Ants in your home can be a nuisance. They not only get into your food, but some varieties can do significant damage to the structure of your house. However, it is easy to get rid of ants if you follow these tips.
Ants follow a very strong social structure similar to bees. Their goal in life is to protect the queen and allow her to create more ants. While most ants are harmless, there are some varieties, such as fire ants found in southern USA states and carpenter ants found almost everywhere. Fire ants can inflict painful bites, while carpenter ants and other wood eating ants can silently destroy the structural integrity of a home by literally eating the supporting structure.
No matter which type of ants you find in your home, they can be difficult to eliminate. When you see ants in your home, the first instinct is to kill them. But that is not usually the best solution, because when you see a dozen, there are probably thousands more that will follow. You really should focus on finding out where they are coming in and using a method that will kill the nest. Wherever there are ants, there is a nest nearby that is producing thousands of new ants.
The Professional Solution for Getting Rid of Ants
If you have a serious problem, it may be best to call a professional pest exterminator. A professional exterminator can inspect our home and determine if the ants may have caused damage to the structure of your home. However, these services can be expensive and many use chemicals that can be dangerous. If ants are getting into your home and you have children or pets, look for an exterminator that offers environmentally friendly solutions.
The Typical Homeowner Solution to Get Rid of Ants
If you have a recurring problem with ants, the best solution is the either find the nest and destroy it or use a bait that they will take back to the a hidden nest and kill all of the ants in the colony. Baits tend to work better than sprays, because they will kill the colony. Most ant nests are hidden along the outside perimeter of a home or within the walls where you cannot see them.
First, get rid of all sources of food for the ants. Vacuum the floors and clean crumbs up from counters and tables. If you leave food laying around, ants will keep coming back.
Second, spray the outside perimeter of your home with a perimeter ant killer that contains bifenthrin, deltamethrin or permethrin. Ortho Home Defense Max is one brand that connects to a garden hose for easy application. Make sure that you read the directions on the label.
Third, use an ant bait. Liquid baits and bait stations tend to work the best. With an ant bait, the bait will be taken back to the nest where the colony will be killed. The trick is trying to find and ant bait that your particular variety of home invading ants prefers. You may have to try several brand until you find one that works. If you have pets or children in the home, be carefully where you place the bait traps because they can be harmful.
The Poor Man’s Solution for Killing Ants
I recently talked with a guy who was a former pest exterminator who gave me some inside tips regarding how to get rid of ants without spending a fortune on professional services or expensive chemicals. We were experiencing a recurring problem with ants in our home and had tried many of the bait traps and chemicals on the market, but none worked effectively against this type of ant.
The solution is remarkably simple and may work in your situation. He said that ants love Comet and Ajax cleanser. He said he had no idea why, but they do love these cleansers. When they find it, they take it back to the nest and it will kill the nest as effectively as any chemical or bait trap. The cost for a can of Ajax cleanser was $0.97. Because our problem was in a bathroom, it was easy for us to sprinkle some cleanser in the corners of the room and wherever we had seen ants. We also shut the door to keep the kids and family pets away from the cleanser. Sure enough, the number of ants we saw dwindled and within a week, there were no more ants. Furthermore, we haven’t seen any since then.
Another tidbit to be aware of is that when ants are foraging for food, they leave a scent trail that they follow back to the nest, but others in the nest can also follow the trail to the source of food. Toxic sprays will disrupt the scent trails, but a more people and pet friendly method is to use a solution of 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water. Just spray the solution on the floors and counter tops where you have seen ants and the ants will stay away.