ants generally donít cause harm to people ó they donít
carry disease, like some other pests ó an infestation can be
a major nuisance.
can be extremely persistent creatures, seemingly coming from
nowhere and can be difficult to entirely get rid of,"
says Kelly Garvin of Greenix Pest Control in Dublin, Ohio.
DIY and professional pest removal options are available.
FOR ANT INFESTATION
typically invade your home for one reason: food. Most feed on
sugary or greasy items.
ants ó also called odorous house ants ó are one of the
most common ant invaders and among the first pests to show up
in the spring. Theyíre about one-eighth of an inch or
smaller and are attracted to food sources.
common pavement ant, which is brown to black and about 1/10th
of an inch long, will set up colonies near driveways or patios
and then send out scouts to search for food in your home. They
eat meat, grease, seeds, dead or live insects, and can sting
and bite if disturbed.
ants, which are black and up to half an inch long, look for
protein rather than sugar, and will eat through wood to find
nesting locations. Small piles of wood shavings called "frass"
found under windows or door frames are signs of carpenter
ants are larger ó about 4 to 4.5 mm long ó and are usually
an indication of excessive water somewhere. Either can be a
problem in bathrooms.
what type of ant youíre dealing with can help you prevent or
combat an infestation.
first step to prevent an ant infestation: clean house. If you
see scout ants in your home, kill them immediately. Make sure
you donít leave any food out and keep all kitchen surfaces
continue to see ants, make sure youíve closed off possible
entry points, including sealing small cracks in your walls or
under windows. Start by caulking potential entry points, such
as window casings.
you can lay down barriers like salt or talc under doors to
turn ants away, or apply scents such as vinegar, peppermint
oil or cinnamon. Bear in mind, however, that anything you put
down will also be of interest to pets and children, so be
careful what you use.
METHODS FOR ANT REMOVAL
explorers have morphed into a full-on colony, then you need a
with soap and water. This will not only kill chemical trails,
but any ants it touches. Add citrus to the water to increase
also purchase pest sprays and baited ant traps from local
grocery and hardware stores. These use a mixture of sugars and
ant poison, such as boric acid to attract, trap and kill ants.
Proceed with caution when using poison.
mind, too, that these traps wonít work on protein-feeders
like carpenter ants, since the sweetness wonít interest
addition to trapping ants inside, you can also spray around
the exterior of the home where the house meets the pavement or
ground to prevent more ants from infiltrating, says David
Anderson of Eastside Exterminators in Woodinville, Washington.
recommends spraying problem areas with a mixture of Windex,
vinegar and water. She says spreading Diatomaceous Earth in
carpeted areas around the bathroom is a safe and natural way
to kill ants because itís a food source.
Windex or vinegar is really a quick fix and not really that
effective, but it will remove the immediate ants and wipe away
their pheromone scent they use to follow trails," Garvin
Miles, owner of Total Exterminating in Indianapolis, suggests
spraying all cracks around the baseboards and the base of the
toilet if the infestation is in the bathroom.
PEST CONTROL PROFESSIONAL
infestations require assistance from a pest control
address ant problems by locating the colony itself; typically
this starts by laying bait traps, which contain poisoned food
taken back to the nest. Once found, exterminators can use a
variety of techniques including chemical sprays to totally
eliminate the ants in your home.
case of carpenter ants, early detection is critical. Left
unchecked, they can cause significant damage to your home. A
pest control professional may need to drill small holes in
your wall to make sure the entire colony has been eliminated,
and will often book a follow-up visit to make sure problems
Additional reporting by Angieís List Contributor Doug