Ants. Large, small whatever the type, I just want them out of my house. While most ants tend to nest outside, underground, some ant species have been known to nest in walls and other interior areas of your home near plumbing/water sources.
I’ve tried very hard to avoid getting them. I clean and put away pet food bowls out after they are done eating. I don’t leave dishes sitting in the sink for long. I clean my counter tops and bathrooms daily. What I have found is that there is more to having ants in your home then just keeping food crumbs off the counter. For instance, did you know fermented hair trapped in drains and fallen skin cells can attract ants into bathrooms as a possible food source? I know it’s gross but this can be a reason you are seeing ants. In the bathroom alone, normal drain usage from brushing your teeth, washing your hands or taking a shower can leave behind skin cells that are all a protein food source that if left alone, can give off an odor that you may not be able to smell but ants can and will be attracted to and cause potential pest issues.
This is the same for ants in your kitchen. You might take care of the obvious and clean counters and put away food, but what about food particles stuck in dishwashers or that are not rinsed completely from sink garbage disposals?
Most people will see ants on the counter and immediately grab for a can of bug spray, but this will actually make the situation worse. You might be getting rid of the scout ants for now, but when they don’t return to the nest to share their food source, this signals the queen to produce more ants to help increase the scouts needed for supplying the nest with more food. And worse still, spraying them with over the counter spray can also cause some colonies to split into multiple colonies as a form of self-preservation.
Baits are the way to go. This allows the scouter ants to bring back and to share with other ants and the queen to kill the entire colony. It’s important to keep in mind, it’s not a quick kill. You do want them to return to the nest and share with the rest of the colony so it can take a few days or up to a few weeks to get them all. Especially if you have had the ant issue for a while now. Proper identification and correct treatment will determine just how quickly you can get these pests out of the home.
There are also things you can do to help further the eradication of ants in your home and possibly prevent future infestations:
- Vacuum carpeted areas daily, especially around areas where your family may eat or snack around.
- Food particles can get stuck in garbage disposals. In your garbage disposal, pour baking soda followed by equal parts vinegar. This will help kill any ants in the drain. Follow up with hot water.
- Food can also get stuck in the dishwasher. Be sure to run the dishwasher regularly and it is also a good idea to run a wash cycle without anything in the dishwasher but a cup of vinegar sitting in the top rack. As an added bonus, this will also help get rid of any bad smells coming from the dishwasher!
- Use equal parts distilled vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle to wipe down counters to remove scent trails that scout ants leave behind. And if you’re worried about the vinegar smell, it will dissipate after it dries.
- Bathroom drains can be cleaned with a simple solution of ½ cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar and then 1 cup hot water. Let sit 10-15 minutes and follow with a final rinse of a pot of hot water.
- Remember to clear out hair clogs from the shower/tubs. Inexpensive plastic drain cleaning tools can be found at your local hardware or big box stores for just a few dollars.
- Take trash out of all rooms in your home regularly and placed in containers with tight-fitting lids
- Seal any open packages of pantry food in air-tight containers
- If you think you know where they are getting into your home from the outside, sprinkle coffee grounds in the garden area they may be coming from. The smell acts as a natural deterrent.
Remember, your goal is to get rid of ants for the long haul so with a little patience and combined cooperation from both you and your pest control professional, you can soon have an ant free home. Call Bio-Tech Pest Control if you have any questions on ants or any other home pests 281-296-6022.