Author Topic: Pest control  (Read 4759 times)

seamer

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Pest control
« on: June 23, 2014, 07:53:22 PM »
The problem:

I have an indoor cat. Whenever he drops food on the floor and I don't clean it up in time (like when I'm at work), ants come by the hundreds and go after the food. I can prevent them from getting in the bowl itself with the Box/baby powder device I rigged up. But when the food gets on the floor, I'm hosed. I'm determined to avoid a pest control service (and the accompanying bill). Anyone have ideas?

deborah

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 08:07:21 PM »
Feed your cat when you are at home.

jpo

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 08:10:16 PM »
3 things:
  • I have heard that if ants are present it will deter other bugs.
  • Food-grade Diatomaceous Earth around their entryway is probably worth a shot. Should be totally safe to have around your cat.
  • If you know where their colony resides, you can dump boiling water into it and kill them all in one swoop.

Milspecstache

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2014, 08:33:32 PM »
All you need is Termidor:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0058DGMKG/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Mix this up per directions in a 5 gallon bucket.  Then dig a trench around your house, paying particular attention to where the ants are coming in.  Then pour the buckets in the trench per the quantities required in the directions (to treat a termite/carpenter ant infested building I had to pour multiple buckets).  This is actually a professional termite treatment but it works against any insect crawling through the dirt you just treated against your house.

It does tell you to wear a good bit of PPE.  Also do not use this before it rains or if you have a well nearby (<50ft or so is what I remember).

GuitarStv

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 06:17:11 AM »
Don't leave pet food out all day.  Feed your pet for a couple hours when you are home and then take the food away.  Clean up any bits of kibble that have fallen down.  Your pet will not starve to death if they miss a meal or two getting used to this transition.  If your pet isn't wolfing down all the food as soon as you put it out the odds are you're overfeeding anyway.

Try and figure out where the ants are gaining access to the home.  This is usually pretty easy, as they tend to make lines that follow natural boundaries (cabinet doors, walls, etc.).  Once you figure out where they're getting in, do your best to seal the entrance, and sprinkle diatomaceous earth around it.

There should be no need to eradicate the ant colony if you can prevent their entry and discourage further entry (removing possible food sources).  Many types of ants will split their colony if you directly attack it (with something like boiling water, or by digging it up), which just means you've got two groups of ants to worry about in the future.

Prevention is a better policy than chemical treatment and really should always be the first step.  I spent three summers working as a licensed pest control technician in Ontario . . . this is the advice that I'd give for your situation.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2014, 07:59:29 AM »
We cut out the pest control, because I'm a mostly-organic gardener and I didn't want the chemicals around. Of course, it was like an open invitation to ants. And while they enjoy the cat food (once we went out for the day and had fed the cats before we left, and one of them threw up, and by the time we came home, a mile-long line of ants had made their way into our house and were bringing delicious vomit back with them), they come in everywhere.

This year, it was the bathroom. WTF, there's no food in the bathroom!

I finally gave in and bought some perimeter spray at the hardware store. It works well enough and is a lot cheaper than hiring someone. It needs to be renewed more frequently than the professional stuff. Diotamceous Earth was my first shot, but it didn't work.

I also take a walk around the outside of my house every week and look for ants that are getting into the siding, so I can spot treat.

MayDay

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2014, 08:12:31 AM »
Ants come in our kitchen every summer. It is impossible for me to clean every single crumb. I buy the regular ant traps at target, put one by each door, and replace as needed through the summer. Total cost maybe 10$ for the summer. Total time five minutes.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 08:40:49 AM »
Ants come in our kitchen every summer. It is impossible for me to clean every single crumb. I buy the regular ant traps at target, put one by each door, and replace as needed through the summer. Total cost maybe 10$ for the summer. Total time five minutes.

I second this. I forgot to mention that if the ants make a home somewhere that is difficult to access, then the Terro ant traps work like a charm. If you know their access points to your house, then an ant trap is a simple and effective solution.

Sylly

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2014, 09:13:57 AM »
If you're not opposed to chemicals, those Raid barrier spray stuff seem to work. Combination of spraying that around all entry points to the house, and use of those ant trap/baits and Borax+sugar mixture (inside and outside) seem to have significantly cut down the number of ants walking around the house (and this with me always saying that our city sits on a giant ant hill) for a period. Looks like it's time to renew the perimeter again though.

GuitarStv

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2014, 09:40:45 AM »
Ants come in our kitchen every summer. It is impossible for me to clean every single crumb. I buy the regular ant traps at target, put one by each door, and replace as needed through the summer. Total cost maybe 10$ for the summer. Total time five minutes.

I second this. I forgot to mention that if the ants make a home somewhere that is difficult to access, then the Terro ant traps work like a charm. If you know their access points to your house, then an ant trap is a simple and effective solution.

If you're using ant traps, be aware that different types of ants like to eat different things.  Try to get one bait that contains sweet stuff and one that contains something with protein/grease in it to cover your bases.

Jack

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2014, 10:03:19 AM »
I finally gave in and bought some perimeter spray at the hardware store. It works well enough and is a lot cheaper than hiring someone. It needs to be renewed more frequently than the professional stuff.

FYI, you can get the "professional stuff" too; you just have to go to a specific store (or buy online).

Some of the online stores even have videos where they explain exactly how to use the professional stuff. I've found it to be helpful.

geekette

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2014, 10:07:39 AM »
This year, it was the bathroom. WTF, there's no food in the bathroom!
I was told they come in for water as well as food.

The combo baits work well for us.

Jacana

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2014, 04:52:47 PM »
It sounds like the colony is close to your house, possibly near the entry point if you can find it. We had a lot of problems with ants coming through the front door for years, and with a cat and a toddler there was always something for them to find no matter how well we cleaned. Spraying and bait traps would work for awhile but then they would be back in no time. This April we discovered that they had a huge colony under our water barrel right next to the front door. No wonder. We removed the barrel and its concrete footing and planted Artemisia 'Powis Castle' (also known as silvermound or wormwood) and catmint where the colony was and all around the front stoop. Haven't had a problem since. I take dried leaves from the artemesia and place them across the nearby windowsill too just in case.

My mom also used to grow tansy in a big pot, dry it, and surround the sugar bowl with dried leaves; worked like a charm. We're in Maryland but there may be ant-repellent plants suitable for your area. Some of these (like catmint) are aggressive growers though and might take over a garden or become invasive to surrounding habitat so be careful.

Now Japanese stink bugs are a whole different story. I hate those bugs and haven't found a solution yet!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Pest control
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2014, 05:17:18 PM »
I'd echo what GuitarStv said. Former pesticide applicator myself, though more for horticulture applications.

I've had decent luck with ant bait and perimeter sprays when chemicals were finally needed. Insecticides are nasty stuff though.