Palm Beach Gardens, Florida is paradise. But even paradise has a price, and it’s called sugar ants. Formally known as `Camponotus Consobrinus`, these pesky pests will find the tiniest crumb left by my daughter’s bib, march the news back to their buddies, and within minutes host a party on my kitchen counter. A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to the Jupiter Donut Factory in Tequesta, Florida, and we brought home a strawberry icing donut for my wife, Clary. Although not really funny (okay it was), Clary came downstairs and her eyes got big when she saw the donut box. “Did they have strawberry?” she asked. “Yes, darling…enjoy!” Then, as soon as she opened the box, she shrieked. In less than two minutes those little buggers had invaded her donut. I’ve never seen someone take so much joy in squashing those ants one by one with her finger. “Hey, on the bright side, you saved a ton of calories,” I said encouragingly. That didn’t go over too well. A gated community in Palm Beach Gardens, our homeowners association provides monthly pest control service, but for persistent problems like sugar ants, we can either schedule an individual appointment with a local Palm Beach Gardens company such as Nozzle Nolen or treat ourselves. Deciding to try the latter, I loaded up two of the kids and headed to Home Depot in Lake Park. Meanwhile, my wife researched natural treatment options online. Based on our research and conversations with other sugar ant survivors, here are five tips to eradicate the pests and prevent them from returning:
- Terro – Both the Home Depot employee and another customer recommended this brand for South Florida sugar ants. Using the liquid bait, a friend of mine solved his ant problem by placing the Terro liquid bait inside 3-inch straws and then neatly positioning the straws on the counter. My friend swears by this method, but Terro also offers liquid bait in prepared traps. This is the option we selected, honestly because it is the most convenient.
- Borax & Sugar – Found on the laundry aisle, Borax is a natural mineral that is poisonous to pets but not for humans. Mix the liquid detergent with sugar to create a jelly-like consistency and put in a hand-made trap or on a cracker. Like the Terro, the ants will chow on the sweet poison and then carry it back to their colony. Again, resist the urge to kill the line of ants when you see them. You want them to carry the “food” back to the nest and share it with their buddies.
- Cloves. A safe and natural way to treat pest problems, placing whole cloves around your kitchen will keep ants at bay. They don’t like the smell, but most humans do, which is an added bonus! Plus, it will look like you are a serious cook!
- Mint. Another natural remedy, planting mint outside your home will repel ants and other critters from entering your Palm Beach Gardens home. Inside, sprinkle drops of peppermint oil in the kitchen and bathrooms to prevent sugar ants from establishing a permanent residence in your home.
- Vinegar & Water Solution – Mixing two cups of white vinegar with a half gallon of water makes an instant, homeopathic cleaning agent. After every meal, wipe off counters with this solution to repel the “scout” sugar ants, who roam independently from the nest searching for morsels of food.