It may seem normal to have ants almost everywhere. However, it can become a nuisance if you start seeing them on your kitchen countertops or in your kitchen cabinets. There are different ways on how you can repel ants and prevent them from coming back. You can use store-bought pesticides or resort to natural methods to kill the ants.
Importance of Identifying the Ant Species in Your Home
Prior to starting any treatment, you should identify the species of ants in your home to use the right products to eradicate them. Finding the most effective pest control product for ants depends on the type that is invading your home.
The reason behind the right identification is because every type of ant has different behaviours and food preferences. You need to use a treatment or natural remedy that works well in keeping these insects out and prevents them from coming back. A permanent solution is required and for you to get one, you have to know how a certain type of ant will react to a specific treatment.
Using the Right Treatment to Common Types of Ants
The best way to avoid attracting ants and prevent an ant infestation is to always keep your house clean. Make it a habit to immediately wipe off spills and sweep off food crumbs. Your main goal is to not give ants a food source both indoors and outdoors.
Sanitation is the key to keeping ants away. This way, there won’t be anything that may attract these ants. Stock up more sealable containers for storing leftovers and sweet food. Use sealable plastic bags to prevent ants from accessing your garbage and other trash inside your home and even outside.
Below are helpful details on how you can treat the species of ants that are commonly seen in Canada.
If you have a tendency to leave sweet food in your kitchen or anywhere in your house, odorous house ants will most likely be around your home. Since these ants leave chemical trails, killing them won’t eliminate the ants, as it will still leave a scent that other ants will follow. As such, you need to get rid of the entire ant colony.
The following are things you can do to get rid of these ants:
- Use soapy water and sponge to wipe off any trails left by the insects and place baits at potential entry points.
- Create a mixture of powdered sugar and borax with a 3:1 ratio (3 tablespoons of powdered sugar to 1 tablespoon of borax). Use tiny containers or bottle caps as bait stations. Fill them with the mixture and place them near their nests. You can also place the bottles in the trails of ants to cut the line and prevent them from going all over your home.
- You can use an alternative to this powdery mixture. Simply mix half a cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of borax with a cup of warm water. Soak some cotton balls in the mixture and place the cotton balls in tiny containers or shallow dishes near the trails.
- Spray vinegar on cracks and crevices, on countertops and surfaces where they may travel to get rid of their scent trails.
These ants live pretty much anywhere and can be found living in any types of soil, from sand to loam. They prefer living in less occupied areas and even in soils with minimal vegetation. Pavement ants can live sidewalk cracks, under the floor and even in construction sites. Other than biting and stinging humans, they don’t pose structural damages. However, since their food source is inside your home, they can start foraging your pantry and contaminate food items without your knowledge.
These ants can become a nuisance. You can do the following to keep them away:
- Pour boiling water on their nests. This will stop the problem as it kills the ants, destroys their colony, and prevents any chances of recolonizing.
- Use food grade diatomaceous earth to keep these insects away. It is a safe alternative to other powder pesticides, especially when you have pets or even kids around. Sprinkle it along walls and also near their nests. Create a paste with the powder and little water and apply on possible entry points.
- Cloves, bay leaves, and coffee grounds help in preventing ants from infesting your home and keeping them away because of their strong scent. You can use any of these items alternatively and see which works well in your home.
- Chemical ant killer is another option if the above-mentioned solutions don’t work. Make sure that you read the label before using it and practice the necessary precautionary measures.
If you have parts of your home with wooded areas, you are most probably dealing with carpenter ants. Unlike other ants, this species doesn’t bring back any bait to their nest to kill their colony. This means that it will require extra efforts for you to find their nest or nests. Though they commonly live outside of your home, they can eventually go inside as they look for water and food.
This kind of ant doesn’t get killed with a simple mixture of sugar and borax. You can use the following instead:
- Sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth around your home to prevent these ants from entering.
- Use a powder dispenser to squirt DE directly to the nest and narrow spaces where they may go through. When it rains, make sure that you reapply DE to the same areas to maintain its effectiveness.
