Ants Rule Los Angeles

I’m usually pretty tolerant of the different critters that share my space. Instead of smashing spiders with a shoe, I diligently catch the them and throw them out the window. I watch as the coyote trots down my steps, I shoo bees away… but the ants… the ants I can’t seem to ignore. I put up with a couple here and there on the counter most of the time, but occasionally their numbers swell to a massive, moving black army that covers the counter top and the sinks and the walls in my kitchen. Any extreme weather change seems to lure them out. I won’t use pesticides, so I’ve tried just about every variation I read about that utilizes the natural approach to try and get rid of them.

Cinnamon doesn’t work. The ants seem to stop, sniff, jump around (probably laughing their heads off) and move on. I spray them with windex, which works, but as soon it dries, they’re back. Mint leaves don’t work at all, even though various sites say they do. Cayenne pepper used to work, but this year…. nothing. I tried boric acid, sprinkled at their point of entry. It worked for a week, then wasn’t effective. So if you have a new brilliant solution to the ant invasion, I’m all ears!

31 thoughts on “Ants Rule Los Angeles”

  1. The trick is to wipe out the scent trails they use to communicate. I like Dow Bathroom Cleaner Scrubbing Bubbles. The bubbles stop them in their tracks, and the cleaner wipes out the scent trail. It has the added benefit of wherever you fight back ends up clean! The lemon scent is less nasty than the regular version.

  2. we have had some insane ant invasions at my office (on the 11th floor!)

    i hate ants crawling down my arms when i’m trying to talk on the phone with people.

    we normally just spazz out and spray lots of windex everywhere. perhaps not the most effective solution.

  3. I’ve also heard that detergent works. My neighbor used to sprinkle a thin line of sugar around the outside of the house once a year. that kept the ants busy enough outside that they didn’t come in. Also, if you can find their point of entry, a little Vaseline stops them.

  4. Windex is good for getting rid of the ants and *some* of the pheremone trail. But it’s a hard scrub, and they do come back for their dead (them’s good eatin’!) so put down a Grant’s for Ants trap as near to the trail’s source as possible. A couple more Windex assaults, and they should be gone.

  5. I have the exact same problem, always after extreme weather changes as well (long hot periods, or long rainy periods). I went thru all the normal “ant repellant” solutions you did, trying all the soapy cleaning products I could get my hands on. One day I happened to hit on the solution that has worked for me every time since — Veggie Wash made by Citrus Magic, which can be found here online if you cannot find it at your local Whole Foods or other local grocery stores.

    Besides being an excellent product for cleaning fruits and veggies, I have found it to be effective for lots of other things, including ant control. As soon as you spritz the ants, they stop dead in their tracks. Plus, if you lay a spray / stream down at their entry point (window sill, door sill, etc.), it will keep them from coming inside in the first place for quite some time (you may have to reapply after a few heavy rains if they come back). It also is effective keeping spiders and crickets from crossing the threshold. Plus, it is not toxic to your domestic pets.

    Just FYI … other great uses for this product, it is a great degreaser for cookware and dinnerware, as well as a deodorizer for plastic ware / tupperware that picks up odors from foods (fish, garlic, whatever) when used before or along with your favorite dishwashing soap (hand wash, not dishwasher — unless you LIKE cleaning up foam that leaks out all over the floor — don’t ask, I found out the hard way — LOL).

  6. I have always been plagued by them as well. Besides weather, mine seem to descend upon my place Sept-Oct every year. Last year I was determined to find out where those little shits were coming from, so every time I’d see a trail, I’d follow it until I found where they were coming in. Then I’d caulk whatever crack/crevice/etc. I have had tremendously less ants this year as a result.

  7. Wow!!!! Thanks for all the great tips. I’m gonna try a couple of them and see how it goes. I’ve caulked up all the holes, but I leave the doors and windows open, so they march in there for sure. The citrus magic sounds great, I’ll score some of that. I was tolerant til they started climbing onto my computer keyboard, then I knew it was time for action!

  8. i’m surprised the cin hasn’t worked for you – it’s cured 99% of my ant problems – the key is to hit costco and get the industrial size and use generously to cover the whole trail and build a small cinnymountain at the source (hole, whatever).

    are they heading for water sources? i think as we move into the drier months of late summer, they seek sources wherever they can find them. check for leaks under your sink, etc. they come for the water, stay for the food . . . .

  9. there’s a magic chalk you can pick up in chinatown. i don’t have a picture or name, but one of the bigger shops should know what you’re looking for. seriously magic. you just draw around the area you want them to stay the hell out of, and they oblige.

  10. Another method is to use corn meal. They take it back to their nest. When they eat it and it is combined with water it expands. Not good for an exoskeleton.

    You have to keep the corn meal in a dry place and in the path from where they come from and the kitchen. The results are not immediate and it won’t work for a large infestation. But otherwise, I have found it to be successful.

