Homemade Ant Traps- What you Need

Ant Trap Stuff

Ant trap bases and lids

Bait Holder Base and Lid

Ant Trap Base Glue

Sticky Stuff

Ant Trap

Ant Trap - Ready to Go

Ant Trap in Place

Ant Trap in Place

The paraphenalia we used is shown on the figure at the right. The list includes:

  • Borax
  • Something Sweet - sugar, or honey
  • Something Fatty or Greasy - we used bacon grease
  • Container to mix it in
  • Bait Holder Base - Flat, circular lid from a juice or milk jug
  • Bait Holder Cover - We used a domed lid from a whipped cream can
  • Sticky stuff to hold the base in place - we used mounting putty

Borax is a poison. It comes in a large box in powdered form and is used in washing clothing. You can buy a box that will last for years and years. You only need about a teaspoon of it, mixed with about a teaspoon of sugar and/or honey. We use about a 50/50 ratio (half sugar/honey half Borax). Since it is hard to tell if the ants you are battling are "sweet ants" or "grease ants," we mix up both in very small batches. In another container, I will mix bacon grease and Borax together. Usually we use a popcicle stick or something I can toss to mix the baits. The ants know which they eat, but you don't at this point. So, we suggest you mix some of each. By the way, artificial sweeteners don't seem to attract insects. Only dieters, and from what we have seen no ants are on diets, so use the real stuff!

What we do is take the lid off of a plastic jug and put a tiny bit of each of the mixtures on the inside lid. This is the cool part about using the pieces we use, as you will find that the red plastic lid from whipped cream fits exactly into the slot of the jug lid. All that will be open will be a tiny slot where the tear-off tab to open is missing. Now it will be a sealed, self-contained unit with poisonous bait inside. The slot may look tiny, but ants will find it and enter.

In order to have the ant trap stay where you put it, take a small wad of the putty and put it on the bottom of the trap (which was the top of the lid) and press it down onto the surface where you have seen ants. Because it has a tacky putty on the bottom, you can place it on an angle out on a windowsill, or somewhere where it would fall if the wind or weather got to it. Now it won't. It will stay there through bad weather and wind. It will remain until you take it off.

We have ants coming in around the windows, so we place many of our traps on window sills on the outside of the window, but inside the window screen. I have one on a window without a screen that has hummingbird feeders attached to the window. The sugar nectar attracted ants to the window. Once we put up a home-made ant trap, the ants disappeared and the hummingbirds can eat in peace. Every year I replace the trap with a new one.

NOTE: Borax is poisonous to humans as-well-as pets. It will poison whatever eats it. That is why we encase it under a lid, so that no pets can get to it. If you have cats or dogs who will be able to find and chew on this, please be advised that Borax will poison your pet or child. We always place the traps out of the way of children and pets, but near where we have seen ants traveling. Putting them higher than the pets can go, or children can find, makes sense. The ants will find it and walk up the walls to get to the sweet, greasy bait. You won't have to worry that they will not find it. If ants are there, they will get to the bait.

Now comes the hard part - waiting until the ants come, take the bait back to the nest and destroy the colony. The reason this works is that they come in droves and take the bait back to their nests. When the ants eat the borax mixture, it doesn't kill them outright as chemical poisons do. They must take it back to the nest where they all feed on it, and then the entire colony is poisoned; even the queen. You will see ants coming, sometimes swarming the bait. Your first inclination may be to kill them as they come, but you have to be patient. If you kill them one-at-a-time now, you won't get the entire colony. They will keep coming and coming and COMING. The goal here is to take them all out. If you can just hold off, not look at them, and come back in a day or so, you will probably see a few very lethargic stragglers along with a few dead ones. Then they will be gone. I leave the bait trap up and it keeps killing whatever new ant colony workers should find their way into your home.