How Do You Get Rid of Ants?
Dealing with ants in the home can be a challenge. They find ways into places drawn by the smallest traces of food or moisture. A few drops of spilt soda or crumbs can attract an entire colony.
While their presence might seem random, there are clear reasons and methods to keep them at bay. This guide explores effective strategies to rid your home of ants and prevent their return.
What Attracts Ants?
Ants search relentlessly for food. They eat various items, from plant sap to other insects. Especially tempting to them are sweet items. Something as small as a drop of honey, apple cider vinegar, or food crumbs can draw them in.
When an ant finds food, it marks a path with a pheromone trail for other ants to follow. This is why we often see lines of ants moving to and from a food source. If not addressed, a few ants can become a major ant infestation.
Ants not only drink water, but they also bring it back to their colonies. Moist locations attract ants immediately, like the vicinity of dripping pipes, water bowls, or potted plants. Some species, like pavement ants and carpenter ants, even prefer to set up their colonies in damp areas.
Any water source, a small droplet or a puddle, can attract ants, especially in dry environments.
Homes provide ants warmth and protection from the elements and predators. They can squeeze through the smallest entry points. Cracks in the foundation, window gaps, or any other openings are all potential entryways.
If they find suitable conditions, they might set up a colony inside, making the home their own.
Effective Methods to Get Rid of Ants
Ants tend to congregate around food sources. To prevent an ant infestation, always maintain cleanliness. Ensure all food items, especially sweet substances like apple cider vinegar, are stored in airtight containers. Swiftly clean any spills and ensure countertops and floors are devoid of food residues. Regularly empty your trash cans and avoid leaving pet food for prolonged periods.
Carpenter ants, among other species, thrive in damp environments. Address any water sources promptly. Fix leaks, manage condensation, and replace any water-damaged materials.
Ensuring a dry environment is critical in deterring ants. Especially carpenters and pavement ants, which tend to nest in damp locations.
Implement Ant Baits and Traps
Ant baits and traps are tried-and-true methods to stop ants, endorsed by pest control experts. These baits present poisoned food to worker ants, which they then carry back to their ant colonies, thereby tackling the ant problem at its source.
Nature provides us with a myriad of solutions to repel ants. Essential oils, especially peppermint oil and tea tree oil, are known ant repellents. A mixture of these oils in a spray bottle with water can be sprayed at ant holes, entry points, or ant trails to deter these pests.
Both lemon juice and cinnamon leaf have properties that disrupt the ant’s scent trails, effectively preventing ants from entering your home.
A potent natural ant killer, diatomaceous earth comprises aquatic organisms called diatoms. Sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth in areas where ants congregate will help eliminate
them. However, be cautious; while it’s not harmful to humans, it can cause skin irritation for some.
Maintain Your Outdoors
Keeping ants permanently out means ensuring your garden is less inviting to them. Regularly inspect for ant hills and ant nests. Address garden pests that might attract ants inside, and ensure plants are regularly trimmed to prevent them from touching the exterior of your house.
Avoid leaving any food sources found outside. Ensure food is securely stored and that remnants are immediately cleaned. Even a few drops of a sweet drink can attract ants from afar.
DIY Solutions and Home Remedies
When dealing with ant infestations, homeowners often seek cost-effective and natural solutions. Several DIY remedies have proven effective in keeping ants at bay. Here are some tried-andtrue methods:
Ants hate certain smells, and coffee is one of them. Spreading brewed coffee grounds in areas where ants tend to congregate can serve as a repellent. Ensure the grounds are spread near ant trails and potential entry points to prevent ants from entering your home.
White Vinegar Solution
White vinegar disrupts the pheromone trails ants use to navigate. By creating a solution with equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, you can effectively break their scent trails.
Spray this mixture near entry points, kitchen countertops, and anywhere you’ve observed ant activity. It not only deters ants but also serves as a cleaning agent, keeping surfaces free from the trails ants leave behind.
Boric Acid and Sugar Bait
Boric acid is a well-known substance for its efficacy against many pests, including ants. To attract ants to this lethal substance, you must make it appealing.
Mixing boric acid with sugar does the trick. The sugar acts as bait, attracting ants to feed on it. Once ingested, the boric acid kills them. Place this mixture near ant nests or where you see most worker ants.
But exercise caution, especially if you have pets or children, as boric acid can be harmful when ingested.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
This essential oil is another potent natural ant repellent. A mixture of lemon eucalyptus oil and water in a spray bottle can target areas where ants feed or congregate. Its pleasant aroma for humans is a deterrent for ants.
