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How to Get Rid of Ants in my Home Efficiently?

May 11th, 2020

Although we all love to have guests in our homes, ants are not likely on your invite list. Yet each spring and summer, homeowners begin to see the odd ant or two wandering around on the floor or kitchen counter in search of crumbs. If we don’t act quickly, just one or two ants can quickly turn into a whole parade of ants marching throughout your house. When you are facing an ant infestation there are some quick and easy solutions for getting rid of the ants in your home efficiently and keeping others from coming back.

The pest control experts at BW Nature are often asked these questions:
• Why do I have ants in my house?
• What’s the best way to get rid of ants in my house?
• How do I get rid of ants in my house without killing them?
• What natural products can I use to get rid of ants?

Food and Water
Let’s first answer the question “why do ants come into houses?” There are two main reasons why ants are attracted to our homes: food and water. Some ants are attracted to sugars and sweet food sources, others are more carnivorous and are attracted to grease. All ants need water, although unlike earwigs, ants rarely choose a house simply for its water source. Food crumbs and greasy droplets are more likely to be the reason ants are attracted into a home.

To help avoid an ant invasion:
1. Keep your pantry and kitchen clean of crumbs and food spillage
2. Refrigerate fruits and vegetables when possible
3. Quickly clean up spills, drips, and splashes
4. Repair any leaky plumbing right away

The Ant Army
Ant colonies consist of many different roles. Worker ants scavenge and forage for food, most often from dusk to dawn, using their exceptional sense of smell on the end of their antennae (4-5x stronger than ours!). Once it finds food, the worker ant communicates its findings back to the colony by dropping pheromones along the path; a chemical scent road map to the buffet.

Soon after, an entire army of worker ants will begin marching into your house to collect food to bring back to the colony to feed the queen so that she can continue to lay all of the eggs for the entire colony. Worker ants will travel almost a full kilometre from their nest for a quality food source and will be persistent in finding a way into houses through any crack or crevice in the foundation, door and window frames, and even venting.

It’s this persistence that you can use as a weapon against the ants who are invading your home!

How to Get Rid of Ants
Once ants have identified your house as a reliable food source, it is very difficult to get rid of them even if you eliminate the food source. That is to say no matter how spotless your kitchen is, no matter how often you sweep up the crumbs and wash off the grease splatter, once the ants have started to march in and out of your house, they will continue to forage and search for new food sources.

Sending bait back to the next that will exterminate the queen is the easiest and most effective way to eliminate the ant colony that is marching in and out of your house. By placing ant traps (which are not traps, but more like a feeding station) on the floor, counter, or sill where the ants are coming in to your house, you’ll be providing an appetizing food source that the worker ants will carry back to the nest, resulting in the death of the ant colony in a few days or up to a week for a very large colony.

When using ant traps or ant bait, be sure to:
• Place the trap so that the windows/doors of the trap are facing up, allowing the ants to easily come in and out (remember, this is not a trap where they can’t escape, you want them to take a bit of the bait back to the nest to kill the queen ant)
• Don’t move the traps or the ants will start foraging in other areas of your house
• Sweep and clean up any crumbs, grease, or other food and water sources that attracted the ants in the first place
• Leave the bait for a few weeks to ensure that the colony is dead and won’t re-enter your house

Natural Ant Repellents
Once your house is free from ants, here are some natural products you can use to try to discourage ants from foraging in your house. Remember though, once they have found a food source, it will be very difficult to dissuade them so you’ll want to get rid of that colony first.

1. Vinegar – acts as a scent blocker to confuse the worker ants along their pheromone trail. Try 1 part white vinegar with 1 part water and wipe down all of the ants’ entrances.
2. Chalk – also disrupts the pheromone sensors for ants. Try drawing on your cement or bricks or sprinkling chalk dust along ant entrances.
3. Peppermint oil – ants hate the smell! Dampen a cloth with water and apply a few drops of essential peppermint oil then wipe down common ant areas.
4. Honey – ants love the smell! Place a few drops in a container outside your house between the nest and where the ants are entering. Once they discover this delicious food source, hopefully they will abandon the buffet in your house and go for the honey instead. Once they’ve caught on, gradually move the honey little by little each day so that the ants are no longer marching close to your house.

If ants in your home or on your property has become a problem and you aren’t able to get rid of them on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to the pest control experts at BW Nature. We’re happy to answer your questions over the phone or online, and can help you say goodbye to any unwanted guests in your home this spring and summer!