ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Get Rid of Little Black Ants (Argentine Ants) - These Ant Baits Work

Updated on December 28, 2014
DIE DIE DIE DIE DI-- ahem. Actual photo of my actual floor with actual ants.
DIE DIE DIE DIE DI-- ahem. Actual photo of my actual floor with actual ants.

3 Eco-Friendly Ant Killers (Plus Home Remedies!)

As an eco-friendly homeowner, I won't spray poison! But most ant baits don't work. Finally, I've found some that do.

Ant baits are a kind of poison that ants take back to the hive. This method isn't 100% environmentally friendly, but at least it keeps the poison where it belongs: inside the bait, and inside the ant.

Put the baits where pets and kids won't find them: behind the washer and dryer, for example. Ants go where kids and pets can't.

Since different ant species prefer different baits, I'll also share five easy steps to test what kind of ants you have. And I've got some home remedy ant bait recipes you can try, if you would prefer that to commercial ant bait. Finally, I'll recommend a few non-toxic, organic pest control methods I use which aren't 100% effective, but which are 100% kid-safe, pet-safe and environmentally friendly.

Above: Photo I snapped of ants going into a bait. I wrote this review a year ago, just added this photo. This time they found the bait so fast that the swarm was gone within about 8 hours. That's a little fast; it usually takes a few days.

Ant Bait Home Remedy

The key is to mix sugar and boric acid. Finding Borax is hard these days. Here's several Home Remedy Ant Poison recipes using sugar water or jelly. I haven't tried them, but our grandparents did.

Note: if you have grease/protein ants, see this grease ant bait recipe!

Pet-Friendly But Strong-Smelling Ant Poison

EcoSmart Natural, Plant-Based Ant and Roach Killer with Peppermint and Rosemary Oil, 14 Ounce Aerosol Spray Can (Pack of 2)
EcoSmart Natural, Plant-Based Ant and Roach Killer with Peppermint and Rosemary Oil, 14 Ounce Aerosol Spray Can (Pack of 2)
Before I found Terro Ant Baits, I would stop little black ants with a combination of this spray and Diatomaceous Earth (see below). Ecosmart ant/roach spray has the following ingredients: Organic Rosemary Oil 5%, Cinnamon Oil 3%, Water, Wintergreen Oil, Mineral Oil, Oleic Acid, Canola Oil, Carbon Dioxide (huh?), Vanillih, Lecithin. If you spray ants directly with this stuff, they drop dead. If you spray their point of entry, they'll stop coming in that way, at least, and that's often enough to stop an outbreak. All these essential oils are nontoxic, they're just REALLY STRONG, so they make your house reek of bad potpourri. Nowadays I use this to spray the bottom sill of my sliding glass door on the outside to block a key point of entry.

3 More Tips to Fight Ants

Keep your kitchen SPOTLESS. No more leaving dirty dishes for tomorrow. Put food (including pet food, I discovered the hard way) in sealed containers.

If they're going after the cat's or dog's dish, put it in a shallow saucer of water so it's got a moat. (Or spray the bottom of the dish with that Eco-smart stuff.)

Caulk every window, toilet, bathtub, and crack around the house. Ants can get through TINY holes.

Diatomaceous Earth Stops Ants - Also Good for Carpet Stains!

Concern 4 lb. Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 970642
Concern 4 lb. Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer 970642
This stuff doesn't work 100%, but it seems to kill ants if you get it right on an anthill. It also discourages them from crossing the spot where you sprinkle it. I sprinkle it around the base of the house and put it under paver stones in my patio when I find a colony. It's white powder, so it's a little messy inside the house. Also, you can use pure diatomaceous earth to pick up carpet stains. Sprinkle some water, sprinkle this stuff over it, and tamp hard on it with a washcloth, then vacuum it the next day. It usually gets the stain out. I haven't used this particular brand, since my current home has laminate floors, but I have used pool filter diatomaceous earth for carpet stain removal. I learned this tip from my Mom's carpet cleaning guy. Diatomaceous earth is actually fossilized diatoms, tiny organisms whose shells are spongy, spiky, and apparently rough on ants. It's like micro-gravel.

Little Black Ants are UNIQUE Pests

Note to California homeowners: our little black ants are mostly Argentine Ants, an invasive species that has no natural predators and is starving horned lizards to extinction! So if you're a green homeowner, don't feel guilty about killing ants -- you're saving an endangered species!

How to Tell Which Kind of Ants Your Have

Test Your Ants Before You Choose Your Poison

I found the Terro baits work great on the little black ants of California, but there are many types of ants.

Some ants like sugar, some like grease and oil, and some like protein. Most ant baits in grocery stores are protein and grease, so they don't work well on sugar ants.

Here's how to check which kind of ants you have, adapted from this helpful post by Benjamin Shelton.

  1. Label 3 pieces of paper with "grease", "protein", and "sugar."
  2. Cover the paper with clear plastic tape so the test bait won't soak through.
  3. Put a dot of cooking oil (or peanut butter?) on the "grease" test, a bit of meat juices and meat (something ground-up like deli spreads; Benjamin recommended ham) on the "protein" bait, and fruit jelly or sugar water on the "sugar" bait.
  4. Place the test bait where the ants are coming in.
  5. Watch to see which bait they like most.
  6. Find an ant bait appropriate to your ants. See the bottom of this non-toxic ant poisons guide for which kinds of ants different commercial baits target. plus a recipe for grease ant poison using peanut butter, boric acid and honey.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)