Never Failed Me Yet Ant Bait

It’s that time of year. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small. Sometimes there are many, sometimes just a few. But mercifully, no matter how many of these little darlings decide to show up in my kitchen in the spring, I only need to see them for about one day out of 365. Once I put out my delicious ant buffet, they are so “satisfied” they never come back. At least until next year.

Ant Bait

20130409-100008.jpgANT BAIT
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup very warm water
2 TBS Borax

I mix this together thoroughly in a glass measuring cup that I use solely for this purpose. I stir until the sugar is completely dissolved, then I dip a cotton cosmetic pad (the kind you can use for taking off makeup or nail polish) into the liquid and place the saturated pad on a plastic kid’s cup lid (the lid makes for easier clean up.) I place this right in the line of ant traffic and wait.

Before long the bait will be covered with ants. Resist the urge to kill them! Roll out the red carpet and let them feast. They will take the toxic sugar cocktail back to their queen, share the love, and then they all die. Bwa ha ha ha HA!

I have had fantastic results with this mixture, in these proportions, on a variety of ants, although this season’s ants are the biggest we have seen in our home, so hopefully it will be just as effective.

Make sure to keep these baits far away from pets and curious toddlers as it can be harmful and toxic to both. I keep the mixture in my fridge on the bottom shelf, marked “ANT BAIT” in bold letters. I take it with me to the shore on vacation and kill all the rental’s ants for them each year, too. I was able to keep and reuse one batch for about 3 years before it got too thick and hard to use. Just made up a fresh batch this morning when these guys showed up.

20130409-101120.jpg

Eat up, friends. Eat up.

Update – August, 2014: A couple of folks have requested a photo of what my box of Borax looks like. Here you go! It’s a few years old, but I don’t think the look of the box has changed much. 

Borax Box

65 thoughts on “Never Failed Me Yet Ant Bait

    • Amy says:

      I tried the cinnamon last year and it didn’t do anything to help stop them, So I am going to try this this year. I have lived in this house for 9 years and I battle ants almost year round. So I am so sick of these little pests. Even the exterminator that our landlord hires doesn’t get rid of them. Say a prayer for me and if this works I will be singing your praises forever.

  1. Ceecee says:

    LOL at “bwa hahaha” u sound like an evil scientist. Although the thought of them congregating is a bit sickening, I might have to try this. Vinegar does NOT work!

    • Becky says:

      Yes, when it comes to small creepy crawlers in my home, I get very evil scientistish! And yes, it is SO hard not to go nuts and smash them all when they are swarming on the bait. Just know that within 24 hours, they should be finito!

  2. Susan says:

    What a fantastic idea, Becky! And thrifty, too. This beats the expensive (and toxic) ant bait/poison I’ve been buying at the hardware store. I’ll be trying your “cocktail” when I see the little boogers show up again.

  3. Peggy says:

    I am going to go mix this up in a minute! We have had a terrible problem with ants this year. They are climbing up the brick below the siding and coming inside that way. In fact they have even taken to taking the crumbs out of the toaster… and yes I’ve been emptying it daily! Completely insane!!

  4. Jimmy says:

    Thanks so much for this !!! IT worked like a charm for me. 3 days ago i mixed this up and put it down for the ants. They got so thick on it i could barely see the bait. 1 day later they were all gone. AMAZING !!!!!!

    • Becky says:

      Borax is mainly used as a laundry cleaning aide. It can be found in most drug stores and places like Walmart and Target. I’ve never tried to substitute with something else, so I’m afraid I don’t have much advice in that department. But if you visit my profile on hometalk.com, I posted my ant bait post there and loads of folks have shared their ideas for ant control in the comments.

      • Jane says:

        Can you post a picture of the borax you got. Had been asking the local drugstore and they said they don’t carry it. Also, you mentioned that we can get it at Walmart and Target, I would like to know under which department? Thanks for the great post.

      • Becky says:

        Hi Jane! I will take a photo and add it to this post this evening. In Target and Walmart, I have typically found it in the laundry aisle. It’s not one of the “big sellers” so look on the bottom shelves. That’s where I have found it.

  5. John says:

    for exposed wood areas, try Orange Glo. I remodeled our kitchen 6 years ago and when completed, we noticed the ants were still coming in despite the efforts taken to seal them out. My wife cleaned the trim boards with Orange Glo (oil based ) cleaner and we noticed the ants avoided the base boards.We found them coming in behind the cabinets from holes for plumbing, electrical, even though we couldnt see any visible holes. The ants are those tiny little ones and seemed like they were magically coming thru.

    We decided to give everything a thorough cleaning with the Orange Glo and wow, we didnt see an ant for 4 years. Last year was when they started to re-appear & again we did a thorough cleaning. The ants now only appear in other rooms, mostly carpeted ones and so i will give the recipe mentioned here a try and hope the combination finally rids us of them once and for all.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for the recipe, we just made up a batch and spread it around cant wait for the results ** fingers crossed**

  7. Erika says:

    I don’t want to make the ants suffer. Does borax cause them pain before they die?
    Also, does anyone have a remedy that makes them so sick that they will not come back
    but doesn’t kill them?

