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 Post subject: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:38 am 
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We got home from Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and found a sudden massive ant infestation in the kitchen. This morning I went downstairs and my roommate has fashioned a poisonous food station, and hundreds of ants are marching in and out of it. It is breaking my vegan heart, and it is SO horrible, but it's her house and I don't have any alternative solutions to offer. How can I stop this madness?


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:41 am 
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What are the ants in there for in the first place? Like what food are they going toward?

You could block off their entrance wherever it is with some oils. I've seen and heard people use everything from peppermint to olive. Just find the entrance and make a little barrier of oil.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:45 am 
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Supposedly this is a phenomenon that happens every year in late November in this (very old) house (California is weird!), and she says that for the past 14 years, it has happened regardless of the cleanliness of the kitchen. We have a very clean kitchen, but they are going for anything...last night it was the tiny crumbs leftover from a dog biscuit.

I will do some research on oils! She is so adamant that I don't remove the poison, but I have to. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:16 pm 
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try not to get kicked out of your house...


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:32 pm 
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elahrairah13 wrote:
try not to get kicked out of your house...

fortunately, she is a wonderful person and would never kick me out of my place! We've talked about it and she's willing to listen if there is a more humane way of dealing with them, but it has to work!


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:48 pm 
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cinnamon has worked for me in the past. They won't cross it, but will try to go around it.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:13 pm 
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i've used peppermint oil with some success to deter fleas, perhaps it will deter the ants as well. BUT peppermint oil is pretty bad for cats.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:14 pm 
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Ants find food by smelling their own trails, if you clean the surface they're walking on they will have a hard time finding the food source.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Sigh...I get where you're coming from, but there does come a point where you have to choose between living with ants all over your kitchen and killing them. I've gotten an ant infestation every single summer, and for the first couple of years I tried everything--making barriers, plugging entrances, sprinkling cinnamon, cayenne, peppermint tea...you name it, I did it. It didn't do anything. The really shitty part is that if you don't get right on it, they will get into everything--one year I had to throw out all of my flours, cereal, sugar, etc. because of the ants. So, while I hate to kill them and I regularly clean my kitchen floor with vinegar (which destroys their scent trail so they can't find their way back) to keep them away, I finally broke down and kill them. Good luck figuring out an alternative.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:57 pm 
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My mom used to put a thick line of laundry powder at the front door where the ants came in. I don't think it harmed them but certainly ended the ant problem within 24 hrs. IT WORKS.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:02 pm 
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As others have suggested, try cleaning the trails and blocking them with cayenne.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Thanks guys! I'm trying cayenne and cinnamon, but we have to be careful because we share the house with two insane cats and one very old dog, so I put it in an container with the tiniest little crack. Also, I somehow just broke my roommate's garbage disposal (with garlic peels!) so I'm going to let her call most of the shots.

Next up, laundry powder!


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:52 pm 
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canuck in scotland wrote:
My mom used to put a thick line of laundry powder at the front door where the ants came in. I don't think it harmed them but certainly ended the ant problem within 24 hrs. IT WORKS.


Borax works like this for me. They sometimes come in after our garbage but emptying the can and sprinkling some of this around keeps them away for awhile.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:43 pm 
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vijita wrote:
Thanks guys! I'm trying cayenne and cinnamon, but we have to be careful because we share the house with two insane cats and one very old dog, so I put it in an container with the tiniest little crack. Also, I somehow just broke my roommate's garbage disposal (with garlic peels!) so I'm going to let her call most of the shots.

Next up, laundry powder!


I think the aim with cayenne and cinnamon is that you put it across their entrance--they won't walk across these spices...not so much that the scent or the presence of these spices alone will deter them.

Borax is a pretty common ant poison.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:52 pm 
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I just had a "duh" moment-for whatever reason (probably listening to my mom? bad idea) I thought borax worked to keep them out like cinnamon. Clearly I need to read up on this better.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:05 am 
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We had ants once who marched right through cayenne like it was just a pile of sand. (With the cayenne and cinnamon, you run the risk of attracting me with my jar of coco powder! I'll make mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles and leave you with a cookie infestation!) At a certain point, if more humane tactics don't work, I do feel like it's a matter of self defense. I feel bad, cause I can't explain to the ants that I will not kill them on purpose as long as they don't come in my house, but I do have to protect my house, my food, and my sanity.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:45 am 
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I feel your pain.

We always have ants in our house, there is a nest in the wall out the back and one out the front. However as a general rule of thumb I only get a lot of them when there are traces of food, actual food (especially onion, they love that stuff) or I haven't wiped their food trails properly.

