The Key to Getting Rid of Ants

The Key to Getting Rid of Ants

An invasion of ants into your home can be an unwelcome discovery, even in the best of times. Given the numbers in which they appear, it can seem like an overwhelming problem, but the good news is that you can get rid of them. Read on to see how.

Set Bait Traps

Experts like this one at Cornell University say that bait is an effective way to eliminate an infestation of ants. These work by using a sweet syrup that attracts the ants who then bring it back to their colony. The bait contains compounds that kill the ant larvae it comes into contact with and reduces the colony size. You may have to try a handful of brands to see which one works best in your case.

Pesticide sprays don’t work all that well since you can only spray the ants you can see, and that represents a tiny fraction of their numbers. It also exposes you to chemicals you may not want to be breathing in or spreading around your kitchen. It’s best to avoid these and either use commercial bait traps or make your own.

According to this useful article at WikiHow, you can make a DIY bait trap using a formula of 1 tablespoon (9 grams) of boric acid with 1.25 cups (251 grams) of sugar, then sprinkle this mixture in places where you often find ants. It’s also a good idea to keep this bait in a jar or lidded container with holes punched in it so pets or children cannot get into it.

Keep Your Home Clean

Food of almost any kind will attract ants, so keeping your house free of crumbs and loose bits of food is going to deny them a food source and thus a reason to come in. Keep food secured in containers when you’re not actively consuming it. The most attractive food for ants is sugary liquids, so take care to clean up spills.

When you see ants moving in a line, wipe down the surface with bleach or a soapy solution after clearing them out. Ants leave a pheromone trail for their fellow ants to follow so you will want to destroy this or more of them will soon appear.

Seal Cracks and Entry Points

You probably can’t seal up every hole ants can get through given their tiny size, but you can make it harder for them. Good Housekeeping suggests caulking cracks (or stuffing them with steel wool), replacing old and worn out door sweeps, and patching torn screens as good places to start.

Know When to Call a Pro

Ants can be difficult to remove on your own sometimes. You are only likely to see about 10% of the colony. If you have tried the suggestions above and you are still having an ant problem, it may be time to call in a professional. Also, if the ants you see are larger (about ¼ to ½ inch) you may have carpenter ants, and a professional exterminator should handle these. Carpenter ants can do considerable damage to the wood structure of your home, so don’t ignore this problem.

Ridding your home of unwelcome ants doesn’t have to be painful if you combine one or more of the strategies above: prepare bait traps, close up entry points, and keep your home clean. Respect ants but don’t ignore them when they invade your home; remember that you are only seeing a small fraction of their number. And remember to call in the professionals if you think you have carpenter ants or you’re not seeing results after taking these steps. Enjoy living in an ant-free home!


Photo by Peter F. Wolf on Unsplash