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 Post subject: Ants within
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:43 am 
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Dan,
I was reading in the Dirt Doc. Mag [March 03 pg. 41] about control of Cockroaches. I would think ants would fall into the same catagory.

1] It states, as you have done, is to find and close entry points.
2] Set out bait of 50/50 sugar and Arm & Hammer laundry detergent with a pinch of boric acid. [ 20 Mule Team Borax might be substuted for A&H]
3] It was noted that the citrus-based spray kills on sight. This tells me that it is not a deterant to invasion.

Hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 11:35 am 
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Not only what Zip said, but orange oil is a powerful organic solvent used in paint strippers, dewaxers, soot removal, and other hard to handle problems. It will dissolve the paint on your walls and baseboards, and I would think it would be hard on kitchen flooring (other than ceramic tile).

When I had sweet ants in my kitchen, I got this recipe that really worked. It was a quarter cup of sugar, quarter cup of molasses, and a teaspoon of bread yeast. Mix all that up and spread blobs of it on cardboard pieces dropped where the ants can get it. They didn't seem to want to venture up on to the cardboard the first day or two but after that it looked like cattle at a feed trough. The next day the goo was smaller and smaller until it was gone. There were fewer and fewer ants each day, too. I had so many ants I had to refill the cardboard before all the ants were gone.

I don't know how it works. There are a couple things that come to mind. One is that the yeast is carried back to the ant hill where it starts to grow and consume the ant's food. Or it could infect the ants with something. Or it could infect the ant's food with something. Or it could smell bad after a few days of growing. Or it could be a catalyst to support the growth of other bacteria or fungi that do one of the above. In any case, it worked on my ants.

If the ants don't eat sugar, like fire ants don't, they you're out of luck with this mix. If you know where the ant hill is, you might be able to dilute the mix in a gallon of dechlorinated water and drench the mound with it. Many times that even works against fire ants.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 11:53 am 
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You might also try wiping down your floor and countertops with a vinegar and water solution. If they are sugar ants, this should help.

As far as the orange oil/water solution, I have found it extremely effective when sprayed on ant trails both outside and inside. Because of the strength of orange oil's solvent properties, you should be careful with its use. However, I do use a strong solution of 1-2 oz in a 32 oz spray bottle. I use this for pest control (inside and out) and general wipe down of kitchen/bath areas. I have used this for several years now without any degradation of my vinyl flooring or laminate countertops.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:21 pm 
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Yeah, just to clarify - if you're spraying orange oil on painted surfaces or plastics, you need to wipe it off. If you spray it and let it sit, like to deter ants from crawling on the trail, I would expect a shortened life of the paint.

When I worked for the Air Force, I sat next to the chemist who was doing the testing on orange oil for all kinds of uses in the military. We all had free access to custom made cans of the stuff. The cans were very generic looking except they seemed to be one giant warning label. After the testing was finished, I only know of one approval it got and that was for stripping jet engine parts in huge vats. There could have been more approvals but household or general office use was not one of them - at least not while I was there. Then they had to decide how to get rid of the stuff once it was dirty. They ended up filtering the dirt out because the orange oil was so persistent in the soil or wherever they thought to dump it.

I don't want to discourage the use or orange oil for valid reasons, I just think that if you cannot spray or drench an insect directly, that using orange oil is a waste of a strong product.

I like the vinegar and water wipe on the trials. Ants communicate via chemical signals either on the ants themselves or left on the trail as they walk it. The acid in the vinegar should mess up any previous chemical signals left by ants on the same trail.

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