Tis the Pest Season

April 21, 2009

pests, smart fixes

I only have 3 or 4 flowers blooming right now. But my garden beds are filling with weeds already. Isn’t it amazing how quickly those nasty weeds grow?! And our temperatures here have hardly broken 45 degrees and already the bugs and spiders are comng out of the woodwork. I’ve already seen flies, spiders, ticks, and ants! Unbelievable.

We have a massive ant problem here, inside and outside. We have carpenter ants in the house’s interiorr walls, smaller black ants and red ants in mounds outside, and the tiny little “grease ants” that have been streaming into my kitchen. Their arrivals seem a bit early this year, if you ask me. In the past, I’ve bought those little ant traps– they look like black plastic tents. I don’t think they’ve been terribly successful; the ants are either populating like mad or the ant bait traps are useless. I’ve been doing a bit of reading on getting rid of such pests, and came across several online articles about the effectiveness of borate, or boric acid.


Borate is not toxic to humans and animals (although it should still be avoided from touching, ingesting, and inhaling). But what this stuff does is it acts a stomach poison (not an appetite suppressant, but they ingest the borate and it kills them); and in some cases the borate pierces the insects’ exoskeleton, and dries the critter up. You can mix the borate with something like sugar or jelly and set it out for the bugs to discover. They’ll take it back to the nest with them, eat the stuff, and they’re toast. It’s very effective for eliminating cockroaches, ants, potato bugs, silverfish, and waterbugs. And it’s odorless. I think it’s much better than those toxic chemical sprays and liquids, that are horribly toxic to people and pets as well as bugs. There’s a good post about insect control here.

We’ve tried putting some borate in the kitchen, along the countertop behind the sink, and I haven’t seen any ants since! I’ve heard that borate treatments are effective but slow to act… I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for any more ants, but I haven’t seen any since applying the borate powder.

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2 Responses to “Tis the Pest Season”

  1. Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" Says:

    At my dad’s house after he died and I was getting it ready to sell, I used some of his ant bait traps. The kind where they are supposed to take it back to their colony and then it kills them all. I don’t know what happened, but the next day they were all inside the upstairs closed in back porch where I had put the traps/bait. They covered the windows–eeww! I got my can of RAID and squirted away, killing them in minutes then swept them up and tossed them out. That was the end of it, but I’m sure glad it was the back porch and not the kitchen!

  2. blueyes Says:

    You know I have problems with ants too usually around my window sill in the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom which makes me think they are in the attic area where the AC unit is but all I did was put babypowder around the window sill and no more ants. They apparently cannot stand babypowder. Now only if it was that easy to keep water bugs out :/