Few things can plague a household like a persistent ant problem. Perhaps you live in an old house or a house in the country with lots of wildlife. The battle to keep these creatures outside can feel endless. Nothing is worse than settling down to eat or go to sleep, only to discover these creatures have cropped up again nearby. If this sounds like your situation, use these tips to rid your home of ants at home for good.
Eliminate the Nest
If you suspect ants have nested in your home, the first thing to do is locate the nest. This is not always easy and may take time, but it is well worth it. Ants seek out damp and spongy environments. This means any part of your house that has water damage is a great place to start. Framing, flooring, attics, and bathrooms are the usual suspects. Once you have located the nest, spray an insecticide on the affected area before fixing the water leak and the damage.
Kill the Scouts
When you find one ant, you are bound to find others. Killing them as you see them is seldom enough to keep them from coming. This is because ants leave trails of pheromone wherever they go that other ants can follow. When an ant finds a new food source, the rest of the colony quickly finds them. Shut down this process. Use a solution of vinegar and water where you find the ants. This breaks down the pheromone trail, meaning no ants will be following the scout you found.
Glass Cleaner and Liquid Soap
A solution of glass cleaner and dish soap is another great way to kill ants and keep them at bay. Spray this mixture wherever you find them, and be sure to leave a slight residue. This breaks down the pheromone trail as well as deters ants from coming that way again.
Peppermint oil is an excellent way to keep ants and other unwelcome guests, like mosquitoes, at bay. It acts as a natural repellent and keeps the ants from communicating via pheromones. Just as it is dangerous to insects, however, it can also be hazardous to cats. Keep peppermint oil away from your feline friend as it can make it quite sick.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil works similarly to peppermint oil. However, this remedy is not only effective at repelling but also killing ants. Mix in solution with water and spray it where you suspect ants are getting in. This solution, while especially useful for ants, is also dangerous to cats. Be sure to store your essential oil safely when you are finished.
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
This essential oil is a great way to keep ants away. This method works similarly to bug repellent candles, as they both contain citronella. Instead of mixing in solution with water, soak some cotton balls in lemon eucalyptus oil and leave them in the affected areas.
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
While they include similar verbiage, this remedy is not the same as lemon eucalyptus oil. Oil of lemon eucalyptus contains a chemical called PMD, labeled a bio-pesticide by the Environmental Protection Agency. This chemical, widely available at gardening stores, kills and repels both ants and mosquitoes.
Another safe option is white vinegar. Vinegar not only repels ants but kills them too. If you can handle the smell, liberally spray a solution of water and vinegar throughout your home’s affected areas. The smell will eventually dissipate, but the ants can still smell it. If they fail to avoid the treatment, the vinegar will stop them in their tracks.
Contact a Professional
Lastly, if none of the above solutions work, or you cannot locate your home’s hidden nest. You should contact a professional. Pest control workers spend 80% of their time locating nests. If you are not up to the task, a pest expert in Detroit will likely have better luck. They also typically have a wide array of solutions, depending on how comfortable you are spraying chemicals in your home.
Ant infestations are brutal and relentless. Use the above tips the next time you run into insect troubles. With some patience and detective work, you are sure to get them out of your home and keep them relegated to the outdoors.
Remember, though, that the best way to get ants out of your home is not to let them in, to begin with. Check gaps in outlets, floorboards, and radiators. Improperly sealed windows and torn screens can be a way in as well. Locate and seal these breaches, either with caulk or a long-term solution or with bait and insecticide. Keeping them out is crucial.
Another way to keep ants outside is by removing reasons for them to come in. Take out the trash more frequently and store food properly. Ants are easiest to combat in a clean environment.