One of the not-so-awesome things about summer in the south is the never-ending parade of ants that seem to come from nowhere and take over the yard. Since I have quite a few pets, not to mention an organic garden, I’m always really hesitant to use commercial pesticides, usually resorting to a liberal application of instant grits and cinnamon to keep them in check and at bay. This year, however, the ants seemed to be gearing up for world domination. I’d manage to get rid of one pile, only to see another pop up a few feet away. I swear I could hear them snickering when I walked by.
So I did a little research and decided to try making my own ant baits out of ingredients I felt safe using in my yard. It took a little trial and error to get the mix right, but I think this last batch has been successful. Here’s how I did it:
First, you’ll need to assemble your supplies. You’ll need Borax, granulated sugar, water, some small containers with a removable lid (baby food jars are ideal for this. if you know a new mom, hit her up for a batch before she recycles them), a hammer and nail, and a spoon for measuring.
For starters, fill each jar about 1/3 of the way full with the borax. Then add the granulated sugar to fill it up to just over half. You might need to adjust this mix depending on how much of a sweet tooth your ants have. You want enough sugar to mask the taste of the borax, but not so much that there isn’t enough borax to do the job.
Once you have your dry ingredients mixed together, it’s time to add enough water to make a paste. This photo was taken during my first attempt at these, and I think I made them slightly too wet. You’re looking for something just slightly runnier than toothpaste.
Once you’re satisfied with the consistency of your mixture, it’s time to use that hammer and nail to make holes in the lids of the jars, then close them up and place them strategically around your yard (or home). If you have larger ants, be sure to make the holes big enough for them.
The idea is that the ants will find the baits and carry the tasty, but poisonous mixture back to the nest and feed it to the Queen. Once the Queen dies, so does the colony. These have actually worked better for me than anything else I’ve tried. As far as I can tell, they don’t go bad, so you can leave them out for a couple of months. Put them near enough to existing ant trails or hills that the ants find them, but not directly in their path. You can also put them inside cupboards or near pet food bowls if you have trouble inside. Just make sure your pets don’t think they are toys.
For more tips on how to use Borax i n the home, check out this post on home-made cleaning supplies: