How to Get Rid of Ants
Ant can be harmless nuisance if they get into the home, and although it can seem almost impossible to get rid of them completely, there are easy solutions you can use. If you see an ant, it will have come from a nearby colony numbering thousands, so dealing with the problem is important before you have a full-scale infestation on your hands!
Most solutions use simple products from around the home, so don’t resort to an expensive exterminator just yet! Check out some of the best ways to get rid of ants fast here.
Identify the Ant
Different species of ant may be harder to get rid of than others, so identifying what type it is before exterminating is a good idea! Take a photo of the ants invading your home and take a look online. There may be information that guides you on getting rid of a specific species of ant faster. Species to look out for in the UK include:
– Black ants
These are the most common type of ant seen in the UK, measuring about 5mm in length. This species of ant is most attracted to sweet foods, and leaves a pheromone trail to guide other ants from its colony to the meal. For this type of ant, keeping your home free from sticky sweet food and drink spills is the best preventative.
Carpenter ants are larger than the common black ant and will often have wings. This species can be particularly detrimental to homes as they can eat through housing – so stopping the nest before they get into your foundations is essential! If you find a nest of carpenter ants in your home, the best way to treat them is by calling in the professionals.
Pharaoh’s ants are typically found in tropical climates, but are commonly seen in centrally heated blocks of flats these days. This species is much smaller than the common black ant (typically 2 – 3 mm) and prefers proteins to sweet foods, and is known for carrying harmful bacteria due to its tendency to eat rotting foods.
Ghost ants can be identified by their pale legs and abdomen with a dark thorax and heat. This species is also more commonly founded in tropical climates, and so will often only set up its nest indoors in the UK in centrally heated areas. Attracted to high-moisture areas, they will often be found in the bathroom or kitchen and should be treated by a professional to eradicated the nest in full.
Often seen swarming around parks, playgrounds and gardens at certain times throughout July and August in the UK, flying ants are harmless – but are also an indicator that these ants are looking for a new place to set up their nest. A common tactic advised to deal with a nest of flying ants is to pour a kettle of boiling water over the nest until you can find an insecticide to deal with the infestation fully.
Preventing Ant Infestations:
Once you have an ant infestation in your home, your only option is to exterminate the nest or risk them taking over your entire home! However, there are many things you can do now to reduce the likelihood of ants invading your home and building their own nest inside.
The number one reason ants have found their way into your home is because they are in search of food – and if you let them find it, you’ll have a huge trail of ants transporting food back to their colony in no time.
To reduce the likelihood of ants getting into your home (and staying!), keep your house clean and free from food crumbs and sticky drink spills. Keep your food in closed cupboards and tidy up any spills as soon as you can. This is particularly important if you’re in an area prone to ants – in just a few hours they could be swarming food crumbs and spills!
There are certain scents and tastes that deter ants from invading your home. If you’re not yet dealing with a full infestation from a colony, using these natural deterrents are a great way of reducing the number of ants you see around the home:
Take a cup of cinnamon essential oil mixed with water and wipe down the areas you commonly see ants entering the home – this scent can be an effective repellent for ants.
– White Vinegar
Similarly, a solution of white vinegar and water can be a great repellent for ants. Spray the solution around any bowls of pet food (if you have pets) and where you see ants entering the home.
Lemon juice effectively masks ant scent trails, reducing the likelihood of them repeatedly entering your home. Rub some lemon juice on your door and window frames and anywhere you know they are entering from.
Peppermint is another great natural insect repellant. Mix a solution of peppermint and water and again, spread it where you have seen ants in your home.
Dealing with Colonies
If it’s too late and ants are already nesting in your home (rather than foraging for food), you’ll need to wipe out the entire colony on you risk them spreading further into your home, with the potential for them even getting into the foundations which can be a very frustrating issue!
Some of the best ways to deal with colonies are:
Ant bait works by attracting forager ants, who then take the substance back to the colony which will then kill the queen. This should eradicate the entire nest in a week or two – if you’re still having problems after this, you may need to replace the bait or look into alternative methods.
If you know where the nest is, spraying it with insecticide can be an effective way of wiping out the entire colony of ants. Be sure to check the ingredients and description on the can to check it does work against ants.
Remember that ant poisons can also be toxic to humans and pets, so take great care when dealing with an infestation yourself and be sure to clean up after you have dealt with an ants nest. Once you have gotten rid of ants from your home, be sure to take some steps to avoid a repeat problem! These steps can include:
– Caulking your door and window frames to stop ants entering
– Keeping your lawn, shrubs and trees trimmed and not letting them overgrow
– Cleaning your home and keeping food and drink shut away
– Spray entry points with an ant repellant regularly