Ants are a common household nuisance that can be difficult to get rid of. Depending on the variety of ant, they may cause damage to the wood in your house or bite people and animals living in the house. The best way to rid your home of ants is to never get them in the first place. Ants are attracted to food, primarily. If you never leave food out, wash all dishes promptly, and seal all food storage devices, you are unlikely to be infested with ants. But if an ant infestation does occur, the following tips will help you rid your home of them.
Clean Thoroughly – Assuming you can afford to spend the time, the easiest way to clear ants out of your home is to clean it from top to bottom. Vacuum every surface and scrub down every hard surface. Use harsher chemicals like bleach where appropriate. A clean house is not a tempting house for ants and they will almost certainly move to a more hospitable environment. Simply vacuuming up any ants you find will not pay off in the long run since more will return eventually. This strategy is less effective if you own children or pets that are likely to undo your work before it has resolved the problem.
Caulk – Ants don’t just magically appear in your home. They enter from somewhere outside. In most cases the ants that are in your home actually have a nest outside your home. If you follow the ant trail back to the entrance point, you can usually caulk it up. If they are walking under a door, you will need to install a better door jam. Caulk is especially effective against carpenter ants which tunnel through wood. Once you have blocked the entrance to your home, the ants in your home, without a queen, will die off while new ones can’t come back in.
Bait – Another simple means of ridding your home of ants is to use ant bait. Because ants live in a nest, simply killing ants with pesticide isn’t very effective. More will return unless you poison the next directly. Ant bait does just that, by taking advantage of the natural instincts of an ant. You mix a little poison in with the bait. The poison doesn’t kill the ants immediately. Instead they eat it and then return to the next, spreading the poison. The ant population then begins to decline as the poison infiltrates the nest.
Professional Exterminators – If you have tried all of these methods and ants continue to plague your home, call the professionals. A major extermination job usually requires that you completely vacate your home for a few days and possibly as long as a week, so you should make plans to take a vacation if you resort to this option. Also this option isn’t cheap. According to Terminix, a major national exterminator, a one time extermination job will usually cost $150 to $300.