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The sight of a few ants every now and then may not be something to be concerned about but when they frequently start to appear then we might have a problem.
Ants can be annoying pests, especially if they decide to make your home, their home. So maybe the occasional sighting of ants isn’t something to overlook because it could be the start of an infestation.
So what do you do to ensure that your home is free of these tiny but destructive creatures? Luckily there are a number of ways, some even natural methods, that you can use to get rid of ants permanently from your home, both indoors and outdoors.
Here we are going to discuss ways in which you can prevent ants from invading your home in the first place in Step 1, but if you feel that you already have ant-problems then check out Step 2 where we talk about how to kill ants and tackle the infestation.
How to Prevent Ants
1. Clean your kitchen after every meal
Ants generally enter homes in search of food and even the tiniest bit of food, like a drop of juice or crumble of cake can lure them in. In this case you must ensure that your kitchen is always clean and there are no traces of food lying on the floors or counters.
By wiping counters and tables after each meal will remove any signs of food and also leave nothing for the ants to feed on. Make sure to also sweep and mop the floors and pay extra attention to cracks, crevices and corners as these places can trap food.
2. Using airtight containers to store food
There are two benefits to using air tight containers to store food, one- they keep the food fresh and in a great condition and two- they keep ants and other bugs away. Air tight containers also keep the scent of the contents sealed so there is nothing to attract from outside. You can easily purchase these containers from your local stores which makes following this step no hassle at all.
3. Seal trash bins
So you have stored all your food in air tight containers and swept and mopped up the floors, and threw all the garbage in the trash bins. Sounds good, but that’s not enough. Ants will not care whether the food is on the floor or in the trash bin, if they can sense food in your trash bin then that’s exactly where they will go.
So in order to avoid seeing a trail of ants going in and out of your trash bin, you need to seal all the bins in your home properly. Use garbage bags inside the bins for added protection and invest in bins that come with tight lids.
4. Address moist areas
Another very important step in keeping your home clean and safe from ants and other bugs is to keep a check on moist areas. Try to keep all areas of the house dry, especially in the kitchen where there is a higher chance of ants visiting. Even if you don’t see any trials yet, it won’t be long before these moist areas attract ants.
5. Vacuum up ants
If you decide to use borax or diatomaceous earth on ants, then be ready to vacuum up all the ants as soon as you can. Sometimes you can also wipe them off but using a vacuum cleaner will get the job done faster (not to mention that it is also a more hygienic way).
However, do not just leave the ants inside the vacuum cleaner because if the ants are not dead by any chance then they might make their home inside the machine. Empty the vacuum cleaner and dump everything into the trash immediately.
6. Squish the scouts
Ants are very interesting creatures and they follow a very unique system when it comes to searching for food. If you ever see a lone ant, then know it is there for a reason.
Lone ants work as scouts whose job is to find a source of food and provide the trail for the worker ants to follow soon. Kill the scout and it might just save your home from ant infestation.
7. Block their entry point
It isn’t always easy to find out exactly where ants enter your home from, but there are a few common places that usually serve as their entry points. Window seals, torn window screens, holes in the walls and doors, crevices and any cracks are where ants most likely enter from. Fix and seal these openings to block their entry.
8. Put coffee grounds, chalk & baby powder
There are a few household substances that you can use to keep ants away such as coffee grounds, chalk and baby powder. These substances have a scent that ants do not like and prefer to keep away from. And what is even better is that the acid in coffee grounds is strong enough to burn ants if they come in contact.
9. Destroy exterior ant nests
Usually ants will have their nests outside your home and then eventually make way inside your home. Sometimes we see ant nests outside and don’t really pay much attention to them but the ants residing in them could soon be visiting your home. So place ant baits or use other tried and tested methods to kill the outdoor ants to prevent indoor infestation.
How to Kill Ants
1. Make your own apple cider vinegar solution to destroy the trail
If you prefer to make your own solution to kill ants and wipe off their trails then you can do so by mixing equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and spraying the liquid directly on to the ants and their trails.
This works great if you continue the treatment for a while. You can also use the product to wipe the area of the trail even after all the ants are gone to get rid of any scent that other ants can use to track back.
