How to Win the Battle Against Ants with Pest Control
In this section, you will learn the exact strategies and methods you can use to remove ants from your home and stop them from ever returning.
There are several ways you can do to take action against ants. This can range from the use of natural products to chemicals. Another way to deal with ants is to prevent them from ever coming into your house in the first place. Of course, in worst case scenarios, total eradication is needed and should be done by professional pest control companies. A quick scan through your local yellow pages should help you track down the best ones in our near your locale.
What can you do if you have an ant problem?
The first thing you can do when you have an ant problem or believe that your house is a target for ant infestation is to prevent it from ever becoming a problem in the first place.
Steps to prevent ants from becoming a problem in your home and garden
Scout around your immediate vicinity to check for tell-tale signs of ants or ant colonies. With enough research done, you should be able to identify what type of ant species is present in your home. Knowing the type of ants you have will help you combat the issue faster and easily.
Next, remove any elements near or around your house that would make it ideal for ants to make their home in. For example: the number one thing that attracts insects is a water source. Remove any standing bodies of water near or around your house.
Clear up the clutter in your backyard. Leaves and other rotting materials that are present in your background are surefire ways to encourage ants to build a colony near you or in your garden. Make sure you dispose of your garden’s garbage properly.
Check for access points ants can use to get into your house. Branches or clutter that is touching your house are excellent bridges for these tiny insects to enter your house. Once again, clean up your surroundings!
Lastly, try to check the foundation of your house for any visible cracks and seal these properly to ensure that ants cannot sneak into your house through those passageways.
Steps to take when you’re faced with an ant problem
Perform a thorough inspection in your home
Performing a thorough inspection is the first step you should take when trying to get an ant problem in control.
It’s quite easy to find an ant’s nest. Just follow the trail! Or in this case, the pheromone trail. Ants leave chemical pheromones for their sisters to follow. In this way they are able to lead the rest of the gang to where the food is!
Places to inspect:
Inside your home
- Along the carpet edges
Outside your home
- Check for any visible ant hills in your immediate surroundings
- Check the overgrowth for hidden anthills
- Check the debris and other rotting materials in your garden for hidden ant nests
Follow the trail back to the colony
Ants don’t just wander around without a purpose. They’ll find a food source and bring it straight back to their colony without making any unnecessary stops. Nothing will stop an ant from bringing back food it’s found to the colony. All you have to do is be observant and follow the ants back to where they live.
This strategy is also dependent on the type of ant species you have. Some ants are nocturnal so you may have to get up in the middle of the night to follow these ants. Again, check what species of ants you’re dealing with in order to handle your issue effectively.
Deal with it accordingly
Now that you know what type of ants you have and you know where they live, it is time to deal with the issue at hand. There are several methods you can use in dealing with ants and each has its own efficiency in controlling ant problems.
Special consideration: dealing with anthills
Ant hills are fortified with hardened soil and protected by soldier ants. Approaching one almost immediately sparks off a massive outpouring of ants to defend their territory. This usually happens even if it is an unintended intrusion into the ant colony. Sometimes an innocent passerby just happens to step on the ant colony.
An ant bite from a regular worker ant is painful. Now imagine a bite from a soldier ant! These ants are designed by nature to kill other insects with their massive jaws. Compared to a worker ants jaws, the jaws of a soldier ant is massive!
Natural products you can use for offense and defense against ants
Natural products used in the fight against ants are oftentimes just deterrents. This usually works well for people who only have a mild issue concerning ants.
has a chemical product that when sprayed on the openings in your house stops ants from coming in. This is because the Chemical in lemon juice seems to mess with the ants’ senses. For best results, spray around the openings in your house or where you think they are likely to enter.
If you love cinnamon, then you’re in luck! Why? Because ants hate cinnamon and they will go through great lengths to avoid it. Best used in and around your kitchen and other areas where moistness comes into play.
Using peppermint spray is a great smelling solution against ants. This is perhaps one of the best smelling products people use today against ants!
Borax, water and sugar
This is a very old technique that you could use and the products are pretty easy to come by in your local hardware or grocer.
Boiling water and dish soap
If you’re feeling particularly malevolent and would like a very up close and personal approach towards getting rid of ants, there’s nothing more effective than boiling water and dish soap.
