Ants invading your home or garden in the summers months can frustrate even the most patient home owner. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get rid of ants.
So whether you’re looking for a relatively natural and organic way to try and prevent ants entering your home, or you want to wage all-out war, here are some of the most effective ways to banish ants once and for all…
Why Do Ants Come Into Your House?
The main reason why ants enter homes is to find food – most commonly sweet, sugary foods. Items such as jam, honey and sodas are all popular targets among ants.
Worse, once they find something of interest ants will lay down a “trail” that others can follow. Soon enough just one or two ants can turn into a black cloud of wriggling creepy crawlies.
Fortunately, once you know this, there are a numbers of ways to get rid of ants, by targeting each element in turn.
Keeping Ants Out of Your Home
The first step for eliminating an ant problem involves preventing them from getting indoors to begin with. While this can be challenging if you like to keep doors and windows open in summer, there are solutions.
Block Entrance Holes
Try to inspect your property both inside and out, looking for the exact spots where ants have been gaining access to your home.
They may be finding themselves a way in through gaps in window frames, holes in mortar and so on. They may equally be crawling under closed doors etc. Try, wherever possible, to plug these gaps to prevent entry. Use No More Nails or a similar product to fill gaps and cracks, and consider the application of door brushes to make it harder to ants to climb underneath.
Establish a Boundary
With any obvious entry points sealed, the next step is to establish a chemical boundary. The goal here is to scare ants away, or make it so difficult to enter your home, that they decide not to bother.
For example, vaseline can be smeared around window frames as a sticky trap. Even more effective, purchase a bag of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth, and sprinkle a small trail of it around the outside of your home.
The particles of this seemingly magic dust are tremendously sharp, and can cause damage to ants. As a result they tend to avoid crossing it. Even those that do may find themselves coming to harm thanks to the sharp surfaces, so this can be a highly effective strategy.
Maintain Superior Hygiene
So you’ve done all you can to stop ants actually getting into your home. Ants tend to be attracted by sweet foods, so keeping these out of harm’s way can be a very effective strategy. The next step is therefore to ensure that if any get past your defences there’s nothing worth eating.
Sticky residues from spilled drinks and suchlike can act as a magnet for ants in the summer. Leftover crumbs from making sandwiches or toast can be another source of ant invasions. Be sure to clean your home – especially the kitchen – far more regularly in warm weather.
Carefully wipe over surfaces with hot soapy water to ensure no food residues remain. Also, consider your floors, brushing and mopping regularly to eliminate any temptation.
Empty Rubbish Bins
Bins filled with old apple cores, banana skins, empty drinks cans and more can also pose a significant risk of attracting ants. Rather than leaving your bin until it’s full, consider emptying it daily to avoid attracting ants.
Use Air Tight Containers
Lastly, place any questionable items into air-tight containers. This will not only eliminate the sweet scent, but ensures that ants cannot gain access to your groceries.
Eliminate Scent Trails
As mentioned previously, once an ant finds a suitable food source, they will normally lay down a chemical trail. This trail is then used by other ants, slowly increasing the number of invaders you experience.
Removing this trail therefore reduces the chances of ants returning, and also helps to ensure that if they do, they should be in far smaller numbers.
There are a number of effective ways to get rid of these ant trails. For starters, your regular wiping and mopping should help. Hot soapy water or a mixture of water and bleach tend to be very effective. Alternatively, if the smell of bleach is enough to make you feel ill, many people find that white wine vinegar and water in equal measures can also help to eliminate these chemical paths.
Kill The Ants Nest
The final, and most extreme, way to get rid of ants is to actually damage the nest. Of course, this should be seen as a last resort, but if you find an ants nest near-to or under your home, and you’re struggling to keep the ants under control then it may be your only option.
Here there are two proven methods to try.
While it is possible to purchase pre-made ant bait, it’s just as possible to make your own. It’s just as effective and can work out considerably cheaper. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of borax
- 1 teaspoon of water
Mix this up and place it in obvious areas where ants can access it. Placing the sticky mixture into upturned jam jar lids and citing them around the outside your home can work well.
The ants are attracted by the rich, sticky mixture, which they will collect and take back to the nest. As a result, you may initially find that your ant problem seemingly gets worse, as more and more swarm to the exciting new food source they’ve found.
Back in the nest, however, the borax will work its magic, slowly killing the ants within.
For a more immediate impact, boiling the kettle and pouring this over the ants nest can have a near-instant impact on the number of ants living near you. Note that you may need multiple attacks, over a period of time, to really do the required damage to the colony.
What are your top tips for getting rid of ants in your home or garden? Please leave your experiences or questions in the comments section below…