Spring is a wonderful time, filled with sunshine and new life. It’s the perfect time to plant a new garden, surrounding yourself with blooming flowers and new buds. But every coin has two sides, and for every beautiful thing that happens in the spring comes a side effect - like pesky bugs such as ants that will do everything they can to get into your home.
This spring is a little different from past years. While nature runs its course, with plants blooming and pests thriving, we have all been adapting to new routines; many of us have been staying home and practicing social distancing to help reduce the effects of the current pandemic. Being home has granted many of us more family time but it has also offered more opportunities for pests to let themselves in and take over. Many of us are making more meals throughout the day in our kitchen, leaving windows and doors open. These habits can provide additional food sources and paths into your home. So how do you prevent ants from becoming unwanted roommates?
Fortunately, there are ways to keep annoying ants from taking over your space! The odorous house ants, more commonly referred to as ‘sugar ants’ you may already be battling, are very common and can have multiple queens and colonies throughout your environment, making them hard to manage. Due to their biology we do recommend a long-term pest service to keep your home protected year-round. However, we understand that this is not always possible, especially as we are experiencing an increased unemployment rate right now.
With this said, we wanted to share a few simple, easy to follow tips that may make your extra time at home more enjoyable by reducing ant activity, and most importantly doing so in an environmentally and safety-conscious way.
What Can You Do to Take Care of Ants?
Those bothersome scout ants make it easy for the rest of their colony to follow in their footsteps, because they literally leave a scented trail that is easy for their counterparts to follow. Once you have baited the scouts and they’ve taken it back to the group, cleaning up after them can help ensure there’s no stragglers. The best way to ensure there’s no path is to clean the area you spot the ants in thoroughly with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. This is a safe method to remove any trace of the ants. Between cleaning up the trail and keeping your home clean and free of leftover food and crumbs, the ants won’t have as much of a reason to venture back into your space.
Rinse Your Recyclables
During this time of reducing non-essential travel and staying home to flatten the curve, many of us are cooking more and leaving more unassuming but enticing bait for ants to devour. In the spirit of making your home less attractive to ants, maintaining cleanliness is the best route. This includes removing the temptation of sugary substances left over on your cans or bottles. Rinsing your recyclables is an easy way to keep your home cleaner and help keep ants out.
Bait the Scouts
For every lone ant you spot in your home, there may be hundreds of others hiding in spots you don’t see. That’s because these singular ants are scouts, looking for food to bring back to the colony. While it’s tempting to kill these ants on sight, they actually present an opportunity to get rid of your ant problem. Use their foraging to your advantage by attracting them with ant bait that they’ll bring back to their colony for you.
There are a few options available for bait: the more-effective gels and the child-resistant bait stations. When used together, these bait options can be highly effective. Although it may appear that ants will get into anything they can, they do have their preferences. Ants usually prefer protein in the spring and fatty/oily foods in the summer, which can help you decide how to bait the scout ants at different times. You will find the best results when the baits placed are not competing with other food sources in your kitchen. Make sure that, after making meals or snacks for your kids, you wipe the counters clean, sweep up any food crumbs that may have fallen onto the floor, and that any food or drink spills throughout your home are cleaned up right away.
Get Some Water Boiling
Have you found an ant colony? Is there an ant hill in your yard? You have everything you need to fight back in your kitchen. Turn on your stove and boil some water! By pouring this onto the ant hill and in the grass surrounding it, you can demolish the colony and send the ants packing. You can make this even more effective by mixing some cayenne pepper into the water while it’s boiling.
Did you find these tips helpful? Do you still need some help getting rid of your ant problem for good? Let us know by contacting Halt Pest Control at 503-822-6555.