Ants: small in size but mighty in number. Ants outnumber humans 140,000 to one. Some species can lift 100 times their body weight. And a whopping 12,000 species inhabit every corner of the Earth, excluding only Antarctica. While these numbers are impressive, nothing speaks to their masses more than an invasion into your home.
Late Spring and early Summer are the seasons in which ants seem to prove their abundance. This is when they’ll start building their mounds and begin hunting for food. And unfortunately, your yard is prime real estate, and your home is stocked with their favorite snacks. So, be sure to protect these vulnerable targets!
An ant here and there is harmless. But lines of them, leading to your kitchen is enough to make anyone squirm. So, wondering how to get rid of ants? Take these eight preventative measures to stop them in their tracks:
Prevention and How to Get Rid of Ants:
Keep a Lookout
Take note of any sighting of a scout ant. Appropriately named, these little guys are the first to scope out a new area. They’re searching for food for an entire colony. And if successful, they’ll tell everyone back home to come and dig in. If you see one, you can expect more to follow and should take necessary measures to prevent an invasion.
Seal Off All Entryways
Ants are tiny and don’t require an open door and a welcome mat to find their way inside. So, you’ll need to close up any crack or hole leading to the exterior of your home. Use materials like silicone caulk, putty, glue, or plaster for effective sealants. For a more temporary fix, you can use petroleum jelly or poster tack. Only use these, however, until you find a more permanent solution.
We don’t mean to nag, but this is one of the most important steps! Ants are looking for one thing: food. So, don’t entice them with a sticky counter, cookie crumbs, or spilled leftovers! Make sure that all surfaces in and around your home are free of food. You can also take precautions by keeping that pile of dirty dishes at bay and by sweeping and vacuuming regularly. Don’t serve up an ant buffet this summer!
Keep Food Stored Away
Store your food in sealed containers. For ants, every crumb is like a pie cooling in the windowsill. So, don’t tempt these hungry critters. Consider all sources of either human or pet food, including pet food bowls left out on the floor
Ant trails: proof that the ants really do go marching on…straight into your home. And once you spot them, you’ll want to remove them right away! Identify the origins of their trail and eliminate the entire succession. A simple application of vinegar and water all along the length of the line is an easy way to disrupt their mission. It may, however, cause them to merely go somewhere else, so look out for diversions in other directions.
Control the colony. Upon noticing a scout ant, begin setting up bait traps. These may initially attract more ants but are quick to stop an invasion. They work by exposing the ants to toxins that are then brought back to their mound. This method will wipe out the entire colony, including its queen!
The ants coming into your home are living in your yard. And to effectively eliminate them, you’ll want to start at the source. Make sure to exterminate their mound and treat the surrounding areas.
Spray an ant barrier around your home. Stop the problem before it begins with insecticide. You can find these products at your local hardware store. However, this is best accomplished by a professional exterminator.
Remove Sources of Water
It’s not just food that these little critters are after. Water is also a common reason for an ant invasion, especially if your home is located in a dry climate area, like the Inland Empire. To prevent a water-motivated ant attack in your home, check for any leaking faucets or sprinkler heads, and get rid of any standing water. This is an important step in preventing all sorts of bugs.
Don’t Squash Them!
No, we’re not ant activists over here. But, as much as you might want to, avoid squishing the ants. A smashed ant will release a scent called oleic acid, which attracts other ants nearby to come after their fallen comrade. It could also be released as a word of warning and cause the ants to scatter all around your home.
Natural Ant Remedies at Home
You may be wondering how to get rid of ants with more natural remedies. For a low cost and just a few everyday supplies, you can defend your house from an ant invasion. Here are some ant control remedies you might try before using more harsh insecticides:
- Sugar and Borax– While the effects aren’t immediate, this is one of the more effective methods of killing ants. Simply mix half a cup of sugar with one and a half tablespoons of borax and warm water. Soak some cotton balls in the solution and place it near the ant trails where the ants will be attracted to the sugar. Then, these infected ants will bring the borax back to their colony, gradually killing the whole group.
- Food grade diatomaceous Earth: This is one of the most effective ways of dealing with not only ants but all pests with an exoskeleton, including fleas and roaches as well. Place this product near points of entry and any trails of ants that you see.
- Vinegar sprayed near entry points. Ants are highly dependent on their sense of smell for directions. So applying vinegar to points of access will send them in the opposite direction. We recommend making a spray solution with equal parts of water and white or apple cider vinegar. Cinnamon is another great option that works in the same way if you prefer not to use vinegar.
A solo ant is far from a threat. It’s tiny, non-threatening, and even kinda cute…maybe? But in large numbers, these insects will dominate your home, diminishing any sense of cleanliness or comfortability. In these upcoming months, as temperatures rise, be sure to stop them in their tracks and know how to get rid of ants should they invade! And if your preventative tactics don’t measure up, be sure to call on us at Pete’s Termite and Pest Control. We are prepared to defend your home from such mass quantities of critters!