My partner is always joking 'what is it with you and the ants' because although I swear at them and get mad at them I don't usually kill them. I basically poke them or blow at them and they go away after 15 minutes or so. If they are still around after that time then I do wipe them up with a cloth. I try not to kill them if possible because they're absolutely fascinating creatures and as much as they annoy me when they get into my food I still love watching them. I love how they communicate with each other, how they try to pick up these huge pieces of food that are 10 times bigger than them, how they clean themselves after they've been in the food etc.

These days I do try to keep the kitchen clean, we put all food in the fridge if possible (cat food, sugar, vegetables etc) but there are always some scouts wandering around. I guess I can live with that as long as it's not a full blown ant party.

I dislike the use of poison mainly because a) I have a cat and there are lots of cats in the neighbourhood and I don't want to take the risk of anything getting into their food system b) the ants nest is outside and I feel that they have a right to live outside, I just don't like it when they come into my house. So for me to poison the outside nest would be unfair of me.

Ants hate being disturbed. If they get in I just poke them and 99% of the time they go away.

If they were fire ants on the other hand....maybe I'd feel differently!

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:41 am 
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My housemate just changed the channel two thirds of the way through narnia. Mother forker.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:50 am 
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I tried the cinnamon thing and the ants just laughed and laughed. And marched right through it.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:13 am 
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Well, they're gone, but it was definitely the poison. Poor ants. Thanks for the suggestions, even though though none were implemented in time. Next time!


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:38 pm 
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Rhizopus Oligosporus wrote:
We had ants once who marched right through cayenne like it was just a pile of sand. (With the cayenne and cinnamon, you run the risk of attracting me with my jar of coco powder! I'll make mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles and leave you with a cookie infestation!) At a certain point, if more humane tactics don't work, I do feel like it's a matter of self defense. I feel bad, cause I can't explain to the ants that I will not kill them on purpose as long as they don't come in my house, but I do have to protect my house, my food, and my sanity.

Yeah, I feel this way. They come in here when it rains too. I'm speciesist though- ants, bedbugs, roaches, fleas- don't want them in my house.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:31 pm 
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at our old house, we had CONSTANT ants. It was horrible. They would literally crawl up through the pores in the wood grain on our wood floor. They would invade all the soil in our houseplants, and then when you watered the plant, they would come streaming out carrying all their ant eggs and fill the house. It was really crazy.

One time my Indian friend brought over a tupperware of coconut sweets, which we enjoyed after dinner. Then, we THOUGHT we had closed it and set in on the dining table. In the morning, each leg of the table had a thick black stripe going up it, marching across the table straight to the tupperware which was completely BLACK - inside and out with the ant invasion. It was one of the nastiest and most crazy things ever.

All around the perimeter of the house, and under the sink and such, the whole property was covered with decades of little ant-poison stakes (I will admit to trying that as well) and I am quite sure these guys had developed a super powered poison-resistant ant race. We tried everything: cayenne, oils, peppermint, even the bad poison out of total desperation. The only thing that finally worked was moving. Phew. When I think about that, it makes me love our new house more than EVER.

Sorry for your ant problem, and for knowing they were killed. In "Seven Years In Tibet" there is an amazing story about when they are building a new building at the Dalai Lama's palace and he arranges for a manner of careful digging in the earth that will not hurt any bugs or insects. So tender.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:50 pm 
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caterpillar wrote:
My housemate just changed the channel two thirds of the way through narnia. Mother forker.

Thank you, Captain Random. :-p

I am kind of of the persuasion that I will live and let live... I don't purposely kill anything in my day to day... But if something comes into my home, it crosses a line to me... Like if I wandered into a bear's den or into a pride of lions... However, I also feel that just killing them doesn't really solve anything... Especially ants because there will always be more. I get exterminating any that remain in the kitchen, but you NEED to find where they are coming from and block it if you ever really hope for a permanent solution. I mean... she is actually LURING them with bait and killing them... Which does seem wrong to me because they might have NOT come back that day if it weren't for the bait (entrapment for bugs, anyone?).

Find where they are coming from (which should be easy enough to do once you start seeing the trail of ants moving), block it off, get rid of your trespassers, and be done with it for good.

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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:35 am 
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I take small folded bits of paper towel that I've wetted with dish washing liquid and shove them into their tiny entrance holes. Rewet with the dish liquid if the little paper towel bits are looking dry... And proceed to do the same for the other little holes the ants will inevitably find and use as a portal to your kitchen. Also, taping over those tiny entry points does wonders to keep them out, too.


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 Post subject: Re: My roommate is killing the ants.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 1:55 am 
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I used the following to make sugar skulls and it worked like a charm. It's from http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/sugar_skulls/instructions.html.

It's not very tasty, but it dries like cement:
Mix 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup ener-g egg replacer and 2 pounds powdered sugar (feel free to scale this back).

xo
kittee

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