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Best Homemade Natural Ant Killer

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Ants give me the heebie jeebies. We never had problems with ants inside until last year. I called Barry at work in a panic. “WE HAVE ANTS! COME HOME NOW!” Of course, he didn’t. We used a recipe for homemade Terro that we found on the internet. My mom uses Terro for ants, so I was familiar with it.My Annie was still a babe in arms so we didn’t worry about the Borax then. Now she is running around everywhere so we have to be more careful. We don’t want chemicals in our home, so we made another concoction from stuff we had here to get rid of the little devils. Well…..it didn’t work. Everything I tried was a dud. The ants were still here – I still had the heebie jeebies, so I wanted to go back to the Terro. To make your own Terro-like ant killer, you need borax, sugar, and water. That’s it.
Combine 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of Borax, and ½ cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for three minutes. Let it cool completely. It will thicken as it cools.
Before you put this ant killer mixture down, you need to clean the ant area with something. I used white vinegar because I use it to clean my entire house. It’s safe – it’s effective – it makes me want pickles. You need to clean it because ant’s leave a trail. The trail says “Hey! Come over to this lady’s house! She’s a great cook and her kid is messy!”
Take the cooled ant killer mixture and put it into jar lids – short so that the ants can crawl over the side. It also needs to be in a lid so it’s portable.  Place the lid where you know the ants are. They will eat the stuff, take it back to the queen and they’ll die. It won’t be instantly, it might take a day or two. This isn’t a microwaved ant killing method.

Borax is NOT child or pet friendly. The FDA says Borax is safe., unless ingested in LARGE amounts. So, please wash your pan with hot water and soap – and don’t serve Borax for dinner.  But, I know this method works…and ants give me the heebie jeebies – did I tell you that? So, I put the mixture down when I knew we were going to be gone all day with Dottie. Then we came home and put Annie to bed and kept the dog upstairs. The next day I pulled it up and then put it down again during her nap (Dottie upstairs) taking it up when she was awake. That night, we put it down again. Presto! It worked! Don’t mess with me, ants.

For daily tips and frugal fun, you can follow me on Instagram @stacywalkermyers.

This post is linked at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable and at Works for Me Wednesday on We Are That Family.

Testimonials:

  • I know this works! Every spring, I mix up a batch of “Auntie Val’s Bug Juice” using the same ingredients and put it in empty yogurt containers near our doors, both inside and outside. Within a few days, ants are gone!  –Valerie
  • We live in an area that is infested with sugar ants. From the very first summer we moved in, we had a huge problem. They were everywhere. We’ve tried expensive sprays, those ant baits, powders, bay leaves, everything and nothing worked. Every spring they just kept coming back and we just dealt with them until the fall. Stacy told me about the terro ant bait she had been using. I gave it a shot and we are ant free. I decided not to even wait on them this year. I’ve already made it and have them set up where I know the ants come into the house. Thank you Stacy!  –Amanda from Spinning Yarns and Other Things

Tip from reader Pat Jarvis:

My son came up with a good idea for distributing the Borax/sugar ant bait. Put the prepared “syrup” in an empty soda pop can, lay it on its side with the opening at the ground. The dogs and other animals can’t get to it. Little kids might still be a problem, as they are with a lot of things and need to be watched, but at least I won’t poison the animals. If it’s windy they will blow away (we get a lot of wind), so I just dented them in and put a rock on top. The weight of the syrup in the can seems to keep them laying on the right side.



Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.

  • Amanda

    This stuff is awesome and it works!!! I kept a couple of small bowels wiggliest like sheds spread. I poked holes in the bowel about halfway down, poured the terro in and snapped the lid on. I left one indoors put one under my house and another near the trash can outside. We were ant free after about 4 days.

    • Stacy

      Thanks for the testimony Amanda! :-)

  • Amanda

    Not sure why that says wiggiliest ….stupid smart phone.

  • http://www.novicelife.blogspot.com Allison @ Novice Life

    Great tip — thanks for sharing. We get ants on our patio every summe – ugh.

    Also, didn’t realize that about the borax!! Good to know!

  • YIN

    WE HAVE BEEN HAVING PROBLEMS WITH ANTS LATELY. I SPRAY AND THEY COME BACK. I WILL TRY YOUR RECIPE TODAY AND SEE HOW IT GOES…I CAN’T WAIT:-)

  • Christina

    I love Terro and next time I need it, I’ll do this and make my own. We used Terro this year (like every other year) only they still wouldn’t go away after like 2 weeks. My husband read some stuff online and saw something about baby powder, so we put it right where they were coming in the house at and presto! No ants within 12 hours and they’re still not back!

