Tiny as they are, ants are very efficient food gatherers. A scout ant will head out in search of food, eat it up right away and return to the nest in a straight line, leaving behind a special trail of scents called pheromones that will direct the nest’s foraging ants straight back to the goodies. Since these tiny insects can carry about 50 times their body weight in their mandibles, ants can bring a lot of chow back. If you don’t want your house to be banquet central for these annoying critters, follow a few steps to deter an invasion.
Keep an Ultra-Clean House
Ants are great at finding any little bit of food, and they’ll keep coming back and looking for more. So, as with many problems, the best solution is prevention. Make your house as unattractive to these teeny pests as possible, paying close attention to their favorite room, the kitchen. Cover all foods in air-tight containers, sweep or vacuum floors after every meal, wash dishes immediately and clean counters with a bleach or vinegar solution. Trash can be a big draw, so take it out daily and be sure all garbage cans and bins are located a distance from the house.
Wipe Away Water
Ants are attracted to water and will congregate around everything from a few drops on the counter to the dog’s water bowl. Keep counters clean and dry and never leave dirty dishes in the sink, especially those filled with water to soak; this is an ant’s idea of a beachfront paradise. To prevent the little critters from using your pet’s water bowl as a swimming pool, put each dog/cat food and water bowl inside a larger bowl to create a sort of moat around food and water that ants can’t easily cross.
Seal Your Home
Tiny as they are, ants are adept at finding their way into most homes, but you can make the entry a lot harder by creating barricades to halt the invading forces. A good start is to seal doors, windows and cracks with calk. You can also line possible entries, such as doors and windows, with deterrent substances. Diatomaceous earth comes in powder form and is an effective ant killer; however, don’t use it if you have pets or small children in the house as it may cause allergies or breathing problems. Good substitutes are salt and various forms of talc like tailor’s chalk and baby powder. Some homeowners have had success with a range of scents and substances including vinegar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, bay leaves and peppermint oil.
If, in spite of your best efforts, you find yourself facing a massive onslaught or are confronted with a wave of biting red ants, it’s best to call a professional exterminator. The pest abatement experts at Cleggs are ready to help you control armies of ants or any other undesirable creatures that have made your living space their own. Contact Clegg’s online or on the phone at 888-672-5344 to assist with your ant problem.
Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant