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You look around, and it seems as if there are ants everywhere. Sometimes, it’s simply because they seek shelter, food, and water. However, you do not want ant infestations and would likely appreciate an ant-free home.
Here, you’ll learn whether you should get rid of ants, how to identify ants from termites and attractions in the home, and DIY natural deterrents to kill ants. So, read on to learn how to get rid of ants.
Should You Get Rid of Ants?
Ants are natural predators of different insect pests, such as caterpillars, fruit fly larvae, fleas, and termites. However, ants eat tree leaves, and getting rid of ants helps protect garden crops and plant life. In addition, some species of ants carry diseases such as salmonella.
How to Differentiate Ants from Termites
Meanwhile, you should be able to understand ant and termite differences and tell them apart from each other. That is how you can be effective in dealing with them.
Ants generally have curved antennae and pinched waists.
On the other hand, termites have straight antennae and a vast body. Inviting a professional exterminator or pest control company is best if you have a termite infestation.
Ants also leave a chemical pheromone trail as they move between food sources. You can use this knowledge when applying natural and conventional methods to prevent ants from entering your home.
Common ants and their species
Various species of ants exist in the United States, and you should know them before choosing the best method to eliminate them. The most common ants that usually get into homes include pavement, odorous, and carpenter ants.
This is a large ant species with a pinched waist and elbowed antennae. It prefers to feed and nest in damp wood. You can eliminate carpenter ants by repairing leaks. You can also direct water away from house foundations to deter ants.
The regular pavement ants are tiny and measure about 3 millimeters. You can recognize them by their typical dark brown or black color and shiny shell.
Pavement ants create “ant hills” that they use as small ant nests.
Odorous house ants
This type of ant is distinctive in their unevenly shaped thorax and petiole that stays behind the abdomen. Such house ants are dark brown in color and give off a strong scent when you crush them.
As the name implies, these ants can be mean with their stings. You can find them in yards and playgrounds. They like warm weather and are attracted to trash and debris. Fire ant mounds can grow as wide as 24 inches and can contain thousands of ants.
Their stings can cause allergic reactions and may even be poisonous in some people. In this case, peppermint oil tends to be more effective at killing and repelling fire ants than a vinegar solution.
You can typically tell pharaoh ants from their tan to brown color range. Note that you risk the spread of infestation towards the perimeter of your house if you spray pharaoh ants. This is because they will split their colonies. These ants are known to carry salmonella or streptococcus, possibly, so you should be careful to wipe down trash cans and generally avoid pharaoh ants.
Ant Attractions in the Home
Knowing what brings ants into homes is essential if you want to eliminate them. Here are the major ant attractions to your home.
This includes scraps of food – especially sweets, cookie crumbs, sugar, and jam. Such foods are especially effective at attracting ants.
Ants do not only drink water but also take it back to their colony for storage. Water sources for ants include potted plants, pet bowls, and leaky pipes.
Ants are so small that tiny cracks and crevices can serve as entry points. Ants also prefer creating colonies in warm places.
How to Get Rid of Ants
Here are some methods to exterminate or lure ants away from your home:
An equal part of the water and sugar mixture can produce effective syrup when you mix Borax with it. Then, place it in house corners and ant trails. The worker ants will tend to take the liquid back to their nest.
As a result, Borax syrup is effective in killing an entire ant colony within around 24 to 48 hours. However, be careful to wear gloves and use them sparingly if you have children and pets because Borax can cause irritations.
Using killer ant sprays
First, mow your grass before you apply an insect-killer ant spray in your yard. You may use a pyrethroid insecticide that contains bifenthrin. However, follow label instructions and note that it may harm dogs and kill other insects.
DIY Natural Deterrents to Kill Ants
Here are some natural ways to repel ants for you to consider:
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, non-toxic, powdery substance that can help you remove ants. The appearance is like white powder and originates from algae fossils called diatoms.
Sprinkle a powder layer in the relevant areas to remove ants from your home. The diatomaceous earth sticks to the ants to dry them out and exterminate them.
Essential oils are effective at repelling ants due to their strong smells. However, the scented oils likely won’t kill ant colonies.
Vinegar does not kill ants on its own unless you drown them in it. However, you can use it as an ant deterrent when you mix it with water in a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. You can apply the solution when cleaning or in ant spray. This is effective as a natural means to eliminate ants since they do not like the smell.
Peppermint oil can stop ants from entering your home if you line it across the entryways they use. It effectively prevents them from using such areas as entrances into your home. Peppermint oil has a strong odor that can help eliminate fruit flies, mosquitoes, and ants. It can also get rid of spiders.
Landscape buffer and lawn care
You will naturally deter ants from using plants as bridges into your house when you leave at least 3 feet between your home and any vegetation area. In addition, maintain proper lawn care and clean up debris regularly.
Coffee grounds leave ants confused such that they lose track of scent trails. You can lay coffee grounds on yard areas where ants congregate. Remember to reapply it once each year.
Boric acid kills worker ants and their queen within three weeks of exposure. Dust it lightly into their hiding places.
DIY Vs. Professional Pest Control
DIY attempts may not be fully effective enough to prevent or eliminate ants. There may still be ants in your home that other conventional methods have not reached. Talking about repellents, ant repellents are not a permanent solution for ant infestations.
Your surest bet to get rid of ants permanently both inside and outside your home is to get professional help from pest control companies. They can help you deal with ant infestations.
Tips on What to Use for Ant Baits and Traps
- You can use peanut butter and honey to bait ants.
- Pesticides harm the environment and pose a risk to pets and children. So, avoid using ant traps and poison as ant baits.
- You can check out good ant bait products at online stores.
- An equal part mixture of baking soda with honey and water makes for an effective homemade ant bait trap.
Tips on Preventing Ant Infestations
- Keep food and other food sources in airtight containers.
- Wipe off spilled food and water from pet bowls.
- You should not leave your food out for food safety reasons. Store your food in airtight containers so it does not become a food source for ants.
- Regularly use bleach on the inside and outside of trash cans when cleaning.
- Apply bug spray on seal crevices around foundations and caulk cracks.
- Put vinegar and water inside a spray bottle and spray the mixture on plants to repel ants.
- Apply non-toxic home remedies and natural ant repellents on possible ant trails.
- Examples of natural ant repellents include cinnamon leaf, tea tree oil, white vinegar, and soapy water on ant mounds.
- Some professional exterminators can use cinnamon to eliminate ants by killing and repelling them.
- Other good natural insect repellents include lemon eucalyptus oil, boiling water in ant holes.
A Pest Control Company Can Help Eradicate Ants
This guide on how to get rid of ants has covered common ants and their species, food sources of ants, tips on what to use for ant baits, and tips on preventing ant infestations.
Again, your best bet for thoroughly getting rid of ants is to get professional pest control help. This is especially true when unsure what DIY measures may pose health risks to your children and pets.