Finding the Source of Your Ant Problem, Eliminating the Source, Other Elimination Methods, Step 3: Prevention

Killing ants may seem like a hopeless task given their numbers and near-microscopic sizes. Because of this, homeowners will resort to spraying sweeping layers of pesticide on surfaces where they are found in an effort to make it easier to get rid of ants.

However, many homeowners don’t realize that ant problems need to be taken in steps to ensure full eradication. Start by finding the source:

Finding the Source of Your Ant Problem

  • The Foundation Because ants seek out food sources, they will often build mounds near or around the home's foundation below first-floor areas, such as the kitchen. This gives ants easy access to cracks that allow them to enter and exit your home. Take a walk around the exterior of your home and look for mounds made of the soil.
  • Gardens Another favorite spot for ants is near gardens. This gives them access to any fruits and crops, as well as other dead insects.
  • Patios and Porches Patios and porches can also attract ants for their vicinity to windows and doors. They also have plenty of hidden spots underneath the porch to grow their colony.

Eliminating the Source

  • Granules Using poison granules is one of the most effective methods for eliminating ants. Granules are sold in most lawn and garden stores and are typically sprinkled over the tops of ant mounds. From there, the ants will take the granules into the colony where they will be shared with the queen and other ants, ultimately killing them.
  • Gels and Baits If you want to eliminate the source of your ant problem without spending time outdoors, you may want to try using poison gels and baits around the interior of your home. Gels should be used near entryways, and they work to trap ants entering through cracks in walls. Bait traps can also be used near windows and doors.

Other Elimination Methods

  • Pesticide Sprays Spray pesticides are the most common way to kill ants directly present. Within seconds of spraying, ants can be seen writhing to death. While this may offer an immediate gratification, it usually does not solve future infestations from occurring.
  • Organic Methods There are several organic methods using home products and organic material to get rid of ants. Corn meal is a common ingredient; mix it with boric acid and sprinkle small handfuls around ant colonies and entry points. Ants will ingest it and return to the colony while unintentionally spreading it around.

    You can also mix vinegar and water and spray it on the mounds. These and other organic methods, offer environmentally conscious ways to get rid of ants around the home.

  • Call a Pest Control Professional If you've tried seeking out the source of your ant problem with no success, or if you've found the source but have been unable to eliminate it, you may need to contact a professional exterminator for further assistance. Exterminators have specialized knowledge regarding ant elimination methods, and they often have tools that can penetrate deep into ant colonies for more effective results.

Step 3: Prevention

  • Seal cracks and openings Over time, the caulk and sealants used throughout the home’s exterior will wear out and create gaps. Check exterior paneling and around windows and doors to keep ants from entering through these areas.
  • Add weather stripping around windows and doors Weather strips are thin, flat, plastic panels that eliminate gaps around windows and doors. In addition to blocking windy drafts and rain, these can also be used to keep out ants.
  • Close garbage can lids When nothing else is available, ants will seek out garbage cans for food. Keep them out by tightly sealing lids on outdoor and indoor garbage cans. Take out the trash frequently. If possible, wait until the day before the pick-up comes to throw out frozen or rotten food so that it’s not sitting in the garbage attracting ants.
  • Clean kitchen countertops and floors Nothing brings in ants faster than a dirty floor and kitchen. Wipe up crumbs and spills and wash down with a vinegar-water solution to make ants think twice about coming back.

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