In the United States, there are a number of ant species known, some of which are fire ants, carpenter ants, and argentine ants. All of the species of ants are dealt with in the same process of ant control in order to get rid of them, but except for one; the carpenter ants.
In order to find food and water, ants compose themselves into colonies and search for resources. Colonies have scouts to leave a trail of scent for them to follow on their way home.
Some species of ants establish subcolonies right next to the resources they have found and they will bring out queens to make new colonies that are independent.
One good way of pest control would be through sealing any entrance made by these ants to your home sweet home.
There are ways to make an ant unwilling to cross borders; there are several factors that would discourage ants to cross like sticky substances as Vaseline, cinnamon, boric acid, and chili powder. By blocking the entrance of their home and any trail of entrance with these substances, ants will not be able to gather resources.
Number 2 lists the elimination of these ants’ scent trail. Prevent the scout to report back to colony of a found resource. You can either kill the scouts or wipe out the trail.
Locate the resource that they have found and wipe back from the source up to the trail entrance with a sponge with soapy water. They will be back to search again for the resource but if you keep on erasing the trail, the ants will give up within a week of trying.
And last but not the least, the 3rd way would be the elimination of their food source. Scouts are sent to search for resources such as food and water. In due time, these scouts will locate every food in your home but will ignore some of it.
That does not mean that they will not eat it, it may not be of their interest now, but other colony in some other time might be interested in that food.
To disable them from locating and getting their resources, put your foods into containers that are tightly sealed and place them in a refrigerator.
Clean every inch of the floors, cabinets, tables, and drawers to remove stains and crumbs or any leftover food. Above all else keep all your counters and sinks dry so that ants will not have any source of water, and eventually discouraged.
If the food from your pet bowl is the source found by the ants, you can simply create a barrier around the bowl by placing the bowl into a pan with soapy water so that the ants will not be able to cross over.
If the given procedures still won’t work, then give any pest management service provider or pest service a ring. By doing so, your pest problems will be history.
While most ants are just a nuisance, one kind of ant in the South known as the red fire ants are a very aggressive ant, whose sting can cause reactions ranging from mild irritation to nausea, or even something worse.
Fire ants generally swarm and become aggressive when their mounds are disturbed and will sting and bite the invader repeatedly.
Red fire ants can also cause damages to buildings and other structures since the mounds which they build can sometimes block, or corrode some kinds of structures, say an air conditioning unit, for example.
Little red ants are known as leaf cutter ants typically invade a vegetable garden by the thousands, and, while not as aggressive as fire ants, they can do away with your plants in no time.
The Florida carpenter ant, a red and black flying ant is very common, and like termites, they prefer decaying wood in order to make their nests.
They usually grow to up to 1/4 of an inch long, and they produce winged adults once a year to swarm and find new habitats.
There a quite a lot of methods you can employ to be rid of ants, and the best choices start with organic ant control.
A good way to kill ants is to drown them with boiling water, approximately three gallons of it for each mound. In order to repel any remaining survivors, blend citrus peels and water in a blender and pour it on the mound directly or on places frequented by ants.
Other effective and simple ant control methods include mixing sugar and borax and leaving them at strategic places all around your garden or yard.
The ants will become attracted by the sugar and they will bring it to their colony, where the borax will poison them in a day or two.
Another technique is to leave a trail of instant grits or cream of wheat, which will expand from within the ants once consumed, killing them indefinitely.
Another good method of ant control is to plant mint. Mint acts as a natural deterrent towards ants and some other insect pests, however, mint tends to be a very invasive plant.
If you do not want to risk a garden being overrun with a mind, brew a very strong mint tea from mint leaves and pour it directly on the mound.
If it is difficult to rid your property of the ants, then you should probably contact a pest control company and deal with it via chemical insecticides instead.
You should take note that ants are hardy creatures, and it might take more than just one application to get rid of them for good.
Don’t forget that you can always contact a professional pest control company when things get a little too out of hand.
Drione Dust works even faster than boric acid. It is more expensive, but if time is of the essence, then this is a great way to go. Although the chemical make-up is totally unique, what kills ants with it acts like boric acid, only faster.
