Ants are one of the most common household pests and you can bet if you see one, there are thousands more lurking nearby. Whether you’ve got ants in the pantry, the bathroom, or even dangerously close to your back door, getting rid of them might be easier than you think.
There are over 12,000 known species of ants and they’re some of the longest-living insects in the world. Carpenter ants, house ants, and pavement ants are a few of the most common household pests but black ants, fire ants, and moisture ants are also prevalent in many parts of the country. So, do you know how to get rid of ants?
Get Rid of Ants in Your House
Ants are relatively easy to spot because they’re slow moving and travel in groups. People usually notice they’ve got an ant problem once they see dead ants, an ant trail, or even anthills in or around their home. Ants leave no discernible trail or droppings so unless you’ve seen them, you’re unlikely to notice they’re making themselves at home.
Stopping Ants from Getting In
The best way to stop an ant problem is to nip it in the bud. Ants want inside your home for a few reasons: they’re looking for water, they’re seeking food, or perhaps the climate outside has become inhospitable. Whatever the case, making your home undesirable to ants is a good start.
- It’s important to ensure all the openings of your home are sealed tight to prevent ants as well as other pests. Use caulk to seal windows and doorway thresholds – you’ll save money on electricity, too!
- Once you’ve sealed your home up tight, it’s a good idea to create barriers to entry for curious ants. Wives’ tales suggest using salt, talc (found in baby powder) or even essential oils like peppermint around doorways and windows to deter bugs. Be aware that these substances may pose as irritants to pets and children.
- Finally, move all food products in pantries and cabinets high up off the ground so they’ll more difficult for ants to detect. Always strive to keep your home clean and wipe up any food spills immediately.
Kill the Ants Inside
The first rule of ant containment is to never let one of the pests make it back to the nest alive. Ants send out “scouts” to find food and you can rest assured if you let one get away, a hundred will return in its place. If you see individual ants or even a cluster, kill them quickly using a wet sponge, spot-treatment, or a paper towel.
Ants usually walk in a single-file line when scouting out a new space and subsequently leave a trail for other ants to follow in. If you see this phenomenon, wipe up the trail of ants then use a cleaning solution such as water and bleach to wipe the trail from start to finish. It’s typically not a good idea to try and bait ants on your own as you can inadvertently attract new colonies to your house while you’re at it. If you’ve got a persistent ant problem you can’t seem to fix, call in a professional exterminator.
Professional Ant Extermination
If ants keep popping up inside your home or even if you’ve got a daunting anthill in your yard, your best bet may be to call in a pest control professional. Exterminators know how to get rid of ants quickly and effectively as they’re one of the most common household nuisances. Since some species of ants such as carpenter ants can actually cause physical damage to your home, it’s a good idea to call sooner rather than later if you think you may need help.
A pest pro can help you determine what kind of infestation you have; knowing which species of ant is invading helps determine the best course of action. There are many professional treatments for ants, all dependent on the type. Foggers, baits, granules, dusts, and even liquid sprays may be used to treat an ant problem. A good exterminator will also help you deal with hard-to-reach areas like air ducts and crawlspaces. In general, the faster you deal with a pest problem the less involved your treatment will be.