Veganism, as it was originally intended to be, is dead.
Maybe it never existed in the first place.

Post-veganism is a reflection about what it means to be a vegan,
now that the word has completely lost its meaning in the dominant culture.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Get Rid of Ants Without Killing Them

Now that it's Spring some ants have decided to let me know that we share the same home. They're very large, have a knack for climbing up walls and they even happen to jump. My family's first reaction was to set out ant traps. This resulted in a very large argument; I found myself alone trying to defend the ants who were now being sentenced to death because one had accidentally crawled up my mother's arm earlier that day. I was told that if I could find a way to get rid of them they'd remove the traps. After struggling through dozens of appalling, speciest, and disrespectful internet articles about how to get rid of ants I decided to write my own about how to get rid of ants without killing them.

I found out not too long ago that I knew basically nothing about ants, even though I've known about them since I was a little kid. In lieu of this I think to start some ant appreciation would definitely set us off on the right foot. Perhaps you may find them a little scary, startling, and even creepy like I do - but that doesn't mean we can't marvel at how interesting they are and how worthy of our respect they are. Ants evolved roughly 110-130 million years ago. We have documented 12,500 species of ants, but think there might be 22,000 or so in total. They can be found almost everywhere on Earth, except for Antartica and a few remote islands. Where they do live they can make up from 15-25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. That's a big bundle of numbers, but essentially what it means to me is that ants are much more complex, adaptable, and interesting than we often give them credit for. We are not the only interesting animals species out there. They also have a nervous system, hearts, and lungs just like humans do. They can feel pain, and that alone means we shouldn't kill or harm them in any way.

The first step to removing ants from the home is to hide their tracks. I did some research and found a few ant friendly sites that gave me a good head start. Use white or apple cider vinegar to wipe down the surface of anywhere you've seen the ants go, that way they can't follow each other there. This might get a few ants lost at first, but it will help deter them in general.

Next clean the entire area. Put all food in enclosed containers and sweep the floor. Clean up all crumbs after you've eaten. Consider having a garbage can with a lid or keeping your compost bin far away from the house if possible. I also temporarily put away my scented candles, ants are attracted to sweet smelling food so I didn't want to take a chance. If you use any air fresheners or house oils consider removing them until the ants are gone.

Now you need to set out food that will repel the ants peacefully. I read online that bay leaf, pepper and cinnamon all work and that strong smelling herbs should also do the trick. I sprinkled pepper in clumps along my counter tops. Since I have a dog in the house I didn't want her to lick up pepper I sprinkled on the floor so I took some organza I had lying around (a very breathable fabric, I'm sure others would do as well or stop off to the dollar store to buy some) and I made little anti ant sachets. I opened the organza and dumped some pepper and bay leaf inside, pinched it at the top, and closed it with a twist tie. I put these anywhere I had seen the ants on the floor near and by all the entrances and doorways on my first floor. I made at least 10 since they only took a few minutes to make and all came from things I had lying around the house so it wasn't expensive at all.

Your ants won't disappear immediately, but they won't with any other method either. There is probably a whole nest somewhere that you can't see and it will take some time for them to find a new food source and move on. Make sure to have a little patience and trust that they'll go away. If they're still around after a few days try to check where they are coming from and consider blocking off entrances (without hurting any ants in the process). Always politely trap and remove ants outside (I use a drinking glass and paper). While they will get lost and might not survive without the other ants, it's definitely better than poisoning them all. Try to release ants far away from the home, but always make sure when you release them that you do so gently. Don't turn glasses upside down or knock them out. Let the ants leave the traps on their own.

Best of luck with your future ant endeavors!

42 comments:

  1. Beautiful article.

    I can feel the love of not killing living things in general....and am happy that someone is like me (rare species???).

    Now i just wish to find a way of not even killing those few...lol

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  2. A huge population of ants showed up at work. I suspect someone put poison outside and they came in seaking sanctuary. Everyone here wants to kill them, too. Saddening. I am going to vaccum them up using a fresh vacuum bag and then release them in a sandy area close by. Hopefully they will all survive the move.
    So glad there are other people (like you) who value all creatures. Thanks for the info. :)

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    Replies
    1. I know this is is an old comment, but I thought I'd tell you that insects usually can't survive after being vacuumed. The only bug that can (that I know of) is cockroaches, and even then it isn't guaranteed. You probably figured this out when you vacuumed them up. I discovered this after my dad vacuumed up some harmless cellar spiders in our bathroom. I was very distraught.

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    2. Crickets in my home always survive being vacuumed. But I have a nice cordless Dyson with a plastic jar.

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  3. Finally, someone who understands! I will try these methods and hope they will work. Thank you!

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  4. We started to have a lot of ants. I tried the method you suggested, and so far, it seems to be working! Thanks for the tip!

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  5. my family wont listen to me and think there are "just ants" i hate when people say that about animals cause if it was switched around we are just humans :( so i've been trying to tell them use ways that won't kill them thanks for the tips!!

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  6. what can I do if they are trapped in my basement? I don't even know where, except up through the floor, they are coming from. I know they are trying to get out, they have a lot with wings. Help! I'm desparate to get them out without killing them..... my mother has already used an entire can of raid on them a couple of times....with another round iminent.

