It is never fun to find that you have an infestation of ants around or in your home. Ants are hard to get rid of. They are very social beings. They live in large nesting colonies. Like bees, the colony has a queen and a lot of workers who take care of her. She is the only one who lays eggs.
When the worker ants are foraging, they leave a pheromone trail to alert their tribe that they have located a food source. There are lots of things ants will eat, including wood, human food, plants, and even animal matter.
What can you do when you find that you have a problem with ants, especially inside your home?
Locate the Nest
If you suspect that the ants are nesting somewhere inside your home, you really need to find the nest and get rid of it. If you see ants all year round foraging in your kitchen, it is likely they are living inside. Ants will nest by burrowing into wood. The nest may be inside a wall or in an attic. If you can find the nest, it is likely that you will have to use a chemical pesticide to get rid of it.
If the ants are coming inside during warmer weather, it is a good measure to seal as many entry points as possible on the exterior of your home. Ants will tend to crawl in at the bottom of wall siding, through pipe penetrations, and where cables enter the home. They will also use plants to climb up to window sills. Caulking and sealing any cracks and holes is a good idea.
Be Sanitary and Cautious
Cleanliness is one of your best defenses against ants. Wipe down countertops, clean up dirty dishes, and keep garbage covered. Don’t leave food out, especially sweet food. Place grains, other starches, sugar, and any sweet syrup or honey in tightly sealed containers.
You can safely use powdered, food-grade diatomaceous earth along the perimeter of your kitchen counters. This literally rips through the exoskeletons of the ants and dries them out. The ones who walk through it will eventually die. This does not get rid of the queen who stays home all day.
The queen must go. Otherwise, the workers are going to keep feeding her and she will continue to lay eggs. Store bought bait traps aren’t really that effective. There are sweet gel baits that you can place drops of along baseboards and in corners of counters. These drops will attract the ants. They will eat the bait and take it back to their queen. She will in turn eat it and, hopefully, that will put a stop to the colony. You can also make your own bait.
As mentioned above, ants are very hard to get rid of. You must be diligent about keeping after the infestation. In very bad cases, you may need to hire a professional exterminator. It might get discouraging but don’t give up because it will only get worse if you do.