Keep Ants Out of Your House
By: Nikki Underwood
Picture this – you walk into your kitchen and there is what appears to be a moving, small, black blanket in the corner near your trash can. Ugh, did something spill there, or did one of your lovely kids drop scrap food in their attempt to throw away leftovers? Is your first thought to scream in fear? Or maybe you are so disgusted you get chill bumps and run away. Or do you grab the nearest can of bug spray and go all Rambo style on the unwelcomed guests? Either way, hold your horses because none of those options will solve your ant problem! We hate to be the bearer of bad news! So, you may be wondering, what can I do? No worries friends, we’ve got some tips that are sure to help you out!
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Why do I have ants?
First things first, we need to identify what attracts ants to your home. This may seem like an obvious statement, but knowing why they are there will help you find a solution! There are hundreds, yes hundreds, of ant species in the world. Luckily, there are only a few types that enter the home. If you need help identifying the exact type, Pest World is a great resource. For now, we will discuss the simple reasons that you may be getting the most common household ants.
- Food – I know you are probably thinking, well, duh! Yes, we all know that food will attract ants. However, you may be surprised to find that ants need very little of it to be interested. Something as small as a few crumbs on the floor will get a scout ant excited!
- Water – Just like all other living creatures, ants need water. Due to their small size, a little goes a long way.
- Shelter – Many environmental factors will cause ants to look for shelter in your home. It may be the rainy season, an extremely hot drought, or maybe there is snow. All of these conditions come into play for desperate ants.
- Easy Access – Ants may be taking over your house simply because it is easy to do so! Having a house sealed tight will greatly reduce your risk of an infestation.
How to get rid of ants:
Okay, so, now you know why ants have made their way into your home. That burning question still remains, how do I get rid of ants? Even more specifically, how do I get rid of ants naturally? Well, my friends, you have come to the right place! If you want more information on the different types of chemical-based pesticides for ants, check out our breakdown here, but this list is more for using the power of nature and following prevention tips. Now, let’s jump into how to create an ant-free home, naturally.
- Clean up – We know, we know, everyone knows that you should clean your house from time to time! However, remember above when we said that ants don’t need a lot of food? Yeah, they really don’t need much to be intrigued. Sweep/ vacuum floors at the end of each day, especially if you have children. If you can, keep all dining in a specific area and wipe down countertops with vinegar after every meal/ meal prep, too. This serves as a double whammy for ants because it disrupts any pheromone trails that scout ants leave behind for their buddies to follow.
- Properly store pantry foods – We understand that not everyone has a picture-perfect pantry, but it is best to store foods in reusable, sealed containers. Also, store ripe fruits in the refrigerator instead of the counter or pantry. Wipe down sticky syrup and honey bottles, too. Condiments easily drip onto the tops of the bottles making them extremely appetizing to hungry ants.
- Properly store pet foods – While we are talking about human foods, we often forget that ants love pet foods as well. The large bags of dog food typically aren’t resealable. It is best to remove them from their original bag and put them in airtight containers. It is also a good idea to clean up any mess from pet bowls each night before going to bed.
- Check for moisture – You may be surprised by how little water is needed for an ant. Something as small as a damp bathroom rug is appealing. Identify and repair any leaky roofs or pipes. Eliminate standing water in areas such as potted plants. Dry off as much as possible before exiting the shower and/or bath. Continue to run the bathroom fan for a while after you’re done to help reduce moisture levels.
- Seal your home – Ants are pretty tiny critters so it is difficult to completely destroy all points of entry. Any little bit will help, though! Replace any damaged screens on windows and doors. Look for small crevices and use a silicone-based caulk to plug them up. Repair any rotten wood around doors and windows. Believe it or not, check areas like cable, phone, and internet wall ports that lead to outside because you may find that they are getting in there as well.
- Use natural scents that repel ants – There are many DIY tips to help keep ants away. Some of the most popular are using scents like peppermint oil, lemon, and cinnamon to deter ants. To make it easy for you, Stay Away® Ants uses an essential oil blend of peppermint oil, lemongrass, thyme oil and more to keep ants away.
- Clean and regularly check house plants – Other pests like aphids tend to like a lot of plants in the home. They leave behind a residue that ants love! It’s good to wipe down the leaves of your plants with a homemade solution of dish soap and water. Also, placing citrus scents, like that of Stay Away® Ants nearby will help keep ants away.
So, now you know the most effective ways to keep ants out of your house! Like many things in life, prevention is easier than treatment. If you can stop pest problems before they start, you will be able to maintain a pest-free home. Do you have any tried and true DIY methods to get rid of ants? If so, share them in the comments below! We would love to hear them! The weather is warming up and mosquitoes are coming out. Want to protect yourself? Check out these tips to prevent mosquito bites!