It could happen to anyone. Maybe you leave some sticky black cherries out. A bit too long. And maybe you let one uninvited guest stay. Next thing you know, all his freeloading friends are sucking down the honey bear, tramping off with this morning's English muffin crumbs, and scouting out the dishwasher. So you get a little revenge in the jug of maple syrup -- a death trap for the greedy -- but clearly, Houston, we've got a problem here.
Before you embark on a killing spree, here are a couple tips for eliminating ants without killing the earth too.
1) Say No to Raid
It says right on the package: "Hazard to humans and domestic animals. Harmful if swallowed. Avoid contact with eyes, skin, and clothing." Do you really want this in your kitchen? And it's a pesticide, easily transferred into our rivers where it kills fish and comes back as contaminated tap water. There's nothing good about this stuff.
2) Remove the Food Source
Yep, send home the caters. When it comes down to it, we're pacifists here. Before any other measures are taken, work for the peaceful resolution: Dump the trash, wipe down counters, tape up entrances, and make sure all caps are tightly on. Before you know it, the ants will move on to tastier neighbors.
3) Try the Home Remedy
Slightly sadistic, but cornmeal or grits do some serious damage. Scatter it dry around counter tops. When the ants eat it, and drink a bit of water, it expands and...well you can guess the rest.
4) Choose an Insecticide without the Pesticide
The main ingredient of Terro Liquid Ant bait is Borax, a mineral that kills from the inside slowly, once ingested. Mixed with a sticky syrup, it is much less harmful to household members, when compared to Raid. According to the manufacturer, it "kills ants but will not harm people or pets. If you spill some on your skin there will be no reaction at all. Simply wash with warm water."
Another option is Orange Guard, which contains orange peel extract that destroys the wax coating of a insect's respiratory system or causes suffocation, when applied directly.
Other tips: Spray an organic repellent around doors and windows. Wipe down surfaces with a mixture of water and vinegar or water and lemon.
How do you combat ants? Comment below!
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Photos from top: Nick Koudis/Getty Images; Paul Roux/istockphoto.
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