It is not uncommon to find your house attacked by the army of little ants marching on the walls of house.
Although they are omnivorous in nature, but don’t worry they don’t attack humans. They mainly get attracted by sugar, flesh, wood or vegetables. They are most active in spring season.
There are certain tried and tested tips and tricks to get rid of ants, both naturally and chemically. But the best policy to get rid of them is prevention.
By following these simple methods, you can deter them from entering your house and eventually protect your expensive woodwork or well stocked kitchen from this creek of ants.
The following are a few methods you can try to get rid of ants’ invasion.
Protect your eatables
Hungry ants crave for many food items. Following are the food items which you should cover or hide in sealed containers.
Not only humans, ants too have a sweet tooth. They are attracted to all sweet eatables in kitchen. They are quite fond of honey, sugar, fruits, cakes and candies. Always try to keep these ant attractors in sealed containers and enclosures.
Veggies are source of nutrition for certain breeds of ants like pavement ants. So the only trick to keep ants away is by covering vegetables.
Some ants feed on animal protein. These ants on certain occasions devour other ants too. If you are planning a sumptuous dinner with you favorite non-vegetarian dishes,
ensure to keep it in some kind of sealed storage like refrigerator. Also dispose off any remnants at the earliest in the bins outside your home
Seal your house
Preventing an ant invasion is not an easy task since ants need a very sleek roadway to enter your house. But least you do is to adopt any of these ways to obstruct their march towards your house.
If you ever find any holes or cracks on the walls or doors, fill them immediately with sealant available in your home.
This is also known as caulking, can be done safely since there are no harmful chemicals in the sealant that would have harmful effects on your kids and pets.
If you observe sunlight passing through certain gaps after closing all doors and windows, you will know what locations to seal and close the entrance of ants to enter your home.
Restrain entry points with deterrents:
Do you know that certain kitchen spices and commonly available chemicals can act as a strong deterrent for ants. Yes, this is true. To stop their entry into your home, you can apply these items at identified entry-points.
- Black pepper
- Talcum powder
- Lavender oil
Cut-off connected shrubs
Green environment around the house gives freshness and creates a soothing effect, but is not appreciable if you want ants to remain away from your home.
This heavy vegetation can be an ideal place for ants to breed and take shelter. Have greens around your but It is a better idea to create a cemented perimeter around the house.
Extermination of Ants
The last resort to get rid of ants is to eliminate them. If there is no end to the incursion of ants in your house, you have to deploy these methods to eradicate this trouble
Methods to Extriminate Ants
Wipe off ant trail
Trail is the backbone of ants. Breaking ant-trail is the first step for achieving success in their eradication from your home.
Ants always move from one location to other by following already created trails by their fellow ants. Wipe off these trails with a sponge dipped in soap water or any strong bleach.
Nip their spy
Like any organized army, ants first send their spy ants to look for food-source and after gathering information about it, more of their team members join the first one.
So before it happens kill that single spy who is roaming around to sense the location for food and convey the information to others of its tribe.
There are certain hidden areas in all homes from where you would wish to drive away ants. Preparing bait at home is a safe solution to start with.
Prepare a mixture of sugar, borax, water in 2:2:1 ratio and apply it at the prime locations of ant gathering. This solution will kill the horde of ant, right there spontaneously. But if you want to finish off whole ant colony then employ following strategies.
Dilute the earlier prepared bait-solution. Let them carry this solution to their colony where other ants are waiting to be informed about food sources.
When the ant who has taken this bait solution reaches in its colony it will be killed, taking toll of its fellows- like a suicide bomb. Doesn’t this sound great!
Using Vacuum cleaner
Do you know that vacuum cleaner can also be used to snuff off ants? Yes, use vacuum cleaner to suck the swarm of ants and kill them by sprinkling any of the deterrent discussed above, right there in the dust collector bag. Make sure filter of collector bag is of HEPA quality.
Trace and destroy Nest
Finding source or ants-nest is an uphill task. After you are successful in finding the nest, destroy it and to make sure they do not reappear, pour some boiling water or pour down a solution made of ethyl alcohol and camphor oil in 9:1 ratio.
Be sure not to leave their queen ant alive since she alone is responsible for regeneration of their population.
Ants may look tiny in size, but the damage they can incur is very huge. Although you have learned various methods to get rid of ants yet the best possible you can do is to clean our house frequently focusing the areas which are usually out of our reach.
How to get rid of carpenter ants
Like other insects, ants too have different species. Carpenter ants is one such category of ants which are commonly found in wooden articles.
This one species has a fastest infestation rate. So eradicating carpenter ants is of utmost importance.
How to spot carpenter ants
Although identifying ants which are tiny in size is not an easy task but you can mark them out due to their color and their size.
