When it comes to pests, ants are probably the biggest headache for homeowners and business owners. Unfortunately, they are so prevalent that over 1,000 different species live in the US.
It seems like no matter where you go, ants are roaming around—and the worst part is that they often come in droves, searching for food.
While they are generally a nuisance, certain ants may also pose health risks or cause property damage. For example, carpenter ants often go to damp areas and look for wood to build their nests.
Though it would take a while for them to cause significant damage, you might not even realize they are there until they cause major damage if you are not attentive.
So to help you stay proactive and manage your ant situation, here are 10 tips for better ant control. Make sure to include these in your regular routine to avoid bigger problems down the line.
1. Identify the Type of Ant
Start by identifying what type of ant you see in your home or office. It is important to understand their nesting habits and determine the best way to deal with the situation.
However, you may have a hard time pinpointing what specific ants lurk on your premises, especially with so many different ant species.
So if you are not sure how to differentiate between each type, you can seek an expert’s opinion. Professional pest companies have extensive knowledge and advanced equipment that can help you confirm what ants are lurking on your property.
This way, you can plan out what pest management techniques will be best to handle the situation.
2. Clean Regularly
Maintaining clean surroundings is important to avoid inviting ants and other pests into your area.
Even the smallest things like leaving crumbs or spills on the floor can become breeding grounds for insects, so you should clean your place regularly to avoid them from growing their colonies.
Make sure you wash dishes immediately after eating, sweep and vacuum the floors, and throw out the trash every day to prevent ants from forming colonies. It is particularly true in areas where you prepare or store food, since this is where most ants usually go first.
3. Explore Ant Repellent Options
One of the most common methods for pest control for ants is pest repellent, so this serves as a good starting point. You should be able to find insecticides and ant killers easily in your local hardware store.
However, if you prefer to use non-toxic repellents, you can explore alternatives like vinegar, talcum powder, cinnamon, pepper, and chalk.
4. Erase Ant Trails
Rarely, will you ever see just a single ant roaming around? The majority of the time, they come in colonies. But, if not, you can expect to see many others soon.
It is because ants leave a scented trail wherever they go, inviting and guiding others to follow them. The trail comes from pheromones, chemicals that the ants naturally excrete as they move around.
Once you notice ants moving in trails, it will not be enough to just remove the ants. You need to eliminate the trails to get rid of the scent they left behind to prevent others from following back. Unfortunately, sweeping, mopping, or pouring water will not erase these trails.
So instead, you can mix up three parts of water and one part vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray this when you see ants roaming around. The vinegar’s strong smell can help mask the rail to keep other ants away.
Other alternatives you can use to disrupt their trail include coffee grounds, lavender oil, and peppermint oil.
6. Find Indoor Ant Nests
When dealing with carpenter ants, you need to look out for their nests since they can cause serious property damage if left ignored for too long. It can be tricky to find these nests, but generally, these ants like wood and damp areas.
You can start by looking at obvious places like bathrooms, exterior walls, and attics, but you should also check for leaking floors or framing.
Once you find the nests, you can spray them with an insecticide containing deltamethrin, permethrin, or bifenthrin. A professional can treat the mound with an EPA approved and family friendly liquid product that will eliminate the mound entirely. Most of the products used by professionals are restricted pest control products and work much better than the items you’ll find at the local big box stores. Baits are also used inside if the colony can not be easily seen as they may be in the wall or other hidden parts of the structure.
If you prefer not to handle these chemicals or struggle to find the nests yourself, you can hire professional pest control companies to do the work. They have good experience, knowledge, and tools on hand, so you can rely on them to find the nests more easily.
7. Get Rid of Exterior Nests
Aside from eliminating the ant nests inside your property, you also need to look outside for exterior nests. These are often easier to find than the ones indoors, but they can still take some time and effort. To help you do this, you can check out these common indicators:
- Trailing Ants. If you notice ants trailing in your yard, you can try tracking them to see where they go. At times, you may even be led to their indoor nest since ants often come inside to look for food.
- Mounds of Dirt. Ants often forage through lawns and backyards, excavating dirt in the process. So if you notice heaps of dirt, these could signal the entrance to their nest, which they build underground.
- Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that usually live on plants and feed on sap or juices. In the process, they secrete sweet liquid called honeydew, which is highly attractive to ants. Thus, if you notice an influx of aphids attacking your plants, the chances are that the ant nest is just nearby.
- Rotten Wood. If there are prevalent wood-eating ants in your place, it should be no surprise that rotten and untreated wood will be a major target for them. Carpenter, fire, and crazy ants love to build nests around wood that has been left alone for a while. Thus, you can check these areas for potential nests.
8. Seal Off Entryways
Beyond getting rid of ants inside and outside your property, you also need to keep ants away and prevent them from entering again.
While installing pest control for ants, you can observe where the ants are coming from and focus on blocking them. To start, you should seal cracks in walls and floorboards, then treat them with repellent.
Windows are another obvious entry point for ants, so you should caulk them and repair holes or rips in the screens if any. Aside from these, you should fix leaks immediately since they can cause your property to get damp and attract more ants.
9. Store Food in Sealed Containers
While this step may seem minor, it can be extremely effective in keeping the ants away. Storing your food in air-tight and sealed containers can prevent ants from entering and feasting on them.
However, given how resourceful ants are, they always manage to find the tiniest cracks to slip through. Thus, the next best way to control them will be to cut off their food source.
10. Hire Professionals
If none of the ant control tips above have worked or you feel like the situation has gone out of hand, the best step will be to hire pest control professionals to help you out.
Ants may seem like simple insects to deal with, but you might be surprised at how tricky it can be to control them. Unfortunately, with thousands of species of these insects, there is no universal solution to pest control for ants.
Professionals can help you find customized solutions to eliminate the ants on your property. They have ample knowledge and advanced tools and equipment to control the situation more effectively.
They can also give you tips on how to maintain your home or office to prevent major infestations in the future.
Overall, ants are known to be the top nuisance for most property owners. And while they are not necessarily harmful, they can spread bacteria, eat your food, and destroy structures, making it important to keep ant activity to a minimum.
The tips above can help you take better charge of the situation, but if you are unsure where to begin, you can schedule regular services with professional pest exterminators.
Call us now at 214-617-0756.