Author Topic: Does anyone know anything about ants?  (Read 1195 times)

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Offline drussell

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Does anyone know anything about ants?
« on: August 06, 2019, 08:04:39 am »
Does anyone know more about these tiny little buggers than I apparently do?

I'm usually pretty good at eradicating troublesome colonies but this one is weird.

This is in southern British Columbia, Canada.

I made a quick video...  (Apologies for the potatovision):

https://youtu.be/zxuitLU_JJk

 

Offline Domagoj T

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 08:46:21 am »
Permethrin based insecticides are effective against ants and other creepy crawlies. Get some in powder form and dust their paths. Soon they'll be gone.
Be advise though, that while it's not particularly toxic to humans and dogs, cats are significantly more susceptible to it, so if you have a cat, you may want to avoid using it.

Ants are not necessarily attracted by food, but they will home in on moisture. If you are seeing them in your kitchen, you may check for wet stuff.

That being said, ants are cool and, while I understand getting them out of the house, you really should leave them alone on the outside. They do much more good than bad.
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 10:07:18 am »
I doubt you will ever totally eradicate them as they tend to just relocate somewhere else nearby. For outdoor areas and equipment kerosene in a spray bottle or on a saturated cloth works wonders but be careful to avoid sources of ignition.   

For kitchen surfaces such as cupboards and benchtops a regular wipe over with household bleach will generally keep them away. Leave it on the surface overnight and be sure to wipe it off with a damp cloth before using the bench again. 

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Online TimFox

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 01:20:08 pm »
 

Online schmitt trigger

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 01:34:56 pm »
Borax-laced sugar does wonders for indoor ants. And roaches.

In a *disposable* container, dissolve in a cupful of water equal amounts of sugar and borax. Warm the water before hand to fully saturate the solution.
Allow the solution to dry and it will solidify into a brittle crust.

Crush and sprinkle in the ant's path.

Borax is not particularly harmful to humans or pets, but normal precautions apply.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 03:50:37 pm »
Borax-laced sugar does wonders for indoor ants. And roaches.

Yeah, Borax is the only way I've ever been successful eradicating ants.  I generally use the 7% Borax liquid stuff sold under many different brand names in the 100 ml bottles, (Ant-Out, Ant-B-Gon, Raid makes one, etc. all basically the same formula) but it is not available in BC anymore, outlawed by the province for some reason, (apparently indiscriminate and excessive use can attract and kill bees?)

That stuff works GREAT!  Once you find a run right close to the nest, you put JUST A FEW DROPS on a non-porous surface, whether it is a vinyl floor or a piece of waxed paper if the surface they're on is porous.  I have probably a 90+% success rate eradicating colonies that way over the years.  As long as you're close enough to the nest and they actually take the bait, it virtually always works.  Basically if you get ants surrounding your drops and taking it all back to the nest, they'll end up feeding some to the queen, she dies. By about a week later you'll see only very small, confused, baby ants scavenging outside the nest because they're the only ones left once the queen is gone, then the nest will be toast.  Generally then if it is accessible, you can physically destroy the nest at least partially so some new colony doesn't just move in.

I've never had any success with home-mixed borax, but I may give it a shot since we can't get the pre-mixed liquid here anymore.  (I'll have to stock up when I get back to Calgary...  My sister even tried getting some down in the US the other day and the wal-mart there didn't stock it either.)

We also have been trying the gel-based stuff which contains some octoborate something-or-other, but they're not interested in it at all.  They won't touch it.  I assume this stuff doesn't attract bees because it's not sugar based so doesn't attract bees?  Well, it doesn't attract these particular ants, either.  :)

My main issue, though, isn't with actually killing them, I'll figure that out, I'm sure.

My problem is I don't know where the nest is. 

We had some (of what I now think were part of this same colony) take up residence over the winter in a roll of gutter screen that was in a closet.  I used the last of our borax liquid in the closet and they fed on it for days.  I've never seen them go on for that long.  Usually an hour or two at most.  My Brother was coming with kids and we didn't want the ants in there still feeding so I took the roll of screen outside and cleaned off the borax from the shelf, thinking that they must have had enough to kill the colony, but now I'm thinking that giant blob was only part of some giant colony that is living in the roof or the walls.  They're showing up all over the place now, same wierd tiny ants.

Anyway, tonight I will try a suggestion from the YouTube comments (which I should have thought of last night... duh.)    Put some sugar water out so they'll concentrate on that.  Then I can see what direction they're coming from.

