Every time you leave a tasty morsel on your kitchen counter, hundreds of ants could be all over it within the hour. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to discourage ants or eliminate them completely. |
Tremendous numbers of ants normally reside in a typical house lot, although most lead unobserved lives underground or otherwise out of sight. Often it is only when they occur indoors or produce their periodic mating swarms that they come to human attention.Ants most prominently become problems when they are found in homes.
Ants love to invade kitchens because that's where all the food is. If you follow a trail of ants, you'll eventually find what they're after—whether it's a candy bar, a jar of honey, or an errant sugar cube. Simply remove whatever they're eating, and you'll see a lot fewer ants. Take a look at your kitchen, pantry, and inside every cupboard. If you see a morsel of food that isn't tightly sealed, seal it. It's also a good idea to do the dishes and clean your kitchen after every meal.
The first and most important step to reducing problems with ants occurring in homes is to eliminate sources of food and water that are attractive. In addition to obvious sources of food left on counters, sinks or floors, spilled food in cupboards and food associated with trash baskets may also be visited by foraging ants. Dripping faucets and leaking pipes may also be important water sources that ants will use. Also, if ants have been foraging in a home, wash down counters or floors with some household cleaner to eliminate the odor trails the ants have established to locate sources of food or water.
If you follow a trail of ants in the other direction, you should find where they're getting into your kitchen. By compromising these entry points, you could "nip the problem in the bud," so to speak. There are numerous ways you can make these entry points unattractive, including sprinkling borax, putting down double-stick tape, and squirting some lemon juice. However, compromising entry points isn't the ultimate solution—ants will likely find another entry point soon enough.
Some household insecticides allow use indoors as a surface spray to kill ants that move across treated surfaces. Such treatments are best applied to cracks and crevices used by foraging ants to enter living areas. However, these have very limited and short-term effectiveness as the insecticides degrade and/or the ants change routes of activity. Far more effective are insecticides used as baits, fed on by ants and returned to the nest. Contact sprays should not be used in the vicinity where baits are applied.
To completely eliminate ants from your kitchen, you'll need to turn to professional help. Pest control professionals won't only eliminate existing ants with a special interior treatment; they'll put up a special barrier that keeps them returning.
Effects of ant baiting usually start to become apparent within a week or two after they are begun. Under optimum conditions the ant colony may ultimately be eliminated by a bait program.
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