    • вυтт-cнαη 。◕ ‿ ◕。 (@ruga) says:

      Unfortunately ants aren’t exactly higher-thinking creatures, and thus don’t learn easily from their mistakes. You can’t make them sick and hope they’ll leave. What I’d recommend for you if you want to spare as many little ant lives as possible is to find out where they’re coming from and sprinkle a mixture of chalk and cinnamon around it. Ants and other creepy-crawlies (like earwigs, bedbugs, etcetc) HATE both. Chalking around your foundation can help quite a bit, but will need repeated after heavy rain. I recommend spray-chalk, which can be purchased or made from recipes online. Be sure to get around doors and windowsills.

      The science behind why chalk and cinnamon work is this: Ants and most other insects breathe through holes in their sides, unlike most other terrestrial animals that inhale/exhale through their mouths. Chalk and cinnamon both are extreme irritants and pose zero nutritional value to ants, so they avoid them like crazy.

      Obviously, make sure your caulk any holes from the outside that you find, this helps too.

      Other things that work well are cleaning frequently, which I know makes it sound like I’m calling people dirty, but I’m not. When I say clean, I mean /really/ clean. Break out the mop, not just the broom. Break out the carpet cleaner, not just the vacuum cleaner. Use bleach to clean counters instead of just dish soap. Do this once a week or so, and you’ll have far less pests. Invest in breadboxes that are air tight, keep your sugar in sealed containers and not just in bags, and wipe your stove down any time you may get grease on it. If you have a dishwasher, don’t let dirty dishes sit in it for days on end – my parents’ dishwasher once became infested with ants that were attracted to the food, and that was surprisingly difficult to manage.

      Oh, and like another poster said – I’ve had really good results with orange and other citrus based cleaners. Orange-Glo works well, too. Ants seem to not really enjoy orange glo for whatever reason.

  8. Jackie says:

    I have tried EVERYTHING on the net. This is my last hope at ridding my house from these things. One thing I found that works on contact is Avon’s SSS. But they don’t stay gone. Hopefully this will work.

  9. Shannon says:

    We had some success with the peel from an orange. Three years ago, we put peels down in certain corners. To this day the ants do not come in from those corners. They did find other entries, but they stayed away from any area we put the peel in. What I was told was the citric acid in the peel is carried back to the colony & kills them there.

  10. Marcia says:

    Mixed equal parts powdered sugar and borax; then sprinkled it on ant hills outside in the yard. It got rid of the ants and also dried up the grass around the area. Might make a good weed killer too!!!

  11. Sows Ear says:

    I have 2 young kids and 2 cats (1 of whom will eat ANYTHING). My trick for keeping them safe: use old butter, sour cream, cottage cheese containers to close off access to the bait. Instead if laying the bait in the lid, use the bottom of the clean dry container. Before putting the bait inside, use a nail slightly larger than the size of your ants to poke holes around the lower portion of the container (I place mine about 1 every 1″, about 1/4″ from the base, all the way around). Place the bait inside, snap on the lid and there you go! Ants can get in and out no prob. Furry babies and little ones cannot.

    Also, if your ants get into your pet’s food, I learned they may more likely be drawn to protein than sugar, in which case peanut butter is a good alternative to the sugar syrup. Dilute the borax in a small amount of hot water and then blend into the PB. Place in container as you would the sugar bait. Works like a charm!

  12. John says:

    I have used this mixture often, but you only need a few drops on a square price cut of tin foil, once the ants are done, all of it will be gone, then throw it away. Also, no need to keep the left over mixture in the fridge, it keeps fine on the garage shelf, etc.

  13. Claudia says:

    Can anything natural get rid of those unsightly “spider” crickets?? We get them every fall now and they are hideously scary!! Hard to kill b/c they jump all over the place!!!

  14. Georganne Thomas says:

    If you can locate the ant hill outside, you can very carefully carry boiling water to the ant hill and pour the boiling water on it. You may have to repeat the process. It is a non-toxic solution to the problem.

  15. Suz says:

    I will absolutely try this TODAY inside a container with the holes punched to protect my 2 cats. Have the large black ants (which I actually prefer over the mini ones-at least I can see them easily).

  16. KC says:

    Last year was the 1st year I had them in my kitchen ALL SUMMER LONG (yes, I cleaned profusely). I tried many home remedies with no success, until I arrived at this totally simple one… and it worked!! This spring when they made their way in, I didn’t mess around & they were gone within 2 days. IT TOTALLY WORKS!

  17. Malissa says:

    Our ants bypassed the sugar and go for any kind of protein. They are in the cat food, and in the garbage after meat trays, cat food cans etc. I may have to try this recipe made with chicken broth instead of water!!

  18. Sandy says:

    “Eat up, friends. Eat up.” – lol
    Oh man..you should see the “feast” out in my garden today! They LOVE your bait recipe. Please tell me they’re actually going to die…I can’t help but feel like I’m giving them a free meal ~

  19. Olevia says:

    I tried it and it took a couple of days but all the ants were dead or gone. But a couple of days later they were back and after a couple of days they are gone again, etc.

  20. Jennifer Tuller says:

    has anyone’s yard been infested with bright orange ants?? I had never heard of or seen such a thing, my dad, 67 years old and a farmer most of his life had never heard of or seen them, BUT MY FRONT YARD IS SWARMING WITH THEM!!

  21. Jimmy says:

    This had always worked for me until this year. Not sure why but they seem to be un-effected by it. It’s been over a month now and they are still here. Not finding anything that works this year. Is it possible the borax has lost it’s power?

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s