Monday, April 02, 2007

Help Me Help the Ants

So yesterday was a bit of a bummer after I woke up to find ants swarming the cats' food. This happens every spring, but this time, they were coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And there were small armies. I found stragglers in the living room, I found them in the kitchen. We couldn't pinpoint where in god's name they were coming from.

The problem is not so much keeping them out again--it was suggested to me that they dislike cinnamon, so I sprinkled all my windows and my big-doors with it in the hopes that it'd help (though if anyone has any suggestions on non-chemical products that I can *SPRAY* to keep them out, that'd be fantastic, as I should probably get all around the windows, not just the bottom parts).

The problem is what to do with them once they're in there. And suffice it to say, I always end up a bit distraught when I realize there's not tons you CAN do once they're in there, other than let them swarm everything and continue to call in reinforcements. I contemplated leaving out food and hoping they would swarm that and then I could just set it outside, but then I thought, "What if they just call in more compatriots of theirs and I've inadvertently increased the number?" E looked up some suggestions on-line, but all of them involved imminent death for the ants. I vacuumed most of them up in my vacuum-tube, hoping that the majority of them would end up in the bag in one piece--I then poked holes in it and put it out in an open garbage-can, hoping most of them could make their way out.

But stragglers apparently got left in my vacuum cleaner. And they just kept appearing and appearing and appearing. I swept and vacuumed and mopped my kitchen floor to leave them nothing to chow on, but damn if they didn't find stuff anyways.

So eventually, with a very broken heart and a feeling of self-loathing, I had to smoosh a whole bunch of them. Which of course bothered the shit out of me since a) they are living beings, and b) I like ants--they are cute, and they are cat-like often, with the way they clean their feelers if you watch them for a while.

Point being, please dear god, if anyone has a suggestion as to how to get ants OUT of your house once they're in (one that's non-toxic--I have cats--and one that would avoid killing any more of them), please please please, gimme a holler.

And again, if you have any suggestions as to what can be sprayed to deter them (again, non-toxic), that'd be much appreciated as well.

I feel like a bloody-stinking murdering failure of a vegan today. *Sniffle*


Anonymous said...

Once you chase them out, you can spray really diluted Dr. Bronners all around the windows and everywhere. If you want to steep cinnamon and other spicy things to spray instead, that might work. My cat didn't have any bad effects from the Dr. Bronners, but he didn't hang out in the sprayed areas much after.

Anonymous said...

A good ant repellent can be made using 1 quart distilled white vinegar, 4 - 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper, a couple of cloves of garlic (minced), and citrus peels* (orange, lemon, grapefruit)about what you get from 2 grapefruits or 4 oranges). Let steep for an hour or so, then strain and put into spray bottle. Spray liberally inside and outside every couple of days during the worst part of the season, then every few days (twice a week). Spray along the back floor wall of kitchen cabinets (especially the sink) and under stove, fridge, etc. Spray along the foundation of the house making sure that you wet a line (no breaks) so that the ants can't find a place to cross over. *For the peels, squeeze them towards the vinegar to get the oils into the mix for better results, then drop the peel into the vinegar.