DIY Ways to Get Rid of Ants
DIY Ant Control
Australians are no strangers to exotic insects. You may not think much of it if you see ants in or around your home. But what happens when a few ants become a trail of ants or even 3 or 4 trails of ants? All of a sudden, ants are coming out of every corner of your home and DIY Ant Control is the real solution to overcome this situation.
If you have ever had pest ants in your home, you know how a few ants can quickly turn into an ant invasion. These seemingly harmless insects may soon build their nests in and around your home, bringing with them the potential to spread disease as well as greater environmental damage.
Since such an invasion can happen overnight, quick and effective ant control is critical. Fortunately, there are numerous ant control options available.
Below, we provide you with an overview and a DIY Guide to Ant Control to take back control of your home.
Know Your Enemy
The first step is to figure out what type of ants you are dealing with. While the State Government of Victoria reports that Australia is home to more than 4000 known ant species, there are about a dozen species considered pest ants that may invade homes in search of food, water or shelter.
The following 7 pest ant species are the most common throughout Australia:
- Singapore ant
- Argentine ant
- Whitefooted house ant
- Black house ant
- Pharaoh’s ant
- Coastal brown ant
- Carpenter ant (a.k.a. sugar ant)
A number of pest ant species in Australia are invasive (non-native) ant species. The Government of Western Australia highlights how tramp ants, a category of invasive ant species that includes Argentine ants and fire ants, exhibit harmful behavior towards humans and pets such as aggressive biting and stinging.
If left uncontrolled, tramp ants can have devastating impacts on agriculture, horticulture, buildings, ecological balance and our outdoor experience in general.
Different ant species are attracted to different foods, such as sugars, proteins, fats and oils. Similarly, each species may behave and react differently to a particular method of prevention and/or control.
Identifying the species you are dealing with will help to pinpoint what foods, smells and chemicals they are attracted to and deterred by. This will in turn determine your best plan of action.
Inspect the Situation
When determining an appropriate plan of action, it is also crucial to understand the extent of your ant problem. Can you find the ants’ entry point into your home? Are you able to locate the ant nest inside or near your home?
Once you know where and how they are coming in, you can quickly and effectively close off or limit access. If you find the nest, you can treat the nest directly and more efficiently eliminate the problem.
Prevent Unwanted Guests
Once ants find a food or water source inside your home, it’s hard to get them to leave. If caught early, you can remove what is attracting the ants and prevent the problem from escalating. To avoid an ant invasion, follow these simple rules of prevention:
Minimize exposed food and standing water
Both food and water may attract ants, especially in regions where outside food and water sources are scarce. Clean up crumbs, store food in airtight containers, and get rid of standing water to minimize the chance ants will find anything of interest in your home.
Seal your house
Repair or fill any openings around power outlets, window frames, pipes, wall cracks, etc. that may provide an easy way into your home.
If you are able to identify their entry point, simply filling the opening with an appropriate caulk or sealant may stop the ants from accessing your home.
Avoid squashing ants
When squashed, ant bodies release oleic acid, which calls other ants to their aid and may cause other ants to react defensively or chaotically. Stepping on ants will only multiply the problem!
Clean up trails
When ants find a food or water source, they leave behind a chemical trail of pheromone for other ants to follow. To break an identified trail, clean the area with dish soap or a vinegar and water mixture to erase the pheromones.
Try a Natural Remedy
There are dozens of DIY ant control remedies out there, and their success will largely depend on the ant species causing you problems.
Natural remedies often target known entry points and trails with strong-smelling products that deter certain ant species. While not effective for all species, these natural control methods are a good place to start.
As a bonus, they are safe to use in kitchens and homes with children and pets, when used properly.
According to www.organiclesson.com, the following natural ant control remedies have been found to successfully deter most pest ant species when placed at entry points and along trails:
- Cinnamon powder
- Vinegar and water
- Borax and sugar
- Food-grade diatomaceous earth
- Cayenne pepper
To remain potent, these remedies may need to be replaced daily. However, they are inexpensive and you may even have them in your home already!
If natural ant control remedies aren’t cutting it, you can try a chemical solution that could be more effective. On the down side, they are generally more expensive and risky for any children or pets in your home.
There are a variety of ant sprays, baits and dusts on the market that target the ant nest and colony.
Sprays and dusts can be applied directly to the nest or along identified trails, while baits contain a chemical that ants bring back to the nest and consequently eliminate the entire colony.
The chemical solution that is best for you depends on many factors, such as the location of the nest and the ant species involved.
If you have successfully identified your problem species, you may find an appropriate chemical solution online.
Or if you are unsure which chemical control method would be best for your home, find out more about about the pros and cons of each option at www2.health.vic.gov.au
Call in the Professionals
Of course, you may find these DIY remedies do not effectively eliminate your ant problem. Or you may not feel confident about using chemicals in your home for a variety of health and safety reasons.
Rather than expose you and your family to any undue risk and to get the ants under control quickly, do not hesitate to contact pest control professionals. You can even reach out just for a second opinion.
Just because ants have invaded your home doesn’t mean your home is in danger so long as you act fast. And remember, maintaining good food hygiene is the first line of defence against pest ants!