  • jenny

    We use a similiar recipe…I just take the Borax and mix it with a little honey in a lid, and presto~ the ants flock to it, and then magically “disappear” after a couple of days!

  • YIN

    It worked…..Thank you! After 12 hours, almost all the ants are gone….yeah! Thanks again.

    • Stacy

      GREAT! :-)

  • Tara

    Just wondering if you can store the mixture and if so for how long?

    • Stacy

      Great questions Tara! :-) I made my last batch about two-three months ago and it still looks just like the day I made it. As for storage, we just put ours in an old yogurt container.

  • Amanda

    Dumb question, suppose I put this out, the ants eat it and then my dog eats the ants before they die. My pattern would be similar to yours as far as putting it out when we are all in bed and naps. But I didn’t know if they die fast or what.

    • Stacy

      Not dumb at all. Since ants are so little, and ingest a small amount compared to what a dog gets with one swipe of his/her tongue, I wouldn’t think it would hurt the dog badly……although I wouldn’t let Dottie eat it. :-) They die fairly fast, usually within 24 hours so I’d just try to keep all pets and children away.

  • THX1138

    Borax is almost exactly as toxic as ordinary table salt, so you or your dog would have to ingest over a pound of it to be fatal. It is very safe to humans and pets.

    • Stacy

      If Dottie found something other than her dog food, she might ingest a pound. LOL

  • http://blazeinonlifeonawannabefarm.com/ Shana Putnam

    So this works outside too?? My son is deathly allergic to ants. We live on 11 acres and yes we have lots of ants. I battle them every single year and am so tired of it. I have to use spray in the house but can’t use chemicals outside as we have free range chickens and I don’t want them ingesting the stuff or our horse. If I could do bowls with lids and holes poked in them that would be awesome.

    • Stacy

      Shana, I have never used it outside…but I’ve never had an ant problem outside. I would just go ahead and try it to see. Yesterday morning I woke up to ants in our kitchen. I put this out and they were all gone by the time I went to bed. And there are none there this morning. :-)

  • http://frugalfarmwife.com Elise

    Oh my, we have been fighting ants ever since February. Definitely trying this one. (crossing fingers that it works) 😉

    • Stacy

      I do so hope it works as good for you as it does for me and my family! :-)

  • Lenna

    I know borax is harmful to humans, so will mixing it in a sauce pan that we frequently use be harmful too? Obviously we will wash the pan after, but I just don’t know if there is any residue left?

  • Valerie

    I know this works! Every spring, I mix up a batch of “Auntie Val’s Bug Juice” using the same ingredients and put it in empty yogurt containers near our doors, both inside and outside. Within a few days, ants are gone!

    • Stacy

      Thanks Valerie! I’ll add this above. :-)

  • Sara

    Just made a batch and within 5 minutes I had a hoard of ants. Die ants die! Thank you so very much for posting this! I dispise ants but worry about bait with my two little girls. Thank you again this is awesome!!

    • Stacy

      I surely hope they go bye-bye. Keep me posted! :-)

  • Rheann

    I have used Diatomaceous Earth, which looks like a white powder, that you can buy at your local feed store to kill ants. It works wonders also. It is earth friendly, so if you have pets and children there is no worry at all for them. Lots of different uses for this stuff, but I mainly use it for ants.

    • Stacy

      Never heard of it. Thanks for sharing! :-)

    • http://www.stacymakescents.com/homemade-ant-bait?replytocom=24956#respond rann

      Diatomaceous Earth, while good, is a fine powder and a bit messy. Is the remains of a type of hard-shelled algae that has fossilized. The ants or roaches for that matter, crawl through this and it cuts their exoskeletons. So, better to put this in cracks, behind appliances and in out of the way places.

      I’m going to try this recipe but rather than put in shallow plastic lids, I’ll bought a bunch of cheap, plastic shot glasses and will put a bit of paper towel in each, then fill with the liquid. I’ll then put them around the house where ants are most active.

      They literally took over my kitchen and were coming in through the ceiling. What a mess when I sprayed. Dead ants and needed to wash everything that the spray fell on.

