As the weather warms and we make our way closer to summer, most of us like to spend more time outdoors. We look forward to sunshine, balmy breezes, and fresh air. Unfortunately the change in the season also brings out some unwanted pests – especially ants! Ants can be a nuisance and extremely hard to get rid of. Check out these 8 tips on how to prevent ants, as well as get rid of them for good.
- Treat the whole colony. Ants are social insects that live in colonies. If you see 1 ant, there are several more out of sight. Using an insect spray only on those you can see will not eliminate the rest of the colony. Track the ants to the source and treat there for the best success.
- Get rid of the food source. Ants enter your home for two reasons – food and shelter. Several household items attract ants including sugar, grease, and other foods. Make sure food is kept sealed in airtight containers. Pet food should also be kept sealed when stored and should not be left out where it can be accessed by pests. Take the trash out on a regular basis to prevent the smell from attracting ants to the garbage.
- Eliminate entry points. Ants are extremely versatile and can locate even the smallest cracks and crevices to enter your home. Caulk and seal cracks and crevices to eliminate entry into the home. Clean around entry points with detergent as this will eliminate the chemical pherome trail that ants leave behind. This trail is a chemical signal to other ants to follow to get to the food source inside your home. Treat entry points after you clean them with insecticide.
- Use bait. Ant baits are a very successful method of controlling ant populations. Baits usually come in 3 forms – gel, granule, and bait stations. Bait stations are safe to use with children and pets.
- Don’t forget the outside! Ants come into your home from outside so it makes sense to treat the source of the infestation, as well. Trim all trees and shrubbery so that they are not touching the house. Remove dead tree stumps and store firewood off the ground and away from the house.
- Dehydrate. Ants need moisture to survive. Minimize access to moisture both inside and outside your home. Repair leaky roofing and plumbing to eliminate excess moisture. Paint or seal exposed wood before it gets wet. Replace rotted and water damaged wood and wood that has been previously infested with ants. Check gutters and spouts to make sure they are draining away from the house. Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture inside the home.
- Know what you are dealing with. There are several different species of ants and each one requires a different treatment plan. Treatment options depend largely on the type of ant you are dealing with. Tiny black ants usually reside outdoors and enter your home in search of sugar, starch, or meat for food. They are generally treated by tracing them back to their source colony and treating there, followed by sealing the points of entry into your home. Carpenter ants, on the other hand, are harder to control. They prefer to nest in moist wood. Their nests are hard to find and can be located both inside and outside the home.
- Contact the pros. If you suspect an ant infestation contact a pest control professional who can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and set up a comprehensive treatment plan.