Help: Ants got mad

Hello everyone, I have been inactive lastly, but I’m back. So now, here’s what this thread is about.
One day, I saw some Trychomyrmex destructor ants entering to my house in a line, and I saw they were entering and exiting a hole on the floor. Now, I wasn’t taking this very seriously, but they quickly started spreading all around the house: to the room, the kitchen, the bathroom, etc. Now they are everywhere and they found my room, and today I got a nasty surprise: my keyboard was full of these ants! They are getting inside the keys! Now they’re all over my desk, climbing on me and stinging me while I type this. I don’t know what to do, should I buy ant poison? Bug spray (I am totally against it but I want to know if it can be necessary sometimes)? Or what should I do? I would really thank your help guys.

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Oye, put a line of Salvo (yes, the dish detergent) around the hole from where they are coming. Make a full circle. Put a line anywhere you see a line of them, to disrupt the line.

You can also mix some with water in a spray bottle and spray it on them and it will kill on contact but be aware it will also kill other bugs so do NOT spray indeterminately and you should NOT spray your keyboard or other electronics. You can wipe those down.

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Or olive oil or similar, they won’t walk across oil.

Or diatomaceous earth:

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You also need to remove ALL food sources, which for your keyboard likely means you (like many, including my family!) eat over your keys from time to time, and they have found crumbs inside. Turn the keyboard upside down and shake gently to dislodge food particles, then wipe the surface where the crumbs fall with a cloth wet with Salvo and water.

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Salvo is potent stuff, he and I both live on the Peninsula, the ants here are quite something.


Mix some borax with a bait food. The worker ants will bring it back to the nest and the food will kill the other ants. I’m not familiar with this ant but the iNat page suggests they like white bread and peanut butter.


Since they are already over the house, this is pretty unfortunate.

Still, If you know the entry point (points) place a thick line of any non-toxic fine powder around the entry area(s). This will create an impenetrable barrier to ants. Ants breathe through holes in their abdomen - sorry, thorax - so a fine powder is a huge deterrent to crossing a line you lay down. The fine powder clogs the breathing holes and chokes ants; but otherwise is not toxic. I typically use baby powder (talc), baking soda, or even cinnamon.

This will stop new ants from entering, but it will confuse the existing ants in the house who try to return to the nest. What we do is frequently wipe up those with some kind of soapy water until they are gone.

This has worked for me for many years with all the ants we have in my area, but we don’t really have big biting ants here. We have ~lots~ of argentine ants (in super colonies) and some other more local ants. It’s the argentine ants that make the invasions efforts for the most part.

(LOL! I could post some pictures of of the baby powder-dusted kitchen window sill. It is a favored entry point, so we have to “ treat it” every few months).

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Best of luck! I take the following approach when I get ants:

  1. Block Entry:
  • Small Openings: Caulk whatever hole(s) they’re entering from. I prefer to use a clear, water-based type such as Alex Plus Clear, since they wipe away with a wet rag.
  • Large Openings: Plaster them closed.
  • Hidden Gaps: Large gaps under sinks, cabinets, etc. may require expanding spray-foam in a can.
  • Temporary: For things like windows, where only a temporary block is needed, mounting putty works best, my goto is 3M Scotch
  1. Sunlight: If you aren’t worried about humidity or condensation, place infested items outside in sunlight. The warmth should drive them away.

  2. Erase Trail: Wash away the trail with water with a bit of soap and bleach. I’ve tried just soap but it doesn’t always work. Apply this to the outside trail too.

  3. Compressed Air: For keyboards, etc. blowing them clean with compressed removes the ants and whatever they’re after.

  4. Pesticide: For extreme cases, pyrethrinoid or neonic pesticide, sprayed just in the area they seem to be coming from. The latter is worse for humans but both are pretty sad to watch.

Option 1 is my goto and works most of the time.

Edit: You may need to spend 5-10 minutes looking for the entry point with a flashlight, waiting for them. I had ants coming through a small hole in some tile grout, the size of a sand grain. I was surprised!

