Every now and then, I get an S.O.S. from a reader with a kitchen full of sugar ants. Sugar ants look for sweet foods to gather and bring back to their brood. They're small, and can invade a home through the tiniest cracks or crevices. In most cases, good sanitation practices in the kitchen will discourage them. When sugar ants won't go away, you'll need to step up your game.
A spray insecticide may give you the satisfaction of seeing ants drop dead on your counters, but it's not the best choice for dealing with sugar ants. Baits combine a preferred ant food with an active ingredient that kills the ant after it brings a meal back to the colony to share. The result - the ants you don't see will die as well.
You can make a simple but effective bait using just two ingredients: mint jelly and boric acid. Boric acid is sold in hardware stores or grocery stores. Mix 8 ounces of mint jelly with 2 tablespoons of boric acid. If you have one of those squeeze bottles for condiments, fill it with the mixture for easy application. Otherwise, just store your bait in a jar with a lid.
To bait for ants, place a piece of masking tape in a place where you see a lot of ant traffic. Apply a 1-2 inch ribbon of bait on the masking tape. You should see ants feed on the jelly, then continue on their way back to the colony. Reapply the bait as needed to a fresh piece of masking tape.
If you have pets that might be attracted to the bait, you'll need to keep them out of the area where you are using it.
Not sure if you have sugar ants or some other kind of ants? Read more information on preparing and using homemade ant baits.