Understanding The Enemy
Although it can be unpleasant to find your home infested with ants, it is helpful to remember that most of them do not mean any harm by invading your space. Like all wild creatures, they are simply looking for food.
They are actually among the most intelligent, hard-working, and well-organized of all insect species, and it is really their high level of organization that accounts for their invasion of your house. Once their scouts discover a source of food – which may be in your kitchen – they quickly communicate the news of this to the rest of the colony, so that teams can be deployed to convey the food to the nest as efficiently as possible.
In addition, one of the complicating factors in understanding how to deal with ant infestation is that there are at least 40 common species that can be found in the USA, as well as many less common ones.
Of these, the most likely species to be found in your home include the fire ant, the carpenter ant, the pavement ant, the pharaoh ant, the little ant, and the Argentine ant. It is often necessary to find different methods to deal with each of these different species.
It is Also Important Not to Confuse Ants with Termites
Termites actually do a lot more damage to your property than ants do – in fact, most ants do very little damage at all, whereas termites can eat away at your joists and furniture. Wingless ants and termites are not really easily confused – a termite is light-colored and has a soft body, whereas a worker ant has a hard shell and a darker color. It is easier to confuse winged varieties, but a winged termite has two body segments while an ant has three.
Campaign On Several Fronts
Although the different species of ant may require specific approaches, there are overall strategies of ant control that apply to most species. The campaign has to be fought on several fronts because just dealing with a single aspect of the problem will not be effective.
In particular, the measures have to include both reactive and proactive actions. The reactive steps must involve not only dealing with the ants actually in your house but finding the source and dismantling that as well. You must then be proactive, by taking steps to prevent ants from entering your property again.
Identify The Source
To find where your invading forces are coming from, you need to look around your property, inside and outside, to spot trails of ants moving in a straight line. These are likely to team carrying food to the colony, and it should be possible to follow the trail to the site of the nest, and see where they enter.
If it is difficult to tell whether they are carrying food, sprinkle a few fine crumbs around the area where they are coming from. If they start carrying the crumbs, it will be easier to see. The routes they are following are the scent trails that were put down by the initial scouts, to guide the rest of the workers to the source of the food.
How To Eliminate The Source
In order to eliminate the source of the invasion, you can either remove the scent trails, as well as seal off all sources of food, or you can exterminate the entire colony.
The best way to remove a scent trail is to fill a spray bottle with vinegar, make sure the bottle is completely clean inside, and spray the vinegar along the trail. This works very effectively because vinegar completely disorients the ants and disrupts their sense of smell. Check out other articles on this site about how to get rid of ants with vinegar.
Another effective method of removing the scent trail is to make a paste of baking soda and water and scrub it along the trail. Sprinkling baking soda dry also works. Spreading cinnamon along the trail is also effective, as cinnamon is a powerful ant repellent.
Useful to know
Removing the scent trail, in addition to cutting off sources of food, may be sufficient to stop the invasion. However, if you are determined to exterminate the entire colony, do not under any circumstances spray the nest with insecticide, as this will simply cause the colony to move somewhere else.
If you are attacking the colony, do not remove the scent trails. Instead, you need to buy commercial ant bait and put it down around the areas where the ants have been finding their food. You can use bait stations, or put it in bottle tops. The idea is that the ants will carry the poisoned bait back to the colony.
The bait comes in two main varieties – sugary bait, and protein bait. Some ants prefer one and some prefer the other, so you have to experiment to see which they are feeding on, and if they ignore one, substitute the other.
Once you have found the right type, keep replenishing it until the number of ants returning to it has gone down to a few or none. This can take about two weeks. Have a look at the other articles on this site about how to get rid of ants in your house.
Eliminating The Supply
At the same time as you are doing this, you have to deal with the food supply. Remember that an ant is much smaller than you, so an insignificant speck for you may be a good lunch for an ant. The only way to keep ants out of your kitchen is to keep everywhere clinically clean.
- Store all food in jars with sealing gaskets, or in plastic containers
- Never leave any food in bags that can be accessed easily, or in the open
- Scrub your toaster after every use, to ensure no crumbs remain
- Clean all kitchen surfaces with soap, preferably daily but at least once a week.
- Wash the kitchen floor frequently
- Ensure the trash can has a lid that fits tightly and is lined with trash liner bags
Barricade Your Home
Having made your kitchen ant-proof, your next step is to ensure your whole house is barricaded against invaders:
- Treat all surfaces inside with a powerful insecticide. This will kill ants that walk over it, but also act as a repellent to the rest.
- Outside the house, sprinkle granules of insecticide over flowerbeds, and over areas of gravel or sand, and water them in. These will release insecticides down into the ground, to act as a barrier to stop ants from burrowing into your house.
- Identify possible entry points including windows, doors, downpipes, and vents, and spray insecticide around them.
Battling With The Invaders
The other side of the problem of how to get rid of ants in your house is dealing with those that are actually there. If they are present in big battalions, the easiest method is generally to spray them with soapy water from a spray bottle (but not before you have identified the scent trails).
This will kill some, and encourage many to leave in a hurry. However, different species require different methods.
· Pavement ants are large black ants that come through cracks in the foundations. Liquid ant baits are the most effective remedy.
