In this post, I’m going to show you how to keep ants from invading your house and bothering you without poisoning ALL of the ants in your yard which are protecting you from other worse pests like ticks, fleas, and cutworms. I hope this guide to natural ant control will give you a greater appreciation for ants while helping your home stay free of ants and other invading pests.
The best overall control for ants is simply cleanliness.
Like all creatures, ants need food, water, and shelter to survive. By limiting these three essentials, you make it impossible (or at least more difficult) for ants to live in the infested area. Simply by improving sanitation you can often suppress existing ant populations and discourage new ant invasions. Safe Solutions Tweetmint enzyme cleaner with peppermint is not only an excellent sanitizer it will literally “dissolve or melt” the ants!
The mistake most people make when attempting to control ants is trying to kill the ones they see. This “control” will never solve your ant infestation because the ants you see are not only sterile but they represent only a small portion of the ant colony. Typically, there will be thousands of additional ants including one or more egg-laying queens hidden somewhere in at least one nest. Eliminating queens and other colony members within those nests is the key to effective ant control. But, where are their nests? Ants build their nests in many different locations both inside and outside of buildings. Ant species nesting inside, or those that nest outside and come inside to forage for food or moisture, tend to be the most challenging ant species for you to control. Like all pests, ants require food and water to survive; by eliminating these basic necessities you can greatly reduce their numbers. Store all food and organic wastes in sealed containers, clean up all kitchen surfaces and spills and empty trash daily. Caulk, seal and/or screen all openings, cracks and crevices.
Ants have many natural enemies – so encourage them to help you control ant infestations. Some kinds of scavenger beetles inhabit ant nests and feed on larvae and pupae. Parasitic mites attack ants in their nests. Braconid and chalcid wasps attack ants in all life stages. Research shows that more than 15 kinds of spiders (including the much-maligned black widow) take a heavy toll of ants in farm fields, so it’s a safe bet that spider webs are spread for ant foragers in your yard as well. In the world’s tropical regions, some mammals specialize in eating ants. Many of these animals are actually called anteaters, and they have long, skinny tongues with which to pull ants into their mouths. Many frogs, arachnids, feathered predators, serpents and other reptiles also like to eat ants. And any ant that falls into a stream, river or pond is likely to get eaten by a fish. Some people even eat ants. One kind of ant that lives in the Amazon rainforest tastes like a lemon drop, and the children who live there eat as many of these ants as they can find!
Ground beetles, antlions, earwigs, humpback flies, parasitic wasps, praying mantids, woodpeckers and the yellow-shafted flicker all dine on ants. You may see woodpeckers also pick up ants in their beaks and crush them on their feathers. What are they doing this for? Crushing the ant’s bodies releases tannic acid which in turn protects the bird from parasites! Flickers and other woodpeckers are especially fond of ants. Most other insect-eating birds include ants in their diet, and huge numbers of ants are snapped up on their mating flights by swallows, chimney swifts, and many other birds, including gulls. To enlist the birds’ help in your fight against ants, provide food, water and shelter for birds on your property. The Author often has thousands of birds at his various feeders throughout the year! Spread Mulch: In your garden, the best overall ant control is a constant layer of organic mulch over all bare soil. Three to four inches of organic mulch such as chopped leaves or wood chips helps to discourage ant colonies in the area. Mulch harbors their natural enemies, such as spiders and shrews. Stop all visible aphid and scale attacks before they begin producing honeydew. Pinch tender tips of plants where aphids cluster and put them in the trash. Scrape scale off leaf undersides with your fingernail. Or spray your plants with diluted Tweetmint Enzyme Cleaner at a rate of one ounce per gallon of water or lightly dust your plants with food-grade DE.
Turfgrass that grows thickly (from 6 to 9 plants per square inch) and has deep roots in healthy soil makes life difficult for all ground-dwelling ants. Dense, deep grassroots in the soil interferes with their ability to dig their elaborate tunnels. Foster dense root growth by periodically aerating your lawn. Properly water, fertilize and overseed for thicker grass!
Catnip, pennyroyal, peppermint, sage, and spearmint are plants that all repel ants. That is one reason why Safe Solutions Tweetmint Enzyme Cleaner contains peppermint. Tansy is often recommended as an ant repellant – but it may only work on sugar-type ants.. Warning: You do not want to plant Tansy anywhere that livestock can feed on it as it is toxic to many animals. Do not let it go to seed either as it may germinate and contaminate livestock fields. Simply sprinkle leaves and flowers from sage, mints or tansy around your home to repel ants. These plants can also be used as a living plant barrier for ant control, bearing in mind that they are very invasive plants.
