Argentine ants altering California’s ecosystems as homeowners give
    them shelter:

    http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/01/09/argentine-ants-altering-californias-ecosystems-as-homeowners-give-them-shelter/

    With a thriving garden surrounding our NorCA cottage, ants have been a continuing problem for us for years, on a sporadic basis. Drought, unfortunately, encourages them - in wet years the nests are smaller and fewer queens are able to fly out and establish new colonies.

    Conversely, droughts encourage them to thrive in gardens, lawns, and people's houses.

    Terro is the best boric acid bait I've found for Argentinians. I understand MaxForce bait also works very well. I tried homemade remedies but they were a nuisance to make and store, and never seemed to work as effectively.

    The thing with ant colonies is that you must be consistent and persistent. It is not a one- or even two-shot "bait and stop forever" deal. You will have to be consistent every year in baiting. Let them invade one home in the neighborhood and pretty soon everybody will be battling ants.

    You can buy Terro in larger size squeeze bottles, which I do. Baiting outside prevents them from being interested in making a nest inside your home!

    The biggest difficulty is refillable traps. Most are absolutely awful designs; there are better designs for granule baits but I don't find they work quite so well as the liquid syrup.

    Of the several traps I've tried, I liked this one best. It's the simplest - read the reviews to get a tip on getting the lid open. Easy to rinse out and refill one or two times a year. I did a double order to get three, to place them where the ants were always seen.

    Ants-No-More Station - 2 Pack

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B9IK0IE/ref=asc_df_B00B9IK0IE5172538/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=395033&creativeASIN=B00B9IK0IE&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167152392179&hvpos=1o4&hvnetw=g&hvrand=987046627375765648&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032059&hvtargid=pla-307593212297

    As always, YMMV, but HTH someone!


  • mzdee
    5 years ago

    Another hands up for terro. I stock this stuff in my garage. Some stores mark it down in the fall and I buy several containers. Terro works. Don't get freaked out on day 1. You'll find the bait swarming with ants. The first time I put one out, my son freaked and sprayed the bait station with Raid :)

  • beachem
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    @2manydiversions. ROFL. So funny. I love the photos.

    @mzdee. I agree with how disgusting it looks with Terro bait. I used it last year and it was so gross to see.

    @benjesbride The last time we had ants, they swarmed meat. They invade during a hot summer and unfortunately, when I had chicken bones in the trash. I'll assume it's the same kind this time. They are swarming everything, paper, rice, crumbs, bones, sink drain. I just keep all food trash in the fridge right now until trash day.

    Thank you everyone for all your incredible information. I've been reading thru it slowly as I'm doing semi avoidance mentally. I keep feeling itchy all the time now and reading about ants just makes it worse.

    Update for everyone. After putting down diatomaceous earth, we came home to much fewer ants. My husband was so enthusiastic that he built dams everywhere in the house across all the threshold to the bathrooms and kitchens as well on on the sinks. We hop every time we go into the bathroom.

    The ants responded by finding new paths up on the ceiling and walls but in much smaller quantities. Vastly smaller. I'll add in spraying liquid diatomaceous earth on the walls when I get a chance. It's now in countable numbers per square feet here and there vs. a dark moving mass.

    I had the gardeners in today to strip the entire back and front yard of every piece of mold, leaf and weed. All our plants/roses are now stems. They did not find a single ant hill or colony. They did however, found a rat's nest. Ewww again. He cleared out it out and strip the entire area of my honeysuckle bush. It's no longer green and beautiful but just stems. I intend to keep that area extremely bare until I read up on deterring rats. Sigh.

    Next up is getting Terminix in to spray the entire front/back yard and outside of the house. I'll have to figure out how to get in the neighbor's yard next door. Their tenant just moved out. We shared one wall with their yard. California's zero lot line. The last time we had problems, the ant colony was in their back yard. It didn't invade their house but mine. I'm assuming it's the same issue this time.

    FYI, I can't find the beginning trails of my ants but while I was in LA taking care of the in laws, they had an ant invasion. Sigh, two battles on two fronts. Thank goodness, my BiL was visiting, he told me to use WD40 to spray the area that they're coming in thru to deter them. They came through the kitchen and swarmed the cat food and water in the dining room but after taking his advice, it's been three days now and no ants at my in laws.

  • Chessie
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Okay...forget Terminex. Buy this stuff and put it in a sprayer, and spray around the house, outside, in the garage, front porch, sides of house. It will drop every insect that is near it. And will keep doing so for 3 months.

    https://www.amazon.com/Talstar-Pro-ounce-gallon-jug/dp/B00409QKRY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1505783844&sr=8-2&keywords=talstar+p+talstar+one

    Or this. Same stuff, just branded differently.

    https://www.amazon.com/Bifen-Bifenthrin-96-Same-Talstar/dp/B0046DN72K/ref=sr_1_9?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1505783932&sr=1-9&keywords=bifenthrin+insecticide

    Seriously...this stuff WORKS...way better that what Terminex will do for you.

  • beachem
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Chess thx for the recommendation. I ordered it tonight on Amazon.

  • Milly Rey
    5 years ago

    You just potentially killed all your landscaping...over ants? And you won't have plants again until you can be sure that there won't be and rodents OUTSIDE your house?

