We all know that ants can be quite the nuisance in any household or dwelling. Though not all ants cause damage to your home, an infestation can be bothersome and unsightly. So how do we go about controlling, preventing and ridding ourselves of ants? As with anything, the best solution is usually prevention. When prevention fails, the next step is trapping or extermination. This can be done both naturally and with chemicals, professionally or by yourself. Read on for some ideas you can use to prevent, trap, and kill ants in your home. Get rid of your ants for good using these suggestions!
1. Keep your home clean.
You should always work to keep your home as clean as possible, at all times. And not just for aesthetic reasons! Put away food when you are done with it and clean up any crumbs and spills. Take out the garbage regularly and store it away from your house if possible. If ants don’t have any easy access to food sources, they will move on elsewhere!
2. Prevent access.
By ensuring that your windows and doors seal properly you can prevent ants from accessing your home. You can also prevent access by placing barriers around your home, which you can find more information on in suggestion. You may consider getting entirely new windows or doors at the same time as a preventative measure: this adds value to your home to boot, so it’s a win-win solution!
3. Destroy nests close to your home.
By killing the ants close to your home, you are less likely to get an infestation. Chances are fairly high that the ants aren’t nesting directly in your house, but if you have a consistent food source close at hand, chances are high that they will set up shop close by.
Look in your garden or lawn to try and find signs of an ant colony. Destroy the nests at the source to get rid of ants in your house!
There are many ways to destroy a colony of ants, both chemical and natural. To destroy a colony, you generally need to find the nest first, though some chemical products exist that are designed to be carried back to the colony by foraging ants. Once you have located the nest you can use natural and chemical strategies to destroy the nest.
Note: For natural strategies pour substance directly into nest. For chemical strategies, follow manufacturers directions on label. Natural strategies include soapy water, boiling water, salt water, and vinegar and water.
4. Set baits and traps.
Baits and traps prevent the ants that do enter your house from making it back to the colony, stopping them from communicating any possible food sources. Ants are highly intelligent insects, and the presence of a food source as indicated by one ant will have the entire colony buzzing in no time. Another use of baiting is to return poisons to the colony. Try commercial liquid ant killer or ant bait.
Baits and traps both use a sweet substance to lure the ants in. In the case of a bait, the idea is to kill the ant with a poison masked by the sweet lure, where a trap simply prevents the ants escape. Baits and traps can be purchased or easily made in the home.
You can also use natural traps to get rid of ants. Natural baits include borax and syrup mixture (kills ants when they consume the mixture) and borax, syrup and cornmeal mixture (kills larva when taken back to nest).
Natural traps also include corn syrup (placed on pads or in dishes) and sugar water in a bottle (ideal for counter tops).
To make a borax bait all you have to do is mix equal of borax into some corn syrup and add a drop or two of water. The ideal mixture will be a syrupy mixture that is not too runny. Place this mixture along the ants trail in a dish or on a piece of cardboard. Replace or rehydrate the bait when it starts to dry. When making a bait to be returned to the colony, a clumpier drier version is required. Use the same mixture above, only this time slowly stir in cornmeal until the mixture has a crumbly texture. This mixture can be placed along side the liquid bait on the ant trail.
To make a trap, you can simply place thick syrup in a dish and place it along the ant trail. Ensure that the dish has steep edges, this increases the chances of trapping the ants in the syrup. To make a bottle trap mix sugar into warm water and pour about an inch into an old water bottle. Make a hole in the bottle lid, then roll up a small piece of paper into a funnel. Place the funnel under the lid and secure the lid to the bottle. This trap can be placed on counter tops or in areas where pets might get at the traps.
5. Set up barriers.
One method of ridding yourself of these little pests is to set up ant barriers. Ants will avoid certain substances and these can be used to prevent the ants from accessing your home. In order for barriers to be effective it is important to find the ants access points into your home and place the barriers there: note that barriers are only effective against ants nesting outside of your home.
From here we have to choose between natural homemade barriers and chemical barriers. Chemical barriers can be purchased at most department stores.
Note: For natural barriers, make a “wall” at access points. For chemical barriers follow manufacturers directions on label. Natural barriers include spices (cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric), powdered chalk, baby powder or talc, citrus oils, powdered charcoal, used coffee grinds, and Vaseline.
6. Get an exterminator.
Finally, if all else fails it might be time to call in a professional extermination team. This should be left as a last resort as this method can be costly and exterminator’s pesticides could have adverse effects on the environment.
If you are left with no other option then professional extermination, it is recommended that you research the company that you wish to hire. Some companies may have different methods of extermination varying in levels of evasiveness, from sprays that are applied to baseboards and floorboards to a whole house tenting and bug bombs.
Follow some or all of these steps and ants will no longer be guests in your home! Always be careful with chemical solutions for ants that small children or family pets do not have easy access to them. Ant bait is often designed to be accessible only to ants themselves, but you can never be too careful with the people (and animals!) that you love. In extreme cases it is sometimes necessary to call in professional help, such as exterminators. Use this as a last ditch effort, however, as ants usually are not that serious of a concern.