When spring arrives each year, homeowners across America are ready for battle against those pesky ants that come along with warmer weather. While it may seem like a never-ending war, you can defend your home and yard from ants by following these expert tips
Identify the Type of Ants
Even though there are almost 1,000 species of ants in the U.S., knowing the invading species will give insight into their nesting habits and ways to deter them. According to Consumer Reports, house ants and carpenter ants are the most likely unwanted inhabitants of your home. They invade when their natural habitat is altered and they go off in search of food. Jody Gangloff-Kauffman, director of the Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University, states “The problem is they can really proliferate. By the time you start spotting them inside your house, you may already have hundreds
Keeping it Clean
Keeping your home as clean as possible will help to discourage ants. Clean up any kitchen spills immediately as ants love to snack on sugary liquids like soda, honey, peanut butter, and syrups. Don’t leave out dirty dishes, clean up around pet bowls, and regularly empty the garbage. Once a scout ant brings back a sample of food to its colony, hundreds of ants will return to quickly devour the sweet goodness so stopping them from leaving your home with a snack is key. You can erase the scented ant trails for their friends to follow by cleaning with a 1:3 vinegar and water solution. The other source of attraction for ants is rotting wood or damp spots as it’s easy for them to tunnel through water-damaged areas, especially in and around attics, basements, doors, showers, and windows. Be sure to fix any water leaks and repair deteriorated surfaces as necessary as carpenter ants can cause serious structural damage.
Eliminating Ants in Your Home
Getting rids of ants is usually done in one of two ways. Insecticide aerosol sprays will get rid of ants initially but the colony will remain active and intact, and you may be exposing your family or pets to unwanted effects from the harsh chemical composition.“The most effective method for controlling an ant infestation is using ant baits – set them out anywhere you see ants and expect a party. If you still see ants around the house, try a few different brands of baits until you find one that’s appealing to this particular colony,” recommends Gangloff-Kauffman. In southern California and the southeastern states, hardy fire ants are common and require a special chemical compound to wipe them out
Eliminating Ants in Your Yard
Ants perform a vital ecological function by being direct food for birds and aerating the soil. According to Gangloff-Kauffman, it’s important to realize the interconnection between ants and other pests in your yard, “Aphids, which are little insects that live on plants, excrete honeydew, a sweet substance left on plants. Ants feed on that honeydew, but if a landscaper or homeowner sprays outdoor plants for aphids, they’re also killing off an outdoor food source for ants.” And when the food source is eliminated outdoors, you know where those troublesome ants are heading next. Fortunately, ants outside are easier to find since they congregate into visible anthills or mounds. You can spot-treat small areas with an insecticide but you need to be extremely mindful of children and pets. If it’s a widespread problem, mow your grass first and then apply insecticide to the entire lawn; late afternoon or morning is best to catch them when they’re most active. Other tips for eradicating ants from your yard include avoiding stacking firewood against your home, keeping a clearance of 6 inches between the soil and your home’s foundation, and trimming shrubs, bushes, and trees to eliminate bridge-like access to your home.
Calling in the Professionals
If you’ve tried ant baits and insecticides without success, it’s probably time to call in a professional to hunt down the nests and put a stop to your ant problem for good. But who ya gonna call? DomiDocs offers a list of trusted nationwide contractors to choose from so you’ll never have to guess again.
For more homeowner tips and tricks, read 9 Ways to Spring Up Your Home and Quick Tips to Help Maximize Your Tax Breaks for 2020.
Author – Connie Motz