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Ant - Sugar
 

SUGAR ANTS (and household nuisance ants)
Remove food and water sources and keep house squeaky clean. Treat ants in the house by cleaning all problem surfaces with vinegar and water, spray visible ants with orange oil at 2 ounces per gallon of water or 1 tablespoon per quart, and dust the worst areas with boric acid, baking soda and natural diatomaceous earth. Ants will not cross a DE barrier in dry-weather conditions. Use boric acid baits and plant oil products.

1. Make a solution of 1 percent boric acid (available at any drugstore) and 20 percent sugar by thoroughly dissolving 1 teaspoon of boric acid and 6 tablespoons of sugar in 2 cups of water. Use a clear jar so you can see when all the boric acid crystals are dissolved. Soak cotton balls in this bait solution.

2. Make bait dispensers out of old plastic containers with lids with holes punched in them so the ants can get inside. Put the soaked cotton balls into the containers and close with lids so the bait won’t dry out.

3. Place the bait containers wherever you see ant, in or outside the house.

4. Clean the containers and use fresh bait solution at least once a week.

5. The key is to get worker ants to carry low doses of boric acid back to feed the colonies. Boric acid is mildly repellent to ants, and using a very low dose makes it more likely that surviving ants will continue eating the bait and taking it back to the nests.

Keep boric acid and and all other baits out of the reach of pets and children. For serious problems use Abamectin baits.

Common Names: Sugar Ant, Pharaoh Ant

Scientific Same: Order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae, Monomorium pharaonis

Size: Adult--1/12" to 1/10"

Identification: Very small ants, yellowish to golden to red. Most of their bodies are covered with minute pitted impressions.

Biology and Life Cycle: Complete metamorphosis.

Habitat: Nests in any secluded spot. Frequent house invader; found in appliances, ductwork, light fixtures, and attics. Likes to be near heat and water source.

Feeding Habits: Sugar, grease, bread, toothpaste, food crumbs, and anything else that humans eat. They love proteins and sweet foods.

Economic Importance: Beats us. Bound to be something--there's so many of them. Appear to just be an annoyance, causing no real damage. Difficult household pest to control.

Natural Control: Remove food and water sources and keep house squeaky clean. Wipe cabinets and counters with mixture of one part water and one part vinegar. Lizards, frogs, toads, birds, and other insects.

Organic Control: Baking soda, boric acid, and natural diatomaceous earth. No ant will cross a DE barrier in dry-weather conditions. Use boric acid baits and plant oil products.

Insight: Careless application of insecticides often make the sugar ant problem worse.

Small indoor pest ants that can be controlled with boric acid and sugar. Use baits containing apple mint jelly and a small amount of boric acid. Powered cinnamon is an excellent repellent.



Here is my take on why grits or cornmeal can inhibit Ants.

Fire Ants vary their diet seasonly. Typically they go after proteins more in the Summer(worms or dead bugs or meats or animal oils, etc.). In the Fall and Winter, they diet more on carbohydrates. This is when starches (grains) are more appealing to their diet.

Probably what makes the cornmeal (or the cornmeal nature of grits) more effective in inhibiting Fire Ants is that they feed this to substance to their larvae in order to break it down into a digestible food source for the adult Fire Ants. Their food source normally is based upon a type of fungal breakdown in concert with their young. This is inhibited by the cornmeal. The antifungal nature of the cornmeal/grits upsets this feeding cycle where the adults can not obtain their final food product (a fungus-based food secreted via the larvae). Essentially, the Fire Ants start to starve because their primary food source isn't happening -- it has been "infected" as a result of the antifungal activities of the grits or cornmeal.

Some of the details of this cycle might be rough around the edges on my rendition, but this is probably why people find success with grits this time of year. In the summer, grits will probably be less effective.

I am no Scientist, but I do a lot of research alon with experimentation in the real world.

Tom Theimer
October 2005


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