Having ants – other than carpenter ants – active in your garden can be quite beneficial; they aerate the soil, can help reduce bugs that feed on your plants, help break down organic matter, and are important pollinators too. But ants become a problem when they migrate into your home, becoming a household pest. Ants often invade homes due to environmental conditions – high temperatures, or too much rain – and without proper measures in place, it won’t take them long to discover your home also provides easy access to food. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get rid of ants, so you don’t need to embrace having to share your home with ants.
Find and Seal Entry Points
The simplest way of keeping ants out of your house is to ensure they don’t have any easy entry points. Find and seal cracks and holes in the walls both inside and outside your house, without ignoring areas around plumbing and cables or wiring you have running from the interior to exterior of your home. Also examine windows and doors for gaps that can be sealed. If you already have ants in your home, follow their trail to see where they are coming from.
Use Ant Bait
Killing any ants you see inside your home won’t solve the problem; you need to target the nest or colony, and in many instances using ant bait will help you do this. Ants aren’t only interested in sweet or sugary foods, at different times of the year they might be more interested in protein foods, so if you decide to use a store-bought ant bait, make sure it contains both sweet and protein-based bait. Place these close to where the ants enter your home, and if you can’t find their entry point, then place them along the paths they normally follow. The poison in the ant bait won’t kill the ants you see immediately. Instead they will carry it back to the nest, where it will eventually kill other ants, including the queen and any larvae. It can take some time for this to happen, so be patient.
Alternatively, you can try a home-made solution using borax, though you may need two different solutions depending on the food source your ants are most interested in. For ants with a sweet-tooth, dissolve 125ml sugar and three tablespoons of borax in 375ml warm water. Use cotton balls to soak up the mixture, and place these close to the entry point, or along the paths. And for ants that prefer protein, mix a tablespoon of peanut butter and sugar with a teaspoon of borax and loosely pack this mixture into small sections of plastic tubing or straws that you can scatter along the path or close to entry points. As with store-bought bait, the worker ants will transport the borax mixture back to the nest, ensuring more of the colony is exposed to it. Whatever ant bait you decide to use, be sure to move it whenever you notice the ants path changes.
Create a Barrier Around Your House
Prevent ants from getting into your house by using a granular insecticide around the outside perimeter of your home, and around any outside nests you discover. Some granular insecticides need to be watered in order to activate them, so be sure to always follow the directions. However, even though granular insecticides are great at quickly eliminating ants and providing a long-term barrier, it is worth noting that many insecticides are harmful to mammals too, making granular insecticides a riskier solution if you have pets or small children.
Use a Liquid Insecticide
Using a ready-made liquid insecticide, or mixing your own from a concentrated solution, is another way of killing ants on site, and providing a barrier. Unlike granular insecticides, many liquid insecticides are safe for use inside and outside your home, and while still harmful to mammals if ingested, it is easier to use a liquid in specific areas, with no visible residue left behind. As with granules, you can also use a liquid insecticide on any nests you discover to help control ants, especially if they are too close to your house. Granules and liquid insecticides aren’t always as effective as baits at eliminating larvae and the queen, but if used regularly they can discourage ants from nesting close to your home, making a home invasion less likely.
Keep Surfaces Clean
This doesn’t mean only remembering to avoid leaving sweet or fatty foods lying around, it also means using a good disinfectant or bleach to wipe surfaces clean, particularly any paths you noticed ants using previously. When they find a source of food inside your house, scouts and worker ants will leave a scent trail from the source to the nest or entry point, allowing other ants to easily find the food source. Using disinfectant, bleach, or even white vinegar, can eliminate this scent trail, while also acting as a short-term deterrent to other ants.
Carpenter ants can cause considerable property damage and require a special approach to properly combat them in and around your home. If you have carpenter ants, or are just struggling to control ants using the methods discussed above, get professional pest control services to help. Our pest controllers have years of experience to not only help eliminate domestic or commercial ant problems, but to also identify the root cause and put measures in place to prevent the problem from recurring.