When ants are outdoors, it doesn’t normally create a problem. In fact, it can be advantageous as they prey on fly and flea larvae, aerating the soil and recycling organic matter. However, if they become a nuisance and start infesting indoors, it is about time that you deal with the ant invasion before it gets worse.
Understanding Ant Activity
Ants sort of follow a caste system where they have worker ants, caretakers and the queen. The workers are the ones looking for food for the colony. They are the ones you see roaming around and carrying food. They’re usually attracted to sweet food. It is the main reason why you should set up a bait system that attracts them and poisons the entire colony.
Perhaps you’re having problems with indoor ants because of the possible structural damage they cause and for foraging your kitchen cabinets for food. Outdoor ants can also become a huge problem in your lawn. Similar to how you would deal with ants foraging indoors, you have to look for ant trails carefully and then place the right ant killers in the right locations.
Controlling Outdoor Ants
The first thing that you should do in controlling outdoor ants is to find the nests. It may seem fulfilling to see that you’ve removed the ant trails, but it’s not enough. You have to know where their nest is and then set up the bait stations once you’ve tracked down their colony. The following are tips to locate an ant colony:
- To find the right ant traffic, walk around your home and check for other trails. You can pull over wood pieces or large garden rocks where ants can possibly be nesting on.
- Check for possible entry points in your home such as exhaust vents, doors, windows, faucets, and sliding glass doors.
As soon as you tracked down the nest, you can start setting up the bait just near the nest so the ants will no longer have to travel far just to bring the bait to their next location. If you are planning to use both solid and outdoor liquid ant baits, drench the solid ones with the liquid ones to make it more effective in getting rid of ants.
Addressing Other Pest Issues First
Aside from focusing on foraging ants in your lawn, you should also focus on other pest issues in your lawn and practice pest control strategies for these. Failure to do this will result in the recurrence of ants as other pests will leave food sources or will be the food source of ants. The presence of Whitefly, mealybugs, scale and aphids attracts ants to your yard or lawn.
Floral nectar and ripening fruits also cause ants to nest in your yard. Once you’ve addressed these issues, you can move on to controlling ants by installing barriers to deter their activities. Make sure that you cut tree branches that may serve as another access point to ants. Look for barriers and baits that are meant to be used outdoors to successfully get rid of these insects.
Dealing with Anthills or Nests Safely
With anthills, you can use ant-specific pesticides or simply pour boiling water on it. You need to use a lot of water to make sure that everything in a good-size anthill will be killed. Keep in mind that this remedy can also kill surrounding grass around the treated area. Soapy water can also do the trick and will force other ants to relocate while killing the others.
For flowerpots, make it a habit to flood them with soapy water until no more ants are seen in the pots. If this doesn’t work, you can start digging the colony and then pour the boiling water or soapy water directly on the hole. Yes, it seems labour intensive but is all worth giving a try. Resorting to some DIY remedies can also help in controlling and eventually eliminating these pests.
You can use boric acid to deal with anthills or nests if it is located in a completely dry area. Just sprinkle some around the opening of the nest and it will do the job.
*Note: Be cautious in using boric acid. Make sure to keep your children and pets away from the area to prevent accidents.
Using Baits for Bigger Colonies
For bigger colonies, finding baits with active ingredients that you can use for these colonies will help make the process easier. You can also use ant poison that directly affects the digestive system of ants. This will kill the ant workers, caretakers and eventually the queen.
Killing Wood-Boring Ants
If you think that there are carpenter ants and other wood-boring ants in your lawn areas that are digging tunnels in some of your wooden furniture outdoors, controlling them can be a bit different. You can easily detect the presence of these ants if you see frass around pieces of furniture. Frass is the deposit of sawdust as well as other debris left near nests. These types of ant love moist wood and don’t respond well to any bait. It is recommended that you locate the nest and use the right insecticide to deal with the ant problem.
Ways to Prevent Another Ant Infestation
There are different ways to prevent another infestation from happening outside your home. Doing these can also prevent these ants from going through your home’s cracks and crevices and starting an infestation indoors.
- Eliminate food source
As mentioned, it is important to leave nothing for the ants to eat. Whenever you eat outdoors, make sure that you clean spills and store garbage in containers that you can close tightly. As much as possible, don’t leave any trash outside or leave the garbage bins open as this attracts ants and other pests.
- Create a DIY moat or a store-bought moat for pet food dishes
There are times when your pet spills some of his food or doesn’t finish their food at all. When left unattended even for a couple of hours, this will attract ants no matter how eager you use baits. So, it is recommended that you place DIY moats or store-bought ones under your pet’s food dishes. You can add water and soap to the moat to detract ants. Just make sure that you keep your pet from drinking it.
- Cutting back vegetation and cleaning groundcover
Though keeping your own garden in the backyard seems fulfilling, you must also keep in mind that it attracts insects. You can start cutting back on the vegetation or keep a clean groundcover to reduce the population of ants nesting in your backyard.These are just simple preventative measures that you can do to avoid another infestation from happening outdoors. You can also use these tips to have total control over the current infestation and prevent attracting more ants to your backyard.