Like coffee grounds, ants detest the strong scent of cayenne pepper. Sprinkling it at entry points or in areas with high ant activity can deter these pests.
This substance, made up of aquatic organisms called diatoms, is a potent ant killer. When ants come into contact with food-grade diatomaceous earth, it dehydrates and kills them.
It’s especially effective against fire ants and pavement ants. Spread a thin layer around ant trails and nests for best results.
While these home remedies can be effective against ants, it’s still advisable to consult pest control experts, especially if the ant problem persists or you’re dealing with destructive species like carpenter ants.
Remember, the key is not just to repel ants but to address the root of the problem to prevent future infestations.
Types of Common Ants
Ants, while small in size, can pose challenges in our homes and gardens. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types and their distinct characteristics.
Carpenter Ants: Notorious for their affinity for damp wood, carpenter ants carve out tunnels, posing a risk to homes. Unlike termites, they don’t eat wood but can weaken structures significantly. Their presence often points to moisture issues in buildings, warranting immediate attention.
Odorous House Ants: These ants have earned their name from the distinct foul odour they release when crushed. Often nesting within walls, they pose a common nuisance in households, particularly in kitchens, given their attraction to sweets.
Pavement Ants: As their name implies, pavement ants are frequently found nesting beneath sidewalks or between pavement cracks. These smaller ants, while not typically destructive, can become indoor pests, seeking food during colder periods.
Big Headed and Crazy Ants: Big headed ants stand out due to some worker ants having noticeably enlarged heads. These ants, however, aren’t common invaders of homes. In contrast, crazy ants, known for their unpredictable movements, can be more problematic. Their penchant for invading electronic devices adds to the challenges of dealing with them.
When dealing with an ant problem, identifying the ant species is the first step. Different species
have unique behaviours and preferences, which can influence the best ant control strategies. From ant baits designed to target specific ant colonies to measures preventing further ant infestations, tailored approaches ensure effective management.
When to Call a Pest Control Expert
Species like the Argentine ant and carpenter ants are challenging. Not all ants respond to store bought repellents or baits. There are also times where homeowners misuse bait traps and as a result, attract even more ants.
If your ant prevention methods don’t work, you might be dealing with a larger colony. This is when you need to call the professionals in.
Pest control experts offer targeted solutions for specific ant species. They can identify the ant type, find their nests, and provide effective removal. They also offer preventive advice to keep ants away.
If you find yourself in a cycle of getting rid of ants only to see them return, or if you’re facing potential structural threats from specific ant species, it’s time to call the experts. If you are in South Yorkshire, UK, then Apex Pest Control is your number one choice for Ant Pest Control. You will find other pest companies in your part of the UK, search on the BPCA or NPTA websites for repeatable pest controllers.
Bidding Farewell to Tiny Intruders
As tiny as they are, ants are resilient and can become persistent invaders. But with the right knowledge, preventive steps, and remedies, you can ensure they don’t overstay their welcome.
Remember, it’s not just about getting rid of ants. It’s about creating an environment where they don’t feel invited in the first place!
What is the most effective ant bait?
There are several effective ant baits available commercially. However, the effectiveness might depend on the ant species. It’s always a good idea to try different baits to see which works best for the ants you’re dealing with.
Do natural repellents like lemon and peppermint oil work?
Yes, many ants detest the scent of lemon, peppermint, and other essential oils. They can act as a deterrent. However, they may need to be reapplied regularly for maximum effectiveness.
Are there any risks associated with using boric acid or diatomaceous earth?
Both substances can be harmful if ingested in large amounts. Ensure they’re kept out of reach of pets and children. Food grade diatomaceous earth is generally safe for humans but can be lethal for ants and other pests.
How do ants leave a scent trail?
Ants leave a pheromone trail that other ants can follow. This is how they lead other ants to sources of food.
Can I prevent ants from coming in with cleanliness alone?
While cleanliness can drastically reduce the chances of attracting ants, it’s also essential to ensure there are no entry points for them. Combining cleanliness with preventive measures yields the best results.
Tony Johnson, our pest control company founder, is your partner in pest management. With his extensive knowledge of Integrated Pest Mangement and commitment to staying updated on the latest Pest industry trends, Tony is a trusted source for effective pest control solutions. Your peace of mind is Tony’s top priority.
Trusted BPCA & NPTA member.