Spring and Summer time are a welcome change for just about everyone. The weather starts getting warmer, we get to enjoy more outdoor activities and of course, everything starts turning green again. The one major downside to this wonderful time of years is that it brings the bugs back out creating new pest control problems. One of the more troublesome and annoying common household pests in the south is the ant. During the late spring and early summer, these critters begin building their mounds and start searching for food, and if we’re not careful they may start taking up residence in our homes.
Fortunately, there are a lot of easy and effective methods for preventing ants form entering your home, simply follow these easy tips and you can enjoy an ant free household.
Take Notice of Scout Ants
One of the first signs of ants making their way into your home are scout ants. These rogue ants take their “scout” name very seriously, and their entire job is to find sources of food for the colony. Should you notice one of these ants scouring about in your kitchen or other living areas, it’s a definite sign that you may have more ants coming. Should you come in contact with scout ants, it’s a strong sign that you need to take action with the remaining steps in this article.
Keep Surfaces in and Around Your Home Clean
What’s the one thing no creature can live without? Food, of course! While you and your family need to eat, that doesn’t mean you need to leave evidence of your meals around the house, as this is exactly what ants are looking for! The biggest thing you can do to prevent ants from entering your home is to make sure you keep it clean, and to make sure food items are cleaned up and stored in sealed containers.
- Clean Up Dirty Dishes: The last thing we want to do after a big delicious meal is get up and start cleaning, but that’s exactly what needs to be done! Leftover food and dirty dishes left around the house are an instant attractant to ants, and can become an ant buffet if not cleaned up in a timely manner.
- Sweep & Vacuum Regularly: Keeping a swept floor can make a major difference as it eliminates stray food crumbs that may go unnoticed. Keeping your floors clean in areas where food is consumed is essential in preventing those scout ants from finding a food source.
- Wipe Down Common Surfaces: While ants are attracted to food, they are also attracted to sweet/sticky substances resulting from spills in and around our home. Wipe down counters, workbenches and other surfaces with cleaning products or vinegar/water to ensure that ants aren’t attracted by spills.
Store Food in Sealed Containers
As with most common household pests, it’s essential to store food (for both people and pets) in sealed, air-tight containers. Restricting access to food sources means that ants won’t be able to gain access and will steer away any other pests who may be looking for a food source at the same time.
Seal Off Cracks & Entrances to Your Home
Once you’ve completed removing food items and preventing access to them, it’s time to start preventing ants from entering your home. Act as your own scout and search for areas in and around your home that could be potential entrances for ants. Sealing cracks around windows and doors and the foundation of your home with caulking can eliminate many of the obvious entrances for ants to use. These sealants will degrade over time and with exposure to the elements, so it’s best to keep an eye on them and reapply as needed.
Remove Ant Trails
If you’ve already developed an ant problem, it’s important to identify where they’re coming from and eliminate their trails to prevent them from continuing to enter your home. A simple application of a vinegar/water mix along the length of the ant trail will disrupt the ants and force them to find a new path to their food source.
Ants leave scent trails for other ants to follow, and where you find one trail you’ll likely find others. It’s important as you’re spraying down ant trails to keep an eye out for deviations from that trail to other locations in your home and to spray them down as well.
Deploy Ant Baits around Active Areas
If you’ve been noticing scout ants around your home, it’s a good idea to start placing bait traps in the areas you’re seeing scouts. Instead of immediately killing the scouts, you can. While these baits may attract more ants temporarily, their toxic baits will be carried back to the colony and can help to eliminate the colony itself, not just the few ants that find their way into your home.
Control Ant Colonies around Your Property
If you’re finding ants in your home, then you’re certainly going to find a colony (or multiple colonies) around your home. In order to control ants in your home, you also have to make efforts to control them in your yard.
When you notice mounds developing around your property, take action and apply exterminating products to the colony itself and the area immediately around the colony. Wiping out these colonies properly will eliminate the entire colony and prevent them from spreading out and creating a new home elsewhere.
Spray an Ant Barrier around Your Home
Proper application of an ant barrier (insecticide) around the perimeter of your home’s foundation will help to steer scouts away from your home and prevent ants from entering in search of food. While there are products available from local hardware stores that can help, this is best left to professional pest control companies as they have products that are more effective than those available commercially.