  11. Ryan – I’ve heard the magic chalk has pesticides in it. And believe it or not… none of the previous remedies worked for longer than about 4 hours. Except the boric acid, which seemed to last a couple of days. I am hoping for a new cure that I didn’t find the last time. Part of me wants to just relax and wait them out…. they are bound to go away…. but when they start crawling on me, I get anxious. Les, the corn meal sounds great. ANd I don’t have to go to the store for that one!

  12. I’ve had great success with this stuff called Bioganic. It’s kid and pet safe, organic (active ingredients – rosemary & wintergreen) and easy to find (I got it at Ralphs). It kills ants and other crawlies quick, and they won’t cross an area where it has been sprayed.

  13. simple green . even diluted at 5:1 it still works and it kills ants immediately and leaves such an odor ( for them ) that they dont come around anymore .

  14. I understand the desire to use a “natural” or “organic” solution, but sometimes pesticide is just the best way to handle these things. As long as you use it intelligently, it shouldn’t be a problem for kids or pets.

    I’ve had excellent luck with the Combat anti-ant gel (comes in a syringe). Identify where the ants are entering the house and put a little bead of the gel right there. If you don’t want it inside, you can put it outside if the entry point is accessible. Whenever I’ve had ant problems this stuff completely gets rid of them within a couple of days and they don’t come back.

    If you still don’t want to use a pesticide, then you may just have to learn to live with your new neighbors. :)

  15. Two words: baby powder. A trail of baby powder across their paths works wonders. It stops them and kills them. And you house smells like an infant, for whatever that’s worth.

  16. Want to create a barrier they will absolutely not cross? Use Dawn liquid soap, that blue stuff for the dishes, pour some in the cracks where they are coming in and they will stop. Or most likely, they’ll figure out a new way, but you’ve got a large bottle to build little gooey dams! Use it straight from the bottle, it’s so thick that one itty bitty leg and they are stuck for good.
    That’s my suggestion. The Hormiga Hunter!

  17. Helpful Jaime, I’ve tried the Dawn liquid soap on ants before too. I don’t know if it will stop future ant infestations (is it strong enough to clean off their scent trails?), but pouring soap into their entryway is an interesting idea.

    Pour circles of liquid soap around the ant groups, which will stop them dead in their tracks so they can’t go anywhere else. Then put on some rubber gloves, get a wet paper towel, and wipe the mess away. It’s a nasty business, but apparently liquid soap kills ants on contact.

  18. If you are willing to use windex and boric acid, i don’t understand why you don’t just use pesticides. You are already using chemicals…

    Your best bet is to clean their trails and try to seal the areas they come in from.

  19. Diatomaceous earth does seem to work really well. But the best thing I have ever done and something that has worked like a magic kiss for me this year is this: take your trash outside and dump the contents of the bag in the trash can. Got eggs that went bad? Crack em open. Nestle Quik? Dump the powder. Basically set up your trash can as a buffet of nasty food for the ants. I’ve done this and literally the house was ant free. My can is pretty bear and wildcat inaccessible but those damn ants can get into anything. It’s a thrill to see a trail of ants lining up to get into the trash can and not my kitchen!

  20. You cannot get rid of ants. You can only distract them.

    The ants on your countertop are there for a reason. They must be pretty sure they’ve hit the jackpot to risk certain death out in the open.

    In my experience, rodents, rats, roaches, and ants are looking for two things: food or water. Eliminate their source of food (or water if they are in your house during a dry time of year) by cleaning your place up – sealing your food off, washing your dishes, and taking out your trash. Check your taps for leaking water, and fix them leaks, to keep these little critters away from your house.

  21. I’m amazed at how late I am in coming to this post, what with me devoting a huge portion of my life to this very subject.

    CINNAMON DOES work – I buy it in bulk online (a fraction of the Costco price even) POUNDS at a time. It’s not pretty but I love the smell so I only put it places I don’t see it. I’ve found it to be very effective.

    CHINESE DEATH CHALK – ah, sweet Death Chalk. Unfortunately it’s been illegal for years and is now almost impossible to find. I of course have plenty and it is all it’s cracked up to be. Just don’t ask me to borrow any!

    COMMERCIAL ANT DEATH – just give up and use it. The best one I’ve found is Ortho Home Defense Max and it’s at Home Depot in a giant jug with a spray nozzle. It fucking works. Period.

  22. Wow!!!!! I have to tell you that I tried the Dawn and it works like a charm. I put more cinnamon out to try that, but I just got home and have found that my normally holistic au natural (he won’t even buy regular cleaning products!) sweet boyfriend broke down and bought ant traps which are now everywhere! I’m freaking out because they have all sorts of pesticides in them, but he’s being pretty firm. I might have to be submissive to keep household harmony for the next day or two til I can sneak them into the trash!

  23. Bay leaf. If you can find out where the ants are coming in put a bunch of bay leaves around the area. It looks a little weird, but we had a big ant problem in my apt, and now they are all gone.

  24. Sorry to say ant traps – all brands and configurations – are utterly, utterly useless. Good luck!

  25. Ha, Ha, chalk one up for the creative ghetto solutions! In the battle against household ants there’s a new, umm, Dawn approaching!
    To the Barricades! The Hormiga Hunter!

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