Vinegar sprays in and around the house foundation will also repel ants. Keep these vinegar sprays away from the soil, plants, and concrete. Lemon juice concentrate can also be used to repel ants: mix 50/50 with water add a shot of dish soap and spray. You could mix equal parts Windex and Ivory Soap and spray ant-infested areas. Lightly dust baby (scented talcum powder), or freshly ground pepper or chalk dust or food-grade DE. Caulk all cracks and crevices in the building to deny the ants access. Be sure to use high-quality pure silicone caulking as these caulks are less likely to shrink or crack once you apply them. Scatter some cucumber peelings as an ant repellant. Cucumbers contain a compound known as “trans-2-nonenal” that repels ants as well as it repels cockroaches! Sticky barriers like Tanglefoot makes an excellent barrier and can be applied to tree trunks to disrupt the ants from climbing on them. Tanglefoot will naturally biodegrade itself towards the end of the season. NOTE: On young trees with smaller trunks or those with thin bark (aspens, birches, etc.) do not apply Tanglefoot directly to the bark surface. Instead, use some thin fabric tied around the trunk with the sticky stuff applied over this. Remove the fabric at the end of the season. A simple band of petroleum jelly will stop most ants immediately.
Fast Acting Natural Ant Killers
Pour (apple cider) vinegar down into the nest.
A sugar-soaked sponge works well for light invasions of ants. Use a large sponge with big holes in it. Soak it in a strong solution of sugar water and place it where you want to catch the ants. Freeze the sponge overnight and then rinse out the sponge every day in warm water;
After the rinsing, you can “rebait” the sponge with sugar water – repeat as needed.
Dust such as food-grade DE can last a long time. Their mode of action is to dehydrate the ants. They work slowly and are easy to apply with a bulb duster into voids and into cracks and/or crevices.
Make strong hot water and hot pepper “tea”. Use the hottest peppers you can find, finely chop them in a food processor, mix with hot water. Carefully pour the “tea” or simply boiling water directly into the active ant nest.
Repeated flooding of the nest every few days using plain water from your garden hose can often be enough to get the ants to relocate. You must be persistent with this method.
Sprinkle Splenda® or aspartame around active ant nests and lightly mist the powder.
Overall Ant Summary
All ants can easily be controlled using a combination of the above information which includes good sanitation, baits, dust, caulking entry points, and eliminating active nests. Your very best control is cleanliness. The ant’s greatest enemies are other ants. Diluted Safe Solutions, Inc.Tweetmint Enzyme Cleaner with peppermint or Bug Mojo sprays can be used both to kill foraging ants and totally destroy ant nests. While the above facts, general biology, and control information will help you prevent and/or control most ant invasions there are also specific control strategies that may have to be used depending on nest location(s) and food preferences of the various species of ants that arrived hungry at your door – the Author would now like to present some more specific information and controls for some of our more common ant invaders. But, do you know exactly which ant is invading your home? Collection Tip – It helps to determine exactly which ant species you have infesting your building before you plan any specific control strategies – so put some foodstuffs in a plastic bag (sealable) and let the ants enter and feed – or find some infested material with foraging ants and place them in the bag – seal the bag and freeze it overnight – in the a.m., take several ant specimens and drop them into a vial of alcohol and then submit them to an expert for identification.
Individual Species – Facts, Identification and Control
Acrobat Ants – Facts, Identification & Control
Their Latin names are: Crematogaster spp.
Acrobat worker ants measure around 1/16” – 1/8 inch long and are easily identified because of a somewhat heart-shaped gaster, especially when viewed from above. The ant has two nodes; it is shiny brown to nearly black in color. The workers appear to have their abdomens attached upside down: flat on top, “bellied” below, and pointed at the tip. When excited they point their abdomens up or even over their heads, hence, their name. Acrobat ants are common over most of the United States. There are many species. Their antennas have 11 segments and their thorax has one pair of dorsal spines. Some species are quick to bite and emit a repulsive odor when disturbed. Acrobat ants feed on sweets and proteins and will tend aphids, scale and mealybugs for honeydew (so bait with honey and 1% – 2% borax or boric acid or food-grade DE) -they will also kill and feed on other insects. They usually establish their colonies in wet wood, e.g., in or under rotting logs, trees and stumps and will even occupy abandoned termite or carpenter ant galleries if the wood is damp enough. They can also carve their own small galleries in wet roof boards, foam insulation, house siding, porch rafters, pillars, sill plates, eaves, soffits, firewood, wall voids or virtually any part of a structure where they find wet wood that does not completely dry out. Like Pavement ants, Acrobat ant colonies occasionally dump their refuse. It consists of tiny wood shavings like those of the Carpenter Ant. The difference between Acrobat Ant and Carpenter Ant shavings is that those of the Acrobat Ant are smaller and always dark stained from fungus. Acrobat ants may forage 100 feet from their nest and may feed inside kitchens; they are opportunistic omnivores that feed day and night; they seem to prefer sweets, high carbohydrate and protein foods. New colonies are formed by swarming flights of reproductives. The workers in large colonies can inflict a painful bite and sting when disturbed.
If you need help with Ant Pest Control in Cooper City, Weston, Davie, or Pembroke Pines, please contact us
Carefully inspect where structural wood has had water leaks and in all foam insulation:
Look at the porch roof near the house, porch floors, siding where gutters overflow, ends of rafters in the shade, sills, and window and door casings where rainwater hits, and carefully inspect older buildings that haven’t been kept up. (Fungus or rot problems are very likely to cause more damage than the ants.)Tags: ant killers, ant pest control, natural ant killers