· Pharaoh ants are one of the most persistent and may need professional assistance. An effective treatment is sweet bait with boric acid.
· Carpenter ants have wings, and if you do not see them flying around, you can hear them scurrying behind the woodwork – they can do damage there. Common household insecticides are usually effective here.
· Fire ants are red and will sting you – these can be the greatest challenge. The best remedy is a two-stage treatment: first, scatter a bait insecticide over the affected area, then after a few weeks use an organic liquid insecticide, which must be applied generously and very thoroughly.
· Little ants are most likely to be the culprits if you find a major invasion when you get up in the morning. They are most effectively dealt with by using liquid bait.
· Argentina ants – these are very hungry creatures, so prevention, by depriving them of food, is better than cure in this instance.
When you are dealing with the question of how to get rid of ants, you need to consider whether ant control is preferable to total elimination.
Remember that if all human food is removed, they will eat the tiny specks that would otherwise be food for beetles and roaches.
In addition, they will eat termites, larvae, and eggs of fleas and flies, and bedbugs, so they do in fact help you keep your home clean and hygienic. However, if you are determined to exterminate them totally, remember that half measures are no good – only the complete all-around treatment on all fronts will succeed.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Ants
Home remedies to get rid of ants are both easy and more cost-effective than commercial remedies. The methods are simple and most won’t harm anything but the ants.
Borax or Boric Acid
Borax and boric acid are poisonous to ants. They damage the digestive systems and exoskeletons. Borax can be mixed with syrup, jelly, or peanut butter and placed near the colony. For boric acid, a mixture of approximately 1 cup of water, 2 cups of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of boric acid should be placed near the colony. After the colony dies, it is important to remove the bait. If you don’t, another colony could be attracted to it.
Vinegar will remove the scent trails left by ants and ants generally dislike the smell. Washing down any cupboards and counters where ants have been spotted with deter further incursions. Vinegar is also better for cleaning than commercial products if you’re worried about harmful chemicals. More about vinegar you can read at the end of the article.
Talcum powder is a natural ant deterrent. It can be found in chalk, baby powder, or by itself. Simply draw a line of chalk across where ants could or are entering the home. Baby powder or talcum powder should be sprinkled around the area. It’s also possible to vacuum up ants with talcum powder and kill them that way. get rid of ants pic
Herbs and Spices to Get Rid of Ants
The following list of herbs and spices have scents that naturally deter ants in the wild and work just as well in your home. These herbs and spices should be sprinkled around entrances and the foundation of your home. Note that they are temporary measures to get rid of ants, not permanent ones.
- Chili Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Bay Leaves
Coffee grounds contain scents that help repel and get rid of ants. They can be sprinkled in gardens and around the foundation of your home.
Sealing your home with caulk keeps ants out and saves money on your energy bill. Use caulk around windows, doors, and any cracks where ants could get in.
Keeping your home clean is essential in keeping away and getting rid of ants. This means cleaning counters, floors, sinks, drains and vacuuming carpeted areas. Having a regular cleaning regimen will help keep all of these areas clean and ant free.
As you can see, home remedies to get rid of ants are very simple and they cost much less than an exterminator or moving to getaway.
How to Get Rid of Ants with Vinegar
If you have ever wondered how to get rid of ants in your house, this information will provide you with proven and effective methods to help you rid your home of these insects.
Ants are a very common species, in fact, they are perhaps the most common pest that is found in human homes. In addition, they can be quite difficult to get rid of. Although they are a bother, most of them are quite harmless. They are a highly intelligent species and the reason they have found their way into your home is that the scout, was dispatched to look for food. Your kitchen, which is an abundant food source, just happened to be the place that they discovered. The scout then relays this information to the rest of the colony and then teams of ants are deployed to bring food back to the nest.
It is important to understand that there are 40 different species of ant and it may be important to understand which ant(s) are in your home so that you can effectively know how to get rid of ants.
Although there are so many different types of ants that may require specific approaches, there are general strategies that can be employed in order to get rid of most species of ants. You must first determine where the ants are coming from. Look all around your home to find trails, this will be ants moving in a straight line.
Follow the trail, and more often than not, they will lead you to the nest. However, if finding the source is proving difficult, you can sprinkle food crumbs around the areas that they are coming from. The ants will undoubtedly pick up the scent of the food and you may be able to see them a lot better.
Getting Rid of the Scent Trail
Once you have determined where the source or the nest is, you can do one of two things to get rid of the ants:
- The first involves removing the scent trail. This is a form of ant control. The scent trail is an identifier to the team of ants to know where to go in order to get the food. You can get rid of this trail by using vinegar. Get a clean bottle and spray the vinegar along the trail. This is a very effective means of controlling the ant population in your home. Vinegar will disrupt their sense of smell and will completely disorient the ant.
- In addition, you must also cut off their food source. This means cleaning up your kitchen, storing food in air-tight containers, and making sure that your refrigerator is properly sealed. This method will encourage the ants to seek a new food source.
In addition to using vinegar to control ants, you also have the option of exterminating the entire colony. Bait traps are an effective means of poisoning the colony. If you choose this method, it is not necessary to remove the scent trail. As a matter of fact, you want the trail to remain intact so that the ants will take the poisoned bait back to the colony. This is how to get rid of ants with vinegar.