Summer picnics may be coming to an end, but those pesky ants just keep coming.

As the weather cools, they may seek shelter in your home. If you’re tired of sharing your space with ants, this week’s Trib Tips shows you some effective ways to battle the bugs.


Perhaps this is the insect that put the “pest” in “pestiness” – and they’re not just showing up for picnics anymore.

If they’ve invaded your homestead, there’s a cheaper (and safer) alternative to commercial ant sprays. And you won’t have to bother with mixing up any concoctions.

Grab a bottle of your favorite stain remover from your laundry room and spray it on the ants, and on their trails. The stain removal product is nontoxic to your kids and pests, but not so on the little creepy, crawly visitors.

Ant trap

You don’t need store-bought contraptions to trap those pesky ants. Instead, dissolve 1 teaspoon boric acid and 6 tablespoons sugar into 1 cup of water. Soak cotton balls in the solution and place them in empty margarine or other plastic containers with holes punched in the lids.

Place the containers where the ants are hanging out. Although your population may increase initially, they will be gone within days after the worker ants carry their treasure back to the nest.

No vacancy

To keep ants from occupying your home, try placing an unbroken line of one of the following around your home’s perimeter: salt, flour, black or cayenne pepper, or powdered chalk.

You may also spread whole cloves or bay leaves around your home.

Another option is to visit a nearby restaurant or coffee shop and ask for their used grounds. Pour the grounds around the foundation of your home.

All of these are effective repellents, and your picnic partners typically won’t cross such barriers. Just remember to reapply after it rains.

Bait and switch

If you’d rather go for the kill, try these methods of luring ants into your poison patch:

Corn meal: Ants are unable to digest corn meal properly and will eventually die after ingesting.

Raw cream of wheat: After they eat it, it will expand in their stomachs and kill them.

Baiting with these methods can also get rid of the queen because the worker ants will carry the food into the nest to feed her.

Have some favorite apps, household hints or savings secrets of your own you’d like to share? Or searching for a solution? We’d love to hear from you. Email Marie Havenga at Include your name, address and phone number. You may also snail-mail ideas to: Trib Tips, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417; or call 616-847-2628.

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