Ant infestations are a common and disgusting nuisance, particularly in the kitchen, but there are natural and inexpensive steps you can take to exterminate those ants. Pesticides should be a last resort, if used at all, since the majority of materials necessary to kill off the ants are household items. Here are the best five tips for exterminating household ants and preventing future infestations. |
Take Note of Entryways and Paths
The first step in taking on an ant infestation is to determine where they're coming into your home from, and the paths they've created to travel by. Ants live in colonies, with an egg-laying queen staying behind in the nest, males who impregnate the queen, and sterile female worker ants. The worker ants are the ones who are sent to forage, and these ants leave a trail of pheromones behind them to communicate to other worker ants that food lies ahead. Spraying pesticides won't help if these entryways and paths are left in place, so seal cracks, holes and crevices which are serving as entryways, and scrub these sealed entryways and observed paths with detergent to remove the pheromones.
Make a Boric Acid and Sugar Slurry
Make a simple slurry of half boric acid and half sugar, and then making a wet mush by adding a little water, will do wonders to kill off your ant infestation. Leave it in the middle of the paths you observed, around ant entryways, and near areas where food debris frequently drops, such as near your kitchen garbage can. This slurry is harmless to adults, but make sure that pets and small children stay away from the concoction. The wet sugariness of the slurry will attract the ants, but the boric acid will finish them off.
Let the Ants Bring the Poison Back to the Nest
It might be tempting to stomp on the ants when you see them feeding on the boric acid and sugar slurry, but don't. It's imperative to let them ingest the poison and bring it back to the nest, where they will spread the poison to the rest of the colony before dying themselves. Squashing ants who have just eaten the poison before they have the opportunity to spread it to the others defeats the purpose of the boric acid and sugar slurry.
Only Use Insecticides on Their Nests
If you've actually managed to locate an outside nest from which the infestation is occurring, and you want to go the extra mile in killing off the colony, go ahead and spray a standard insecticide on the nest. Though insecticides are also designed to be used inside the home, they are highly toxic and the spray may linger on hours after application by landing on countertops and furniture and adhering to them. If you must insecticide, try to keep it outdoors.
Keep Home Interior Clean and Free of Food Debris
This is more of a future prevention tip than an extermination tip. Ants love food debris, and can sense the presence of it in your home even from outside. Make sure when preparing food to sweep up crumbs, wash debris off of dirty plates in a timely fashion, and make sure not to remove kitchen garbage bags to an outside location as soon as they're full. Keeping a tidy home can go a long way towards not having to go through these steps again.
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