Carpenter ants are red colored body and have black tail portion. They do have antennas, males are winged but females lack wings.
An adult carpenter ant measures anything between half to one cm long. Males of this species grow up to 1.8 cm, But queen ants dominate with a length of about 20 cm.
Key activity areas of ants
Carpenter ants make their colonies in moisture affected wood. It can be a tree near your house or moist wood of bathroom window.
Their head-quarters or primary colonies are trees. They travel into your house travelling as a march, looking for food. Their travel time is considerably reduced if there are any shrubs are touching your house or branches of trees hang on the roof.
They also build other colonies inside your house also called satellite colonies. Carpenter ants are most active at night. If you see any saw-dust heap, chances are that they have created a colony there.
Steps to wipe out carpenter ants
To avoid any harmful effects of chemicals or ant-bites on body, it is always better to wear gloves in the eradication process.
Here are various steps which can be adopted to get rid of carpenter ants both naturally and chemically.
Steps to wipe out carpenter ants
Don’t ignore saw dust heaps, grass near your house or wet areas like bathroom. Another potential colony might be in the wooden furniture in your house. Carefully examine your wooden furniture or bathroom doors for any stripped exterior layers.
Once you are able to identify their primary colony which might be some tree stem or branch, cut that part and throw far away from the periphery of your house.
If you find a nest inside house, the best way to wipe them out is to vacuum them and if you are a little compassionate about nature and do not want to harm them then take this collector bag carefully far away from home and empty it where human habitation is not nearby.
And if you want to kill them on the spot then spray some commercially available pest control spray right there in the dust bag.
You may not be always successful in finding colonies of carpenter ants since they work very inconspicuously. But if you notice them moving around in your home, you can eliminate them by placing certain some very effective baits.
- Make a bait of boric acid and flour by kneading them together with very little water and keep small portion of this mixture on their trail.
- WD-40, it might look strange but is effective to spray in holes or slits which are hard to reach but are suspected to house ants.
- Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder which punctures skin of ants and kill them. Sprinkle it along their trail and suspected hide-outs. It is an effective solution to get rid of carpenter ants.
- Sprinkle cornmeal in kitchen areas. Carpenter ants may live in wood but they come for food in your kitchen. Once consumed, Cornmeal is hard is digest by these tiny pests, and they get killed.
Contact Pest Control Professionals
If you are sure that your house is infested with carpenter ants and using baits or other natural methods have failed,
it is a good idea to call professional exterminators. They have tools and experience to trace their colonies and eradicate them completely.
Only downside in getting pest control is that you have to leave your house for a day or two. The chemicals they use are poisonous in nature and you have to keep your kids and pets away from them.
But the discomfort you suffer for two days will ensure that your house is now safe from ant infestation.
It is always better to prevent invasion of carpenter ants. There are a lot of measures which if taken timely can protect your expensive wood work. Deploying following methods will help you in this case.
Methods to prevent invasion of carpenter ants
Eradicate cause of Dampness
Carpenter ants cannot make tunnel in dry and hard wood. They love to dig in moist wood and create a nest there. So never let wooden articles of your house to get exposure of moisture.
Check your ceiling for any leaks and fix it at once. Do everything possible to ensure that each room gets sufficient sunlight and ventilation.
Ensure that drains and pipelines do not leak. Basements are more prone to damp conditions so always look carefully for any moist patches found there and keep underground areas properly ventilated as far as possible.
Seal Your House
Look for any suspected entry points like small holes and openings and seal them with some good sealant.
If you have any vegetation connected to your house like branches of trees touching the roof, should be removed. Any cracks or hole on walls, plaster or wooden furniture should be closed.
Since carpenter ants’ main of hiding place is wood, any firewood piles near your house will invite them to create colonies.
Make sure there is no wood-scrap in your courtyard or anywhere near your house. Dislocate them to a better place at the earliest.
Creating a barrier around house is another preventive measure to get rid of carpenter ants. This might be a costly solution.
Get a strip of gravel built around your house and this will prevent carpenter ants from entering your house. You house will look its best with flawless wooden furniture and doors.
Carpenter ants infestation is a common problem being faced in homes and other building structures.
Washington state’s Ecology department has also released a detailed publication on how to get rid of carpenter ants from school building.
Best way to get rid of carpenter ants is to avoid dampness and leakages in buildings, since carpenter ants breed in moist areas.
How to get rid of sugar ants
Is Sugar Ants a name of an ant species or these ants are attracted to sweet stuff so are called sugar ants? For us both is true.
Sugar ants is a general name given to a group of species of ants which feed upon sweet products. But zoologically speaking, Latin name for sugar ants is “Camponotus consobrinus” and these tiny creatures are mostly found in Australian subcontinent.