      • Stacy

        You’re right – it is a tad bit messy….so I’ve only been using it in places where that doesn’t matter. :-)

  • http://www.misadventuresinmotherhood.com Jenn

    I’ll have to try this! We have ants every year, and we’ve tried everything from sugar and baking soda to pest control, and NOTHING has worked. Not even the pest control people who doused our home with poisonous chemicals (I wasn’t keen on that solution, but my hubby was fed up and he called them). Ant traps are out of the question; I have forbidden my hubby from laying them down after I caught my daughter sucking on one of them one day (needless to say, I completely freaked out on that occasion. My daughter, fortunately, was completely fine).

    Anyway, my point is that I would love to find a natural solution that doesn’t involve any poisonous chemicals, but that actually WORKS (unlike the baking soda & sugar, which just seemed to provide them with a nice, yummy buffet).

    My neighbors told me to try sticking dryer sheets in the places they enter the house…something about the smell offending them and keeping them out. Yeah, well, that didn’t work either. Anyway, I am SO going to try this! Thanks for sharing! The testimonials are very encouraging!

    I’m going to Stumble this for you! Hopefully some other folks will happen upon it too! :-)

    Have a great weekend!
    Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood

    • Stacy

      I feel your husband’s pain. That’s how I felt before we started using this. LOL I tried everything natural – people swore by grits and Cream of Wheat. For some reason, my ants weren’t interested in grits or Cream of Wheat. I hope this works as good for you as it does for me…and my mom! :-)

  • Laura

    THANK YOU! I had Terro on the list this week b/c my ants have surfaced once again. I am going to try this instead! Terro is becoming hard for me to find and it costs more.

    • Stacy

      I hope it works great for you!

  • http://www.livingcrunchy.com Katie

    When I made a liquid version, the ants weren’t going for it. When I left it as a powder, it worked. http://www.livingcrunchy.com/2012/03/how-to-get-rid-of-ants-the-natural-way/

    • Stacy

      Wow…that’s the first time I’ve heard that. Thanks for passing that along! :-) My whole family uses the liquid version with great success, but I’ll keep this in mind.

  • http://www.livingcrunchy.com Katie

    We must have very smart ants in these parts! 😉

    • Stacy

      LOL

  • Stephanie

    Does this work on all kinds of ants? We have the big carpenter ants, which don’t tend to hang out in packs. We’ve tried a different ant poison recipe which they didn’t even touch. I’m about at my wits end trying to figure out how they think!

    • Stacy

      Stephanie, I’m not sure…we have the small, swarming type of ants here. But, you could give it a try and see! :-)

  • Pamasita

    I have never tried this remedy, but my mother swears by it. Just sprinkle cornmeal around the area where you are seeing the ants, they will take it back to the nest, & presto, it kills them all, cause they can’t digest the cornmeal. Harm-free!

    • Barry

      I have heard this method works for lots of people…but we have tried and tried and our ants just won’t bite. :-(

  • Adam

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I noticed we were being invaded tonight and I put out the last of the Liquid Terro in a prescription bottle cap. They love the Terro but I’ve gone through several bottles this past year and didn’t want to have to buy another bottle. So, lo and behold, I googled for a homemade recipe and found your easy-to-understand (and fun!) recipe page. Thanks so much! :-)

    • Stacy

      Good luck! I hate those creepy crawly ants. :-)

  • John

    Wow! This stuff works GREAT and has NO smell!
    It’s very easy to clean up with just a wet cloth.
    We put the bait right on the path of an ant trail coming into the kitchen before going to bed last night … The ants were gathering and enjoying their “Borax Party”. When we woke up this morning there were a couple of dead ants, but not a live one to be found anywhere! We left the bait out all day in case, but no ants came back. Great solution, thanks for the tip!

    • Stacy

      I’m tickled to hear that! :-)

  • Laurie

    I’ve also used honey and borax with great results and no cooking! Very quick and easy.

    • Stacy

      Great tip!

  • Dee Dee McKean

    This stuff worked great !!! Simply amazing !!! We put it out yesterday afternoon ants had a huge party and now they are gone!!

    • Stacy

      AWESOME!!! :-)

  • Breanne

    Stumbled upon this site looking for “clean” home remedies. We had an ant problem last summer and I wanted to see what your solution was- same recipe! We kept it in a mason jar, and instead of jar lids we soaked cotton balls in the solution and placed them around the house, including outside. I don’t have children, and after reading about the daughter sucking the ant bait it might not be a good idea with kids, but I have 2 doxie’s and they completely left the bait alone. They actually had more interest in the old poison traps we tried (which I quickly threw away). I didn’t know about cleaning their trails, thanks for that advice!