As soon as you locate the ant hill, all you have to do is boil some water, add some dishwashing soap and voila! You have an excellent way of getting rid of ants.
You can spread this substance around the perimeter of your home. As long it doesn’t get wet, the Diatomaceous earth should work to containing ants and making them realize there’s a boundary to where they are able to go through.
Here’s a little factual tidbit: Ants won’t cross a line of chalk. Now this can be your regular run of the mill chalk you find in educational facilities or the processed chalk made by the leading consumer goods producers all over the world
Baking soda and powdered sugar
This is usually used for baiting the ants. Just mix equal parts of baking soda and powdered sugar and you’re good to go. Just make sure you place this in a strategic location and you should be able to see a sharp decrease in ant numbers.
Same with cinnamon, ants totally hate coffee grounds. Using this to mark off an area is highly effective against ants.
Want an extremely safe solution that won’t break the bank and is totally safe to use even with pets and children around? Use cornmeal! Pour some cornmeal near an ant hill or along a marked ant trail and allow the ants to take it back home with them. Although cornmeal is food, ants aren’t able to digest it thereby starving these little critters to death. Safe, cost efficient but may take some time to actually accomplish the goal of getting rid of ants.
Cream of wheat
Cream of wheat! When ants eat cream of wheat it makes them explode. This is another malevolent way to kill them if you’re feeling particularly evil.
Another natural product that you can use that can easily be found in your kitchen is vinegar. All you have to do is pour half a liter to a liter of white vinegar into ant hills and it should drive them away. Of course the initial shock and panic this causes is going to get the ants running around furiously and you should be ready to get out of their way when you use this.
Add some peppermint oil and dishwashing solution for an even more potent mix!
Aside from natural solutions, pest control companies and agricultural companies have started creating chemicals targeted toward the eradication of ants. There are many chemicals you can choose from.
For now look around your home, you just might find other natural products you can use to defend your home against ants which you can share with the rest of the world too!
In this section you will learn about modern methods, weapons, and techniques to remove ants from your home. You will also learn the keys to stop ants from ever entering your home in the first place.
Prevention is the best cure for ants in your home. The easiest ant invasion to deal with is the one that never happens! Here are some of the best tips and strategies to stop ants from ever becoming a nuisance in the first place.
Monitoring and Inspecting
In order to prevent ants from ever becoming a problem in your house and garden, always perform monitoring and inspection schedules.
- Regularly inspect for ants or their entry points.
- Monitor attractive food sources or moist areas. This includes the entirety of your property. That means kitchens, bathrooms, offices and bedrooms should be checked. Sinks, pipes, cupboards, and electrical wires are also key areas to check.
- Look for large trails or signs of ants in your immediate vicinity. Follow the trails.
Exclusion and Sanitation
- Caulk cracks as well as crevices near foundations and other sites that offer entry from outside.
- Look for obvious entry points.
- As a preventive measure, apply professional ant control products in between your walls before you seal them up.
Reduce the attractiveness of your home to ants
- Ants love cracks and crevices especially if they’re near food storage and preparation areas. Make sure you take care of these tiny cracks and crevices immediately to reduce the risk of ants taking up residence there.
- Store enticing food items properly. Use air tight containers to reduce the scent of these food items from inviting these unwanted guests over. These include: sugar, honey, syrup and pet food in sealed containers previously washed to remove residues that may have remained in the outer surfaces.
- Get rid of empty soda bottles if you’re not going to use them. Or at the very least, clean them up as any residue from the drinks once stored in their might still attract ants.
- Thoroughly clean up food spills and grease. A quick wipe over with a dishrag soaked in dishwashing liquid should do the trick!
- And last but not the least: Take the garbage out regularly and change your liners frequently.
Go on the offensive
- Always be on the lookout for potential nesting sites for ants.
- Indoor potted plants are a good example of possible nesting sites for ants. If you find any ants in these potted plants, immediately remove the containers from your home. Place the pots in a solution of insecticidal soap mixed with water at a ratio of 1 to 2 tbsp. of insecticidal soap for each quart of water. Make sure that you totally submerge the pots so that the soil surface is covered by the water & soap solution.
