Ants. They seem to be ubiquitous. They appear in every part of the home in singles, pairs and columns marching with impunity across any surface, horizontal and vertical. Ants in the garden or in flowerbeds don’t seem that objectionable to most but ants in the home definitely are. There are several varieties of ants in the United States. All but carpenter ants respond to the same or similar treatments. Carpenter ants usually require professional treatment. There are a number of techniques that are useful for deterring and even eliminating ants.
Eliminate their food sources
- Ant colonies send out scouts to search for food and water. They return to the colony by way of a scent trail and lead the rest of the colony once again to the food and water.
- Eliminate all sources of food by maintaining a clean kitchen, pantry and any other areas of the home where food is found.
- Place pet food containers in a larger container of water to deter the ants from foraging on pet food.
- Be aware that ants also need water so wipe up spills promptly.
- Keep bathroom and laundry room floors clean and dry.
Destroy scent trails
- If you can identify the scout ant scent trails, simply eliminate them with hot soapy water.
- You can also disturb the scent trail by regularly raking up all yard waste, e.g., leaves, grass clippings, etc.
Block their entrance into the home
- Examine the interior and exterior of your home to find as many access points as you can. Use a flashlight and check the crawlspace and stem walls thoroughly for the smallest cracks or holes.
- Seal each access point with a good quality caulk. Silicone caulk is a permanent product whereas acrylic latex caulks like painter’s caulk may need to be replaced from time to time.
- You can use diatomaceous earth around your home to deter the ants. They will not cross it.
- Boric acid also works well to discourage ants.
- Boiling water will kill the ants too, if you can find their colony.
- Another natural means of elimination is vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will kill the ants on contact. Simply pour the vinegar straight out of the bottle onto a column of ants. Vinegar will also work well to eliminate the scout ants’ scent trail.
- Since ants are particularly fond of honeydew left behind by other insects, if you can eliminate those insects, such as aphids, you can further rob the ants of a favorite food source.
Eliminating ants is typically not a one-time application. It takes diligence, attention to detail and consistent efforts to deter ants and destroy ant colonies in your property.
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