Traveling to Mexico for many, many years, without exception, each and every house I’ve rented or lived in has an army of teeny, tiny occupants. Hormigas, or hormigitas as ants are affectionately called, are everywhere. they are smart, they are persistent and more than likely, you know them too. So how do you get rid of tiny ants in Mérida Mexico?
Depending upon your level of frustration and the number of ants, here are some options:
- Employ the services of a professional pest control company
- Use products specifically created for ants and insects
- Make your own organic pest-control or poison-based solution
- Use my secret weapon (proven, safe and 100% effective) – BABY POWDER
This article was updated in February of 2023.
Believe it or not, there is actually an Esquina of Merida plaque giving honor to the ant called La Hormigita de Oro or Little Ant of Gold. Not only are they neighbors, but they also have a cute nickname. Here’s more on the Esquinas of Merida which were the street signs of the past.
First, dealing with ants involves common-sense
- Clean up spills, especially food spills, immediately
- Keep ant-attracting items in air-tight containers (anything with sugar)
- Remove the trash daily – place in a bin with a lid
- Sweep problem areas frequently (like the kitchen, pantry, and laundry room)
- Degrease and remove all oily products from counters, cabinets, drawers, and sinks
Trust me, no matter how clean you are, how quickly you mop up a spill, or how careful you are, you are going to have ants at one time or another. I would get frustrated multiple times a day after cleaning up ant armies again and again.
You’re in a never-ending battle . . .
Time and time again, I used my tried and true 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water solution only to have them come back just a few hours later. I researched, experimented, and dug around until I finally found the only thing that works for me. I call it my secret weapon and believe me, it works like a charm!
Now, you are ready to find what works best for you. Let’s look at all the options.
Employ the services of a professional pest control company
That’s right –
There are quite a few pest-control companies in Mérida. Some offer general fumigation and others specialize in certain pests. If you choose to use a professional company be sure to ask what type of chemicals they use and the level of toxicity.
Perhaps unsurprisingly –
It is recommended to thoroughly clean your house the day before the fumigation. Ask the service professional how many days you need to wait until you can clean it again. Sometimes it takes several days for the chemicals to work. You may even decide to stay in a hotel during this time so you won’t be tempted to clean.
In my long-term rental agreement, my house is fumigated twice a year. This doesn’t mean it gets rid of tiny ants in Mérida Mexico completely. It just keeps the majority of them away while I have to do interim maintenance.
Use products specifically created for ants and insects
Electronic pest repellers with an ultrasonic and electromagnetic pulse are options for many people. Be sure to buy the electromagnetic pulse product for maximum protection. there are also sprays, in-home DIY fumigators, and a variety of other products you can find both in shops like Wal-mart and other local establishments.
I will tell you what though . . .
Everyone has their own ant-killing-advice. Try a few to see which one works best for you.
A popular product is Cebo ant gel sold in small syringes at Home Depot.
Make your own pest-control solution
One solution I’ve run into over and over again is borax mixed with beer or sugar water. Place a small amount of borax (called ácido bórico) in a water bottle top. This mixture is safe around pets and works great for both tiny ants and cockroaches.
If you don’t have pets or children, you can also place a small amount of borax powder around the top. The point is to have the insect’s legs covered with the powder and take it back to their nest. My landlord used this method to get rid of cockroaches and it worked like a charm.
But here’s something really interesting –
I’ve also read you can create a moat of water to deter ants. Here’s an example, if you have wire shelving, place the feet in a shallow dish of water. Add a little salt or Clorox to the water to keep the mosquitoes at bay. If you try this method, please let me know how it worked for you!
Cinnamon is also used as a natural deterrent. I haven’t used this method but I’m told you can sprinkle around areas where you’ve seen ants. Use it along door and window thresholds, countertops and other problem locations. This method appeals to me because it also smells good.
Use my secret weapon (proven, safe and 100% effective) – BABY POWDER
This is the magical answer . . .
Actually, I had never heard of this until I moved to Mérida. In my house no matter what I did, I was unsuccessful at getting rid of the ants. Because I lean more to the organic and natural side, I am always super cautious about using chemicals.
But let me tell you –
My frustration point reached an all-time high. After cleaning off all the counters in my kitchen so I could prepare a meal, I turned around 5 minutes later and the tiny ants in the kitchen were back. Ugh!
I called my landlord who has lived here for many years and asked her what to use in the kitchen. She recommended baby powder.
WOW . . . OMG . . . What the what???
I had never heard of that but it was worth a try. I placed a thin line around my countertops, by the skylights (entry point) and around the bottom of the cabinets. BINGO! It did it.
Why is baby powder so effective? Ants breathe through their skin and the baby powder clogs it up. It is also a desiccant. Ants do not like it, and will not cross a baby powder line.
It gives new meaning to don’t cross the line.
Biting ants in Mérida Mexico
There are huge, red ants that arrive around May. Not only do they look angry, but they are also aggressive and will bite the *!#$ out of you. You will know them because they are so huge and red, you can’t miss them. If you get bitten by one, it will leave a large welt.
Trust me, I’ve been bitten by one and you don’t want to risk it. Wear shoes al the time no matter if you are in the house, at the pool or going to the bathroom at night. The sting is like nothing I’ve experienced before and it takes several days to go away.
Yucatan insects include the cockroach
Other pesky insects to be aware of include mosquitoes, cockroaches, earwigs, beetles, scorpions, termites, and fleas. You’ll find the cockroach is present all year long and unfortunately, like other creatures will cause anxiety and aggravation until you find a solution to get rid of them.
Just so you know, there are some that are really, really large; like the size of a house key large.
Here’s the scary part –
For me, cockroaches are the worst. I had a really bad experience as a child and think cockroaches are what nightmares are made of.
You’ll also want to look out for earwigs and pantry moths. Earwigs love moisture and close tight spaces. These little guys will propagate quickly during the rainy season. It’s common to see them falling out of doorways, hiding in the folds of fabric, or hunkered down in the laundry room.
More than likely, you’ve had some experience with pantry moths. Again, common sense says to keep your dry food store it in airtight containers and frequently check for any eggs or activity. Pay attention to expiration dates and get rid of the food as soon as you can.
Final thoughts on how to get rid of ants in Mérida Mexico
I now have stock in baby powder. Not only does it keep the ants away, I absolutely love the memories it brings up. It is just one of those smells that will take you back in time. I love reflecting on the memories it evokes especially when I am so far away from my kids.
Enough reminiscing and back to business.
Here are some other great things about baby powder:
- Easy to clean up
- I can see when I need to add more
- Helps absorb moisture
- Smells good
- Relatively inconspicuous
- Simple to use
Keep in mind:
- Ants constantly move toward or away from something. Of course, food or sugar is a huge magnet but what else is going on? Spend some time to follow the trail in both directions. Most likely, you’ll find their food source and maybe even their entry point. While you can clean up the spill and seal entry points, it can still be a losing battle. Ants can penetrate almost any crack or crevice.
- Most ants are just annoying. Getting used to the ants in Mexico is part of integrating. Be diligent about cleaning up and sealing and storing food. If they continue to return over and over again, choose the best plan of action to minimize these tiny intruders.
- Frequency can spike in the spring, summer, and rainy season. Insect activity tends to spike seasonally or from rainfall.
- Ants are smart. And that means they are smarter than we are. Unfortunately, that is just a fact.
For information, local tips and to connect with other expats, check out my Facebook group.