Pharaoh ants, also called sugar ants, are common household pests that can be frustrating to eradicate. Sugary and greasy foods draw these yellowish insects and, though they are small, they can quickly become a large problem. When treating your house for sugar ants, do not use dusts or sprays because these insecticides may only result in dividing the colony among different areas of your home rather than eradicating them entirely. For the best extermination results, employ a combination of homemade traps and repellents.
Seal any cracks in floors, under running boards and around windows to prevent sugar ants from entering your home. If you hope to eradicate these pests successfully, you must employ methods to keep them out once those already in your home have been killed.
Store food in airtight containers and put the containers away in cupboards or pantries. Clean up any spills and remove crumbs as soon as possible to avoid attracting sugar ants.
Mix up your own sugar ant bait by combining 2 tsp. of boric acid with 1/4 cup of hot water and 1 cup of corn syrup. Spread the bait on strips of masking tape and place them sticky-side-up in areas where you have seen ants such as counter tops and under appliances. Replace the tape and bait every two to three days as it is eaten.
Switch the bait used on your masking tape traps once a week to keep the ants interested in the bait. Mix an 8-oz. jar of mint jelly with 2 tbsp. of boric acid and apply it to the masking tape strips. The boric acid in these bait recipes is toxic to ants and, ideally, it will greatly reduce the ant population in your home when foraging ants take the bait back to the colony.
Discard the strips of masking tape as they become covered with ants or when the bait runs out. If you prefer, you may use the baited masking tape as a method of discovering the most active sites for ants in your home. Observe the bait traps to see which attract the most ants and place additional traps in that area.
Employ natural methods of repelling ants to prevent future infestations once you have gotten your current situation under control. Sprinkle crushed mint, cucumber peels or cayenne pepper around the places ants are likely to use to enter your home. Ants have a natural aversion to these substances and sprinkling them in problem areas is an easy way to prevent future infestations.