Hardly anyone can ignore the presence of ants in their home. They’re more than just an eyesore. If you let them, they can run you out of your home by building their colonies and, slowly but surely, destroying everything in their path.
Preventing ants from entering or getting rid of them (if they’ve already infested your home) isn’t a huge task. If you have this problem, you definitely have to do something about it. Sometimes, the thought of all the harmful chemicals that would be involved discourages people from calling an exterminator.
The point here is that there are different methods of permanently getting rid of ants without calling an ant exterminator.
So, rest easy. Here are some tips to help you out.
Infographic: The Best Ways to Get Rid of Ants
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Know Your Enemy
It’s important to find out what species of ant you’re dealing with. Since some species of ants are more difficult to get rid of than others, you need to know how they nest and how they move. If you, on your own, can’t identify your ant, take pictures and ask around, even online, for someone to help you out.
By doing this, you can also learn various means of handling these ants from these experts. Finding out how they nest will help you search for and find possible entry points they could be using to get rid of them for good.
Destroy Their Colonies
When you see ants, especially in your home, your first instinct might be to kill them by squishing them. That’s probably the wrong move.
When you see ants come out in small groups, these are usually the scouts looking for food or searching for places to establish new colonies. Ants need to change their living areas in different seasons. Their food preferences also change with the seasons.
Set bait in those places where you have seen ants over and again. Ant baits come in packages for both sweet-eating and grease-eating ants, so when you set them, expect to see more ants. These baits are meant to draw them out.
Don’t step on the ants. Let them come. The more of them carry the poisoned bait back to their colonies, the more of them will eat it, including their queen. This will achieve your goal faster and more efficiently than killing them as you see them. Killing them only scares them away.
Hide Bait in Easy-To-Reach Areas
Apart from placing bait in places where you have seen ants, you should also put them in easily accessible places. Ants climb when looking for food, so don’t only place bait on the floor. You should also place it on walls and other vertical surfaces.
This will speed up the elimination process, especially as the ants come out to search for food.
Maintain a Clean Environment
Keeping your house and yard clean is very important. If you have leftover food and crumbs around, these act as an invitation for rodents and pests to enter your home, including ants. There’s no need to invite pests in unnecessarily. Some of them aren’t easy to get rid of.
This is why it’s very important to regularly clean your house, getting rid of trash and crumbs and refrigerating leftover food. Doing so will help keep the ants away.
Erase Trails Completely
Ants have a scent, which varies between species. When they move, they leave their unique scent behind and this only gets stronger when you squish them. Killing ants will attract more of their kind into your home.
Simply cleaning up after them won’t get rid of that smell. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and use this to clean your house. Not only will this take away the scent, but it will also discourage ants from coming into your house in the first place.
However, vinegar won’t get rid of ants that have already built nests in your house. In this case, you’d have to set out bait for them.
Dig Up the Nest
Sometimes, even if you put out bait and keep your house clean, you might still find yourself with an ant infestation. If you notice this happening, you may need to find out if there are nests near your house or even inside it. Find the nest and take the right steps to destroy it permanently. This is one of the surest methods of ant control.
This is also another reason why it’s important to know what type of ant you’re dealing with. Researching its nesting habits is crucial to finding the nest and successfully removing it. If you don’t destroy the nest, every other effort may be futile. The nest can simply keep producing ants to replace those that you get rid of.
Find Entry Points and Spray Them
Getting rid of ants, their nests, and their colonies is one thing, but keeping them out is a completely different thing. You must identify any entrances they could possibly be using to get in. Sometimes, there won’t be any nests in your house, but the ants might find a good place for their queen to breed, come in, and start building.
However, this won’t happen if you discover these entry points in time. You can close them off by spraying them with insecticides (that are formulated for indoor use). You may need to do this repeatedly before the ants disappear for good.
Create a Barrier Around Your Yard
When you’ve finished getting rid of all ants inside your house, you can move on to your yard to be doubly sure. Use chemicals labeled for outdoor use to spray your lawn, foundation, and surroundings. You may need to do this for a while before you can be sure that all ants are gone.
Make sure you use solutions that won’t harm your lawn over time or be harmful to people. There are now ant killers on the market that are specially made for this purpose, so it would be a good idea to use one of these.
Get Rid of All Hiding Places
- Don’t keep wood stacked close to your home or even in your home. This is one of the reasons why sheds were invented. Ants love camping out in these kinds of places. If you stack wood, over time, not only will you get ants, you may also get termites.
- Try to trim your lawn and brushes regularly, but don’t leave bald patches. Anthills thrive in bald patches.
- Cut back tree branches so that they don’t touch your windows or any opening to your house. Ants could use these branches and leaves to get in.
- Avoid leaving dry leaves around your yard, too. Burn them or dispose of them properly because ants find it easy to live and breed under dry leaves.
Destroy these potential havens before the ants can get to them!