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It happens almost every Spring, though I managed somehow to avoid it last year, when I first brought my kitties into my house. No avoidance this year. It poured here late last week, and tonight I have squooshed, one by one, 45 ants in my kitchen. They are probably scouts, as at this point there is no rhyme or reason to their paths, and I see no point of entry from which they are coming. Unfortunately, I typically have to wait until they become more numerous before I see where they are coming from.

And the kitties were no help at all. They usually go after anything that moves, and some things that have stopped. Little Hersh finally pointed out number 43 to me, but otherwise they have totally ignored them. LH found a rancid baby carrot and was parading around with it (where on earth did THAT come from?), he was far more animated about it than the ants near his food dish.

I will spray outside but don't want to use anything indoors. One of my great fears, with four cats, is being overrun by ants....Oh, and I'm not complaining, not when I am hearing about explosions in Japanese nuclear power plants and radiation escaping!
 

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I don't know if you can prevent it from getting messy, but if you have any idea of where the ants are getting in, try a dusting of turmeric powder. I've had moderate success in repelling insects in the garden. The only mistake I made was to use it on plants that needed pollination. It repelled the pollinators
 
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