2. Make bait dispensers out of old plastic containers with lids. Punch holes in them so the ants can get inside, then put the soaked cotton balls into the containers and cover them with lids so the bait won’t dry out.
3. Place the bait containers wherever you see ant trails, in or outside the house.
4. Clean the containers and use fresh bait solution at least once a week.
5. Be patient! The key is to get worker ants to continually carry low doses of boric acid back to feed the ants in their nest. Boric acid is mildly repellent to ants, and using a very low dose makes it more likely that surviving ants will continue eating the bait and taking it back to the nest.
They are more of a nuisance than a true pest, even though they may disturb the soil around plant roots. Leave the tiny critters to their work, and you’ll marvel at their industriousness.
Estimated number of different ant species throughout the world: 12,000
Average size of the world’s largest ant species: about 1 inch long. Average size of the smallest: 1/25 of an inch
Number of Ant Farm kits sold since toy-maker Milton Levine devised the concept in 1956: more than 20 million
Acres in the southeastern United States that have become infested with the red imported fire ant: more than 320 million
Years that the caste system of ants is believed to have existed: 30 to 40 million
Time it takes the average worker ant to complete its metamorphosis from egg to adult: 38 to 45 days
Number of worker ants living in a typical carpenter-ant colony: 10,000 to 50,000
Tropical leafcutter ants can chomp as much as 20 percent of the foliage from trees in rainforests. The ants first tear the leaves into tiny bits and then haul them back to their fungus-covered homes. While they don’t actually eat the leaves, they use the leaf matter to enrich the dens where they cultivate fungus for food. Ants, you could say, are the original organic gardeners!