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How To Get Rid of Ants

How To Control Ants

First of all, ants serve an important function out of doors. Ants aerate the soil, break down organic matter and control the population of other insects. So your goal should not be to destroy them altogether, just to control them and keep them out of your home.

There are several varieties of ants found in the United States, including argentine ants, fire ants and carpenter ants. With the exception of carpenter ants, most ants in the U.S. are dealt with in essentially the same way. Carpenter ants often require professional treatment and because of their destructive effect on structures, they should be controlled when discovered.

Fire Ant

Ants establish colonies and they send out scouts to find resources (food and water). The scouts leave a scent trail enabling them to return to the colony with news of found resources. Other members of the colony will follow the scent trails to collect resources and bring them back to the colony. Depending upon the variety of ant, colonies will also establish sub colonies near resources or they will send out queens to establish new independent colonies.

With argentine ants and some other varieties, you see heavily traveled trails as the ants make their way to and from the colony. Other varieties of ants look less like a traffic jam and more like the occasional strolling ant. In both cases they are following the scent trail layed down by members of their colony who passed by there before.

The Key to Controlling Ants is:

  • Erase their scent trails
  • Eliminate the food source
  • Seal their entrance to your home
  • Use natural and low-toxicity compounds to destroy colonies as necessary

Eliminate Ants Scent Trail

When you see scouts, kill them and wipe down the area. This important step will prevent major scent trails from being formed and will prevent the scout from reporting back to the colony about any found food. Once a trail has already been established, start from the food source and wipe backwards to the trail entrance. Use a sponge with soapy water. Plain water will not completely eliminate the trail. If you cannot get the trail all the way to the entrance to your home, block the trail at the point you can get to. They will seek a way around, but if you act quickly and are persistent, the ants will likely give up after anywhere from a day to a week.

Seal the Ants Entrance to Your Home

As temporary blockades for ants there a variety of things that will discourage ants. Ants will not cross vaseline or various sticky substances. Chili powder, cinnamon and boric acid are also avoided by ants. Block a trail entrance with any of these substances. For a more permanent blockade, seal cracks, holes and gaps with flexible caulk.

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