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  7. Thank you for this article.

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  8. Let me share my ways of removing ants.
    1. Drip few drop of tea tree oil in a hand spray mix with water. Follow the ants to locate the nest. (Presuming a crack on the wall)
    2. Stand by some facial cleansing cotton wool.
    3. Spray the Tea Tree oil mixture around the nest, the ants don't like the scent of Tea Tree oil.
    4. Wait for the ants to move out of the nest.
    5. Use the cotton wool to lightly touch the ants, the cotton wool will keep up most of the ants.
    6. Throw them into a plastic bag and bring them out of the house.

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  9. Thank you so much for your kindness in sharing this article. I have just made 4 little parcels of cinnamon, pepper and bay leafs in organza and we are trying them out. I am so glad to be able to suggest this method to my mum who would probably have killed them as it seemed to her the easiest solution.

    Thanks to you many ants' lives saved ; )

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  10. All you need to do to repel ants without killing them is to find a point at or near their deepest point of penetration in your home. Then push a few of them around with your finger. This scares the shit out of them, and they retreat, releasing the "retreat" pheromone. Good bye ants.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. When my son was little I made an agreement with the ants, containing them near their entry point and feeding them baloney and providing some water. Worked like a charm and they eventually moved out when the weather turned.

    Now, 35 years later, I have a new investation and that same method didn't work as well. I am constantly picking them up with damp paper towels and taking them outside. After a week of this the problem is presisting, so I will try the vinegar scrub followed by pepper and hope it works.

    Can't stand killing anything, especailly innocent creatures, so I appreciate your advice.

    July 17, 2013 at 9:22 AM

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    Replies
    1. Your method is interesting. You sort of bribed the ants. Another website that deals with the friendly removal of ants mentions something similar. They recommended using honey. You put it outside and the ants go for that easy meal over the harder-to-get food inside your house.

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  13. Found a great and thorough set of recommndations here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=8300

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    Replies
    1. Your link led me to a Buddhist website that had no mention of ants. That is dishonest. Does Buddhism speak about dishonesty?

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    2. Your link led me to a Buddhist website that had no mention of ants. That is dishonest. Does Buddhism speak about dishonesty?

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  14. It's the black ants I pity killing because they don't usually bite. But those tiny red ants that leave red marks and scratched with their bite I want would like to eradicate! But thanks to your article, I've kind of grown a heart into not killing them. Maybe, I'll just find a way to not let them enter my house. >>Ronnel@Bugs.com

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  15. Thanks for the article which I'm currently trying out you tips. Its nice to see so many people wanting to manage their ant problem and not killing them. We all share the same earth after all and most bugs and insects are so vital to the whole eco system

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  16. You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting..
    KillFruitFliesDotNet

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  17. Tried a barrier of mixed spice powder and ground pepper just now, it seems to be turning them back!

    Also tried eucalyptus oil,band they turned away from that too.

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  18. thnx... i search all over d internet for dis... ill try dis... all d bright forces be with u!

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  19. Waooow!! Nice blog, this will be greatly helpful.
    Pest Control Fairfax Va

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  20. I'm so happy to have found this blog. I always feel a twinge in my heart when I see someone needlessly kill an animal. I have tiny little ants and I still try to step my way around them when I go to the bathroom. "A person's a person, no matter how small!"

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  21. Happy to find this article and you people who, like me, don't want to kill anything.

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  22. I love that there are actually quite a few people with hearts in this world. Great article. Definitely trying this.
    Just one question, even if your house is an absolute mess, if you regularly apply all the other methods and leave minimum food out, is it possible to get rid of the ants?

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  23. The pepper worked like a charm!! I used finely ground pepper and spread it on my bathroom floor (in lines across the walls) the ants retreated immediately! It was like they couldn't get away fast enough :) Thank you so much! I was actually able to find where they were coming from too (as they were racing toward the hole). We patched up the hole and spread pepper all around it.

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  24. The content is great, and you’re an educated writer unlike most of the blogs.thanks for the post.
    courtney jones atlanta

    ReplyDelete
  25. Is it chili pepper or black pepper? Do you put all three herbs in one bag or one kind herb In a bag?

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  26. Hey Guys please reply asap...
    This was a lovely article indeed...!!
    I need help with an Ant issue...we just moved into a new house and this piece of furniture was shifted to the upper floor to the bedroom .There are ants livng inside of this I think..they just crawl out randomly.Its a new house and I dont know how they will survive in the upper floor as there is no food for them here..If I leave them like this,then Im worried if they can actually find a new place .So I thought that I could draw them out using some sugar or sweet on a sheet of paper and take the paper to the bottom floor where they can survive more easily..Is it a bad idea?Should i Just leave them ?In that way atleast I wont have them in the house.. Can they find a new place to go to?Cuz the house is big and Im not sure if they can make their way out to a new place.What if the whole colony starves to death?That is the concern..Especially as they are in the upper floor...!
    Please help!

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  27. Thanks for great tips and a wonderful attitude of kindness. Really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I like this post,And I guess that having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me.
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  29. Thanks so much! It is so great to hear that I am not alone in this world where killing is so often the only solution considered.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it,
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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. ants don't jump well no big ants anyway there probely termites

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete