Ants are a telltale sign of summer… but these tiny bugs can become a real nuisance if they find their way inside your home.
If you’ve spotted a handful of ants around your doors or any openings in your home, you can be sure that they’ve already found their way inside – and more are probably on the way. Ant colonies send out scouts to forage for food and other resources. When the scout finds a few crumbs on your kitchen floor, it will return to the colony to tell his friends where the party is – and you’re hosting! By the time you spot three or more ants inside your home, you can be sure that more are on their way or have already taken up residence.
Here are a few DIY tips to prevent ant home invasions:
- Remove open sources of food. If you have ants, it’s because they have found at least one source of edible matter at one point in time. If you don’t get rid of these sources or keep providing them, the ants will never leave. Wipe down all surfaces, such as tabletops and counters, with mild bleach or cleaning solution. Make sure to keep the floors consistently clean as well; stay on top of sweeping, mopping and vacuuming.
- Keep your sink clean. Ants aren’t picky about where their food comes from. They’ll gladly pick off any leftover food on dirty dishes that have been left to sit in the kitchen sink for a while. Try to leave a clean kitchen sink after every meal – this means doing dishes immediately, getting rid of standing water and removing all food particles from the drain.
- Set up ant barriers around your home. Ants are able to squeeze through the tiniest cracks in your home and find their way into your living space. Take a look to see if you notice any cracks between any concrete or areas in the foundation of your home. If you can see any cracks with the naked eye, it’s a potential highway for an ant colony. Seal any of these cracks as well as any cracks in your windows or doorways. You can also try deterring ants with a number of substances found in your home. Salt, talcum powder and spices such as cinnamon, black pepper and cayenne pepper can be spread around doors and entryways to stop ants in their tracks. However, use caution if your home contains pets or small children!
- Locate and eliminate the nest. If you happen to see a line of single file ants marching into your home, follow them! Ants take consistent routes back to their nest by leaving a pheromone trail that will be followed by other foragers. If their nest is a source such as rotting wood or something that can be easily picked up, carefully remove their colony and seal it in several plastic trash bags. If their nest is of the underground variety, bring down the nest with boiling water. Use a stockpot to boil several gallons of water and carefully pour it over the nest to get rid of the population.