The Time I Tried, and Failed, to Get Rid of Ants by Myself
By: Rita Stadler
My name is Rita, and I have a problem; an ant problem.
It started out small; there were just a few near the front door. But like most problems, they didn’t go away on their own. Ignoring them didn’t help. Day after day, the problem persisted. Being an optimist, and armed with a substantial knowledge of household pests and how to get rid of ants, I thought it was nothing I couldn’t handle.
I was wrong.
Trying to get rid of ants naturally.
I don’t know much about you, but I’ve shared bits and pieces of my own story through EarthKind’s blog here. Specifically, I shared a story about my little ant problem a few months ago. Following the expert advice found in these fine pages you yourself are reading, I was sure no ant would ever trespass in my home again.
- Any food or moisture that may attract ants was removed.
- All visible entry points were blocked and sealed.
- Pouches of ‘satisfaction guaranteed,’ proven effective, safe and natural ant repellent were placed in the areas ants had been seen.
I was confident my problem was solved after implementing all of these natural pest control tips and tricks.
Why am I still seeing ants?
The ants did disappear, for a few days. Then they popped up in a different area of the house. My husband informed me an unidentified number of ants had been spotted on and in our entertainment center, TV, and our toddler’s set of wooden blocks. He claimed to have soaked them with a can of Lysol. He also admitted squishing countless little buggers until the wave of invading ants had been defeated.
Using strong mental willpower, I convinced myself it was a freak occurrence. With a drill sergeant like mentality, I made the kids rinse their dishes, sweep the floor, take out the trash, and keep the house as spotless as possible. That lasted for about 10 minutes. I waited another week before admitting I couldn’t handle this ant infestation.
Calling the exterminator.
They say the first step to overcoming your problem is admitting that you have one. I could only do this in stages. First, I googled pest control professionals in my area. Like 33% of adults deciding on a professional service, I read online reviews before making the call. There were about a hundred questions I wanted to ask before choosing a PMP (pest management professional).
When the kindly old man arrived to assess the problem and give me a quote, I felt embarrassed. Would he think I was a terrible mother, wife, and homeowner for letting my house become infested with creepy, crawling insects? What if he saw my natural pest repellent and laughed at the idea that a scented pouch could get rid of ants? Would he put on a gas mask and coat my belongings in toxic fumes, leaving an indeterminate number of insect corpses as far as my eyes could see?
Thankfully, he came free of judgment, answering my questions patiently and even giving me new insights — turns out our home invader was Tampinoma Melanocephalum, or the ghost ant. I had put my money on Monomorium Pharaonius, or pharaoh ants.
The professional recommendation was an initial treatment of the interior and exterior of my home, with quarterly follow-ups around the exterior. The price was reasonable, and the risk seemed non-existent. Later, a pest control tech came to the house. He removed outlet covers and light switch plates to place ant baits inside wall voids. Outside, he sprayed the perimeter of our home and assured us that once the spray had dried, there was no risk for people, pets, or non-target species.
Does natural pest control actually work?
A pouch of Stay Away Ants still hangs in my pantry to protect the snacks my kids reach for every day. Since sharing my first ant encounter, I’ve ordered two cases of Stay Away Rodent for my mom back in North Dakota to protect her home and her business (a small-town bar and grill). I’ve given ant pouches to my friends and neighbors here in Florida when they complain about fire ants, and heard rave reviews. My BFF in Tennessee swears by Stay Away Spiders, and my in-laws in Virginia use a pouch of Stay Away Moths to preserve silk blouses and the like in their closet.
When the exterminator was in my kitchen, I asked him if he thought this ‘smelly pouch’ would work to keep ants away. He sniffed it and noted that it smelled “kinda nice.” The scent might work in the spring when the ants were breeding and looking for protein, but when they were seeking any food they could find to help them grow during the summer months, it probably wouldn’t repel them.
A little while later, I brought all of this up to EarthKind’s founder and Farmer-In-Charge, Kari Warberg Block. She was really happy to hear that I was able to keep my family safe and my home pest-free, by any means necessary. She agreed with the exterminator — different stages of the ant life cycle, along with environmental factors like geographic region and local weather can make pests difficult to control. While Stay Away Ants has been tested and proven effective against some ant species (Carpenter ants specifically), there are hundreds of different ant species in America alone. The best way to get rid of ants, or any household pest, often involves an integrated pest management approach.