Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ant Control ? Need Your Help

OK - here's the deal. I got a note from a friend telling me to use aspertame (nutrasweet etc) because it was a terrific ant poison. When I researched it on the net, I found tons of info but all coming from the same single source. Writers and blog posters picked up the information from a single posting and then copied it - as truth - and we have a wall of information based on this single report.

I'd like you to try using aspertame in powdered form on your ant problems - both fire ant and household ant.

Apparently, making sure the powder is barely wet helps with fire ants but household ants will take it dry. I suspect you'd have to experiment to figure all this out. You might have to mix it with something to get it soluble but not seeping away and then put it on some tin foil to keep it in a liquid form.

Please do not send me a webpage with this information - I've seen most of them already - some 90 pages deep into google.

Please don't send me a note saying you "heard" about it somewhere.

Please DO send me the results of your own experiments. I'll post your results here.

Let's see if we can make a group practical experiment. Or not.

If you have a blog - let me invite you -to invite your readers to do their own experiments and pass the info along.


At 5:21 PM, Blogger Coralee said...

Hi Doug,
I found you via growing up. I use an ecofriendly laundry product to get rid of ants and aphids. Tehn turn around and use it for my kids grass stains.
Best of luck with your experiment.

At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

Hi Doug, I have been reading about the killing ants with sweetness approach as well. I not totally convinced but I plan on doing a test. I'll send you the results.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use boric acid and sugar water on a cotton ball in an old yogurt container with holes punched in the side. This seems to work quite well. If aspertame is killing the ants, what is it doing to us?

At 8:58 AM, Blogger lisa said...

I use "Revenge" liquid poison in my house only-the ones outdoors don't bother me...but once they're inside, all bets are off. I have observed sucess with the closed traps that say they kill "both sweet and grease-eating ants" (if you have pets). The only other "natural" remedy I have heard of is scattering crushed eggshells around the outdoor ants...not sure if they just get so stressed carrying them around to cleanup that they freak out and move away, or what. Never tried it myself. Good luck with your expiriment...I would try it, but I like my current method for indoor invaders, and the ones outdoors eat the sticky stuff on my peony buds and assist I let them be.

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Lorra said...

20 Mule Team Borax mixed with some sugar will work on marauding ants. Sometimes, But not on a gigantic nest of them.

Next: Moles! I am experimenting with mole fencing. Found a bargain on bamboo placemats with finger-sized sticks, 12 inches long. Where I have driven them all the way into the ground around plants in the flowerbeds, it has diverted them.

Moles make subway tunnels and nests up to 3 feet deep in the ground (marked in your yard by those "mole hills". For foraging they come up to just under your fine lawn and do their cute tunneling thing. All I am doing is stopping the tunneling thing. So I keep it close to the plants, and criss-cross the beds randomly.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Vicki said...

All I know is that I must live on an entire kingdom of ants, and I hate every last blasted one of them.

I have given up on "safe" and "natural", and now just do whatever it takes to keep them out of the house.

Cinnamon sprinkled around sends them scurrying, but doesn't kill them. I wonder if aspartame does the same.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have tried and with good results. Using equal parts of baking soda and powered sugar. Mix well. The powered sugar attracts them and the will carry the soda/sugar mix back to the nest and the baking soda is toxic to ants. It safe to use around kids and pets! Also, eggs shell work outdoors the will kill ants by cutting open their undersides. Egg shells work well with other pest like slugs!

At 11:27 PM, Blogger Janet said...

Doug, I did a post yesterday on this subject and linked to your site. Hope it helps a bit.

At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Shawn Honnick said...

I also re-posted this on my blog as truth. The stuff truly IS poison but I would also be interested to see if it actually kills ants (and will follow up on my own blog post with any further information).

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Nancy the County_agent said...

I think it DOES work to some extent. I sprinkled two packets of Nutra-Sweet (an off-market brand of Equal-aspartame) on two separate ant hills that have formed over the past several weeks: one in the middle of an ornamental grass and the other near the base of a peony plant.

There is definitely less ant activity in both sites. I still see a few, but the bustling mass of insects isn't evident today, about four days past-experiment. I just sprinkled the two packets over the mounds after a rain storm blew through. In fact, I wondered if the rain washed the aspartame INTO the mound, right at the ant's dining table.

While my experiment isn't particulary controlled, I think it's worth looking into.

I'm a county agent with a land grant university and have a science background --in addition I'm a registered dietitian (RD).

I am not concerned about using has its place. (Lately, lots of people have switched to another non-nutritive sweetener, Splenda, which is sucralose and not metabolized by our body.)

Don't know why two packets of aspartame would affect the numbers in an ant colony but I'm not arguing about it either. I didn't have any luck diminishing their numbers with a poisonous commercial ant bait I bought at the hardware store.

If aspartame works, why complain?

At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if the colony was killed by aspartame, or if they just found a new location. Either way, it solved my problem of fire ants on my walkway.

Everyday, the ants would create a dirt mound on my walkway, and everyday, I'd repack the dirt on the grass. One day, I bought a generic bottle of aspartame and poured half of it on the ant mound and repacked it, and poured some along the hedge. The next day, no new mound of dirt and no ants.

At 9:52 AM, Blogger SarahMP1 said...

I'm very skeptical about aspartame killing ants, as I too tried to research supporting information on the internet and all i found was the single source that Doug notes. Seems that everyone took this one article as fact and spread it around without verifying it at all.

I live out in the country so i am going to try the aspartame on our ant mounds. Although I hear that using cayenne pepper works too and we still eat that.

At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though we read the snopes article we tried generic aspartame in the house and while some ants ignored it others died in piles! Others needed fruit juice to be interested, then they too died.

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, this is what happened. I moved into a NEW house. About a week after we moved in we noticed large carpenter ants around the patio door. I plugged up one of the Pipe holes and thought that was it. Well, a few days later I saw a couple on the counter and a couple on the floor. Then....the WORST. I opened the dishwasher and they were crawling all over. I quickly shut the door and turned on the dishwasher. Well, that didn't help, they just kept running out the sides. I kid you not. I was up until midnight with a paper towel killing every one of them. Then I got smart and took out my RAINBOW vacuum cleaner. (It's the best in my opinion). It sucks everything into water! No dust or bugs or mites left over it goes into the water and you flush it down the toilet or pour it outside. The resilient ants died in the vacuum. So, then what. i was wiped out and wanted to go to bed but I was fixated on the problem. I read online about home remedies as Home Depot for ant killer wasn't an option at this hour. I read about Pepper, Vinegar, bleach, I had nothing! The only thing I had was Sweet-N Low, Nutrasweet- So I poured it in the dishwasher, on the counter, on the edge of the floor. The next day I saw a few ants, but vacuumed them up. This morning I wake up and Nothing, not a single ant anywhere. I did find a couple sluggish or dead ants in the basement though. The thing is, I have a $200 pest control guy coming over today. I hate to pay him big bucks if a couple packets of sweet n low do the job! I guess that's an experiment of sorts and I am pleased with the results. I think I WILL hold off on the ant guy after all.


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