This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Small red ants overrun the safes and cupboards where eatables are kept; they are particularly troublesome by getting into sugar and syrup; they will attack a sponge cake, go all through and make an ant-hill of it, and will eat bread, but will not touch any cake that has butter in it, nor any kind of pastry made with butter or lard. The small black ants are the most troublesome about cooked meat and in clothing, and from their power to sting. A temporary protection may be had by setting the feet of the safes and cupboards where victuals are kept in bowls of water. When the ants can be traced to their burrows, they may be exterminated most easily by throwing boiling water around frequently. When that is not practicable, it is recommended to take corrosive sublimate - say half a pound - and dissolve it in a quart of alcohol, and apply the mixture to their haunts with a brush. Black ants may be driven away or destroyed by dusting with pepper. Powdered alum or borax sprinkled on the shelves and runways are also recommended.