The use of ant baits is regarded as the most efficient way to manage ant infestations all over the world today. Ant baits are mixed materials targeted at attracting worker ants in search for food. These baits are laced with insecticides and often come with a carbohydrate or protein compound.
The lead forager ants then take a portion of the bait and relay a message to other worker ants to assist in bringing the whole bait back to the colony. These food particles are then passed on from one ant to another and into their food storage area where it will further contaminate the rest of the food in there. Over time, the ant bait gets used to feed other colony members.
One key thing that all ant baits should have is a slow acting mechanism to maximize its efficiency. Although others may not totally agree with this, it shows that by using a slower acting mechanism, you may not have outright results there and then but in the long run, a single bait can effectively wipe out a colony.
As studies show, ant baits are becoming more popular than commercial ant sprays for there long term effect on ant management.
Refillable Bait Stations
One way that you can effectively manage an ant infestation is to set up ant baits. There are several products out there in the market today that you can use as ant baits. Look for borate based baits as these are the ones noted to have the highest efficiency in killing off ants.
Look for ant baits that have a lower percentage of the active ingredient as this will allow foraging ants to bring back the borate product back to the colony. Now some may debate that this is not the way to go as it is a very slow process to kill ants. Think about it this way: a high concentrate will kill foraging ants almost immediately. But that doesn’t take care of the problem that there are probably more than a thousand ready to take the place of one fallen ant.
A lower concentrate is going to be a slow solution but it will allow for the borate product to be ingested not only by the worker ants but possibly the queen ant too.
For maximum efficiency try to install at least one dispenser around each side of the house and also along ant trails. Make sure that the bait stations are in well shaded area as extreme exposure to sunlight may dilute the potency of the chemical. And lastly, regularly check and refill these stations as necessary.
Common chemicals used in the fight against ants are:
- Avermectin B (abamectin)
- Borate-based products2
Although these chemicals are targeted in the control of ants, their effectiveness may vary according to ant species and product used.
Borate products may likewise include the active ingredients below:
- disodium octaborate tetrahydrate
- borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate)
- orthoboric acid.
Chemicals may only be obtainable for professional use only. You can’t blame these companies for doing that as these chemicals are potentially harmful to both humans and the environment if improperly used.
Indoor Insecticide Treatments
Note: although there are insecticides that can be used indoors, it is highly advised to leave the application of these chemical agents in the hands of professional pest control companies.
What to do instead of spraying insecticide indoors:
- Thoroughly wash areas where ants are observed. Sponging and/ or mopping these areas remove the scent trails dropped by foraging ants and will leave other ants “blind” as to where to go. Also do this on entry points such as windows and doors.
- Use a vacuum to physically remove ants from target areas.
- Use plant-based oils like peppermint, cloves, etcetera instead of chemicals.
Outdoor Insecticide Treatments
For outdoor insecticide treatments, the most common practice to keep ants from getting indoors is to treat the areas around the foundation with residual sprays.
Chemicals used for this purpose include:
- Pyrethroids bifenthrin
Other more potent chemicals are only available to professional pest control management companies. Shop around for one if you want a better and more permanent solution. A good company will also offer you preventive maintenance on a monthly basis so be on the lookout for that package!
You can also use ant baits as a safe and effective DIY ant management for outdoor purposes. If you combine this with the preventive steps mentioned in the previous section, this has the highest probability of totally eliminating unwanted pests in your immediate vicinity.
Special considerations for carpenter ants
As mentioned, carpenter ants are a class above the other ants so it should go without saying that carpenter ants should be treated differently.
As a last resort, treating the nest should be the ultimate move for you. But, you have to do this efficiently; otherwise these ants will just disperse and regroup somewhere else.
For carpenter ants, use ant baits. Carpenter Ants are nocturnal and most active in the evening. Follow their trails and place your traps and baits accordingly for maximum efficiency.
The next step should be to locate their nest and treat the issue directly by pouring a chemical solution into the hole or allowing these ants to bring in chemicals to kill each and every last one through ingestion of chemicals.
Also, use non-repellent ant spray to reduce the risk of scattering.
And to ensure they never ever come back or they never ever become a problem in the first place, try to regularly clean your surroundings. Paint any exposed wood or dispose water damaged ones. Remove dead tree stumps. And get rid of decomposing material in your immediate surroundings.