There really is nothing worse than going to fix a meal in your kitchen and seeing ants crawling around the heart of your home and the place where you serve your family meals.
Whether in the cupboards, the dishwasher, or just crawling around on the floor, the idea of ants in the house sends shivers down the spines of many homeowners, especially when the ants are near food.
And that is the reason why the ants come into homes, to search for food. Luckily, there are many effective ways to get rid of them.
How Ants Find their Way in
Ants are hungry creatures. They enter homes looking for crumbs on the countertops, food dropped onto the floor, or spilled sugary drinks. Once they find a feast, they carry it back to their nest to feed the queen and the other ants.
Once they find food in your home, they will overstay their welcome if they continue to find a food crumb buffet.
How do ants get into your home to start with? Ants can fit through the tiniest cracks and crevices in your home. They seek the path of least resistance and are happy to find crumbs of food left behind.
Ants use their chemosense to detect even small amounts of sugar and will create a path to the food they find. Once they create a path, they will use it over and over to find food and take it back to the queen in the nest.
Colonies of Ants
The colony can consist of millions of ants, and they are all centered among one figure: the queen. The queen stays in the nest, surrounded by young worker ants who do her bidding and create and expand the nest as needed.
Since there are so many ants in the nest, and they never leave, other worker ants are sent out to forage for food.
Ants make nests in a variety of places. Usually, the nests are outside in the dirt. Once ants get into your home, however, they can also take up residence inside your home itself. If this happens, they usually create a nest inside the walls or even under a concrete slab.
While the queen and her subjects are back at the nest, the older worker ants search for food to take back to the nest. They look for the path of least resistance and that is why if you have a crack in your home they will be happy to enter and enjoy the crumbs.
Studying the movements of the ants and finding their trail is the first step in getting rid of them.
Following the Trail
Once you see the telltale signs of ants crawling through your home, and pinpoint the trail of ants returning to the nest with food, the queen is already well-established in her nest. The nest might be outside in the yard, or in the house behind a wall, but you should be able to figure that out by following the trail.
Once you find the trail, you might think that getting rid of the ants you can see will eliminate your problem. That is a false assumption. For every ant you can see, there are countless others that you cannot see.
Getting rid of the entire colony will take some careful work and planning on your part. But do not fear, it can certainly be done!
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home
Depending on the situation in which you live, there are many ways to get rid of ants in your home. Especially if you have small children or pets, you will want to find a more natural way to extricate the ants from your home so that you don’t risk their health with harmful pesticides and chemicals.
There are many natural remedies you can use by following the tips below.
Home Remedies You Have on Hand
If you see the telltale sign of ants in your kitchen, there is no need to rush immediately to the store. Especially if you have young children or pets around or if you are concerned about the use of pesticides in your home, use natural remedies that you probably already have laying around.
- Vinegar: Make a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and place it in a spray bottle. You can kill the ants directly with this mixture by spraying it on them, and then use paper towels to dispose of the ants. This vinegar solution will also act as a deterrent if you spray it around doorways and windows or other likely places of entrance.
- Lemon Juice: Use the lemon juice just like you would use the vinegar. This sour flavor will deter the ants from entering and kill them on contact. Spray the lemon juice water mixture directly on the ants, as well as on their places of entrance.
- Cayenne or Black Pepper: Ants hate the taste and smell of pepper, whether cayenne or black, so sprinkling this around the ant trails is another clever way to get rid of them.
- Cinnamon: This common baking ingredient is inhaled by the ant and causes it to suffocate. Sprinkle cinnamon on the ant trails you find to get rid of the infestation.
Boric Acid Ant Bait
The trick to an ant bait is that you want the ant to be drawn to something it thinks is food, and then take it back to the nest. But instead of returning to the nest with a delectable meal, in reality, the ant is taking something that is poisonous back to the nest.
Boric acid is a natural product that can make a great ant bait, as it is safe for humans but poisonous to ants. To create your ant bait, mix ¾ teaspoons of boric acid with a cup of food to create your bait, and leave it around wherever you have seen the ant trails.
You can repeat the process, as it may take several weeks for the bait to get close to the queen.
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring compound that is made from crushed rocks. It makes up about a quarter of the earth’s crust. This compound is safe for humans and pets, but the ants will take it back to their nests and it will kill them.
How should you use it? Diatomaceous earth is meant to be spread wherever you see ants. Often, you find the ant trail on the carpet in a living room or dining room, and using this Diatomaceous earth powder duster will help spread the product smoothly to get rid of the ants in your carpet.
The product is safe for humans and pets, and you can even sleep in the room where it has been spread. Because ants may have laid eggs in the carpet, you may want to leave the product on for a week or more.
Additionally, you should cover any areas of the kitchen where ants can be traveling. These include behind the fridge, window ledges, near cracks in the wall, under the stove, and any other place that could serve as an ant entrance.
Another popular, hard-working ant killer is this Diatomaceous Earth Bug Crawling Product. Ants cannot develop an immunity to this product, and that is why it is such an effective method to get rid of the ants.
Once you are comfortable that enough time has passed for the ants to take it back to the nest, use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly vacuum the diatomaceous earth from the carpet.
When all else fails, or if you simply don’t have the time or patience to take care of the ants on your own, call a professional. They have the experience and equipment to take care of the problem without using all of your free time and patience.
Keep Your Home Clean to Prevent a Relapse
Once you have worked hard to get rid of the ants in your home, you will want to do everything in your power to avoid them coming back. The key to this is keeping your home extremely clean.
- Wipe up spills as soon as they occur, especially from sugary drinks.
- Keep food in airtight containers to reduce the likelihood of ants smelling it and being drawn to it.
- Keep your counters crumb-free, and wipe them after every use.
- Vacuum your carpets frequently, especially in places where family members have been snacking.
- Wash laundry quickly, especially if there are food particles on your clothes.
Finding ants in your kitchen or home is never fun. But with a few careful steps, you can have them packing and moving out in no time.
From natural remedies like vinegar or lemon juice to the strong deterrent properties of diatomaceous earth, you should be able to remedy the problem with some creativity and patience. The key to rid your house of ants is keeping it extremely clean so they do not return.