Ants are one of the most ubiquitous pests in nearly every household. They are relatively harmless, but create a sense of unease and can ruin any feeling of cleanliness. This is especially true when you find them in the kitchen, where a certain level of cleanliness is necessary to prepare healthy food for your friends and family. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also the room in the house that is most susceptible to ant invasions. This is due to the presence of food which, of course, ants use as nourishment. Who wouldn’t prefer human food over the smaller insects and leaves that ants typically consume? If you notice some ants in your kitchen, even just a few, it is time to take action. A stitch in time saves nine- this is especially true when it comes to an invasion of ants or other insects.
Identify Your Ants
Before you can take care of your resident ants, you will need to identify what kind of ants they are. This is important because some ants react differently to treatments than others. Observe their size, color, general shape, and behavior. Take this information online and search around to determine the species and see what tips you can find for getting rid of that specific species.
Block the Entryway
Ants don’t just appear out of thin air, though it may seem like they do. They live outside until they find an entrance into a nice warm house that’s “offering” food. Try to figure out how your ants are coming into the house. Their typical entry points are door jambs, window sills, and cracks in the flooring. Inspect these areas both inside and outside the home. If you can locate the entry point, focus most of your eradication efforts in these areas.
Eliminate Every Trace
When ants move, they leave behind a scent that they and other ants can use to follow. Therefore you frequently see ants traveling in single file lines. Getting rid of this scent can help deter ants from entering the home. Follow your ants with a spray bottle filled with half water, and half vinegar; simply mopping the area will not do.
Kill Resident Ants
Erasing the scent trail will not kill ants that are already in your home; it will simply prevent new ants from joining them. To kill ants that are already in the home, fill a spray bottle with a capful of dishwashing soap and fill in the remaining space with water. Shake well, and spray any ants that you can see. Wait about five minutes for the “poison” to set in then wipe the decimated ants off your counters and floors.
Take Preventative Measures
After doing all of the above steps, it is time to prevent more ants from entering your household. Mop your floors with a mixture of lemon and water. Ants are repelled by citrus and will avoid contact with it at all costs. Wipe down counters, cabinets, and other surfaces with the same mixture.
Spice It Up
Preventing further ant entry into your home is important. Harsh chemicals claim to do the job, but you can use non-toxic spices that you might already have to keep them at bay. Sprinkle cinnamon at all possible entry points. Black pepper, chili powder, cayenne, and basil are also known to work well for ant prevention.
For a more permanent solution to pesky ants entering through your windows, floors, and doors, consider sealing all possible entryways. Using a caulking gun, insert the nozzle into the hole or crack and fill until the caulk starts to ooze out. Level it off as necessary. This solution is non-toxic and more pet-and-child-friendly than any other solution available on the market.
Get Professional Help
If you have taken all of these steps, and the ants continue to infiltrate your home, it may be time to call in a professional. Exterminators are professionals when it comes to identifying ant nests, finding entryways, and solving any other ant-related problems.
An Ounce of Prevention
Ants come into your home to get food. Making your home less appealing to ants is a great way to prevent them from entering in the first place. Make sure to wash all food dishes as they become dirty, and clean spills from all surfaces immediately. Ensure that all your food is packed away securely, then settle in to enjoy your ant-free home.