I'm a freelance writer social distancing in the desert with my husband, son, two dogs, a kitten, and the occasional spider.
Invasion of the Ants
Back in college, my apartment was invaded by ants—lines of them in perfect formation, like tiny soldiers, trailing along the wall near the ceiling.
My roommate and I totally freaked out, grabbed the nearest can of bug spray, and sprayed the life out of those unsuspecting little dudes.
Upon following the trail of carnage back to its place of origin, we discovered the ants had made a humble home inside our new houseplant, Ophelia. We should have predicted tragedy when we named our plant after a tragic Hamlet character.
Assuming the bug spray had accomplished the task of mass ant extermination (and procrastinating on the whole ant-carnage cleanup thing), we decided to give Ophelia some TLC by dousing her in water.
As soon the water hit Ophelia, a fountain of living ants (including the queen) came gushing out with the force of the mammoth fountains fronting the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.
Revenge of the Bug Spray
Typically the mother of all the other ants in a colony, the queen ant is larger than the others and (in my opinion) quite a fright-inducing sight. So when she came gushing out of Ophelia in all her reproductive glory, I screamed at the top of my lungs, grabbed the bug spray again, and maniacally sprayed the plant and its ant spillage until there was no more spray to be sprayed.
Strangely enough, Ophelia actually flourished after her pesticide bath.
The ant colony was officially destroyed (and I feel horribly guilty about it to this day).
Next Time, Grab the Windex
Later, I learned a little tip from my friendly, longtime exterminator. He said that it's better to spray the invaders with Windex rather than bug spray when getting rid of ants. The Windex brings about the same results, and it's slightly less toxic to humans.
This is of particular value if ants invade your kitchen (as these food foragers are known to do). I mean, think about it. Do you really want toxic pesticides covering the surfaces where you cook and eat?
Windex is also convenient, especially in sudden emergencies. Most people already have a bottle of the blue stuff lying around the house. Why make a trip to the store to buy a bottle of bug spray when there's already a solution available?
Added bonus: While it may not alleviate your murderous guilt, spraying Windex to get rid of ants sure does help keep your surfaces shiny and clean. It's a win-win.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I've had a long history with ants. Seeing as ants have colonized almost every corner of the planet, it can't really be avoided.
I guess I could move to Antarctica.
As a kid, I remember watching my neighbor sit around outside and burn ants with a magnifying glass. The hot desert sun, reflected through the glass, roasted them into a little brown spot on the sidewalk. It bothered me deeply, so I didn't play with him. He probably grew up to be a serial killer.
Once, I was playing with another neighbor in the dirt before dinner (as kids tend to do), and my finger was bitten by an enormous red ant. Boy, did that sting. And throb. And burn!
I still remember the pain to this day. I also remember the handsome waiter who brought me a cup of ice for relieving the pain of the ant bite. It worked almost instantly.
Here are some other natural solutions for alleviating the pain of an ant bite:
- pour lemon juice on the bite
- rub it with aloe vera
- soak it in Worcestershire sauce
- and, of course, ice
I personally say go with the ice. It's not only natural, but it's free. If it doesn't work, you can always add some vodka to your cup of ice and drink away your pain the old-fashioned way.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Vambosmom on June 01, 2018:
Yes it kills them immediately but if u don't know where they're coming from how can u get rid of them permanently
Beth1001 on September 08, 2017:
Windex is a great idea. Thanks! Once when the ants were coming up through the heater registers on the floor (I live in an old house) I scoured the internet to look for non-toxic solutions so my dog wouldn't be affected by the poisons I have used in the past. Turns out baby powder is an effective deterrent. I poured a thin line of it around the heater register and they would not pass it. But this time the ants are coming in through the walls so I needed a different solution. Thanks again!
Jeremy on June 12, 2017:
My cofee pot has some sticky residue on it. It was covered in about 100 ants when I woke up. I sprayed them with windex. They were dead within 20 secs. Works great!
Ugottabekidding on April 24, 2016:
Windex works amazingly well. Had ants in my kitchen two straight summers. I'd never spray insecticides in the kitchen. As I understand it, ammonia suffocates ants; it kills them while actually cleaning surfaces. The ants die instantly.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 20, 2014:
We have lots of ants in our cottage so when we get back there in the spring we will definitely try Windex rather than bug spray. This is the first time I have heard of this. Thank you.
A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 12, 2012:
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on March 12, 2012:
Hi alezafree! You know we've lived here so long, it has never occurred to me to write a Hub about my underground home. What a great idea! Thanks for suggesting it. It's now on my 'to Hub' list. :)
A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on March 11, 2012:
Thanks @grandmapearl! A partially underground home sounds very cool! Have you ever hubbed about that? I'd love to know more.
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on March 10, 2012:
Alezafree, another very useful Hub. I learned a lot from this. As I have an annual pilgrimage of ants into my kitchen, I will employ some of these more natural methods for discouraging them. Since we live in a partially-underground home, I cannot trace the source. Otherwise I would plant yarrow at that entry point. That works quite well for some ant species. Anyway, thank you for your good tips! Voted Up and Useful
A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on November 13, 2011:
Thank you @mon29 glad to help!
A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on November 03, 2011:
@droid Great question. I will have to confer with my bug guy!
droj from CNY on November 03, 2011:
Neat trick! I'll have to give it a try. Does it work on anything other than ants? Like yellow-jackets or spiders?
KaisMom from Keizer, Oregon on October 31, 2011:
I, too, hate to kill anything. I'm thinking about addressing that issue in a future blog. I thought it was very funny -- and informative. Thank you for the kind comments about my Scaredy Cat hub.
A Freeman (author) from Las Vegas, NV on October 27, 2011:
@KarenN I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thankfully I've only dealt with this issue a couple times. I really hate the thought of killing a living creature, even bugs.
Karen N from United States on October 27, 2011:
How funny! I never knew that Windex would get rid of ants. I usually just break up their trail a couple of times that seems to do the trick.