Edit2: A wire nut filled with vaseline makes a great cap for the caulk to keep it from drying out when not in use.

Edit3: Option 5 radius is large, I found dead ants in other parts of my home far from where I sprayed only in a single corner of one room, so who knows what other insects were affected.


For some reason many ant species LOVE electronics. We had dataloggers out in some Monterey Cypress groves on the coast in California and the carpenter ants were obsessed with getting in any way they could to chew on the plastic surrounding the wires. We eventually had to epoxy everything inside old ammo cans. I’ve also seen the argentine ants trying to get into laptops in the field. I don’t think it’s for food like crumbs in the keyboard. It’s something related to heat or lights or electrical fields. Because when they are powered off, the ants lose interest.

And yes, around the house detergent blocking entrances, cinnamon sticks in corners and along common paths, borax granule barriers, and borax based baits all work as long as you are consistent.

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I used to get little black ants (aka pharaoh ants/trailing ants, Monomorium) in the house around cat food. Since I have “re-wilded” my yard - removing impermeable surfaces, improved soil, added plants, and stop paying for monthly pest control - they don’t bother me anymore. On the other hand, I have way more spiders in the house than before, so maybe they are doing the job for me.

Good luck with your ant problem!


I’m surprised it took so long for anyone to suggest… cleaning your house.
Mop your floors, clean all surfaces, twice.

Deploy boric acid, and drop your keyboard off at goodwill and order a new one, or just leave it in the freezer overnight and shake out the casualties in the AM.

And maybe consider professional treatment techniques including bait stations, follow the instructions and there’s no reason you cant treat the problem yourself

I don’t dig deploying chemicals of any nature into the earth, but when I lived with someone with a severe allergy to formic acid, it wasn’t an option to take chances, especially in the poor quality of residential rentals commonplace in central texas and elsewhere.

After the place is free of existing specimens, you should be able to easily determine their entry point, treat with caulk and paint, or an applicable sealant depending on the point of entry.

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Does chalk work?

Exactly, I never ever eat on my keyboard or near it, not even on my desk at all (like, never ever at all).

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That’s excellent. My adult sons do if they are gaming sometimes and then they have to shake their keyboards out to keep from attracting ants. My older son also had an issue with ants being attracted to a corn-based cat-litter.

And sorry I was not clearer, I meant for you to disrupt and remove the trails with the Salvo.

Do you mean chalk or cal? I think @teellbee said any fine nontoxic powder? but I am unsure if cal is meant to be loose about the house and breathed at length, perhaps an albañil or engineer may know (or if you mean chalk that is nil).

There is a toxic chalk for ants, but I don’t think it is legal to sell it in a lot of places.

The non-toxics like baking soda, baby powder, ground cinnamon, any such fine powders, don’t kill the ants’ nest. it may smother ones that come in contact with it. I use it like a “fence” to keep ant out.

Diatomaceous earth aka (DE) is also formidable against many a crawling insect, I used it for years to control ants, (various species of sugar, carpenter, and SW US species of fire ants)

Dirt cheap, easy to clean up and is relatively neutralized with simple water.

Edit: Do as with always wear proper protection when applying DE or any other chemicals, etc.

Wear long sleeves and a facemask, and eye protection if you insist, when applying, but don’t freak out if you get some on your hands, it washes off with water instantly.

As mentioned before, DE is largely neutralized by water, so if you encounter some rain, you will need to apply.

I loved using it over conventional pesticides forever, I really miss having access to reasonable pest control methods for my plants, now I just leave it up to nature to decide who stays and who goes… now.


Hopefully your DE is the food grade version? There’s another made for pool filters that can cause lung injury, article here.

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I only had access to agricultural grade stuff. The same stuff folks add to livestock feed.

however I have been told to exercise caution when handling even the food-grade stuff.

I used to work in a bakery, I try to avoid inhaling most fine powdery substances…


I think this is a pretty late update but the ants are way gone.


What was your remedy? :slightly_smiling_face:

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