Most ants are beneficial because they kill real pests such as fleas and bedbugs. That’s no consolation when they start invading your kitchen cabinets, however. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can learn if you don’t know how to get rid of ants in the house, such as spraying them with lemon or peppermint-flavored water. If these lightweight measures don’t do the trick, you might have to declare war by using bait traps and chemical insecticides.
Killing ants is sometimes a necessity when you have an infestation and there is no end in sight. It’s the least desirable option but it must be considered when you have them in the home constantly.
Consider going from least harmful to most harmful approach first. Not only is this better for your health but it’s also kinder for the environment.
Kill off the ant trail. A line of ants can be dealt with effectively and quickly so as to kill those in the line and deter any others from continuing to follow the trail. It is recommended to begin with locating the entry point first and creating a barrier straight away, such as a line of petroleum jelly, upturned duct tape or talc, so that the ants outside stop using the entryway. Then, try one of the following methods to deal with the ant trail:
– Dip a sponge into soapy water. Simply wipe the sponge down the trail, collecting ants. Rinse them down the drain. – Rinse and repeat as often as required until all ants in the trail have been removed.
– Spray the trail with all-purpose cleaner or a bleach solution. Wipe it up with a wet paper towel. Spraying the nest can be effective, but you really want to make sure you get them all, otherwise killing part of the colony can simply encourage certain species to establish new colonies, which is counter-productive to you.
Squish the scouts. Colonies regularly send out lone ants to check for food sources. If you see an individual ant strolling across your coffee table, don’t let it make it back to the nest alive. It’ll tell the colony where you spilled the apple juice. If the scout made it back to the nest and brought back some friends, they’ll be following a scent trail, single file. Unless you’re ready to bait them, kill them all quickly.
Root out the ants already well entrenched in your pantry or other cupboard space. You’ll need to use an attractive poison bait to get the ants scurrying home with new “treats” from their food hunting missions. Mixing boric acid powder or borax with water and sugar is the most common bait. Make a mixture of 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons boric acid. You can mix peanut butter as well. Ants’ cravings vary depending on the needs of the colony (sometimes they want sweets, sometimes they want something oily), so providing both will increase the likelihood that they’ll take the bait. Once they’ve had their fill, remove all bait which may lose its poison when weathered, but still attract ants. You don’t want to attract a neighboring colony.
Consider using a borax bait made at home. Use 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of borax, 1 teaspoon of water. Mix well. Place a small amount on little pieces of cardboard where the ants are active. Watch them swarm it and carry back to nest. If it kills them too quickly, try 1 1/2 teaspoons of borax. You want them to carry it back and kill the colony and the queen.
Vacuum up the ants. Sprinkle and vacuum a little talcum powder or diatomaceous earth to finish them off in the vac and in the trash where you dispose of it. This second step is important to make sure that you don’t provide the ants a new home inside your vacuum cleaner.
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