Ants are everywhere — including the places we don’t want them. They’re small and quick and can easily crawl through all the cracks and crevices in your home to enter and cause you and your family frustration. Common house ant varieties, such as odorous ants, Argentine ants, or pharaoh ants are the most likely culprits to infest your home during the warm months, although other types can occasionally slip in. Seeing ants in your home is certainly irritating, but fortunately, they can be easily eliminated by a professional, or on your own with materials already in your home or easy to obtain. Consider the facts and solutions to properly prevent ants.
While most ants are relatively harmless, they can be a nuisance when in homes or buildings. They hunt for food and are often found on kitchen surfaces or in cabinets. You may find many of these ants crawling on your belongings or even yourself, and their presence can make it look like your home is not clean. Some types of ants, such as fire ants and carpenter ants pose additional risks. Fire ants can sting people and animals, and carpenter ants, which nest in wood, can damage the structure of a building. If you ignore an ant problem, it will likely get worse as the ants reproduce and the colony grows. Below are some methods to prevent and treat an ant infestation.
Keep your home clean: The best way to prevent ants from entering your home in the first place is to keep the space clean. Ants are attracted to sweets and other food and often raid kitchens to find these items. Thoroughly cleaning surfaces and sealing food tightly will prevent ants from sniffing it out and could prevent them from entering altogether.
Identify the type of ants: If you do have ants in your home, identifying the type is crucial to treating them. Most house ants are about ⅛” to ¼” long. Ants larger than ⅜” are likely carpenter ants. House ants can be terminated through a few simple methods, but getting rid of carpenter ants is a little more challenging. Because carpenter ants do not carry the bait back to their nests, baited methods will not work. Carpenter ants must be killed at the source of their nests, usually with a substance called Diatomaceous Earth.
Find the source: In order to effectively rid your home of ants, you should find out where they are coming in so you can use various methods of blocking the area and preventing them from coming in any further. Killing ants as you see them is not recommended because they leave behind a pheromone trail as they travel that encourages other ants to follow the same path. You can wash the areas you see ants down with soap and water or vinegar to eliminate the pheromone trail, but it is best to kill ants at the source of their colony to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Borax: Borax is very effective in killing house ants. You can make homemade traps by filling small shallow containers with borax and powdered sugar. The ants will bring the bait back to their colony and feed it to other ants, essentially poisoning them. You can also purchase pre-made borax ant traps. If you are using borax, it is better to not kill any ants you see. The more ants find the traps and bring the bait back to their colony, the faster the colony will die.
Peppermint Essential Oil: The pungent scent of peppermint could deter ants from entering your home. Place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball near the ants’ entry point and where they are crawling around to keep them away.
Cinnamon: Likewise, the smell of cinnamon can also be unpleasant to ants. Sprinkle a little of the spice near ant entry points.
Baby Powder: Because ants are so small, they have issues getting a footing on certain powdery surfaces. Sprinkle baby powder around the perimeter of your home to prevent ants from entering. Flour may have a similar effect, and even a barrier drawn with chalk has been known to work.
Vaseline: Similarly, ants have a hard time crossing sticky surfaces, so applying a thin layer of vaseline or petroleum jelly to the cracks of windows, door, or any other potential entry points could prevent them from entering.
While these solutions are effective, it can often be difficult to find the source of an ant infestation or thoroughly eliminate an entire colony.
If you are having ant issues, reach out to Richie the Bug Man at Boz Pest Control today for the best option to ensure your problem is solved effectively and only invited guests are able to enter your home.