    I don't think the ants are your big problem. And I can't mentally harmonize the absurd things like tea tree oil and peppermint oil with "china chalk."

  • aardvark411
    5 years ago

    Try ebay and search for ant chalk.

  • kazmom
    5 years ago

    If you are conceded with products being ilenviromentally friendly their are companies that provide environmentally safe extermination. We use one. We had a bad ant problem (but not THAT bad) in our new house this summer. In addition to hiring an environmentalt safe service we also bought a spray. I'll have to find it and post it. It has a strong smell but it really worked. Killed ants on contact and kept them from coming back. I will find it and post the name.

    The comments that they come in during dry seasons is interesting to me. We had a larger issue this year than normal and it was very wet. Maybe it would have been worse if it was dry?

  • 2ManyDiversions
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    jannicone: I agree with your post to a large extent… killing anything naturally takes hard work, and is not nearly as affective as most chemical bug killers. Sometimes it’s a required alternative.

    Chess: Excellent advice! I use Talstar Pro outside also. Amazing stuff, and a bargain considering how long it lasts. I didn’t think to mention this to beachem as I thought she wished to kill the ants inside only, and via natural measures. beachem - We wear protective clothing, goggles, and masks, mix it ourselves in a dedicated sprayer, and do the full perimeter spray, including our garage and any cracks in cement every 3 months – also spraying our 3 Alberta Spruce and 2 Nandinas for spider mites – it has not affected those shrubs except to keep them alive and thriving now that the spider mites are gone. It’s been the only thing I’ve found to rid ourselves of stink bugs, ants, spider mites, and other assorted crawlies coming inside. Been using it for 3 years, and it’s outstanding. We have not been affected inside the home where we must keep it primarily chemically free of anything harsh/toxic.

    ETA: I get it a bit cheaper here.

    Milly Rey: …absurd things like tea tree oil and peppermint oil… I can’t berate you on this excerpt of your comment as I was once in the camp of ‘nuke-em all’. However, for reasons I won’t elaborate, the interior of our home must remain as chemical free as possible. Sometimes what seems absurd to one is a lifesaver (literally) to another.

  • Chessie
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    aardvark411 - "ant chalk" - Miraculous Insecticide Chalk and similar products. They are dangerous to use and they are illegal to sell. They are sold under a variety of trade names, including Miraculous Insecticide Chalk, Pretty Baby Chalk and Chinese Chalk.

    These products have injured children who have put the chalk sticks in their mouths. They are not registered and not regulated. They are made in China and smuggled into this country. Some of these products are marketed to consumers and schools on the Internet, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken action against some distributors.

    I would never advise anyone to buy THAT^^.

    beachem, I know you ordered the Talstar, and wanted to mention that you absolutely CAN use it indoors. It WILL kill every insect around, I use it twice a year and it's excellent - I have a lot of spiders where I live and this really takes care of them. ( I keep it in a dedicated sprayer, and wear gloves, but no I don't wear protective clothing or goggles when I spray - I never have, I'm not advising you not to, just stating what I have done.) But, if you can't get to the source of the ants, you'll be spraying every 3 months, and that is what you should try to resolve. I found this article that talks about the different types of ants, and it mentions that argentine ants have nests in the walls and insulation. This is a very thorough article, and really gives the reasons why baiting is the preferred method, but covers everything under the sun that could possibly be used. (I think most of them are not worth the trouble!) I think you should absolutely try and identify the ants - first and foremost. You'll have a much better chance of success, in eliminating them.

    http://www.fightbugs.com/how-to-get-rid-of-ants/

  • Heidi C
    5 years ago

    I hope you're doing better. I went through something similar and tried all the things you did, peppermint, cinnamon leaf oil (which I sprayed so much I slipped and sprained my knee which still hurts 12 years later), making my own borax mix (they just came and partied on that). Finally called the exterminator and it worked the second time they came out. But, it made my tongue numb and gave me a rash around my mouth, so now if I need it, I only have them spray outside. So much for organic gardening, eh? So sorry.


  • Milly Rey
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Tea tree oil and peppermint oil are both chock full of very volatile and extremely complicated chemicals. Being natural doesn't make things safe. Peppermint oil is like the snake venom of the plant. We know it acts directly on the 5-HT(3) receptor, as a kappa opioid agonist, and is the most potent naturally occurring TRMP8 receptor agonist, and is a GABA-a receptor modulator. TRMP8 sounds pretty harmless until you realize that in the central nervous system, excessive activation can cause excitotocic cell death. It is also, in concetrations used commonly in tea, taken just one a day, an abortificant--it causes miscarriages, above a 25% rate when used in the months before and after conception.

    And all of this is just from ONE constituent of the very complicated chemical warfare arsenal of Mentha peperita

    Peppermint is harmless at normal exposure levels as long as you're not pregnant. It can even be beneficial as a mild analgesic. At peppermint oil levels, though, you're throwing around extremely high concentrations of a substance known to be quite bioactive in the human body and on the central nervous system--that is, your brain.

    You're playing with complete untested and likely useless (for your purposes) chemicals when you do crap like sprinkle it in your drawers because you're under the delusion that only artificial things are "chemicals."

    Quit playing Russian roulette with substances you only know about from some BS "natural healing" website or mommy blog and get something both safe and effective. Exterminators go through licensing and training to choose safe things to use in the right places!