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How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home

By: Rita Stadler

ants walking in a lineAnts may be the most common of all household pests. Most ants are a harmless nuisance but some species such as carpenter ants and fire ants can cause problems. Even the ‘harmless’ types of ants tend to travel in large numbers, invading homes and contaminating food. Once you discover an ant infestation, you’ll want to identify the type of ant you’re dealing with and where they are nesting. Then there are two things you will need to do:

  • Get rid of the ants.
  • Prevent ants and other insects from getting into your home.

Using ant poison to get rid of ants:

Put plainly, ant poisons don’t repel ants; they kill them. While that part of the solution is seemingly simple, it only treats the symptom of ants in your house but doesn’t solve the problem. Knowing which product is best for your situation isn’t easy. There are several different types of ant poisons on the market. Pyrethin and malathion are two of the most common types of ant poison.

What are pyrethins?

Pyrethrins are pesticides found naturally in some chrysanthemum flowers. They are a mixture of chemicals that are toxic to insects. Mosquitoes, fleas, flies, moths, ants, and many other pests can be controlled using pyrethrins.

Pyrethrins can be found in foggers (bug bombs), sprays, dusts, pet shampoos, and over-the-counter lice treatments.

They are low in toxicity to most people and mammals, but pyrethrin can be irritating if it gets on your skin, causing tingling or numbness at the site of contact. Children who have gotten lice shampoo containing pyrethrins in their eyes have experienced irritation, tearing, burns, scratches to the eye, and blurred vision. When inhaled, irritation of the respiratory passages, runny nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea have been reported. People have reported asthma-like symptoms after pyrethrin exposure; however, research has not proven a link.

What is malathion?

Malathion is an organophosphate. Thousands of products containing malathion are available for sale as powders, dusts, and sprays for pest control. Precautions must be taken when using products containing malathion to prevent adverse effects such as nausea, weakness, shortness of breath, cramps, headaches, and diarrhea.

Malathion is also highly toxic to bees and other beneficial insects, some fish, and other aquatic life.

Getting rid of ants without poison

Most ants live outside but travel indoors to find food. The best way to get rid of ants in your home is to store food in air-tight containers and block any entry points ants may use to get inside. Since ants can get in through extremely small openings, this is challenging. You will need to watch where the ants are coming from, and then use supplies like silicone caulk or weather stripping from your local hardware store.

You can protect your home from ant infestations with an ant deterrent like Stay Away® Ants & Cockroaches. Click below to learn more.