Ants are incredibly social creatures and this makes them one of the most difficult of household pests to remove. Most species of ants that we come across near our homes are harmless. The most they might inflict on a person is a tiny pinprick of a bite. The problems occur when a house becomes colonized and the insects infest food and living spaces. Children especially can be upset by the arrival of ants in the home interior. However, there are a number of ways to get rid of ants in the home and thereby reduce the nuisance and possible damage they may cause.
Don’t Kill the Ants
One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is to kill a solitary ant inside the home. The reason for this is the resulting smell the carcass gives off. This attracts more ants that arrive and take away the remains. If there happens to be a food remnant nearby, they will then swarm that. The best thing to do if you see an ant on an item of furniture or your floor is to get a piece of paper on which to place the ant and carry it outside.
Seal the Home
Older homes suffer more ant invasions. The simple explanation for this is that as a house ages, increased holes and cracks appear. Ants take advantage of these and love nothing more than a hole in the wall to build a nest in wooden beams. To stop this problem, you will need to seal all small holes and openings particularly those on the ground floor.
Deal with Discarded Food
Leaving food around the home is like opening up a hotel especially for ants. In warm weather, when the doors and windows are left open more frequently, the smell and taste of a left over sandwich, chocolate bar, apple or can of soda will bring the insects marching in. Before you know it, that bowl of mints left on the coffee table will be a swarming mass of ants.
After meals and snacks, place any remaining food in the trash, fridge or cupboards so as to prevent uninvited guests from taking the rest. Use plastic containers and wraps to cover stored food which has already been opened. Make sure to remove any food from areas directly next to doors and windows as well as picking up any bits of rubbish that fall on the floor.
Natural Prevention Methods
There are a number of natural home remedies that can be used to reduce the attractiveness of your house to ants. These include everyday items such as vinegar, mint, cinnamon, peppers, chilli powder and baby powder. In the kitchen, mix vinegar and water together and then add a few drops where ants enter the home. Sprinkle some baby powder or pepper around the front and back doors to prevent the insects from entering whilst these are open. Making a line of chalk will also create an unpleasant barrier.
If all else fails and the ant invasion is somehow defying all the odds, you will need to buy some stronger chemicals to deal with the problem. Such insecticides include permethrin, abamectin, fipronil and orthoboric acid. These will need to be used very carefully and the instructions followed to the letter. Some will require you to find the ant queen’s general location by following the ant trail back to the nest. The insecticides come in various forms ranging from powders and ingestible baits to liquids and sprays.
Ants need not become a chronic problem in your household. Follow the above information and rest easy. No need to worry about creepy crawlies running around on the floors and beds, or consuming your food. If you run into further ant problems, call us today to fix the problem!