    • Stacy

      We have a doxie too! :-)

  • Marsha

    This is the best ant killer I have used I am actually here because I miss placed my recipe for it. Haven’t had ants in a year until recently and I kno they will depart in just 2 days

    • Stacy

      SWEET! Thanks for the testimonial! :-)

  • Kelly

    A little off topic — a different bug, anyhow — but a natural, EFFECTIVE killer for roaches, should you need to kill them, is simply….. soapy water! Unfortunately, we got some big ones coming in last summer… not sure why… we aren’t dirty and it didn’t happen until our neighbors moved out… hmmmm… but I kept a regular spray bottle of soapy water (dish soap, in my case) in our bathroom (for nighttime surprises) and in the kitchen. Just spray them down over and over and you’ll see them keel over in front of you. Better than Raid and better than squishing them. But I still like to resort to my other method…. “HONEY….. BUUUUUUUUGGG!” :)

    • Stacy

      Yeah – if it was a roach, I would totally call Barry home from work – and then tell him your trick. LOL

  • http://templeofkemple@blogspot.com Chris

    I followed your directions closely, but once the mixture cooled it got rock hard, and the ants don’t seem to be going for it at all. Is it supposed to remain soft or is it supposed to do that? What did I do wrong?

    • Stacy

      Hmmm, no that’s not how it’s supposed to be. I’ve never had it turn out like that. My only thought is that perhaps the sugar got too hot and formed a candy like substance. I’d try again and not boil so hard or long. Sometimes different pots get hotter than others.

  • http://scottjunner.com Scott

    Just mixed up a batch. And put a time-lapse camera on it. I’ll let you know how it goes and send you the link to the time-lapse video once edited.

    I have a hunch Australian ants don’t care about your recipe.

    • Stacy

      Those Australian ants must be ornery. Ha! :-)

    • Julia

      Scott, did you do this? I have two types of ants, one that I would expect to go for this bait, another that probably wont. The ones that won’t are odd, they invade my house to eat tissues. I can’t work that one out.

      I recently tried a bait for flies, it didn’t work on the regular house flies that drive me mad, but all the little ones that come in to hang around the fruit bowl went for it. It was two tablespoons of sugar in a jar, half fill it with vinegar and top it up with water, then cover the top with a piece of paper held on with a rubber band and poke a hole in it about the right size for the flies.

  • Donna

    I had to share that this also works for roaches… Those irritating German roaches we get in Texas that even the exterminators say are impossible to get rid of once someone accidentally gets an egg stuck to a shoe or something and brings them into your house.

    Ants annoy me, but roaches creep me out. I used your recipe to get rid of some sugar ants, and found the side benefit that it got rid of the roaches too. Unfortunately, I live in Texas and they just come back anyway. BUT I’ve figured out if I put out the bait every month we are roach free.

    So much cheaper than the exterminator and no odd chemicals in the house with 3 kids. Horray!!

    • Stacy

      Wow, Donna! That’s GREAT! Thanks for letting me know! :-)

    • Sonya

      I’m sooooo glad to know it works on roaches! I don’t know what kind we have, but they are big. We just moved in and have seen them a handful of times. Time for them to leave! Thanks for posting the recipe, Stacy!

      • Stacy

        You’re welcome!!

  • Rebecca

    Just whipped some up…uuuuhhhhhh

    • Stacy

      Hope it works great!

  • http://www.mamasgettingcrunchy.blogspot.com AmandaWright

    ok im gonna try this…i HATE ants and its out of controll here….ALSO, Dottie is a great name <3

    • Stacy

      :-) She was named when we got her, but I agree!

  • renee reynolds

    OK I am wanting to kill fire ants outside where I feed squirrels and birds ..solo since they don’t usually eat that stuff will it be safe to put out ? Or maybe just at night I guess. Thank you I will try out and let you know ! Sounds good! :)

    • Stacy

      Hmmmm, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never put it outside before.

  • Ann

    Be very careful to not get it on the stove, it pitted my black glass surface:( Sure hope it gets rid of the ants. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Stacy

      Boooooooooo!!! :-( Hope it works for you too.

      • Ann

        I know! But it’s a good lesson to me and hope it warns others to be more careful than I was. Who would have believed burnt sugar could do that? On the brighter side, I think it’s working already!!! I filled yogurt lids and laid them at different places on top of my cupboards. This morning I found some of the lids had ants and other lids didn’t. I moved the other lids next to the ones that had ants in them. Will let you know next week with, hopefully, a good report. Your site is wonderful. :)

        • Stacy

          Hooray! Keep me posted.

