The most common insect problems that home owners struggle with are ant infestations but there are simple ways to permanently remove them. Most ant infestations start after they find a source of food in your home.
Anything from a few crumbs to a dried up spill on the floor left behind from juice is considered a great food source to ants. Since ants live in large groups, seeing one ant is usually a sign that many other ants close by too.
Ant colonies in your yard may continuously infiltrate your home to seek out more sources of food once they’ve found one.
Ant infestations can plague owners of a new house or older built homes just the same. All that matters is whether there’s a sustainable source of food although new home builds tend to have less infestation problems because ants and other insects haven’t had enough time to build nests and get to know their environment.
Luckily, there are many highly effective methods of stopping ants in their tracks and ridding them from your home once and for all.
There are numerous varieties of ants that invade the average household, and you’ll need to know which species you’re dealing with to combat them properly. For example, while most pesticides will kill odorous house ants, pavement ants and thief ants, they usually won’t kill fire ants. It’s very easy to discern between the various ant species, and there are many easy methods of ridding your home of nearly every type.
Most ants won’t be very interested in your home if there are no food sources available. To ensure you’re not accidentally offering any free snacks to ants in your house, give it a thorough cleaning.
Regularly wipe down the counters, sweep and mop any hard floors and vacuum all of the carpets.
You’ll want to focus specifically on the kitchen and dining room since those are the areas most likely to have bits of food particles scattered around.
A lot of people overlook the issue of pet food when it comes to insect infestations. Pet food is just as attractive to ants as human food, and it’s usually kept on the ground or floor for hours.
In addition, many people don’t tend to wash the bowls after each meal, which leaves residue and crumbs free for the taking.
The solution is to make sure that whenever your pet is done eating, that you pick up their bowls and wash them. You should also make sure to clean and sweep around the food bowls because animals are not very tidy when they eat.
It’s also a good idea to store pet food in sealed containers instead of in open bags.
Ants absolutely love mulch and are easily attracted to it. It provides them with a deep, moist and shaded area to nest in that is usually undisturbed by both people and animals.
Mulch is commonly used in yards and gardens, giving ants a perfect nesting spot near a tempting food source.
Instead of using mulch in your garden, you can use crushed rock. Not only does crushed rock deter most insects, but it also looks just as great in yards and gardens as mulch does.
Teamwork is the key component to success for an ant colony. One of the most effective ways they utilize teamwork is by leaving scented ant trails wherever they go to lead their fellow ants to food sources.
Even if the ant gets killed, the trail left behind will lead more ants to the food sources. To remove these trails, you can simply wipe down counters and mop your floors with a mixture of three parts water and one part vinegar.
While a strong sense of teamwork is commonly consider the biggest strength of an ant colony, it’s also their most vulnerable weakness.
When ants find food sources, they don’t just sit down and gobble it up. They grab what they can and bring it back to the colony to share it with the other ants. You can use this behaviour to your advantage by placing ant baits around your home.
Ant baits are filled with fluid that is very attractive to ants, but it is also toxic when ingested. When ants grab the bait and bring it back to their colony, they will end up unwittingly poisoning the entire colony along with the queen.
It may take a few days, and the bait stations may need to be replaced once they’re emptied, but this is an extremely effective method of eliminating ants at the source.
If you want to immediately attack the ants at their source, you’ll have to target the ant mounds in your yard with pesticides. If you have a lawn, mow it and remove any toys or furniture from the yard before spraying.
Wait for a dry, warm day with minimal wind to maximize the effect. Keep pets and children out of the yard for at least 48 hours after applying the pesticide solution.
Chemical pesticides are very effective at eliminating ant colonies, but the concept of spreading toxic materials around the house isn’t an appealing option to everyone. That is why many homeowners choose to use more natural methods.
There is a wide range of natural options for killing and deterring ants, each with their own unclear levels of effectiveness, but one natural option that has found massive success is diatomaceous earth.
Also known as DE, diatomaceous earth works by cutting into the exoskeleton of ants and dehydrating them, causing them to die quickly. DE is extremely cheap, completely nontoxic to humans and animals and easy to apply in and around any home.
Diatomaceous earth can be picked up at local stores like Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or through Amazon if you’d rather have it shipped to you.
Some ants build nests in your home instead of living outside and entering when they need food.
For example, carpenter ants love to make nests in wood that has suffered from water damage. Unlike termites, carpenter ants don’t feed on the wood of your home, but they do remove rotting wood from water damage to make tunnels and nests.
In order to prevent carpenter ants from invading your home, address any moisture problems such as leaky pipes, clogged gutters and poor drainage. Repair or replace any wood that has already been affected by water damage.
Waterproofing stains should be applied to the wood once it’s been repaired in order to prevent future water damage.
Areas that are susceptible to water damage are fences, decks, external window trim, siding, parts of your roof and the shed. If these areas attract ants, they could end up inside your home especially if they have found there’s access to food there.
The fewer pathways there are into your home, the less chances there will be of ants invading it. Ants can make their way into the tiniest of cracks and crevices, and there are likely dozens or even hundreds of little gaps all over your home.
Using silicone-based caulking, perform an extremely thorough analysis on your home both inside and outside for any entrance holes and pathways.
Patch up every crack that you find with a thick coating of caulking and for outdoor applications, wait for a dry and warm day to ensure the caulking has ample time to set.