During summer, we often see ants trailing inside our homes. This is the time of year when the ant colony is actively searching for food to hoard in preparation for the rainy season. Even the tiniest of crumbs on your kitchen counter will attract foraging ants. Then before you know it, you may already have an ant infestation that is difficult to manage.
Why Do You Have an Ant Problem?
The two main reasons ants are attracted to our homes are for food and shelter. When it rains and the ant nests get flooded, they would have to relocate their home. What better place to take shelter in but a human’s warm and cozy house.
Then there are also the bits and pieces of food that get left out on tables, counters, floors, etc. That is free and accessible food for a colony of thousands of ants. They could be seen as being helpful in cleaning our crumbs, but having ants in your home may still be problematic.
Are Ants Actually Dangerous?
There are over 10,000 ant varieties in the world. The most common ones we see around our home are fire ants, crazy ants, carpenter ants, and odorous house ants. These types of ants are the ones we should be concerned about.
Ants may carry diseases that can endanger humans. The bacteria or allergens that cling to ants may cause food poisoning, allergies, or asthma.
Fire ants are known for their burning stings that cause swelling and excruciating pain that lasts for hours. It is even more dangerous for people who happen to be allergic to their sting. They may die from anaphylactic shock if not treated immediately.
Some ant species can even destroy your property, like the carpenter ants, which like to gnaw on wet wood. Thousands of ants chewing on wooden cabinets, flooring, or even foundation beams may compromise the integrity of your home.
How to Get Rid of Ants in the House: the Most Effective and Safest Methods
An important thing to remember when trying to get rid of pests is that a lot of the methods may also be harmful to your family and pets. Perform any of the tips you see on the internet with caution.
For your safety, we have weeded out potentially dangerous substances like borax, boric acid, food-grade diatomaceous earth, and other chemical ant sprays from this list. Children and pets can access these when left lying around the house to repel ants.
This list of tips on how to get rid of an ant infestation only contains safe and non-toxic methods. So, you can keep your house safe from these pests without any worries.
1. Use a Mix Of Vinegar And Water Solution
This is a tried and tested method of getting rid of ants. When you see an ant scouting for food or an ant trail, spray them with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water. This solution will disrupt them and remove the pheromones that the ants release to follow to their food source. The ants, not knowing where to get more food, will be forced to retreat back to their colony.
2. Make an Essential Oil Spray
Similar to the vinegar method, spray the ants with a mix of 2 cups water with around 10 drops of any of these essential oils: peppermint, tea tree, cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus. The oils will also cover the smell of the ant pheromones, confusing them.
This method may harm your pets, especially cats. So, make sure to use this spray only in areas where your pet won’t be exposed to it, like ceilings, cabinets, and storerooms.
3. Use Coffee Grounds
Leave some brewed coffee grounds on a piece of cardboard near food items, like your cupboards or pantry. The strong smell of the coffee will overpower the scent of the ant pheromones. Remember to change the used coffee grounds when they get dry to keep your natural repellent potent.
4. Sprinkle Ground Black Pepper
This method seems a bit messy, but when in a pinch, at least every household always has pepper in the kitchen. Sprinkle some of that ground pepper along cracks and crevices where the ants crawl into your home. The strong-smelling spice will surely keep the pests at bay.
5. Use an Ant Bait
When choosing to use this method, make sure you get ant bait that has a proper enclosure that your child or pets cannot get into. To double the layer of safety, set up the bait station somewhere out of reach of children and pets.
The bait method works by attracting ants to bring the toxic lure into their nest, not knowing that it is poisonous. The lethal chemicals will kill a huge portion of the population of the ant colony. However, the queen ant must be killed as well to totally eradicate your ant problem. As this cannot be ascertained with this method, it is just a temporary solution that may still pose some toxic risks.
6. Get an Effective Pest Repeller
The most convenient and cost-effective way of ant control is by using these compact pest repellers. These devices work by emitting ultrasonic waves that pests cannot tolerate. The frequencies produced are outside the human hearing spectrum; only pests can hear them and are affected. So, the repellers remain quietly working inside your home while maintaining peace and tranquility.
Just plug the device in an outlet and experience protection from pests in your home all day every day. These are very affordable and consume little energy – the best investment that you can make Today.
7. Call a Professional.
When you have just noticed an ant infestation on your property, it is best to contact a pest control company. These are professionals that know all about getting rid of pests in your home. This method may be a bit costly, but you will only need about once or twice a year consultation if you strictly follow instructions in maintaining your home.
Why Do Some Colonies Still Survive After Treatment?
An ant colony may have a number of nests scattered around an area. Using baits and sprays may not reach the entirety of the colony. To completely terminate a colony, the queen ant must be killed.
Rock ants, for example, have special ants that protect the queen from poisons. They store the food in their body before feeding it to their queen. If the food was no good, they will die even before giving the food to their leader.
Tips for Preventing Ants in the Home
Prevention is still the best course when it comes to pest control. Maintaining a regular routine will help avoid uncontrollable infestations in the future. Follow these easy tips to keep your home pest-free.
1. Remove Any Available Food Source
To eliminate the main thing that attracts ants into your home, you must secure your food.
- Keep your snacks in air-tight containers. Ants rely on their sense of smell. By keeping food in sealed containers, you are making the food invisible to them.
- Do not leave dirty dishes and table scraps in the sink. This is an open invitation to all pests, not just ants.
- Wipe surfaces clean. Even just a few crumbs or smudge of oil are already a buffet to ants.
- Clean out your appliances right away: toaster, stove, oven, food processor. Crazy ants might short circuit and destroy your appliances.
- Seal your garbage bins. Put a cover on the bins and spray them with any of the ant repellent solutions we have discussed to keep ants away.
- Do not leave pet food in their bowls after feeding. Stow leftover food away and rinse the bowl after use.
2. Maintain Your House
- Repair and fill cracks and holes which can serve as entry points for ants.
- Keep your house dry and humid-free by having leaks repaired immediately.
- Regularly inspect wooden parts of your home. Have any damaged wood, a favorite of ants, replaced as soon as possible.
3. Care for Your Garden and Plants
Ants love to build nests under the soil. Prevent an ant infestation in house plants and garden by scattering the rind of oranges or lemons in the planters.
Having an ant infestation in your home may cause harm to your family and property. Fortunately, there are safe and non-toxic methods to keep pests away from your house. Follow the simple and easy tips we have here to enjoy a pest-free home.
Ants play a vital role in our ecosystem. Their total eradication will lead to bigger ecological problems we would not want to happen to our world. Sharing your home and picnic food with a few ants will probably not hurt. Just make sure to not let their numbers get out of hand by using the tips we have discussed here.