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ants in basement

AmytheLibrarianAmytheLibrarian Registered User regular
edited May 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Just discovered an ant hill in the unfinished basement of my 1940s-era house a few days ago. They've built it smack in the middle of the floor along a crack in the concrete. Checked on it again tonight and the little suckers have started a second anthill. The joys.

FYI, we don't store any empty pop cans or other such foodie business in the basement besides canned goods. Could they be attracted to laundry soap, I wonder?

I'm gonna head to the hardware store after work tomorrow to investigate the traditional ant-killing options (traps, powders, sprays etc). Any advice or tricks on how to get rid of them without killing my cat or making her sick?

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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Boiling water is the most biochemically friendly way of killing ants.

    It is however not a long term solution, and you may get water everywhere so I would put a couple of towels around to pick up any spillage.

    Blake T on
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    fightinfilipinofightinfilipino Angry as Hell #BLMRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Borax.

    it's an effective insecticide, and is generally not toxic to larger animals like pets and humans, at least not for the amounts you'll need to use. local hardware stores or home depots should have some.

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    nukanuka What are circles? Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    You should probably double check on those canned goods just to be sure, but unless something heavy crushed them they're probably just fine.

    Also make sure they aren't getting into the rest of your house and getting their food there.

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    RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Borax.

    it's an effective insecticide, and is generally not toxic to larger animals like pets and humans, at least not for the amounts you'll need to use. local hardware stores or home depots should have some.


    I tried this once for a beach house that had been infested with fleas. It works pretty well. Though I think the ants might be a little easier on you...those fleas...my god did they ever want my blood.

    Raekreu on
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    RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    This stuff

    3bb1f2cb-272d-46ea-99f8-860d973b490a_4.jpg

    It works

    Robman on
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    fightinfilipinofightinfilipino Angry as Hell #BLMRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ant-B-Gon is just fancily-packaged borax :D

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    ihmmyihmmy Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I've heard good things about an even mix of icing sugar and baking soda. Apparently it makes them get all gassy when they eat it, and then explode (they don't have a way of releasing the gas, at least not quick enough). Added bonus is that they'll take it into their nest and help feed it to everyone else. A friend recommended this - I haven't used it yet

    ihmmy on
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    adytumadytum The Inevitable Rise And FallRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Either put boric acid everywhere, or what we used to do is mix boric acid with water and sugar and leave it in a dish near the hill. They'll nom on it and take it home.

    adytum on
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    Mostlyjoe13Mostlyjoe13 Evil, Evil, Jump for joy! Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'll double on the Borax. It's effective and has low impact. However you might want to inspect the ant's walking 'trails'. You might have additional entrance/exits along your walls. Make sure to put coverage there. Also, get some bleach and clean the floor area to remove their 'scent' trail they use to find food.

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    Shoe-EaterShoe-Eater Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    i second the borax, the stuff is pretty much harmless to humans/animals. you can find it in most grocery stores with the laundry soaps, its used as a water softener for laundry.

    a mix of borax & sugar watered down into a syrup like consistency. spread it around the basement in beer caps, or another small container.

    The Ants eat it, share with other ant.

    I was explained it works like this:

    1. Sugar attract the ants, they eat the sugar borax mix
    2. they process the sugar, but they cant process the borax, i accumulates in their bodies and starts to form crystals in them, which eventually kills them.
    3 it's a slow process so they get to share the stuff with the rest of the colony before it kills them off


    i used it to take care of some carpenter ants that were infesting some trees near my house a few years back, i haven't seem them since.

    you can also buy the premade stuff, its a small squirt bottle of liquid usually marked as ant bait, goes for 2-3$ probably easier to go with that honestly.

    Shoe-Eater on
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    sys64738sys64738 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Pest control here. Boric acid (not the same thing as borax) can be fairly effective for ants. It's a fairly slow-acting stomach poison, though, so you won't see quick control.

    Best solution is to dose the main colony with a residual. Given the placement it may be that you're instead dealing with a satellite but wiping it out may solve the problem for a while.

    Failing that, baits (granules / bait stations) can work though they are not always accepted. Ants can be picky.

    Try to fix any nearby sources of moisture (pipes, leaks, bad drainage, faulty grade, etc).

    Have you had any unusual weather recently? Insects sometimes go indoors to escape extreme conditions (cold, heat, too wet / too dry).

    sys64738 on
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    iamthepiemaniamthepieman Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    People have suggested good methods of getting rid of the actual ants. But until you have thoroughly eradicated them, use some dish soap to draw a line around the anthill. Ants will not cross dish soap and it's pretty easy to clean up and isn't toxic. We did this when ants started getting into our kitchen. I just put a line of dish soap along the base of the cabinets and the ants stopped getting on the counters.

    iamthepieman on
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    GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    My father used to pour fertilizer on them. And then the next day, he'd come by with bleach. This created a toxic cloud and killed them. However, this is a bad idea, especially in a basement. My father also would also pour gasoline on them, and then light it on fire. This is also a bad idea. He used every thing he could during his fatwah on fire ants, and did a lot of bad things in the process. I'm surprised he didn't burn the neighborhood down (though, once he did set all the grass on fire). Don't be like my dad.

    Instead, be sane and buy some ant poison. Use it. Let them die. And then seal the cracks in the basement so you don't have to deal with it again.

    GungHo on
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    LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    FYI, ants won't cross a line of baby powder either. Although soap is probably the less messy option.

    LadyM on
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