Look, ants are not the worst possible pests, but they can really over step there bounds. If unchecked they quickly grow in numbers and before you know it, your floor looks like a road map. If you have children or small pets using a pesticides might be to risky, especially inside the home. Lucky, there are simpler and safer ways to get rid of ants naturally with items you may already have at home.
Carpenter ants vs. House ants
Lets first make sure we are on the same page. Typically there are two types of ants that are commonly found in homes, Carpenter ants and Odorous house ants. What works for one will not work for the other. So lets identify these pests. The two types of ants require a different game plan. Odorous ants can be targeted by using bait, while for Carpenters, you will need to discover and attack the nest.
Carpenter Ants: Larger in size than odorous ants, these ants are more common outdoors and nest in in old moist wood.
Odorous Ants: If they are in your home and traveling in packs on a trail, they are most likely odorous. These ants are small in size and have a lighter color than carpenters.
Borax and Sugar Bait
This is a super simple way to target and kill Odorous ants. Their addiction to sugar make this the perfect bait. The amount you make depends on your needs, the most important part is to use a 3:1 ratio of powdered sugar to Borax.
- If the Borax makes for more than one part of the mix, the ants won’t fall for the bait. Keep it sweet and attractive.
- Put small amount of the mix in soda caps and lay around where they are sure to find
- Don’t disrupt them, once they fall for the bait, let them do their job and carry it to the nest. This will hopefully result in killing off the entire colony.
You ever wonder how they know to travel in such perfect paths?
Once a scout ant discovers a food source they lay a chemical trail back to the nest. Other ants pick up on the sent of the trail and quickly form a line, marching to glory. Disrupting there sent trail will keep them wondering for food, hopefully out of your home.
- White vinegar in a spray bottle is a great way to eliminate the trail. Simply spray table tops and other surfaces and wipe dry.
- Repeat a few times a day to deter scout ants
There are some scents that Odorous ants can’t stand. Using natural cleaning products to wipe down and clean areas of your home works very well.
- Peppermint: Even thought we may like the smell of mint, most pests cant stand it. A natural insect and pest repellent, peppermint can be used in many ways. From a spray cleaner to garbage bags infused with it.
- Lemon / citrus: There are plenty of safe and organic cleaning products that use natural citrus as the main ingredient. The acidic properties of these products mask trails and act as a deterrent.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon can be placed strategically through the home to repel pests. Sticks, powder or oils can be used.
To get rid of Carpenter ants, you will need to do the foot work. Because Carpenters don’t track and trail there paths as Odorous ants, you will need to find their nest. Luckily, its actually very simple to do. These pest don’t usually travel to far from home. Once spotted, keep an eye out for others and start to trail them.
- Once discovered you can use Diatomaceous Earth to kill them, by simply sprinkling some around the nest.
- Although DE is extremely deadly to insects it is totally harmless to humans.
- DE must be applied on dry surfaces and will need to be replayed after it rains.
- DE can also be used for lawn pest control. Simply sprinkling some on the lawn during dry weather will kill any insects that come in contact.
Once the colony has been destroyed, you can prevent future infestation by cleaning up old piles of wood and keeping valuable wood in dry areas.
Rules for an Ant Free Home
Prevention is the key. Ants don’t like to work to hard for food and they will always prefer an easy meal. Once they find an easy target, they will keep coming back to explore for more. If the scout ants keep coming back empty handed they will move on.
- Keep surfaces clean, wipe down surfaces and floors with a naturally scented cleaner throughout the day
- A crumb to you is a meal for 100 to them. After you eat, clean up
- Sweets are like drugs to them. Spilled juice or soda should be cleaned with a cleaning product, simply wiping with a dry towel won’t stop them from exploring
- Used tightly sealing lids instead of boxes or containers. For example, a box of cereal may appear to be closed to you, they can still get in. Zip top containers work great