Student Question

How one can protect sugar from ants?

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In addition to the boric acid solution mentioned before, there are some all-natural non-chemical ant repellants. Some of the house-hold items you can use to rid yourself of ants are listed below. I am also providing links to a couple of pages with ant-repellant suggetions:

  1. To keep the ants out of your sugar bowl put a piece of lemon peel in it.
  2. Using vinegar to clean instead of bleach is a good way to naturally control sugar ant invasions.
  3. Bay Leaves are another one of those natural home remedies to control sugar ants. Some chefs put them under countertops where food is prepared and near entrances where ants are likely to come in.
  4. Plant mint or cloves in windowboxes or near your house to keep ants away.
  5. Some of the most effective natural remedies to keep ants out of your house can be found in your kitchen. Ants will crawl away from the following, all of which can be sprinkled on countertops or cupboards, as they're not poisonous and highly effective:
  • cinnamon
  • mint
  • red chili powder
  • black pepper
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Ants are amazingly well adapted to fit into tight spaces. First of all, be sure that the container that you store your sugar in has a tight fitting seal. You say it is air-tight, but if an ant can get in, air is getting in as well.  Try storing your sugar in a glass jar with a screwtop lid.  Make sure the lid has a ruberized seal around the lip of the jar.  You might also try a zip-top plastic bag.  This is what we use, and it works.

You can attempt controling the ants with a solution of 1 cup of sugar to 1 pint of water boiled into a syrup with 1 TBSP of boric acid added. This will kill the ants in the nest.  It takes a while to work, but it is effective.  Place a small amount of the "bait" on a small flat dish where the ants travel. They will find it, and many will come to the feast. You will see many ants for about 3 to 4 days, and then none if your boric acid solution is of the right strength. If this does not control the ants, add 1 more TBSP of boric acid to the batch of sugar water.  The thing is that you want the ants to feed this to their queen. So it has to be weak enough to not kill them right away, but strong enough so that over time, they will all die after eating it.

Boric acid is not toxic, and the ants do not recognize it as a poison.

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