          • Ann

            I’m so happy to report that it worked! And as a side benefit, I instead of creeped out I’m now intrigued by the little pests. I spent way too much time watching them crawl from one place to the “feast” then back again to share it with their nest-mates. The little guys came in at the point where the moulding meets the ceiling. I taped a little clear plastic cup to the places they would enter with white duct tape. I “painted” the tape with the mixture and they were easy to see and fun to watch them as I sat at this computer. After three days there weren’t any on top of the cupboards, but I do see one or two after it rains on the white tape with the killer-paste, that I will leave on the moulding for awhile.
            I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you shared this great safe ant killer. Thanks Stacy!

          • Stacy

            I’m so glad it worked for you!

  • Leslie

    We recently had an ant invasion after a heavy rain (seems to always happen that way), so I sprinkled some plain borax along the baseboards, following their trail. Within a day, they were totally gone. The bug man came a week later and I told him we had had a recent ant problem. When I told him I’d put down borax, he said he uses boric acid (borax) pellets all around the outside of the house and to just keep doing what I was doing if I ever see them inside. I thought it was funny that our pest control company uses borax, too, but if it works, it works!

    • Stacy

      That sounds like how we use diatomaceous earth!

  • Leslie

    Our contractor told us to put borax down inside the walls and behind our new cabinets when we had our kitchen remodeled, to keep ants, roaches and mice away. His words were that ‘borax keeps away anything with legs!’ He says they always sprinkle it down in the walls of new houses. I thought that was a great tip, if you ever do any remodeling! The only thing ‘with legs’ we’ve seen since then were some ants, but they were right at the front door…far from the kitchen.

  • Alexandra

    Would this work on pillbugs? I have an infestation of pillbugs in my bathroom. The oddest place, I know. Also would borax hurt plants if you sprinkled it outside to kill bugs? Just wondering

    • Stacy

      I’m not sure what pillbugs are, but you might want to try diatomaceous earth. Get the food grade type. I bought mine from Amazon. :-)

  • Erica

    Found this on interest, going to try it. Sounds like a win win!

    • Erica

      Oops interest. Not interest.

      • Erica

        OK guess auto correct wins. Lol.

        • Stacy

          LOL Been there. Been there.

    • Stacy

      I hope it works great for you!

  • http://reksyong.blogspot.com Reks

    I’m not sure if there are any borax item sold in my country so I want to ask, if normal laundry detergent works on this?

    • Stacy

      No….maybe look for diatomaceous earth.

      • http://reksyong.blogspot.com/ Reks

        I think this is even worse, not even heard of this and I think it wouldn’t appear on the market. Thanks anyway, just want to know if normal laundry detergent work, if can’t, maybe I go try find for borax.

        • Charmaine Flecha

          Maybe you can look online under Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate (Borax) they sometimes sell it on Amazon in the UK under it’s tech. name. I don’t know just a thought. Hope it helps.

  • Cheryl

    This totally works!! Thanks for posting this!

    • Stacy

      Hooray!!!

  • Nancy

    Stacy, this stuff is great! For the last hour, my cat and I have been watching the ants pour out from the baseboard to feast on this. I put a big blob on foil next to where they go in and out, the foil is covered! I know, I need a life, but this was great evening entertainment. My cat and I have been chanting, “death to the ants,”

    • Stacy

      I chant that too. :-) Hope they’re gone today!

      • Nancy

        So far so good. I am 60 years old, but have learned a ton of cool stuff from you, plus, I often burst out laughing at your comments.

        • Stacy

          :-) Thanks!

  • Jackie Conklin

    I wanted to use this because ants are coming in from all directions. If only I could find the borax in my store! Bummer:-(

    • Stacy

      I’ve found it at Target and Kroger. And I’ve heard they also have it at Walmart.

    • Pat

      WALMART

      • Stacy

        They also carry it at Target. :-)

    • Name

      Just make sure you look in the laundry detergent aisle. It should be in the same area as the Rit dyes. I found mine within the 5 foot shelfing area where they keep the dyes and powders and such. I hope this helps some! Have a wonderful day! DEATH TO ANTS! lol! 😉 <3

  • Stacy

    Yeah, be gone ants…this is MY house.

  • Melissa

    Hi Stacy, I think you and I are kindred spirits!! Everything I have read on your page resonates with me, ESPECIALLY living debt free. I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting your blog, and I plan to stop by again!

