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Home invaded by ants

Original post made by VM, Midtown, on Dec 11, 2009

My home has been invaded by ants yesterday. I have never seen anything like that! The hard wood floors were covered with ants like a blanket. We have always been very cautious about not leaving any food, but this time zillions of them all over the house. It seemed like a great migration, as if tens of ant colonies moved in. It wasn't clear what they were after though some were in cereal boxes. I sprayed them with the most toxic ant killer but kep on popping here and there. Any advice? Is it time to call Clark?

Comments (12)

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Toxic sprays are like a bandaid on a serious bleeding wound. Use a bait so they will feed and take it back to the nest to reduce their numbers at the source. Palo Alto urges folks to use less or non toxic methods as numerous pesticides contaminate our ground drinking water.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm

When the weather is cold and wet outside, the ants want to go somewhere dry and warm. Look for where the ants are coming in to your house (maybe a crack in a wall) and seal that. Usually, you just need some caulk; no poisons. Use a vacuum cleaner to scoop up the ants that are already inside.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Yes, the wee critters are in our house too. Never had this situation in decades before this autumn and now. Most of them are in the bathroom - and coming out of the sink overflow drain. We sprayed down that drain and the problem was solved for a while. They're back again mostly in a rear bedroom.


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Posted by Me too
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 11, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Mine too, yesterday there was an invasion. The temperature outside must have gone down just to the point where they are looking for a warmer place.
They don't seem interested in food in my kitchen, just water or a warm place or both.
The suggestions above sound right.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Dec 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm

No need for toxic bombs. This stuff works, and it's easy to do.

To one cup of water, add: 1/4 cup sugar and one (1) teaspoon borax. Mix thoroughly. Pour into small containers [jar tops work well] and place near ant trails. The ants are drawn to the sugar, borax acts as a natural pesticide, and the water mixes the ingredients.

I've used it over the years and it works quite well.


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Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm

I had very good luck with "Grants Kills Ants" granules. Home Depot


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Posted by McGrude
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 11, 2009 at 8:28 pm

Just don't let PETA know else they'll start protesting outside your home. "Think of the little critters!"


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Posted by Ants/Termites
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

The ant invasion is because of a flooded ant colony. The way to find out it is due to flooding - check closely at the mouth of the ant. They will be carrying an egg in their mouth - taking it temporarily to a safer place which will be returned back to when the flooding recedes or they find a newer place.

Ants are great deterrent to termites - so some ant colonies are really ok. Massive infestation is quite bad as it is will lead to re-settling of your foundation.

Borax is only good if you are not worried of killing off vegetation as well. Usually quite alright under the house. Borax will permanently damage the plant growing ability of the soil. Go figure if it is environmentally friendly. You milage may vary.

The best effective way (in my opinion) is to use granules that are transported by worker ants to their colony.





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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2009 at 10:52 am

You don't put the borax solution on the ground, you put it in little container inside the house or just outside entry points. Then you put it down the drain. Please read the whole description.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

If you pour the borax down the drain, will the sewage treatment remove it before it gets out to the bay? Maybe you should treat is as toxic waste.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Dec 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Borax is recommended as one of several non-toxic substitutes for common house-cleaning products. An example is on the State of Hawaii's environmental department's site: Web Link


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Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 15, 2009 at 10:19 pm

These are likely Argentine ants. Very "interesting" species -- you can read about it on the internet. Massive professional pesticide spraying actually does not work well against these things. First, make sure there is nothing to eat, anywhere. Sometimes this is difficult in a house with children ;-) Waxing wood floors, and baseboards, helps. They don't like wax. Bait type poison sometimes works -- you may have to change the type frequently.


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