5 Ways To Prevent & Manage an Ant Infestation
Ants are everywhere. They can be found on every continent besides Antarctica, and their little size and secret colonies can create quite the surprise when a seemingly infinite amount of little buggers start popping up all over your home.
Ant infestation can be frustrating and difficult to manage, especially because you can't just kill the ants and be done with it. You may squash a dozen, a hundred, or even a dozen hundred, and they'd still keep popping out of the little ant factory in search of food crumbs and territory.
In today's post, we're going to dive deep into why ants infest, how to prevent it, and how to manage it if ants have already claimed a portion of your home and property.
We recommend watching the video version of this post, complete with fascinating ant footage. Click HERE to watch that now.
You can also download the audio-only podcast by clicking on the podcast widget above.
Here are 5 tips on how to deal with ant infestation, as well as some information on prevention:
Understand the Cause
Ants are infesting your home for one reason only: food. They are searching for food to bring to the queen ant, so the queen ant can reproduce and create more ant colonies. If you are leaving crumbs spread out all over the house, no amount of deterrents will stop ants from persisting in scavenging your leftovers.
Regularly clean your counter-tops, dining room, and kitchen floor. Make sure that your cabinets do not have crumbs or open food inside of them. If there is no food available for ants to forage, then ants will not venture inside of your home. Also make sure to seal holes, entrances, and exits so ants can't get in your home in the first place.
Killing ants one by one almost never solves the problem. Ants reproduce quickly and their workers mean almost nothing to them. The only important ant is the queen ant, which is extremely hard to find. You may feel inclined to get rid of ants as soon as you see them, but instead observe the ants. Ants do not like to take new paths, and so will walk the same path over and over.
Every ant follows the other ant. By observing the ants, you will be able to identify paths and figure out from where the ants are coming from and going to. You may find that there are some hidden crumbs somewhere, or a small hole housing some ants. Don't try kill the ants- they'll send more when you're asleep.
Killing the Queen (Not Recommended)
Technically speaking killing the queen would get rid of the ant problem. With no queen ant, there is no ant colony, and so ants have no reason to bring food back to anyone. This is not recommended because the queen is usually well-hidden and well-guarded. Odds are the queen is somewhere hidden and tough to reach underground. Even if you could find the queen ant, she and the other ants will put up a fight and sting you.
Solution #1- Vinegar
Mix 50% white vinegar with 50% water and spray it on your counter-tops, around your dining room, and the paths the ants are coming from and going to. Ants hate the smell of vinegar and it will prevent them from walking their typical paths, so they will be less likely to continue exploring your home for food.
Note: vinegar is not safe for natural stone counter-tops and other materials, so please double check the material you are putting the vinegar on before doing so to prevent any damage to your home!
Solution #2- Chalk Lines
Figure out from where the ants are coming from and draw chalk lines disrupting the path. This has been scientifically proven to work, but why we aren't completely certain yet. One theory is that ants don't like the calcium carbonate inside of the chalk. Another theory is that it disrupts the trail scent ants normally take and so deters them from coming back.
Regardless of the reason, it works. Combine this strategy with the vinegar solution to maximize effectiveness.
Solution #3- Herbs & Essential Oils
Sprinkle cinnamon, mint, chili pepper, black pepper, cloves or garlic in the areas where you've seen the ants (and the entrances/destinations). Many plants and spices have a strong smell that repel the ants such as those just mentioned. This also disrupts their trails and deters ants from making new trails.
Use something other than peppers if you have small pets or children. Essential oils should be kept away from pets & children as well.
Extreme Solution #4- Ant Bait Stations
If you've tried all of the above solutions, and have no more attractants like food crumbs in your home, and yet you still have a problem, ant bait stations are an extreme solution that may do the trick. Ant bait is poison that attracts ants. Ants assume that it is food, carry the poison back to the queen, and then the queen eats it, dies, and the colony dies/disappears with her.
A simple search on Amazon for "Ant Bait Stations" will pull up several different potential solutions. Be careful if you have small pets or children.
Avoid Solution #5 - Pesticides
Pesticides can be dangerous to humans, property, and animals, so we recommend against using pesticides. It is an unnecessary danger especially considering that ants are not inherently dangerous- you are not going to be attacked by a swarm of ants, they are just there for food.
If the first three home solutions aren't working, you may want an expert to come in to handle the problem for you. You can contact Wildlife X Team and we will come in and take a look at the situation free-of-charge for you. If the issue is that severe, it's probably better that you let an expert figure out what's really going on inside of your home.
Give us a call at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information.
We hope you enjoyed this read and can get rid of those pesky ants. Thanks!
-Wildlife X Team International