The Best Ways to Get Rid of Ants on Your Own

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Most of us have dealt with ants in our homes in the past. Fortunately, most species of ants aren’t dangerous to humans and aren’t particularly destructive – but they are a nuisance that you’ll need to deal with.

One option is to call an exterminator, but exterminators tend to be expensive and a bit of a hassle to deal with. You may be able to solve the problem completely on your own, but what are the most important steps to follow to do this?

Step Zero: Identify the Problem

Before you can start getting rid of your ants, you need to know the extent of the problem.

  •       What type of ants are you dealing with? There are thousands of species of ants, so it’s hard to make a positive identification, but there are some important characteristics to look for. For example, carpenter ants tend to be among some of the most destructive species of ant, and they’re relatively easy to identify. Carpenter ants tend to be larger than other species of ant, with an even, round thorax and a waist with one node. Most other species of ant can be categorized as either large or small.
  •       Where are the ants coming from? Pay attention to where the ants are coming from. How are they getting into your house? Do you notice them crawling out of a specific hole or crack? Are they coming in from one of your exterior walls?
  •       Where are the ants traveling? Look at where the ants are traveling. After they emerge in your home, are they going to a specific spot, like one of your pantry shelves? Are there clear trails of ants marching in a steady direction?
  •       How many ants are there? Finally, evaluate the extent of your problem. How many ants are there? Are they practically swarming, or are there only a few? Most ant species send out a handful of scouts before sending out larger numbers of ants; if you catch these scouts, it’s important to eliminate them before they can get back to the colony.

Step One: Clean Everything

One of the first things you’ll need to do is clean everything in and around the areas where you see ants. There are two important reasons to do this:

First, ants tend to be attracted to sources of food and water, like all animals. If there’s an old stain on the counter, or a pile of crumbs in your pantry, ants are going to find it and continue exploring the area for more sources of nutrition. It’s important to seal up all your foods, scrub all surfaces of your house to make sure they’re immaculately clean, and remove any excess moisture that could be inviting for ants.

Second, ants leave behind a pheromone trail when traveling. This chemical signal tells ants where to go, so as long as the pheromone trail remains active, new ants will be able to discover it and follow it into your house. Cleaning with a detergent, or an acidic agent like vinegar, can make sure the pheromone trail is eliminated, reducing the possibility of new ants stumbling upon this path.

Step Two: Seal Cracks and Holes

It’s also important to prevent ants from entering your home. Look at where ants are coming in; chances are, in the interior or exterior of your home, there is a significant crack or hole that ants have found. Get some caulk and plug these holes up. After your initial round of sealing, answer me find an alternative way into your home. If this happens, seal the new entrance as well.

Step Three: Eliminate the Nest

As long as there’s an active ant colony near your house, ants may continue trying to find their way inside your house. That’s why it’s often a good idea to try and eliminate the nest. There are several products on the market that can help you do this, including poison baits designed to destroy the colony from the inside out and chemical products designed to destroy the nest itself.

Step Four: Spray Inside and Outside

As an added measure, consider spraying a chemical deterrent product inside and outside your house. Follow the instructions on the label and pay attention to all safety advisements when doing this. If done properly, the spray should prevent ants from coming back for many weeks, if not months. You can respray as necessary.

Step Five: Use Baits and Traps to Deter Future Ants

You may also consider using baits and traps to take care of any ants that remain in your home and prevent future ants from taking up residence. These products tend to be inexpensive and easy to set up, so many homeowners find them to be a perfect solution.

Getting Help When You Need It

Most ant problems are perfectly manageable on your own. After a few weeks, ants should stop entering your home and your entire residence should be bug free. But if you’ve tried all the options on this list and you’re still dealing with an ant infestation, your best course of action may be to call a professional exterminator. Exterminators have more experience and more knowledge about ants – as well as heavier equipment they can use to end your ant problem once and for all.