Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Infestation of Ants: The Baby Powder Victory

When last we spoke, I was rubbing cucumber peels on the counter while giggling like a madwonman.

Well, ok.  Maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but I was a little overly fixated on the discovery of cucumber as a barrier to ants.  That fixation quickly ended the next morning when I woke up and checked on my doorway ant entrance point.

Those are peppermint leaves on either side.  Evidently, ants
hate them, too.  I have my doubts....

Yep.  I totally found an ant on top of one of the dried out peels.  I was not impressed.

At this point, though, I should probably point out that cucumber peels do seem to work when they're fresh.  So for quick fixes, cucumber is indeed a valid option.  Not so good, however, for an overnight barrier.

I was getting desperate.

That afternoon, I was heading off to visit my parents and grandparents.  I had to do something, and I had to do it fast.  They live four hours away, so it's not like I could drive back and check up on everything once a day.  

I outright refused to resort to chemical sprays, though, because even if I ignored the fact that they aren't environmentally responsible, I had to deal with the fact that they're dangerous not only to ants, but also to any other creature they come into contact with, including my dogs and my daughter.  Pesticides, therefore, were not a viable option.

I dug through the many boxes in our basement that still hadn't been unpacked from our move to this state.  There had to be something that would work!

At last, my fingers brushed over something that caused me to sigh in relief.

Baby powder.

Someone had bought some baby powder for me when I was still pregnant with my daughter.  I never used it, because baby powder can actually cause problems for infants if they inhale it, but I didn't throw it out, either, because throwing away a gift just feels wrong to me on so many levels.  So I kept it.

For three and a half years.

It's amazing what self-imposed guilt can do to a person, isn't it?  Anyway, just this once, it appeared that a silly bout of baby gift hoarding worked in my favor.  

I wrapped my fingers around that baby powder container and squealed in glee, remembering the chalk lines that people draw to create a barrier against ants. See, ants hate crossing lines of chalk, diatomaceous earth, and the like.  


Those black dots you see are ant corpses that I hadn't yet cleaned away from the area.

I went overboard with it.  I showered the doorframe with baby powder - way more than was actually necessary.

When I saw that it worked, and that ants were indeed not crossing over it, I went a step further and continued my baby powder showers along the entire entrance to the house.  Yeah, it looked pretty bad... but it was worth it.

That afternoon we left for the north shore of Lake Superior after eliminating every last food item that looked tempting to ants, and throwing the kitchen trash bag into the outside bin.  I even went as far as to place any sugary item I could find into the vehicle, calling it a 'road trip snack'.

When we got back home again, late Sunday evening, I came back to an ant-free house. 


I actually think that it was a combination of these methods that at last drove the ants from our home.  Bit by bit, the home was shown to be unfriendly to ants thanks to smaller openings in the walls, Trans-2 nonenal from the cucumber peels, and baby powder. I don't believe any single choice would have worked with such a large population of ants.  It was the full combination that caused the ants to decide to find a less difficult source of food. 

I'm glad to finally have the ants outside, where they belong, and I'm especially glad that pesticides did not have to be used.  What methods have you tried when faced with an ant infestation?


  1. I actually had fire ants biting my 9 month and 24 month old for weeks i couldnt see where they were coming from or where they were and thats because they were very very small like baby ants. i seen them after a close look and i caked the powder all over every window and bedroom floor ever bed and tonight im gonna wash everything and hope and pray it keeps them away. i feel bad for my babies.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Fire ants generally swarm/bite in order to protect the colony from invasion (which is why people mowing the lawn are often bitten). If fire ants are acting like this within your home... call a professional. The colony may be located within the walls or under the floorboards. Use the baby powder (It's the only thing that effectively worked for me) until somebody shows up, but call a professional fast.

  3. Last year the crazy ants were so bad that they were driving me crazy just looking at them. I heard about using baby powder and tried it. It works. Looks funny, but smells wonderful. I put it inside my doors and window sills. Keeps the ants out. Wish I could get it in bulk form.

  4. Yes!!! You know *exactly* how I felt. They were everywhere, and nothing could control them... until the baby powder. And yes, it does smell wonderful. Total win!

  5. Thanks for this article very helpful. thanks. Seattle exterminators