The sun is coming out and you friendly yard pests become even more active this time of year. Our offices start to buzz in the spring with many pest problems happening in our East Tennessee area. One of the biggest problems we get calls for is to help get rid of ants.
Ants are breaking out of their colony looking for food. If you are like me, you have opened up a window or left a door open to let in some fresh air. This can be a quick option for a trail of ants to start to find their way into your house. Should you shutdown your home to keep ants out of the house? No, let in that fresh air. But do take some precautions to prevent and actions to get rid of ants if they do start to show up in your house.
How to Get Rid of Ants?
- Clean Clean Clean: Ants are marching around looking for food. If your home does not have easily accessible food sources then the ants will go elsewhere to find what they need. If you are seeing ants in and around your kitchen, playroom, basement, etc. then follow their trails to find out what food source they have detected. Sometimes the ants food source can be as simple as pet food left in a bowl. You may be surprised to discover what they find. This fall we discovered some children’s medicine that had tipped over in our cabinet which drew in some hungry ants. Whatever the food source is that you discover you will want to clean that up and sanitize the area as appropriate.
- Tend to the Yard: You love your house and ants love your house as well. Our homes provide a lot of really great options for building an ant colony. Soil and wood are usual options for ants to build nests. However, you can expect to find ants building nests in cracks, holes, moisture areas, plants, firewood, and a host of other less common places to establish a nest. As the weather gets warm and you want to get out more, take time to walk your yard and home to look for potential spots for the ants to create a nest and start to disrupt your home. If you see ants trailing along your foundation follow the trails to see where they are going and what they are coming from. Clean up suspected areas as needed.
- Monitor and Bait: If you are baffled at where ants are coming from and where they are going in your home then you want to start some monitoring stations. Monitoring stations can be as simple as some honey on an index card places in areas you suspect ant activity. When ant activity is confirmed you can use an ant pesticide or trap. This will provide as little of a disturbance to your house. Monitoring and baiting ants is not a quick solution. Baits are picked up and taken back to the nest by the ants, which in turn starts to kill off the whole nest. If you were to just spray ants at the food source you will kill those ants, but the remainder of the nest is still active and will start looking for food in your home soon.
- Direct Nest Treatments: You can treat nests directly if you can find them. Dust powders are the best solutions in these cases, but directions for use need to be followed accurately in order to get the best results.
- Barrier Treatments: Pest proofing is one of those more permanent solutions. Putting up a barrier treatment around the home is one of those pest proof solutions. We use our perimeter pest solution to create that barrier treatment around our customers homes.
Tips For Using Ant Baits
- Don’t use last years baits. If you bought bait traps last spring to get rid of some ants but did not use all the of the bait do not plan to use it this year. Ant baits have a shelf life. The bait you bought last year might still be viable, but it might not be. It is best to pick up something that is fresh.
- Remove other food sources. Ant baits are not as appealing as a bowl of fruit or cup of juice. If you can clean up the area of other food sources the ants will have no other options than to try out that fabulous bait you have put out for them.
- Handle with care. You need to be careful when handling baits, not because something can happen to you, but if you touch the bait then it can scare away the ants. Example: if you smoke, then a trace of cigarette odor on a bait station will scare away the foraging ants.
- Give it time. As we’ve mentioned ant baits need time to find their way back to a nest and kill all the ants in the nest. That can be tough to stick through the process when you see ants, but it is the best thing to do.
Getting rid of ants can seem like a daunting task. With some of these solid practices and a little patience you will become a pro (like us) at getting rid of ants in your home.