No one expects to see ants in their home. They’re persistent, they’re resourceful, and they’re hungry! Whether you’ve got a fire ant colony living in the backyard or are worried about the creepy-crawlies making their way into your kitchen, preventing ants doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.
Here are the top 10 ways to prevent ants from an experienced ant exterminator:
10. Kill the scouts.
Most people don’t realize ants typically send a “scout” into an unexplored area to check it out. The scout then reports back to the nest about available food supplies and problems happen. If you see a lone ant in or around your property deal with it quickly and wipe where it’s been with household cleaner.
9. Tackle the nest.
Ant hills are a relatively common sight but by the time they’re visible you can bet you’re only days away from an ant issue. It’s not smart (or safe) to simply tear down an anthill since the bugs live deep underground but you may consider using an over-the-counter ant hill powder or even regular cornmeal as an insecticide.
The closer ants are to your home, the sooner they’ll be inside. Not only are garden ants a problem waiting to happen, they love nothing more than to feast on your hard-grown produce! Sprinkling cinnamon, chili powder, or even coffee grounds all over your garden is a safe, effective way to keep ants at bay and keep them off your property.
7. Clean with vinegar.
Not only is vinegar non-toxic and eco-friendly, ants hate the smell. Give your floors a once-weekly vinegar scrub to remove any ant “trails” you may not know about and to deter them from your home in general.
6. Drain the sink.
Like any living creature, ants need water to survive. If it’s particularly dry outside they may try entering your home not for food but for water. It’s critical to remove any standing water sources like puddles and birdbaths from outside your home and to always drain your sink and tub immediately after use. Not only will you deter ants, you’ll keep mosquitoes in check too.
5. Treat your home’s entry points.
Did you know that talc, found in most baby powders, is effective at deterring ants? Sprinkling talc, salt, or even peppermint oil around your doorways may keep ants at bay. But beware, these homemade treatments wash away with weather and they can pose a threat to curious kids or animals.
4. Seal your doors and windows.
Such a simple solution can keep away a majority of ant species. Use caulk and weather stripping to ensure your doors and windows are sealed tight – ants only need a tiny crack to gain entry! And, bonus, you’ll save money on heating and cooling, too.
3. Move your food to higher ground.
Ants live their lives low to the ground and the farther away you put your food from their line-of-smell, the less problems you’re likely to have. Never keep food products on the floor or in the bottom shelf of your cabinets and consider investing in air-tight containers to store dry goods like sugar, cereal, and pet food.
2. Call an ant exterminator.
If you’ve got reason to be worried about ants – a past infestation, a neighbor with pests, or several continuous sightings – it’s in your best interest to bring in an exterminator early on. Pest professionals have the tools and the treatment options you need to prevent ants once and for all and eliminate worries.
It may seem self-explanatory but keeping your house clean is the best way to keep it ant-free! Ants love food refuse, from sweet to savory, and they can smell a sticky spill from yards away. Use household cleaners regularly to get rid of food debris and be sure to avoid leaving any food out and open for extended periods of time.
The first step in eliminating an ant problem is preventing them in the first place! Ants are small, fragrance-free, and don’t raise many alarm bells until they take over. If you suspect you’re at risk for a large scale ant infestation, take action now.