Ants, one of the most common household pests, also come out of hibernation when the weather is warm. |
The best plan for an ant-free home is to take preventative measures. Keep household surfaces as clean as possible, and make sure that food (especially the sugary variety) is stored in airtight containers when not in the refrigerator. You can also install and use screens, weather stripping, caulking and sealants to make your home bug-tight. If your best efforts still don't prevent ants from marching in and taking over your home, there are a few more easy, effective options to try out.
Quite often an ant problem indoors stems from an ant problem outdoors. To simply prevent ants you have spotted outdoors from coming indoors, you can treat the perimeters around the foundation of your house or building with insecticide spray.
Getting rid of an ant infestation can be a real challenge, but with these tips on how to kill ants, you'll be able to enjoy the warm weather without worrying about these pesky creatures.
Let's start with some household methods that don't require special equipment or chemicals. One of the best weapons in any ant-killing arsenal is simple soapy water. You can spray it on the ants to kill them, or use it to wash surfaces and destroy the chemical pheromone trails that ants leave to lead others to the food they find. That's why mopping your floors (and any other ant-plagued surfaces) daily during infestations is a great idea. If you have window cleaners around the house, they are also effective in killing ants. Choosing Ant Poison
If these methods don't get the job done, you could move on to commercially available ant baits and pesticides, especially those containing borax or boric acid. Because ants carry their food back to their nests to feed other ants, larvae and their queen, the bait methods are usually quite effective and safer than pesticide spray. Baits usually come in small plastic containers with small entryways for the ants to get in and out. Just make sure to keep these away from your children and pets. For maximum effectiveness, use them in late winter or early spring when ants begin to breed and multiply.
Ant baits vary, so try a few different brands, with different ingredients, to see which kind your ants are attracted to. Look closely at the labels, as there are indoor and outdoor baits, and you don't want to accidentally get the wrong one. Using outdoor baits outside can draw indoor ants out, but using them indoors can attract ants from the outside, which could lead to future problems.
To effectively use baits outdoors, place them where ants can easily find them - near nests and on ant trails you may have noticed beneath plants, or along wall or window edges. Space them 10 to 20 feet apart all around the foundation of your house or building and at every nest opening if you have located them. Effectiveness depends on the ant species, bait ingredients and availability of alternative food. It may take several weeks or more to exterminate a whole colony, or at least see a definite reduction.
To kill an outdoor ant colony without bait, pour boiling water directly into the nest. The ants that aren't killed instantly will be forced to relocate. The major problem with this method is the difficulty in finding ant nests and the near impossibility of keeping them from coming back.Ants on landscape plants or houseplants often coincide with the presence of aphids. Check houseplants for ants before bringing them indoors. Anthills in the lawn can be treated with ant-specific pesticides. Some choose to apply boiling water to anthills. While boiling water is a good remedy, it takes a lot of water to kill a good-sized anthill and it kills everything it touches, including grass.
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