Does Cornmeal Kill Ants, Like For Real?

black ants
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Does cornmeal kill ants?

Well, to put it simply, I have a bigger chance of dying from my last week’s burger than an ant dying from eating cornmeal. It’s just food to them, plain and simple.

Cornmeal in the dish

More on the matter, those lucky bastards don’t even have to worry about their cholesterol level, unlike me and my burgers.

Ants And Cornmeal

The legend says that ants will ingest cornmeal but can not physically digest it. Some even go as far as stating that the poor buggers will explode from the inside after a hefty cornmeal snack.

All of that is rubbish.

First and foremost, ants are omnivorous, meaning they can eat everything from meat to veggies to sweets just like humans. In fact, some of the things that eat ants are other ants. Their mandibles are not for show, you know.

Some of these tiny insects are capable of chomping through solid wood or even concrete. Corn can not and will not stop them in any way.

Secondly, worker ants – the ones that deliver the food to the colony, are only capable of eating liquid food, so if they decided to munch on some cornmeal, they’d use enough saliva to moisturize it into a liquid mess of nutrients. That’s how they eat their meats and veggies anyhow.

Lastly, ants are naturally attracted to cornmeal. If it did anything to them, their population would either have been under threat of extinction by now, or the newer generations would have learned to avoid the dangerous product. Neither has occurred so far.

Still think using cornmeal to kill ants is a good idea?

Well, you should. It’s just that you shouldn’t use cornmeal alone.

Cornmeal Ant Killer?

Ants on the white foor

Will cornmeal kill ants? Nope, it wouldn’t. It is capable of something else though – ants can’t resist the taste of the flour.

Yes, using cornmeal alone would be the same as feeding an entire ant colony with snacks (which is kinda cool when you think about it).

Combining it with actual ant poison, on the other hand, might do the trick.

Why is the cornmeal ant trap the perfect preventive strike against a spreading colony of ants?

  • Workers cannot eat hard food. They only drink notorious liquids. This means they will take every last flake of the flour into the nest where most of the food is given to larvae.
  • In return, the larvae will consume poisonous cornmeal and convert it into liquid so the workers can enjoy a nice meal after a heavy day’s work.

Boom, you’ve just eliminated an entire nest with nothing but “spiced” cornmeal. That’s what I call strategic thinking!

Why Use Cornmeal?

Ants on the branch

You must be thinking something along these lines to yourself: “Ok, but if I poison the nest, I win the war. It makes sense so far. Why do I have to use cornmeal though?”

You see, most poisons are sold in liquid form. Sure, you can use a bit of boric acid and will get rid of a couple of workers, but since your weapon is liquid, they’ll happily eat the treat before heading back home.

Making a paste that combines a deadly venom and the food most ants love so much – now that is a diabolical trick to play on the unsuspecting insects.

FAQ

ants on the leaf

Why Does Cornmeal Kill Ants?

It doesn’t unless combined with actual ant poison. Otherwise, it is just food.

Will Cornmeal Kill Fire Ants?

Cornmeal alone will not kill any species of ants.

How to Kill Ants with Cornmeal?

You’ll need to mix it into a paste with ant poison and scatter the mixture around the house.

Words of Caution

two ants

If you are considering using cornmeal in combination with poison, please keep in mind that ants are not the only creatures living outside your house.

Your friends or neighbors might own pets that will be interested in the corn paste scattered around the yard. Little children may wish to explore the bate as well and so could many more curious bystanders, both human and insect in nature.

If you are looking for a word of advice from a seasoned extermination veteran, I’d always go for the sealed commercial solutions. Most of them are really thought through and sealed in a way that the ants are the only ones getting in and out.

Conclusion

The cornmeal myth is quite fun, though I am a bit sad that this 100% natural solution does not work in favor of the exterminator.

That being said, I have tried a couple of organic ant poisons in my life, and some of them showed promising results. For instance, you can combine corneal with vinegar or lemon acid for nice performance without any serious risks to creatures larger than an ant.

Have you, by any chance, heard any other peculiar insect-related stories you’d like me to fact-check or debunk? Feel free to share them with me. I am always on the lookout for more insights and experimentation.

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Nicholas Martin

About Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years.

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