It appears that I have some ants in my house. Just as I was about to bust out the Raid, I realized that I have a cat and that would not be safe for him! I've read that vinegar may do the trick and isn't harmful to cats. Any other suggestions? I just want to make sure that Mr Kitty is safe!
In my test pool of three, cats won't go after ants after the first few times because they taste bad, so unless your cat is particularly masochistic....
That being said, I haven't had any problem with ant baits (the ones enclosed in a plastic dome) wedged in corners/where I see the ants traveling as long as "lock them down" with a bit of duct tape. If the cats can't get them loose to play with them, they generally bore of trying and leave them alone then totally forget they're there.
The reason I ask is that different types of ants can indicate different kinds of issues. If you're seeing carpenter ants for example, you probably need to do more than kill/stop the ones you can see. You may have damage occurring somewhere in the house where wood has gotten a little wet and the ants are going after it.
If sugar ants, could be that you've got some food that is spilled somewhere--like maple syrup, honey, etc etc...or there's a water source for them.
Generally speaking though, one way to stop ants from getting into the house is to use diatomacious earth or comet/borax. Sprinkle on the ground around the perimeter of the home. Doorways seem to be good places for ants to get in.
You can also try ant traps in areas near where you're seeing ants but that are out of reach of kitties as Vaquero mentioned.
If you want to do an overall treatment for all sorts of creepy crawlies, Ortho makes a product called home defense that is a pump/spray deal. You treat all of the baseboard areas in the house, windowsills, etc. It is not toxic to the critters once it's dry. So what I do is lock the pups in room A, treat the rest of the house. When the rest is dry, I let them out and treat room A. I'm very careful about chemicals with regards to my dogs and have changed many of household cleaning products to avoid using bad chemicals. BUT, when it comes to keeping the bugs out, I feel pretty good about using the Ortho on a limited basis.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Here is some information on ants and a natural way to control them:
Ants leave a scented trail so other ants can find their way to food. Routinely wash away these invisible trails with a vinegar-based cleanser made from 1⁄4 cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and 10 to 15 drops of peppermint, clove, eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil. Keep ants out of your cupboards by sprinkling powdered cinnamon, paprika or cayenne pepper across their trails.
Thanks everyone. I actually had Ortho Home Defense already so I used that last night. Locked the kitty up for a few hours and made sure everything was dry and ok before releasing him! As of this morning - no more ants!!!
For ants or roaches in the immediate vicinity, spraying them with windex kills them instantly. Bait is the best way to get rid of the whole problem though as they take it back to the nest with them and kill all their buddies.
Terro all the way, it's borax and sugar and harmless to pets, my cats all ignore it totally. You can basically make it yourself with borax and some sugar, there are recipes all over the internet. You have to let the ants swarm it, and they will, they'll gorge on it, take it back to the nest and then feed it to other ants and they basically pop. We have ants at our place and just stock up on the Terro individual bait traps or you can buy it in the bottle and just squeeze some on a plastic lid. I've made my own traps with an empty margarine tub, just cut a couple of tiny hole in the the side of the tub toward the lid, you can even use a hole punch. Lay the lid upside down on the floor where the ants are and squirt the Terro into a small pool, then pop the margarine container over the lid and viola a large ant trap that nothing but ants can get into. The ants will suck it up like crazy so if it runs out and you still have ants just squirt another pool of it. It's non toxic and odorless.