Ants are one of the most common insect pests that we have to deal with in our homes. Some of the most common ant pests that invade homes are pavement ants, field ants, pharaoh ants, odorous house ants, and cornfield ants. Controlling ant pests inside and around your home can often seem like an impossible task, but there are a number of control methods that can help you with your ant problems.
The first step to controlling ant pests in and around your home is to get rid of any sources of food or water that might attract them. This includes obvious sources such as food left on the any counters, sinks, or floors, as well as food that may have spilled in cupboards or pantries and food sitting in waste baskets. Fixing dripping faucets and any leaking pipes will help eliminate these possible water sources. It is also a good idea to wash your counters and floors with a household cleaner in order to get rid of any odor trails ant pests may have made throughout your home to lead them to these sources of food and water. Most ants that invade your home actually have their nest outside, so keeping your yard and the area around your home’s foundation free of things like mulch, ground covers, or piles of leaves that can provide convenient cover for ants will help keep them from building nests there and foraging inside your house.
A number of insecticides are available for use in controlling ant pests. There are products designed for general ant suppression that you can use in your yard. A number surface-applied treatments such as sprays, granules, and dusts are available, which will temporarily reduce the number of ant pests, but they do not penetrate into the entire colony or reach ants traveling in underground tunnels. Even when applied directly to the nest, they will only eliminate ants on the surface and not the majority of the ants living inside the nest, which can extend multiple feet below the ground. These surface methods can only provide temporary relief and control.
Perimeter treatments are another method of ant pest control. An insecticide barrier can be applied around the perimeter of a house, and if it is well maintained, can help control most ant pest activity. You want to pay particular attention to areas where ants could enter the building such as near windows and cracks in the foundation. Unfortunately, this does little to eliminate ant pests entering your home through underground cracks in the building foundation.
Baits are the most effective control method. They involve putting a small amount of insecticide in a piece of food, which the foraging ants bring back to the nest and share with the rest of the colony, eliminating the problem at its source.
What kind of methods have you used to control ant pests in the past?