Dear 100 Hour Board,
Ants have taken over our bathroom. Know any good, preferably natural ways to kill them?
-guppy of gloom
This isn't super helpful, but your question reminded me of the time my college apartment got infested with giant ants. The monsters were half an inch long. I first discovered them by opening my food cupboard one day to see them running around on my shelf. It was not a good start to the morning.
After that, I would regularly see the ants traveling along the corner between the wall and ceiling of our living room (idk why they chose the ceiling as opposed to the floor--trust me I checked for them there), always headed in the direction of the kitchen. The natural method that I used to combat them was leaving my shoe next to the couch, and leaping up to smash the ants every time I saw them. It was less than effective. I only finally got rid of them after my then visiting teacher lent me some of her bug-killing-stuff to spray around all the doors to the apartment.
We would get ants all the time when I grew up. My Mom would use one part white vinegar and three parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the affected areas and wipe clean daily. They really hate white vinegar so it should repel them from wanting to come in in the first place. It's also a natural pesticide, so win-win!
I don't have any big suggestions, but there is a fun thing you can do with ant trails. Basically, to know the right trail, ants put down some kind of chemical trail (pheromones, maybe?) and follow that, so you can rub your finger or do something to erase the chemicals along their trail in a certain spot and they go crazy trying to figure out where to go. Like this. Also, on my Youtube journey, I found these videos about your question.
Dear guppy o'doom,
Go ye down to yon nearest grocery store and purchase some ant traps for thyself and thy household.
-Ye Olde Frère Rubike
This is mostly unrelated, but I have a friend who is terrified of ants. Everyone always laughs at her because ants seem so harmless, right? WRONG. Here are all sorts of terrifying ant facts for you. Y'know, to provide some light reading while you're on the toilet in your ant-infested bathroom.
- Bullet ants live in South America, and are so-named because their bite apparently feels like getting shot. But the pain doesn't even peak until 24 hours after you've been bitten, so for those 24 hours you're just in constant excruciating pain. They inject a neurotoxin with their bites, and some people have reported nausea, vomiting, and even irregular heartbeat after a bullet ant encounter. AND they grow to be over an inch long. Here's a fun clip showing how some tribes in the Amazon have a coming-of-age ritual where they stick their hand into a glove full of bullet ants. It's pretty traumatic, so watch at your own risk.
- Fire ants can form rafts to survive floods. The article I just linked to describes it in this terrifying way, "This survival tactic poses a threat to rescuers since the rafts look like debris, and if they come into contact with boats, the fire ants can disband to sting those on board."
- Swarms of ants will literally suffocate people by crawling into their mouths and noses and eating them from the inside out in remote African villages.
- Zombie ant fungus.
- Dinoponera ants are the biggest ants in the world, and if one of them bites you you can feel the pain for up to 48 hours. Their bites can lead to irregular heartbeats and bloody stools.
- Bulldog ants will jump at humans and then hang on with their teeth while biting them, so they're already awful. They're also huge, and can range in size to about half an inch long to over an inch and a half long. As if this isn't bad enough, they have one of the most toxic venoms found in the insect world--most people won't die from a bulldog ant sting, but there have been reported deaths of people who are allergic to the venom, as it can cause anaphylaxis. They can also cause renal failure in dogs. They're found in Australia, of course.
P.S. From the editors: We have posted this in a semi-incomplete form. We apologize for the lack of citations on the last few bullets.
It was our bathroom first. It's time for you to leave.