If they're living outside and not doing any damage to the cabin itself, I'll just try to stop them from getting in.  There are probably 100 other ant colonies on the property of various types and I'm not worried about any of them.  :)

My concern is the amount of this white dust that they leave IN the cabin, just over the course of one night.  That stuff has to be coming from somewhere in the walls or ceiling.  Not good.  If they're infesting the walls and ceiling, they must go.  :)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 03:54:57 pm by drussell »
 

Offline soldar

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 04:11:25 pm »
That being said, ants are cool and, while I understand getting them out of the house, you really should leave them alone on the outside. They do much more good than bad.
These days I have a huge colony of tiny ants digging up the sand under the flagstones and making a mess. I have tried several chemicals but it seems to stop them for a day and the next day they keep going. Now I am trying to drown them just go there with a hose two or three times a day.

For outdoor areas and equipment kerosene in a spray bottle or on a saturated cloth works wonders but be careful to avoid sources of ignition.   

Don't do this. It is an old time's remedy but no longer acceptable as it is polluting and illegal in most developed countries.
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Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2019, 04:25:09 pm »
"Local" ants in most western countries are good for the environment and are not very annoying. It used to be relatively easy to get rid of them within your house without requiring heavy insecticides.

Now some countries especially in Europe (don't know about the USA) have been invaded by very aggressive ant species for a decade or so (often supercolonies of argentine ants). They can invade your house and it's very hard to get rid of them. Sometimes you even have a hard time figuring out what kind of food they could even find. They would eat pretty much anything. You can even see whole colonies of them walking on hundred of meters of concrete between houses or buildings just to find more food. That's crazy.

I have had to use insecticides for a couple years now, I never did before that. Boric acid is effective, but you have to put it in many places inside your house, and change them on a regular basis, because the ants end up figuring it out pretty fast and learn how to avoid it.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2019, 04:50:56 pm »
How to kill big flying ants? There is a colony under the front porch that seems to disappear for winter and literally flies back in kamikaze-style to under the porch at around end of May each year. They are like 15 mm in size.
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Offline Domagoj T

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2019, 05:22:22 pm »
The flying ants are the ones that reproduce. Pretty much all ant species have queens and males that fly on their reproductive (nuptial) flights, so you're not really narrowing down in trying to identify them.

After mating, males die while queens shed their wings and try to establish a new colony. The big ones are queens, small ones are males.
The reproductive cycle of ants is quite fascinating, to be honest. Female ants (workers and queens) come from fertilized eggs, while males come from unfertilized eggs. The queen can choose which type to lay, depending on the size and health of the colony.
Furthermore, once the colony grows enough and has enough resources, selectively feeding larvae better food will lead to them developing into queens.

Oops, got sidetracked.
Killing those is the same as with any other ant, but once they're flying, you're too late. They are already leaving.
 

Offline edy

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2019, 06:08:59 pm »
I left a pile of extra interlocking stone paver bricks stacked up in a fairly large pile in the backyard a few years ago. One day I walk by and notice there is no space between the stones.... It was filled with sand. I thought to myself, I don't remember putting mortar between these bricks?

One by one I start to remove a brick at a time and was amazed to see what looks like one ant farm (formicariums) after another. Just like those ones made of glass.... except here I am seeing a thin cross-section from each layer of brick because that was all the space available. There are white rice-grainy things EVERYWHERE which I realized were the ant eggs.

Then one year we looked out at the backyard concrete slab stones that are normally gray-white and they were completely black, covered in a massive swarm of ants. I'm not sure what caused them to all of a sudden appear out in the open. Maybe flooding of their undergrown colony? I don't remember the weather exactly but fortunately they never came into the house.

I don't really care if they are outside. How do you make sure they can't get into the house? Is it possible to find and seal up cracks and other paths of entry?
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Offline Domagoj T

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2019, 06:22:16 pm »
Trying to prevent them from getting in is not the way. If they want to come in, they will find a way.
The key is to not give them reason to move inside. Like I said, they are attracted to moisture so try to minimize in, in addition to not leaving food around.
 

Offline Bud

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2019, 07:35:33 pm »
I seal up cracks and in the morning before leaving for work spray the outside wall just above ground level and window base with Ant-b-gone which works great at keeping them away. Also I keep a fresh can of peanut butter poison outside of the backyard door to keep them busy.
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Offline Dundarave

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2019, 10:09:59 pm »
How to kill big flying ants? There is a colony under the front porch that seems to disappear for winter and literally flies back in kamikaze-style to under the porch at around end of May each year. They are like 15 mm in size.

They sound like carpenter ants to me...  I've had various issues with them in the past:  they live in (and eat) rotten wood, and always seem to swarm during the first warm days in May (depending on where you are).  It would suggest that there's some good rotten-wood eating under your porch, lol...

Many years ago I paid an exterminator to deal with them around my home, and got a lesson:  he just followed one or two for a while, found the nest, and sprayed it.  That, along with an annual base-spray around the base of the house, and trimming back any branches that might touch the house, kept the place free of them for many years.

Each spring I'd just buy a big can of Raid ant-spray and re-do the base spray around the house.  I called it "the line of death", because once an ant treads through it, they've only got a few minutes until they've joined the choir invisible...

