How can you ever fight such an unbeatable force of an army of ants? The first thing to do when learning how to get rid of ants is to know which type of ant you are dealing with. Treatments for Argentine Ants are very different than what you would use for Carpenter Ants.
A very common California ant is the Argentine Ant, usually a dull brown in color. A helpful hint to determine if you have the Argentine ant is that the worker ants (all sterile females) are all the same size, usually not much bigger than 1/8th of an inch. Additionally, if your ant has wings then it most likely is not an Argentine ant since they mate inside the nest and have no need to fly to mate. An effortless way to determine if its an Argentine ant is if you are willing to crush them and if you smell a musty odor you know you have Argentine ants!
Entomologists will look for more distinguishing characters like their elbowed 12 segmented antennae, one petiole node, and an uneven thorax. If the science interests you then refer to UC IPM Online notes at https://ipm.ucanr.edu/TOOLS/ANTKEY/argid.html for more detail!
The Argentine ant nests tend to be shallow found just below the surface of the dirt. If the soil is dry, they will be found a bit deeper. They usually live outside but will forage inside a home searching for food and then go back outside to return to their nest.
Which brings us back to the question of how to get rid of ants! The Argentine ant and those similar.
Always try to keep them outside of your home:
- Since they like to nest near water sources be sure all your faucets are leak free.
- Seal any cracks and crevices around your sliding doors and windows.
- Feed your pets only what they can finish in each sitting and then put the bowl away in a closed container until the next feeding time.
- Check your trees and shrubs for aphids. These insects produce honeydew (sticky substance). Ants protect the aphids from predators and parasites so that they can feed on the honeydew.
- Check your potted plants too for aphids, scale or whiteflies!
- Keep all plant material away from the foundation and windows of your home. Consider putting a gravel border around the perimeter of your home next to the foundation.
- Pick up all ripen fruit that has fallen to the ground.
- Take out your trash daily
If they are inside your home:
- Wipe down your countertops often with soapy water or a vinegar wash to get rid of any sugars or protein foods left behind.
- If ants are already there, clean them up with a soapy sponge or washcloth to help remove the pheromone trail they leave behind so that other ants can find the food easier.
- Check any indoor plants and if they are infested remove them and treat outside.
- Any food left on the counter and food in cabinets needs to be in resealable bags or containers.
- If you can, follow the trail to see where the nest has been established. Use baits to have the foragers bring the bait, believing it to be food, back to feed it to the queen.
Seal the Deal with these Quick Fixes
When first learning how to get rid of ants, calk is a great first line of defense. By inspecting your home for small cracks and holes, then sealing with calk will help keep ants from finding easy ways into your home. If you don’t have time to run to the store, try a quick fix using petroleum jelly or poster tack in the hole the invading ants are using to enter your house through. Good places to start looking are:
- Around doorframes
- Window sills
- Outside the base of your home
- Gaps where pipes enter the home
- Air-conditioning vents
If All Else Fails
You’ve calked, yet ants are still finding a way in? It’s time to pull out the heavy guns. Try Diatomaceous earth to create a barrier within the ant’s line of travel. Any ant that crosses the line will die. This method is best for dry climates. Salt is also another good deterrent and acts as a more natural pesticide. You can also use a mixture of Borax and maple syrup in a bowl to lure them away from the inside of your home. They will be attracted to the smell of the syrup, but ultimately the Borax will be their demise.
There are many household remedies you can try as well as store-bought poisons, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. That’s when you need to call in the professionals for fast and effective solutions. The professionals at AIPM are trained in crushing the “High Hopes” of not only ants but all types of insect and pests. They can eliminate the threats to your property while setting up a custom plan to ensure that you never have to face the same type of ant infestation again. Contact us at 888-344-6567 Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org