I love the spring and the summer but with warmer weather comes two things that I can not stand… bugs and weeds.
At our home the ants get out of control in the summer. We keep a tidy house (which is step one to any pest control program) but that doesn’t seem to keep them at bay. The previous owner of my house warned me ahead of time that they can get kind of bad and that I should be prepared to invest in an annual pest control program but I just can’t justify that kind of money to spray POISON all over my property. It’s totally counterintuitive to me. So I have been on the hunt ever since to find an inexpensive solution to the problem.
At first I tried store bought ant poisons. It quickly became clear that they were not going to be the solution that I was looking for. Although they seemed cheap enough (around $7.00 to $10.00 a box depending on the brand that you purchase) they didn’t work all that well (I would say they cut down on the ants by about 75% but they did not eliminate the issue) and I found that you had to replenish the traps every two to three weeks to keep them as effective as they were. At that rate you might as well pay for the professional spray because it will wind up costing you just as much! I was not going to give up however, so I started to search for natural and/or home remedies. JACKPOT!
The answer for us has been a Borax, sugar and water mixture. Now, there are about a million different recipes on the web but the one below is the first that we tried and since it worked so well we never bothered to try any others. In a small to medium sized bowl add 1 cup of warm water, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of Borax. Mix it all together until the Borax and sugar has desolved and then soak several cotton balls in the mixture. Once the cotton balls are saturated take them out and place them in your “problem zones” and in a about a week your ants should be gone! The reason it works is that most ants are attracted to proteins and sugars. They will come to the cotton ball to eat the sugar but will obviously ingest some of the Borax too. The Borax does them in and then voila! No more ants! I would suggest putting the cotton balls in out of the way spots so that they are not unsightly, but also so that children and pets can’t get into them. I don’t know how hazardous this mixture would be to them but better to be safe then sorry. Since we were having the majority of our problems in the kitchen last year, I put our cotton balls inside our lower cabinets so I could keep the doors closed and the cotton balls concealed. It worked perfectly. The bonus with this mixture is that you use so little of the Borax that you wind up with a ton left over for other purposes. It is a great all-pourpose cleaner and laundry aid.
My other warm weather irritation is the fact that my gravel driveway gets overrun with weeds. It makes me CRAZY. Much like with the ants, I first purchased store bought weed killer and tried to tackle the problem that way. Yes, it killed the weeds but it was expensive (anywhere from $13.00 to $25.00 a jug for the type that I was using) and I hated the fact that I was spraying dangerous toxins all over my property. It was quickly brought to my attention however that there are several vinegar based weed killers that you can mix up from home! I haven’t found one that I absolutely love yet and I don’t want to endorse one particular concoction until I can safely say that it works the best for me. That being said I have tried several and I get pretty decent results. Below are links to some recipes that you should consider trying. If you find one that you really like or have another suggestion please let me know!