    • Stacy

      I love finding kindred spirits! And I love Anne of Green Gables! :-)

  • Stacy

    That’s really smart! I’m so glad it works for you too.

  • Stacy

    Well, I’ve never had that happen. Hmmmm. Did you clean the site with vinegar first?

    • Sharon Rinde

      Yes I did. It was a 1 part vinegar to 1 part water with some lemon essential oil. The ants are still going after the “syrup” and there is less of the ants, but they are still coming in. Is this suppose to kill them? My husband thinks that since we’ve had ant problems ever since moving in here, that maybe it’s a much bigger problem than we thought and it’s just going to take awhile. Do you think I should clean the area again, and put down a fresh batch and see what happens? I even put some outside where I think they are coming in from. But they aren’t going after it anymore on the outside, just on the inside of my house. I read somewhere that someone does equal parts of the borax to the sugar.

      • Stacy

        Mine are usually all gone within 3-4 days. I would take it up, clean it again, and start over. If you have a LOT of them it might take longer.

        • Sharon Rinde

          Thanks Stacy! You’re amazing how fast you respond. Thank you for taking your precious time and sharing! I’m cleaning it all up today & starting over. There does seem to be a lot less ants today. Really only a few stragglers. I put some of the mix outside as well where I saw them coming into a crack in the stucco by the front door. I’m hoping that helps. Thanks again!

          • Stacy

            Less ants?! HOORAY!!! :-) Hopefully tomorrow they’ll be dead and long gone!

  • Stacy

    Well, I’ve never heard of that! Thanks for the information! :-)

  • Dee

    I’ve been having an indoor problem with a lot of small black ants over the last couple of weeks. They are coming in behind my kitchen cabinets up the wall and then come over the counter around the sink. Over the last 3 days I’ve reduced their number a great deal by spraying them with Commercial Grade Windex glass cleaner from Lowes as soon as I see them. It kills them almost instantly. Today I accidentally grabbed the Vanilla & Moonlight scented Fabreze instead and it killed them even faster. AN INSTANT KILL!!! I figure either product is MUCH safer to use than bug killers. I’ve mixed up some Terro tonight and put it out after doing the recommended cleaning with vinegar. There’s no ants coming to eat it yet but I should know more tomorrow. Thanks so much for posting what has worked for you.

    • Stacy

      LOL That makes me think of My Big Fat Greek Wedding! Have you seen that movie?!

  • Barbara

    Just read in comments below about the Borax taking care of anything w/legs, lol. I’m dying to try it for mice, they drive me crazy!!

    • Stacy

      You need a cat for that! :-)

      • Barbara

        Yeah, I know, I have a part time cat, she does what she can, lol.

        • Stacy

          Sounds like she needs some motivation. LOL

  • Emily

    Hi, we are having a sugar ant problem in my house, and I also have a messyalmost 3yo. The ants seem to be coming in where my kitchen sink meets the counter. Can I put some of this mixture in that corner and see what happens? I am seriously grossed out that they are on my counter…

    • Stacy

      Sure. I’ve used it on the counter lots of times. :-)

      • emily

        Thank you!

  • Michelle

    You are a LIFESAVER! … and this stuff is absolutely wonderful! Here’s my story…

    2 days ago, hubby found sugar ants, a lot of them, on our carpet by our table between our couches. Lord only knows what’s been spilled over there, as he’s pretty messy, along with our 2 and 3 year old. We immediately took action, flipping over the couches and breaking out the vacuum. Vacuumed them up and removed the side table and took it outside to be cleaned and such, in case that was what was attracting them. As we don’t keep any bug spray or killer of any kind in the house, since we don’t usually need it, I didn’t know WHAT to do. I started doing google searches. Got out spray bottles with white vinegar and started spraying the walls and baseboard with it, scrubbing down the walls and wiping off stray ants that hadn’t been vacuumed up. Broke out dish soap and water and a spray bottle and HAND WASHED the carpet over there, armed with some clean towels, my spray bottle, and elbow grease… a LOT of elbow grease. Finally after a couple hours, I hadn’t seen but maybe 5 ants, and thought maybe that had put them at bay and maybe, JUST MAYBE, we were home free. Little did I know what was coming next…