2. Sprinkle boric acid onto the nests
Another DIY bait trap is made using boric acid. Boric acid is toxic and very effective in killing ants but you may need to mix it with a little sugar to attract the ants in the first place.
The mixture isn’t very safe for children or pets so only place the bait where your kids and pets cannot reach it. If you sight any ant nests, then you can also directly sprinkle some boric acid for the same effect.
3. Pour glue directly into the anthill to seal the opening
If you wish to seal the openings on an anthill, then you can do so with glue. Just pour some glue directly into the anthill holes and the substance should block their path of going in and out. Glue is usually thick and the ants will not be able to pass through and once the glue dries and hardens it will completely seal and block their passage.
4. Spread granular pesticide
Granular pesticides work really well with outdoor ants as well as indoor ants. Ants find it easy to pick up the grainy bits and carry them back to the colony where the bait is consumed by the all the other ants and hopefully by the queen.
As ant baits come in different formulas, the grainy ones work best on a number of ants. If you can identify the type of ants that are causing the problem then you will be able to choose the best in of pesticide for the matter.
5. Use TERRO Prefilled Liquid Ant Killer
Commercial ant baits usually work best in killing the entire colony, which leads to the prevention of future infestation. One of the most popular and effective ant bait on the market is the TERRO Prefilled Liquid Ant Killer. This product is known to kill common household ants and completely wipe of the colony.
The liquid formula will not kill the ants immediately. The product allows ants to live until they carry back the bait to the rest of the colony and spread the poison to all the ants present, including the queen. With ready-to-use bait stations and an easy-to-apply formula, you can now save time and manage the problem much faster.
6. Use Advion Ant Gel Bait
Another very effective pesticide is the Advion Ant Gel Bait. The gel is an excellent ant killer that targets and kill a wide range of ants. It is best used when applied to cracks and crevices around the house and where you feel the ants enter from or leave a trail.
The bait works in the same way as most commercial ant baits. With the worker ants carrying the bait back to the colony and spreading the poison. But because of the gel-like consistency it really stays in place and does it work efficiently.
7. Make your own solution of boiling water and liquid dish soap
Soapy boiling water can be used to kill ants residing inside small ant hills outside your home. While you can also use just boiling water, adding a bit of liquid dish soap increases its effectiveness and provides results much quicker.
Simply make a hole in the ant hill and pour in the hot liquid. Start by pouring a gallon at first and then repeating the process one or two times more. You must try to do this step once more a few days later to ensure that any surviving ants are also taken care of.
8. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the anthill
Diatomaceous earth is another ingredient that kills almost all bugs, including ants. Sprinkling the dust around the ant hills will ensure that the ants are affected by it and killed soon after coming in contact with it. Be sure to keep diatomaceous earth away from children and pets.
However because even though it isn’t hazardous to the health when a small amount is handled. It can cause irritation on the skin and eyes and shortness of the breath.
9. Use camphor oil & rubbing alcohol
By mixing 1 part of camphor oil to about 8-9 parts of rubbing alcohol you can make a solution that is very effective in killing ants inside their home. Just like the soapy water formula, you will need to make a hole into the mound and pour the liquid over.
Repeat this more than once for a better shot at killing all the ants inside. There is no guarantee that the queen will die from this solution but with the rest of the coolly dead you will have lesser problems.
10. Hire an exterminator
If nothing else works and the infestation has gone out of hand, then the best thing to do is to call in an exterminator. Some ants such as carpenter ants are very difficult to control as they feed on wood. Keeping your home clean without a trace of food anywhere may not be enough to keep these pests away.
So if you see carpenter ants in or around your home then hire an exterminator immediately. A professional expert will know which areas to target and treat those areas to get rid of the whole colony. Usually an exterminator will also treat places which you wouldn’t think of because they know more about ants and their nature than we do.
So if you want to save your furniture from carpenter ants, tackle a continuing issue or simply prevent a serious infestation then getting professional expertise could be your best bet.
Our Last Opinion
All the methods discussed in this article have been proven to be effective in controlling ants to some extent. But every case is different and you will need to find the best method to solve the ants problem in your home. Remember that no matter how long lasting the effects are.
Ants can make a come-back so you will need to keep your home and its surrounding area clean at all times to prevent future infestation. Treat all areas of your home every few months even after all the ants are gone to eliminate the chance of the pests returning.