Ant bait is a simple way to deal with infestations of ants taking over your home. Chemical baits can be purchased from the store, but it is easy to use household items to create baits that are just as effective.
Step 1 – Identify Your Ants' Goals
Ants can go after sugars or proteins, and will switch preferences from time to time. Make a small amount of a sugary bait and a protein bait as a test. See which attracts more attention from the ants. Then distribute that preferred bait around your home.
Step 2 – Pick Your Poison
Borax is a simple and effective poison for making homemade ant bait and is easily purchased in most any grocery store. It also combines well with both liquids and solids to make ant bait.
Dish soap can be an effective ant killer, but does not combine well with solid baits.
Window cleaners contain ammonia, which has a chemical reaction with the formic acid that naturally occures in ants, killing them quickly. This is best for clearing up trails rather than baiting the nest.
Step 3 – Making a Sugar Bait
To make a sugar bait, mix your poison with a sugary substance. Jam, honey, molasses, confectioners sugar, sugar and maple syrup can all be effective baits.
Mix 2 tablespoons of borax with 1 cup of any of the above sugary substances. The gooey mixes can be spread on paper for distribution. Powders can be left in small piles. If the ants seem to be getting fat instead of dying off, add more borax to the bait mix.
Dish soap and ammonia can be mixed with water and sugar. The resulting liquid can be placed in saucers for distribution. This version is good when the ants show an interest in water rather than, or as well as, food.
Step 4 – Make a Protein Bait
Mix 2 tablespoons of borax with a ball of peanut butter or bacon grease. Portion the bait into small chunks for distribution around the house. Again, if the ants show signs of getting fat instead of dying, add more borax.
Step 5 – Distributing the Bait
Place small chunks or saucers of bait around your home near locations where the ants show interest or are getting inside. If you have pets or children, cover the bait with something with a few small holes in it. A glass jar with holes in the lid or a plastic container with small holes can work well. The ants can reach the bait but your animals and children cannot. Placing a small amount of unpoisoned bait on the edge of the holes can encourage the ants to enter the container and take the bait.
Place fresh bait around the house every day or two until the ants stop invading.
Every few days it may be necessary to switch kinds of bait as the ants change their preferences. Be prepared for this switch.
Step 6 – Using Ant Bait Effectively
You want the ants to take the bait back to the nest in order to wipe out the highest number of ants. However, if you wipe out the ant trail every time you see it then the ants carrying the poison will be killed before they can poison the nest and the scent the other ants will follow to the bait will be removed. It is important to let the trail to the bait remain to ensure enough of the bait reaches the nest to be effective.