These ants might look miniscule but getting rid of them is a herculean task.
Sugar ants Identity
Male sugar ants are black in color and the female of the species are light brownish in color. The size of sugar ants vary from 2 mm of length to 15 mm.
Sugar ants can be found either in their nests or near their food source. They love to inhabit warm and moist places. They also prefer to build their colonies in dark and hidden areas or in decomposed wood.
If you are looking for them indoors, they are most likely to be often found near any sweet eatable. They also get attracted to natural sweet stuff like honey or jaggery.
Steps to control sugar ant infestation
If your house is infested with sugar ants, it can be very harmful for kids. Preventing invasion of sugar ants can help you in saving yourself from the trouble these creatures cause. Following are certain steps to prevent invasion of sugar ants in your home.
Steps to control sugar ant infestation
Keep your kitchen clean and mess free
Following are the three main areas of kitchen which you have to take care of, every day without fail.
After a completely exhaustive day at your workplace, you may not have the energy to clean your kitchen sink but this is a great invitation to sugar ants.
They love grubby sinks. The smell of leftover food attracts sugar ants. So your only rescue is to make sure that all the dishes are cleaned before you call it a day.
Leaving this task for morning will be a good assemble for a whole night party for sugar ants.
If somehow you manage to do dishes at night, rinse the sink well with fresh water and if possible with white vinegar since vinegar odor is a proven repellant for sugar ants.
The drain pipe should also be periodically checked for cleanliness and any dripping or leakage should be taken care of immediately, since moist and hidden places are a good nesting option for these ants.
Kitchen counter is the most happening place in kitchen. Whatever care you take in cleaning counter top, some unseen residual food items will be left hidden at some unreachable places.
Cleaning and more specifically wiping the shelf clean is necessary if you do not want to invite sugar ants for a treat. Disinfect counter with vinegar (white) or a bleaching solution to turn off influx of sugar ants.
Whether you have a small or a large kitchen, make it a habit to clean or mop the floor once or twice a day. While mopping be sure not to leave food particles in corners or splits.
You can clean the floor with vinegar mixed with warm water. This will ensure that no trails of ants are left behind for other ants to follow.
Vacuum dining area
The place where you frequently dine should be taken extra care of. It is a common place where food is dropped if you have kids.
Any spilled or scattered food will be an invitation to sugar ants. To avoid such situation you should vacuum the dining area, if complete house vacuuming is not possible every day.
Use good quality Trash-Bags
Sometimes you may wish to limit your budget and get some low quality trash-bags. And if these bags are damaged, the semi solid or liquid trash may leak out while shifting the trash to the bin outside.
To avoid such incidents that may attract an army of sugar ants, prefer to buy durable trash-bags and if these are deodorized it will be an advantage.
A kitchen with no filled trash-bags at night is a good preventive measure to keep your house ant-free.
Exterminating Sugar ants with easy tips
Even if you have taken all precautions and your house still gets invaded by sugar-ant army, then your last resort is to exterminate these intruders using any of the methods mentioned here-
Lay Sweet Ant Baits
Sugar ants are suckers for anything sweet, so this is the bait to be used for their extermination. You can mix some sugary eatable like sweet jellies with boric acid.
This is known to be a very effective method of killing colonies of ants. It is definitely very harmful for pests and insects but humans are not affected by boric acid also called Borax.
The mixture of sweet and borax works in a very interesting way since it does not kill an ant immediately after it consumes this bait.
When this ant carries this poisoned food to its colony and is taken in by other ants, it results in maximum destruction.
Kitchen Spices- Cloves & Bay leaves
Cloves are very good in tooth aches and bay leaves help in preparing aromatic dishes. But here I am recommending these for a different application- to kill ants. Due to their strong smell, Cloves and Bay leaves work as strong repellents for sugar ants.
Use of these commonly available spices, for exterminating ants is very easy since you just need to place some pieces at the locations which are frequented by ants like under counters, countertops or near dustbin. And what you get in return is ant-free and sweetly smelling home.
Use Natural Sprays
For insect infestations sprays are considered most effective as a larger and localized area can be covered.
All you need is a spray bottle and few easily available items like Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, kerosene, any essential like Lavender, Witch Hazel Extract, Eucalyptus, or Liquid Detergent.
Mix any of these with equal quantity of water in the spray bottle and spray over the colony. You will see the results within a few minutes.
Care should be adopted while using chemicals as exterminators. It is advisable to used gloves and if you are allergic to deterrents like spices or any powdered products like boric acid.
Use of mask is not a bad option. Carefully read the instructions before using any chemical sprays. In case the bait or chemicals get in contact in eyes or skin, do get medical assistance in time.