Getting rid of invading ants can seem like a never ending task. Ants are persistent and tough. While one individual ant is not too pesky, hundreds of thousand of them can really cause an uncomfortable situation. Here are a few tips to help you eliminate or greatly reduce any ant problem in your home. Depending on the construction of your home, climate that you live in, and the species of ant you are dealing with the following points will work to varying degrees.
If the species of ant that is plaguing your home is the kind that has a mounded nest that does not penetrate too deep under the ground, then their may be a simple solution. A good way to get rid of any ant nest is to kill the queen. Without a queen the ant nest will quickly die. The queen is typically located near the bottom and center of the nest. (However, some ant species dig tunnels that run very deep into the ground. For these species this method is not a viable option.) The first job is to find the nest. Often you can follow a line of ants back to the nest. To find the queen you are going to need to scrape away the upper part of the nest until you have reached its bottom. To do this step it is recommended that you wear protective clothing to prevent the ants from being able to bite you. Boots, long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and gloves are good precautions. Also, taping the bottom of your pant legs can prevent any ants from crawling up where you do not want them. The queen is not hard to recognize as she is much larger than all the other ants. Killing the queen will totally eliminate the nest. This is not a recommended method for species that are very aggressive or venomous.
Additionally, there are several other practical things that you can do to discourage ants from coming into you home. One thing that always helps is to keep your home clean. The main reason ants come into a home is that the reconnaissance team of the ant colony has found food. Now, in order to help dissuade the invaders a more stringent regimen of cleanup needs to be instituted. Make sure you thoroughly clean all table tops and counter spaces where food is prepared or eaten. This needs to be done right after these surfaces see any food action. Also, you will need to sweep, vacuum, and mop often. All food should be stored in the refrigerator or in air-tight containers. Often another source of ant food is the kitchen sink. We all probably remember how our parents or grand parents taught us that we should not leave dirty dishes in the sink. Ants are one good reason why we should pay attention to what they said. If you don’t clean them, the ants will come. Further, something that many people do not think about is ants need water to drink. Therefore, even if all your dishes are clean standing water will still attract ants. Hence, making sure that there is no standing water is also important.
Pet food is also an ant attractor. It is important to keep your pets eating areas as clean as you can to discourage ants. One little trick that some people use is to create a water barrier around their pet’s food bowl. This may sound tricky but let me explain. Use a bowl that is larger than you pet’s dish. Add some water to the larger dish and then set your pet’s dish into the larger bowl. This simple trick plays on the fact that ants don’t like to go swimming.
Another important step to eliminating ant problems is to take away their entry points. Find the cracks and openings where the ants are getting in and seal them. Cracks and gaps can be successfully seal with caulk. Some small openings will be hard to see, but a stream of entering ants will help you identify spots that you missed. Using natural ant repelling substances, baiting, and chemical sprays are also other ways to control or eliminate these hard working pests.
By incorporating some, or all of these methods into your home you will surely eliminate much of any ant problem.