When ants are searching for food or taking food to the ant colony, they don't actually remember the locations of the food or colony. Instead, ants leave behind them a trail of chemicals called pheromones, which they can smell. The trail may be invisible to us, but finding it and wiping it out is a key to keeping ants from invading your home again. |
As ants forage, or search for food, they leave one type of pheromone behind them, which they can use to find their way back to the colony. When they find food, they follow the trail back to the colony while leaving a trail of a different pheromone.
When another foraging ant finds a trail leading to food, they can follow it to find the food and take it back to the colony, while leaving their own pheromone trail. As more and more ants come across the pheromones, they make it stronger and an ant trail is formed.
An ant scent trail is invisible to humans. The easiest way to see a scent trail is to watch the ants traveling in a line. Very rarely will a few ants break off from the line to scout new food sources. Early on in an invasion, the unbroken line to the food will mark the pathway of the scent trail.
Have you've seen the lines of ants, and now want to disrupt their trail? There are several easy ways to clean or disguise an ant's scent trail.The key to virtually any ant control is to find the nest. All ants are social insects that live cooperatively in a colony.
Ways to Disrupt Ant Trails
Vinegar has so many uses in the home, and sure enough, it can help with ants, too. Fill a new clean spray bottle with vinegar. Spray the vinegar along the ant's scent trail. Allow the vinegar to dry. Don't use vinegar on grouted areas. Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for the surfaces in your home.
Another magic cleaner, baking soda is a great tool to help remove the scent trail of scouter ants. Baking soda can be combined with water to make a scrubbing paste, that can then be used to clean along the trail. Baking soda can also be used in dry form, spread along the trail and in any cracks and crevices.
Boiling, or very hot water can help wipe out a scent trail left by ants as well. Because boiling water is more dangerous to work with, and can damage some surfaces in the home, extreme caution should be used. Boiling water is best used when part of an ant trail can be found outside, because it's unlikely to damage areas outside your home.
Ground cinnamon can also be a useful tool to remove an ant scent trail. Ants hate cinnamon. They'll go out of their way to avoid any cinnamon scented or coated areas. Spread cinnamon along the ant trail, including cracks and openings.
Scrubbing with a commercial cleaner is a good option to remove the ant scent trail. Murphy's oil soap, or cleaners that have orange oil can be great options at cleaning away the trail, and may be a safe option for some surfaces.
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