So how to get rid of ants? Ants can be both a nuisance and a blessing. They are nature’s very own clean-up crew and they do quite a good job at removing food if you let them. But ants are not exactly visually appealing and if you have any food or liquid on your surfaces, you can guarantee they will smell it from as little as 3 metres away.
When you can see one ant, there are more likely a few thousand more on the way. Sometimes you might feel like you will never be free of an ant infestation, but don’t fret. If you want to know how to get rid of ants, there are lots of methods for safely removing ants and keeping them out of your home for good.
How to Get Rid of Ants ? Maintain Cleanliness
The first and foremost way to prevent an ant from entering your home is to not give it a reason to come in. All ant colonies have a few regular scouts that canvas the area in search of any scraps of food they can munch on. Remember, they can smell food from only a few metres away and they do a lot of walking. All they need is to walk past your windows or doors to know that there is something yummy nearby. Their senses of smell are excellent as well, so you have to be extra cautious. If you want, you can play a bit of a detective to spot one of these scouts and follow their trail to the colony.
Clean your kitchen surfaces every time you prepare food. The tiniest bit of liquid or your dinner that spills is an invitation to these tiny insects. Clean any messes as soon as you notice them. Don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight. You might be tired after a day of working and still having to cook, but you will face a much worse sink if you leave it for the next morning. A good mental trick to keep in mind is that if dishes will take you less than 10 minutes, do them immediately. Your brain, for many interesting reasons, perceives tasks as less of a chore when they are less time-consuming. Your brain will also reward itself with dopamine, the happy hormone because you completed a task.
Maintaining cleanliness also means sweeping your floors and vacuuming carpets regularly. Specks of food or liquid can get caught in the fibres and cracks. This makes it harder to know when there is dirt that needs to be cleaned. Aim to do the vacuuming and sweeping, depending on your floors, every second week, minimum. If you can do it once a week, even better.
Nature has provided many tools at our disposal so first try the following out before resorting to harmful chemicals. Vinegar is a miracle-in-a-bottle cleaning solution. Even if not for ants, vinegar gets rid of deep-set odours, cleans surfaces, and repels many animals. Do you have a pet that messes with your furniture or clothes? Use vinegar. It not only removes those pungent smells, but an animal won’t do its business in that spot ever again.
Chalk is another useful and very cheap option; any old chalk that you would use for a blackboard. Any colour or brand will do. Draw a thick line across all entrances to your home, including windowsills. There is something about the composition of chalk that ants don’t like to walk on. They will actively avoid any areas that have chalk on them. This method won’t leave any stains or markings and can just be wiped off with a damp cloth.
Use the Food They Hate
There have been reports of a few household objects that work. Things like ground-up coffee beans, lemon juice, certain essential oils, cinnamon, and pepper too. The list goes on for quite a while. Some people say that using these items is a myth, yet others swear by them. You can be the judge after you’ve tried one or two. If anything, it is the smell of these items that might put ants off, and not necessarily the specific item. Find something in your fridge or grocery cupboard that has a strong smell. Curry, cayenne pepper, peppermint, pretty much anything that makes you take a step back if you eat or smell.
Set Up a Decoy
Ants will instinctively go where the food is. You can set up a compost heap in your garden, or at least move your rubbish bin further away. A compost heap is rather useful if you like to get your hands green. You will have a continuous supply of clean, natural, and healthy soil.
For ants, the bigger the temptation you set, the better chance you have of steering them away from your home and keeping them away permanently. If there is a bigger pile of food somewhere, they will smell it before they sense anything in your house and will immediately be attracted to your decoy. Especially if you make the decoy nice by filling it with all sorts of leftovers and scraps.
Secure Certain Foods
There are a few food items that ants are more attracted to than others. Apart from the most common things that you already eat, anything with starch and sugar is a winner. Starchy food includes vegetables such as potatoes, aubergine, rice, corn, dried beans, barley, and most other grains. Sugary foods to store away more securely include fruit, honey, cakes, ice cream, any soft drink, and more.
Your best bet is to put these items in airtight containers. Move any food from plastic or cardboard packaging and either put them in the fridge or secure them in mason jars. You can give some extra sealant by taping the jars with insulation or packaging tape. If you do use jars or glass containers, pack them on the highest shelf of a cupboard with doors to make it harder for the ants to get in.
Cut Out the Access Points
Most ants gain entry to your house from plants and leaves that touch the exterior. Apart from using chalk and other substances on your floors, look for anything in your garden that might be leaning against your walls and windows. They may still be able to get through the threshold of a door, but these access points can limit their chances. Especially, if your house is very clean and your dirty rubbish is far from the property.
Examine the Structure of Your Home
Ants are tiny. They can get through the smallest of openings. Check your interior walls and ceiling for small cracks and holes that these insects may be using. There could be a colony under your kitchen floor, so they have an even easier access point to infinite food sources. They might have even migrated because your house is an easy target. Once they discover anything they can eat, they will keep coming back. Check the tiles on your roof, every window, door frame, floorboard, and pipes through walls.
If you have any plants in your house, you might already have an infestation that can only be fixed by throwing the plant out. They burrow under rich soil that is near to their food source. See if you can estimate how many are in the soil. With just a few ants, you can move the houseplant to a different pot.
To stop ants from invading your pretty indoor friends, leave the rind of any citrus fruit around the plant. The smell will deter the ants away and it provides great nutrients for your plant. Replace them as soon as the rinds are starting to decompose, which is only every six months or so. They take a long time to rot because the peels are so thick and leathery.
One of the most targeted foods is pet food. Ants cannot resist the smell, and the water bowl is usually right next to it, so it’s a double win. Move cat bowls to a higher surface. With dog food, you will need to elevate it off the floor. You can make your own stand with a few pieces of wood or buy one online.
Check Your Pipes
How to Get Rid of Ants ? Just as we humans need water, so do ants. In fact, they almost crave it and won’t stray far from a good source. Keep maintenance up on your home and fix any leaks or cracks. You might have to go as far as replacing water pipes if this is the cause of your problem.
But, if you have a pond or hot tub near or in your home, you will need to use a few of these other methods in conjunction with keeping your pipes in good condition.
Ants are determined little bugs that will find a way into your home no matter what. Your best bet is to safeguard the inside and outside of your home as best as you can. If none of these options have worked for you, then you might need to enlist the help of a professional who can help you remove them once and for all. Read more about how Bon accord can give you advice how to get rid of ants.