Getting Rid of Ants

tiny ants

Ants are pesky and resourceful, and it's important to cover all your bases in the ant removal process. First, it's important to know what you're dealing with when you try to get rid of ants. There are two different types of ants, the sugar ant and the carpenter ant, to be aware of when figuring out how to take care of an ant infestation once and for all. If they are sugar ants, one will likely find them clustered in a circle around the nearest source of food or sugar, perhaps a stray drop of melted popsicle juice. The telltale sign of carpenter ants is the little wood shavings they leave behind.

Carpenter Ants vs. Sugar Ants

Carpenter ants are highly attracted to moist wood. Homes with decks and porches are particularly susceptible. Carpenter ants can cause quite a bit of damage to one's home as they burrow through the wood. They are best eliminated by seeking a professional pest control company. Try to prevent carpenter ants from becoming an issue by keeping bushes or trees away from the home, watching for water damaged wood, and sealing any openings around the outside of the home.

Sugar ants are more of a nuisance than anything else. Left unchecked, they seem to rapidly appear in greater and greater numbers. Their colonies can number up to 500,000. When they find food (particularly greasy or sweet foods), they leave behind a pheromone (chemical) trail so the rest of the colony can follow.

Preventative measures

Before you hire an exterminator, see if you can't get rid of ants in house on your own. The first step in taking care of an ant problem is to block the entryways. While you may think the ants are coming in from the doors, they probably have found an alternative way to enter your home. The windows can be a common point of entry if there are holes in the window caulk. Walk around the exterior of your home and search for cracks in the walls or foundation. Small little cracks are easy for ants to use to break into your home. Go around your home and caulk all the doors, windows, and cracks. This should hopefully deter a lot of ants and other pests from getting inside your home. Once you have the entryways seals, spray them with some lemon juice as it will help to deter the ants from coming back.

In addition, make sure to seal off any food to help with ant control. The ants will find food, and they will tell their entire colony about it. You need to make sure that you clean the kitchen often so you do not have food particles sitting on the floor. Clean under the oven and fridge as small food particles can easily get lodged here. You also need to use Tupperware to store cereal and other open food items. This will keep the ants from being able to get inside the boxes.

Ant Deterrents

For those who prefer more homemade ant killers or are game for an ant killer diy, there are plenty of options. Ants may eat just about everything, but there are certain foods that they hate. Coffee grounds are one such food; sprinkle some around the exterior of your home to deter them from entering. You could also use a vinegar solution to rid your home of ants. Fill a squirt bottle half-way with water and half-way with vinegar, and spray it around your home, inside and outside. Ants hate the smell of vinegar and it removes the scent trail they travel on. Borax mixed with some type of sweetener as a bait can work wonders on sugar ants. Cinnamon, ground black pepper, crushed mint leaves, whole cloves, or red chili powder all have ant-repellent qualities. Mint, lavender, sage, or tansy can also be planted near the home's foundation to ward off ants.

When dealing with a large group of ants, sometimes an instant insect killer is in order. Raid kills ants on contact and also leaves behind a film that is effective at killing them for four weeks. Baited traps are another method. Terro is a liquid Borax bait. Depending on how many ants there are, Terro could take quite a while to work as the ants carry the bait back and forth to the nest.

Some ant problems, such as those involving very big ants, killer ants, or a serious infestation may require the use of an ant exterminator. Contact a local professional for more information on the costs and benefits of hiring an ant exterminator.