Ant Control

Ant pest control tips

Even in clean homes, ants can find their way into kitchens and other rooms in search of food. During the warmer spring and summer months, indoor ant invasions are more common. Natural ant control methods are effective in controlling ant invasions, and they're preferable in homes with children or pets. In order to eliminate these and other pests, including termites and silverfish, an action plan with multiple components is your best bet.

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Eliminate the Attractions

Make sure the foods that ants like best, like sugar and honey, are stored in the fridge or in jars with rubber gaskets and clamping lids. Screw-top jars without a rubber seal are insufficient, as ants can follow the threads into the jar. Transfer other foods into containers with tight lids, and be aware that cardboard boxes won't keep ants out. If you have pets, either feed them only what they will eat in one sitting before washing out the bowl, or place their food bowl in a "moat" of water in a larger dish or tray. Store garbage in a container with a tight-fitting lid and take it out frequently. Keep countertops and floors free of spills and crumbs.

Make Your Home Unfriendly to Ants

Erase the ants' scent trails by wiping the area with organic substances known to be effective in ant control. These include lemon juice, peppermint oil and vinegar. Sprinkle cayenne pepper, coffee grounds or baking soda in cracks or corners where ants have been seen entering the house. This disrupts ant trails and repels the invaders.

Outside the house, remove all bushes and branches that make contact with the house to prevent ants from using these to gain access through a door, window or plumbing fixture. Around the base of the home's foundation, organic ant control can be achieved by creating a barrier which ants won't want to cross, such as a trail of sprinkled chalk or diatomaceous earth. Electronic pest control is also an increasingly popular option.

Eradicate the Ants

Products which are less harmful to humans and pets yet remain effective in ant extermination often contain boric acid or borax. Use these products where you see ants, and they will carry them back into their nests and share them with the colony. Ant killer products should be used with caution, as they can contain dangerous toxins such as arsenic. In addition, these products sometimes kill the forager ants before they have time to bring the bait into the colony to share, so the ant invasion will likely continue.

When choosing an ant bait, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if the insecticide bait is working, you will initially see an increase in the number of ants around the bait station, which means that they are feeding or preparing to carry the poison back to the nest. Although you'll undoubtedly be tempted to spray them, just leave them be: the idea is to let the ants eradicate themselves over the course of a few days. Also keep in mind that ants will change their food preferences, so you may need to go through a few different brands of bait to wipe out the whole colony.

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