    The next morning, I woke up to find my kitchen counter, where my toaster oven and toaster sit, by the kitchen sink was now the center of their attention. UGH. I again, broke out the vinegar, dish soap and water, and began drowning the suckers in whatever was closest…. Being that we only have one vehicle and hubby was at work with ours and of COURSE, he had left his cell phone at home, I was getting super frustrated with what to do with these darn ants! I made a call to my Mom, asking her to bring bug spray, ant traps, and TERRO. She had prior obligations.. OF COURSE, I thought, of course. Google, here I come! After about 15 minutes, I came across this blog. You don’t realize how much agony, frustration, and stress this blog has prevented! Within 15 minutes of finding this blog, I had already threw together the concoction, and it was cooling. 30 minutes later, I was putting my girls down for a nap, pouring this homemade terro in the tupperware lids I had already got down, and setting 3 of these bait/traps in places I had seen/killed ants earlier. I figured there wasn’t much more I could do. I took the opportunity to nap while the girls were, after clearing everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I possibly could, off the counters in my kitchen. Woke up from my nap and those suckers were SWARMING one particular lid… Honestly, I let out an evil, EVIL laugh. It’s working, it’s working! It was an odd conversation with the hubby when he get home, explaining to him to leave the concoctions alone, and to leave the ants alone, as he’s looking at them all in disgust. BUT, I’m glad to say, I woke up this morning to MAYBE 20 ants between all 3 baits (comparing to the HUNDREDS yesterday morning). I will continue to leave this out for another 4 days or so, like you’re supposed to, and hope I don’t have this problem again, but knowing, if I do, I know EXACTLY what to do.

    Again, thank you SO MUCH. You’re a sanity saver. This stuff is a stay-at-home Mom’s DREAM when something like this happens.

    • Stacy

      Thanks so much for that testimonial!

  • Rachel

    Hi Stacy! So we have a serious any problem, did the bait and we were ant free for a week. They are back in force! We poured boiling water over any nests we could find outside as well, still ants! I’m wondering after you initially put it out, did you keep putting it out as a continual kind of deterrent? We live in a very arid area and I’m wondering does it dry up if I just leave it out each week? Do you know how often I should keep putting it out? I am so grossed out and embarrassed when people come over! Help!

    • Stacy

      It does dry out, so you’d need to replace it. You can make a batch and keep it in an airtight container and it won’t dry out for a while.
      My ants have never come back after dying. You must have some pretty persnickity ants. :-)

  • Stacy

    I’m not sure I would put it over there with the sugar in it. I don’t know much about bees though. :-(

  • Stacy

    HOORAY!!!!

  • Sarah Nikolic

    Just found this site! Whew! Glad to hear this stuff works…these ants are taking over my house and I can’t stand it! I did want to ask about “cleaning their sent trails?” I’m not sure if I can get to all the places they get in…could someone tell me the “whys” and will this still work if I can’t clean every entrance of theirs?

    • Stacy

      Just clean everything you can reach. They leave behind a trail that alerts other ants. :-)

  • mouse

    I have little black ants in my kitchen area that seem to work on banker hours, after dark they hide. I’ve put out this mixture and i’ll wait and see. I have tried cornmeal, because I read that grits work to kill them by absorbing body moisture (only having cornmeal on hand) I have tried cinnamon and cyan pepper which worked on my porch but thats when they decided to take up residents in my kitchen. The worst was when my daughter and her friend were eating Lays Carolina BBQ chips and noticed ants on their clothes then looked in the bag and freaked out, ANTS peppered the chips and I’m not sure but they ( the teens ) may have consumed a few crawlies. Now we ziplock everything in our cabinets.

    • Stacy

      I have tried cornmeal and grits – neither worked for us. Hope this one works for you!!

  • Stacy

    Those are pesky little boogers. I would press on. And maybe pour some scalding water on their bed if you can find it.

  • Stacy

    Hmmmm, sounds like it. It might still work that way though. Keep me posted.

  • http://just-ask-kim.com/ Kimberly Castleberry

    Thanks for this recipe! This quickly knocked out a colony that was aggravating me in the kitchen. I blogged, and linked to you, with pictures here: http://happyhomemag.com/ant-killer-recipe/

    • Stacy

      Thanks so much for the link love! I’m very honored. :-)