- You can also create a spray by adding 2 tablespoons of DE to a quart of water. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it when dealing with ants.
Baiting is the most recommended treatment instead of residual sprays. You can choose between grease/protein based baits or sugar-based baits. They may appear in different places, so putting baits in all potential locations must be considered. If you are not treating the nest and you want to use sprays, make sure that you use a non-repellent type.
It is highly recommended that you use bait when treating as it attracts ants and brings back the poison to their nest. Slow-acting options should be used to make sure that ants will bring it to their colony and kill not only those that are foraging indoors. Regularly rotate the baits to know which ones are effective and which ones are not.
When baiting, it is important that you get rid of other food competitions to let the ants go to the bait instead of other food sources. Leave it alone once you see ants feeding on it. Other solutions include:
- Borax and sugar mixture
- To get rid of the ants’ scent trails, dust some baby powder on points of entry to confuse and kill them.
Common Field Ants
Though there is no need for these ants to be eliminated, the large mounds that they create can be an eyesore. A large population of ants may also result in indoor infestations. Borax and hot water won’t work on these ants. To control these ants, do the following:
- To reach the queen underground, it is recommended that you use liquid insecticide. Remove the excess debris on the mound and make underground channels using a wood dowel or metal rods. Pour the insecticide into each channel to penetrate the nest deeply. Cover the area with the debris you removed and leave it that way for a couple of days.
- For ants foraging your home, make sure to seal all gaps and cracks to prevent them from entering.
- Non-repellent insecticides can also be used as a treatment around the perimeter of your home and along your home’s foundation.
Acrobats can use tree stumps and even firewood piles as a nesting ground. To make sure that your home is free from these insects, do the following:
- Remove all firewood piles near your home and tree stumps.
- Prevent them from entering your home by trimming tree branches and shrubbery that are touching any part of your home.
- Repair and seal all tiny cracks and holes.
- Place baits strategically on areas that are creating pathways for ants. You should also place baits around heavily infested places. Leave the baits for several days to give enough time for the ants to bring the poison to their nests and let the poison serve its purpose.
You will most likely notice them during their swarming periods and find them around foundations and doorways. Caulk and seal areas where these ants may enter and control them before an infestation starts.
These ants create their nests near or in crawl spaces and foundations. You can find their nests by searching for mounds of soil. Dust some silica gel on these mounds or other OTC ant control pesticides to treat the area.
If there is a swarm, vacuum up flying insects as it is the fastest and safest method to get rid of them. Make sure that the insects you see are ants and not termites. To identify the right type of insects, crush one. If it smells like lemon or citrusy, then these are citronella ants.
To eliminate nests, use insecticides and repair moisture problems that attract ants.
Make sure that you use the right treatment and apply it properly if thatching ants are a threat to your property. Never apply insecticides on the entry hole, as it will only force the ants to create another colony or move to a nearby location. You must deal with the infestation both on the surface and on the underground.
Try to do the following:
- Dig a deep hole and stir the contents of the nest while pouring some insecticide inside the nest as well as the surrounding area. Avoid bites by using a plastic bag or gloves when stirring the contents. This will make your hand and arms slippery and prevent ants from climbing onto your arms and biting you. You can also wear boots to protect your feet from bites.
- Use your chosen pesticide with utmost care and follow the instructions strictly. Protect yourself and others near the affected area to prevent poisoning hazards.
Other Natural Pest Control Solutions for Ants
There are more solutions that you can try to keep ants away from your property. Try the following:
- There are ants that are attracted to grease and protein. Create another alternative mixture with a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of borax. Get a plastic straw and dip the end in the mixture until it fills the entire straw. Cut the straw and place the pieces near ant trails.
- Putting a few drops of peppermint essential oil on cotton balls can also help repel ants.
- You can sprinkle some cinnamon powder on points of entry.
- Instead of using sticky baits, you can apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to their entry points to trap these ants.