Ants are unwelcome guests at picnics and backyard barbecues, but even more so when they enter our homes. Although most species are beneficial, they become a nuisance once inside. And there are some types of harmful ants—some species sting, while others can cause structural damage.
The Uninvited Guests
Ants are highly social insects that travel in large colonies. Usually, one scout ant enters the home first, in search of food, water, and comfortable living quarters for the entire colony. The scout then creates a scented trail so that the extended family can follow suit. Once established in your home, these pests are hard to get rid of permanently. Here are some ways you can get rid of ants naturally.
Depending on the species, ants range in colors from tan to reddish brown to black. Their bodies are segmented into three parts and have a super tough exoskeleton. Ants may be small, but they are mighty. These industrious insects can lift 20 times their own body weight! Although there are more than 12,000 species of ants around the world, the most common types we find in our homes are pavement ants, odorous house ants, and the larger carpenter ants. Once you know what type of pests you have, it’s easier to find a solution.
How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally
If you see a line of ants making its way through the house, follow it to determine its origination point. Then create a barrier immediately. This can be done using baby powder, petroleum jelly, or completely sealing the opening.
Now it’s time to deal with the steady parade already inside. Vacuuming up the invading insects is easy, but it’s necessary to add talc or cornstarch to the vacuum cleaner bag to smother them. Otherwise, they just set up shop somewhere else in your home. The scout’s scented trail still remains, so use hot soapy water or a cleaning solution to wash it away. This prevents ants on the outside from picking up the scent.
Most ants take food back to the queen in the nest, so an easy way to get rid of the entire colony is to put out some tasty poison in a homemade bait and let the worker ants do their job. They will feed on the poison, take some back to the queen, and she’ll distribute it among the colony. A bait is also a good way to draw out and get rid of ants that have already infiltrated cabinets and pantries.
Make Your Own Bait
Making a bait from simple ingredients you have on hand at home is a good way to get rid of ants naturally.
Combine a couple tablespoons of borax or boric acid powder with a cup of water and two cups of sugar. Put this potent mixture into bottle caps or other small containers. If you are concerned about children or pets coming in contact with the substance, use a small lidded jar and poke holes in the lid. You can even sweeten the deal by putting a smear of honey or jelly on the outside of the jar to make certain your new-found friends find it.
No one taking the bait? Try taking the same approach with peanut butter. This should appeal to any ants that don’t have a sweet tooth.
Other substances that ants find distasteful are vinegar, peppermint oil, pepper, and cinnamon. To use the first two, soak a cotton ball in the liquid and put them in jars with pierced lids. Sprinkle pepper, cinnamon, or talc around areas of entry like window sills, doors, cracks, and crevices to deter the pests.
Ant Invasion Prevention
Once you get rid of ants that have invaded your home, there are steps to take to keep them out.
Ants are tiny and enter through the smallest openings in window sills, crevices in floors, or cracks in the walls or foundation. Seal up points of entry by caulking these areas.
Ants are particularly drawn to sweets or sugar, but also like proteins and grease. Be sure to put away any leftovers, sealing them in airtight containers. Wipe counters and vacuum often, because these pests feed on even the tiniest food morsels or crumbs that may not even be noticeable to the naked eye.
Outside, create a buffer between the house and bushes, piles of firewood, overhanging tree branches, and other foliage. These create an easy way for pests to access your home.
Sometimes these methods are not enough, especially in the case of the carpenter ant, which can cause structural damage. When you are uncertain of the point of entry, location of the nest, or how to eliminate them for good, call in a specialist. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care at [phone] and we’ll rid your home of any pests properly and permanently.