There are a lot of things I can handle, but ants in my kitchen are not one of them. Unfortunately, my city was built on an anthill. Keeping them out of the house and away from my plants is an ongoing effort. However, it can be done.
Food: Leaving food of any sort out is an instant draw for ants, but not the only one. We live in Southern California, and any liquids left out will also attract ants. You may think that just means people food, but it doesn’t. Your pet’s food and water bowls will also be a draw. Keeping your kitchen clean may eliminate most ant incursions, though probably not all.
Ant barriers: I have tried these with varied success. It is said that you can paint cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your kitchen to try to keep the ants from coming in. For us, it was ants 1: humans 0. Dish soap did a little better, although they just built a bridge of their dead compatriots to get over it after a while.
Bait traps: Don’t waste your money. I’ve tried them indoors and outdoors with absolutely no success. In fact, I used to watch the ants go into the outdoor spike one and come out… for weeks. One might think that they’d carry it back to the nest, but there wasn’t enough poison to kill off all of the ants.
Poisons: I have to admit, I am not a fan of most pesticides. This may be because I’ve had pets and kids around since my early twenties. I still do. Whatever poisons the ants could poison other creatures, and some of them you definitely don’t want poisoned.
Pest control companies: This is what has finally rid our house of ants. Before becoming concerned because of the above statement, we did our homework. Our pest control company uses a derivative of chrysanthemum flowers called pyrethrum.
While it doesn’t keep the pests off of my garden plants, it has kept them out of the house. After it dries, it can’t harm the dog or our granddaughter when she plays outside. It breaks down quickly enough to not be a problem for most other wildlife.
Like many insecticides, pyrethrum is toxic to honeybees. It shouldn’t be sprayed when they are around nor should it be used on plants that attract them. It is also toxic to fish, so if you have a backyard koi pond, don’t use it where it will drain into it.