They don’t call groups of ants armies for nothing. The tiny insects march together as tactically as any fighting unit and when they invade, they plan to win. Fortunately, all ants want is food and water, so you know you’ll survive the invasion. But, depending on the species, ants can destroy your food and houseplants, build nests in your walls, or even weaken the structural integrity of your home. If you do see ants in your home, don’t throw up your hands and surrender. Here are a few easy tips to make your home ant-free:
1. Stop the invasion: If you see a line of ants trekking across your floors, counters, cupboards, or walls, spray the invaders with window cleaner. This will kill the ants immediately. Wipe up the carcasses with a paper towel or sponge and then clean the area with more window cleaner. This will remove the scent trails scout ants lay down for others to follow between their colony and your cupboard.
2. Keep ‘em out: The ants in your house are most likely coming in from outside. Find the insect service entrance to your kitchen and shut it down. Check for cracks in the foundation and around windows and doors. Fill gaps and cracks with caulk. While you have the caulk out, walk around the outside of your home and seal up the small holes where cable wires, pipes, and other utility lines enter the home. Make sure screens are in good condition and your exterior doors have sweeps at the bottom.
3. Bait the bugs: Some recommend laying down lines of borax, chili pepper, or some other substance around doorways to keep out ants. This is a temporary solution at best. If you have an invasion you need to kill the ants where they live or they’ll keep coming back. Ant bait stations, like Combat Source Kill Ant Bait, are the way to go. These small pet- and child-safe stations attract ants with a mix of food and insecticide. The ants take the tainted food back to the colony where it kills the queen and her thousands of workers. Place the bait stations under sinks, in cabinets, and along floorboards.
4. Clean it up: After you stop the invasion, it’s time to close the kitchen (to ants anyway). Thoroughly clean up crumbs and grease in cupboards and around appliances. Carefully move the stove and clean up the messy sides and floor behind it. Put cereal, candy, cakes, sugar, and other sweets in airtight plastic containers and make sure there are no openings.