  • Mike

    This works very well, even without boiling. I have ants every year, and this gets rid of them in a day or 2. Admittedly, bait placement was easier for me because I have pets but no kids. That being said…. for those of you who say that the ants kept on coming back or were not killed (assuming you are making the recipe correctly)
    * realize that you can have dozens of ants nest around your property. First the ants will send out scouts, and your house will be ‘blanketed’ by them, and as soon one of them makes a score, the rest will soon follow. So, you need to make several baits, as colonies will not share baits. You may get away with only making 2, 3, 4…. I usually make about 12 of them. At times I have had to put out about 20 of them, such as during heat waves in the middle of summer.
    * old house, new house, it makes no difference whatsoever. Ants will find a way in.
    * do not clean ant trails. It is a lot of work, and not likely to succeed. The molecules that ants use to leave scent trails are not soluble using anything that will not also eat away your skin, or are otherwise environmentally friendly. Plus, even if you were able to clean the trail on, say, the counter top or floor, you cannot clean the trail the ants leave inside the walls, so the result would be a blanket of a new wave of scouts, and you do not want that => you want them to make a beeline for the bait. An ant trail will evaporate naturally after a few days of disuse, so once you place the baits, the old trail will soon disappear.
    * know your ant. Not all ants are created equal. If the bait does not work, then you probably do not have water or sugar ants. If you are not sure, call an exterminator, or if you can, get a nice, clear, close-up picture and post it to an ant website and ask what kind they are, and go from there.
    * If you have pet dishes on the floor, use a heavy, ceramic food dish, and place it in a shallow tray filled with water. Size the food dish and ‘water trap’ so that the dog cannot slurp up the water. Water ants will walk right across the water and get to the food, but when they take their prize back into the water, they will be too heavy and drown. Also, The ants will not be able to leave a scent trail on the water, and when they die, they will leave a death scent that will tell other ants ‘don’t come here!’
    * you will likely need to replenish baits. One bait can kill an entire colony, but once the colony is dead, a new colony will form.
    * The poison fluid goes into a small plastic container with a lid (small cottage cheese containers, chip dip containers, etc) and poke holes in the lid with an ice pick, and then use duct tape to secure the lid, and I use a loop of duct tape on the bottom to affix it to whatever. Ants can get in the holes, kitty tongues cannot. If you have a dog, you may have to get creative with placement. My solution was to train my dogs to not eat the baits using red Christmas bows as the ‘do not eat this’ identifier.
    Good hunting!

    • Stacy

      They ALWAYS find a way in…no fortress can stop them!

  • Stacy

    Hanging out in a death trap. Ha, ha!

  • Maps

    I have a tip for the brave to make the baits work faster – I put a few baits around where there used to be ants that have since migrated, not expecting much. Then I put a big one near the hole and ant trail where they were coming out of the wall. To get the ants to find the bait faster, I swept up a bunch with a hand held brush and a piece of paper and put them into the bait. Some survived, and the ones that did are already going back to the wall (less than 5 minutes later.) I also poured spoonfuls onto the ant beds in my yard and some other places so hopefully they won’t try to seek food in my home. Wish me luck!

    • Stacy

      How did it work out??

  • Becky

    Hellllllp! :( I only have a small ant problem, so I halved the recipe… Well 3 mins must have been too long to boil, because it turned to a brown, super sticky thick mix. I let it cool and now it’s practically rock hard in my saucepan! How can I get it out? I won’t half the recipe next time!

    • Stacy

      I would try soaking it in some water overnight….or for a few days. It’s going to be rather hard to get out. :-( It should have been clear and pourable.

  • Linley

    This mixture of sugar and boric acid is really the ONLY thing that works….I have been battling ants for five years, since we built our home. I assumed they were sugar ants, but it turns out they are the new and improved Argentinian ants. Check out the base of your shrubs and trees outside – they climb them to eat the aphid waste!

    We had a horrible home invasion of ants the first year, controlled eventually by Terro traps (believe me, I tried all of the Windex, vinegar, cornmeal nonsense). The Terro traps are the same as your mixture, basically, and it works because they take it back to the nest and feed it to the queen. Problem is, you have to keep it up, because they have a gazillion eggs that aren’t affected by the first dose of poison.

    I have successfully rid my home of these pests, but continue to constantly treat the perimeter porches, deck and foundation stone. They particularly love to nest in my gutters (go figure!), so I have to have them cleaned regularly. We have almost an acre of property, and I have seen them everywhere! They are now in my mailbox out at the street….ugh, I hate them so much!!!!

    I put traps out in my vegetable garden this year, but worry about hummingbirds getting to them. Anyone know if they would be attracted to this mixture and/or affected by it?

    • Stacy

      I’m not sure – I don’t know much about birds. :-(

  • JB

    Thanks for being awesome!

    • Stacy

      I’m gonna tell my husband you said that. LOL