Depending on what area you live in, getting rid of ants may not be easy. Some species of ants are better at adapting to poisons and control than others. Some may not work on particular species or may simply kill ants that you can see without affecting the colony. Here are steps you can take to control ants in and outside of your home.
Identify The Species
Military strategy suggests that knowing your enemy will give you an advantage in battle. It can certainly feel like you are in a war against ants. Knowing which species you are dealing with can help you choose the right control.
Eliminate The Attraction
Ants need food, shelter and water just like any other creature. Keeping your house clean of food crumbs, eliminating water leaks and excess moisture and sealing holes they can use for entrance will go a long way to make your home unattractive to ants. Unfortunately, once they find their way in, they like to set up house by building a colony and stick around.
Commercial Ant Baits And Sprays
Sprays kill the ants you can see and may leave a residual coating that will kill others. Unfortunately, mopping and spills eliminate the residue, as does time. Pets and children can come in contact with the spray residue through contact with toys and food dropped on the floor.
Baits work by providing poison wrapped in substances attractive to ants. They take the “treat” back to the colony and feed it to everyone, including the Queen. When she dies, the colony dies. This can take a few days; you should see more ants initially and over time, fewer and fewer.
Organic And Non Toxic Controls
A wide variety of indoor and outdoor commercial controls and poisons will effectively kill ant colonies. The downside is most of them are highly toxic to pets, fish and people. The popular fire ant control, Amdro, is one hundred percent effective but is toxic to the rest of the environment.
Long before commercial controls entered the market, people used herbs and other substances to control ants. Some methods work well and some do not work at all. Success is found mainly through trial and error and depends on the species of ants as well.
One method I found sounded almost too easy and simple to use. The control is made by mixing powdered sugar with baking soda and sprinkling it near and around the mound. The baking soda causes a chemical reaction with the ant’s formic acid and produces CO2- the ant’s bodies cannot expand, so they die. This works like other baits; the ants cannot distinguish between the powdered sugar grains and the baking soda grains, so they take both. In a few days, no more colony.
This is one method that is non toxic to pets and people; it can be used effectively indoors and outside. It should be reapplied after a rain and will work on fire ant mounds as well.