So I do apologize about the brief absence this week. Our kitchen has been afflicted with its annual spring invasion of little black ants, which makes preparing large meals on the countertops a bit tasking.
Now that the situation is beginning to improve, I thought it might be handy to share my home “recipe” for killing off kitchen ants. I mean, it’s cheap, it’s easy, it involves “ingredients”–why not?
(Oh, and seeing as I have pets AND preschoolers, it should be noted that this method is extremely safe where they are all concerned–no random gooey cardboard tidbits of Terro lying around MY kitchen!)
First things first: When you discover ants in the kitchen (or bathroom, or wherever), the first thing you have to do is determine whether they are sugar ants or grease ants. (These are far from technical terms–it’s just what I call them based on what they’re poking around after.)
The easiest way to do this is to take 2 small containers (I save those leftover plastic cough syrup dosing caps for this and other purposes), fill one with dry granulated sugar and the other with a good smearing of something fatty–bacon grease, etc.–and set them both out overnight, not far from each other.
In the morning, you should be able to tell which cap was trafficked more heavily. Now you know what to use as bait!
At this point, you can gather up all of the little caps or other containers you have and start making your magic potion. The secret ingredient is BORAX laundry booster (water softener). It contains the same boric acid as expensive ant killers, but you probably already have all you could need for a lifetime of ant invasions sitting on a shelf in your laundry room!
For grease ants, rub the greasy food material around the rim and inside the bait cup. (Don’t use hot, super-liquidy grease in large quantities, though, because Borax loses its potency as ant killer with excess moisture. Wait till the grease is room temperature and more resembling a solid.) Sprinkle a liberal amount of Borax down into the container. The ants will come for the grease, stay for the Borax (which they smell and perceive as food), carry it back to their colony (and queen!), and the rest is history.
For sugar ants (what I had this time), mix equal parts granulated sugar and Borax inside the container and place containers at adequate intervals around the affected countertops or areas. If the ants are having trouble finding it at first, you can sprinkle some granules of sugar around the outside footprint of the container (straight on your counter).
Once they’ve found the outside of the mother lode, the brave-but-doomed champions will polish it off and head onward toward the container where you will throw down your enemies and smite their ruins on the side of Mount Borax…