If you can get to it, you might want to get under the porch to find the nest and give it and the ground around it a good spritz of the ant spray.
 

Offline Mickster

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2019, 10:13:14 pm »
Egg yolks, sugar & borax.
This guy, and loads of others in his comments, swear by it:



EDIT:
He says boric acid in his video, but I am quite sure borax will work......why?
Because my tinkering space is the largish garage under the house, which used to get quite a few roaches coming in.
Since sprinkling 20 Mule Team borax around the outside and near the doorway/windows, I haven't seen a roach or an ant for the last month.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 10:22:55 pm by Mickster »
 

Offline windsmurf

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2019, 11:45:42 pm »
Shouldn't we be talking about how to electronically eradicate ants?
 
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2019, 12:43:07 am »
Shouldn't we be talking about how to electronically eradicate ants?

Give them a free Windows 10 ant OS to install,

they'll have enough to sort out, with no spare time to wander about  :D

 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2019, 01:23:51 am »
Yeah, Borax is the only way I've ever been successful eradicating ants.  I generally use the 7% Borax liquid stuff sold under many different brand names in the 100 ml bottles, (Ant-Out, Ant-B-Gon, Raid makes one, etc. all basically the same formula) but it is not available in BC anymore, outlawed by the province for some reason, (apparently indiscriminate and excessive use can attract and kill bees?)

That stuff works GREAT!  Once you find a run right close to the nest, you put JUST A FEW DROPS on a non-porous surface, whether it is a vinyl floor or a piece of waxed paper if the surface they're on is porous.  I have probably a 90+% success rate eradicating colonies that way over the years.  As long as you're close enough to the nest and they actually take the bait, it virtually always works.  Basically if you get ants surrounding your drops and taking it all back to the nest, they'll end up feeding some to the queen, she dies. By about a week later you'll see only very small, confused, baby ants scavenging outside the nest because they're the only ones left once the queen is gone, then the nest will be toast.  Generally then if it is accessible, you can physically destroy the nest at least partially so some new colony doesn't just move in.

I've never had any success with home-mixed borax, but I may give it a shot since we can't get the pre-mixed liquid here anymore.  (I'll have to stock up when I get back to Calgary...  My sister even tried getting some down in the US the other day and the wal-mart there didn't stock it either.)
Artificial sweetener mixed with a little water also sometimes works to get rid of ants, if they actually eat it.
Shouldn't we be talking about how to electronically eradicate ants?
It doesn't take much current to zap ants, and a flyback transformer will supply plenty. Problem is that in my experience, it must be high frequency AC since the electric field from DC just blows the ants away before they're close enough to draw an arc.
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2019, 02:10:29 am »
At my place, we have had, on & off, an invasion of small, black ants who don't like sugar at all, so all the sugar based baits are a waste of time.
Unfortunately, all the baits I can find are sugar based.

The only thing that seems successful is a mixture of peanut butter & borax, used in mprovised bait containers, or "repurposed" bait containers of the useless type, with all the sugary stuff removed & replaced with this mixture.

At  the moment, it's Winter, so we are having a break from theirr attentions, but I'm sure, come Spring, they'll be back!
 

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Offline windsmurf

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2019, 09:48:40 am »
 

Offline ebastler

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2019, 10:09:40 am »
Spray them with the ant zombie fungus.
https://www.livescience.com/47751-zombie-fungus-picky-about-ant-brains.html

Hey, this has been a "Museum of Jurassic Technology" exhibit for years! So it's real after all?
http://mjt.org/exhibits/foundation_collections/stink_ant/stinkant.html

For those who haven't come across it: The MJT is essentially an art project, located in Culver City, California. It recreates the spirit of the old "cabinets of wonders" and natural history cabinets, with exhibits that keep you wondering whether they show real or imaginary natural wonders, science, and history. One of my favorite places!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Jurassic_Technology
 

Offline emece67

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2019, 10:44:07 am »
Hi,

The product I have found to be most effective against ants is Bayer Baythion GR. Not sure if this is the local name for this product and it is named different in other countries.



Last time I used it to eradicate a big anthill whose individuals were feeding ~20 m apart from it. A single (large) dose was enough to eradicate it in just 3 days.

Hope this helps, regards.

EDIT: a quick Wikipedia search reported that this agent is also named: Phoxim, Valexone, Phoxime, Sebacil, Valexon & Volaton. According to it, it is allowed for use (with limitations) inside EU.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2019, 10:50:50 am by emece67 »
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Does anyone know anything about ants?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2019, 10:16:09 pm »

They do not like compressed air, especially when I empty the tank/lose the excess air at days end,

by using a blow gun around their marching perimeters

Needless to say my old air clunker always has an emptied clean tank   >:D

Cockroaches and centipedes did not favor it either, I think they've packed it in and gone next door  :popcorn:

 


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