Often, the killing of the entire colony is the end result of using this powered product if it is introduced directly into the colony nest site.
This is not necessarily a product that would be carried back to the colony such as with boric acid-based powders. It may be prudent to use both, in combination, using a boric acid-based ant bait, to eliminate the queen ant and thus the entire colony especially if the colony nest cannot be located.
First, find out how the ants are entering the home or if the ants have created a home within a wall or other area of the house. Literally take the time to watch the ants for whatever period of time it takes to determine where the ants have made their entrance to the home or created a colony.
You must find their nesting site or the few ants you kill will not stop them.
The best time, or the easiest time, to find them heading for home is at dusk. Lots of ants have activity during the day with scouts and workers looking for food.
Some of these little creatures will head for home when the sun is going down and shortly afterward with some species, such as carpenter ants, remaining active for hours after sunset.
Some just seem to be active all the time. You must find the home of the ants and then introduce the dust to their nest if you expect the drione dust to totally eradicate the colony.
This introduction will destroy their working environment and eliminate the ant colony. By killing off the worker ants the colonies’ ability to survive, due to the lack of food, is greatly diminished.
If you find the ants entrances to their nest site and introduce the powder, the colonies’ days are numbered. As a matter of fact, you will be able to watch the ants evacuate the area only to die once they have been infected with the dust.
This dust is so toxic to an ant that they will literally run for their lives seconds after its introduction into their home. This is a very comforting sight when attempting to eradicate ants on your own.
Items you will need:
- Powder or dust pump (hand duster)
- Drione Dust
- Wear long-sleeve shirts
- Full pants
- Eye Protection
What to expect:
- The ants to die Note: Re-apply if there is activity after the first day and every day until there is no activity (If this is the case continue looking for a separate colony due to the fact that the one that is being treated could be just a satellite and not the main colony).
- Total eradication of the ants.
Although sometimes this product may not be very easy to find, it is one of the most effective ant treatments available without the need for a license to purchase the product.
Home remedies for ants
Ants are the bane of every household. Each household has most probably suffered under the infestation of ants. Fortunately, ants can be mitigated when you take it upon yourself to use home remedies to get rid of them. Keep in mind that ants can be pretty unhygienic because they transverse different surfaces carrying with them bacteria that can contaminate your food.
Ants may seem harmless but when you come across species like fire ants you can be sure they will attack aggressively. The truth is that ants are a diverse grouping of insects going up to 12,000 varieties. But they can all succumb to very similar types of ant traps.
Home remedies for ants
The main ingredient in chalk is calcium carbonate and it is effective in keeping many insects away including ants and even roaches. You can choose to draw in the path or trail of the ants as they ferry food to and from their colony or spray some chalk powder into their colony. Also choose to draw the lines in the areas that the ants use to access your house but out of reach of kids.
Pepper and salt
Pepper is one of the best ways to get rid of ants as the powder is abrasive to them. Use pepper like cayenne and black pepper which are in powder form. You can also consider using pepper solution with pepper and water which you will spray in the areas that the ants use entrances.
Salt is another very effective substance to use when getting rid of ants because it deters the ants from entering your space. Boil water and add a large amount of salt into it to make a salt solution. Spray the resulting solution into the areas where the ants use to gain entry into the house.
The citrus scent of lemon may be refreshing to your senses and is even considered a mood booster among essential oil enthusiasts but it is a terrible scent for ants. Spray somediluted lemon juice in the areas where you notice ants enter your home and also use the solution to wipe down you floors and counter tops. Sour scents will keep ants away even as sugary stuff attracts them.
If you prefer something less stringent to lemon try oranges which have the same citrus scent but with a sweeter lingering effect.
White vinegar to be precise. This is an effective home remedy because it prevents the ants from even coming near your house. The ants hate the smell of vinegar and although it won’t keep them away it will definitely stop them in their tracks.
Homemade ant killer
Ants can be a nuisance and because they are so numerous they can be the kind of nuisance that keeps coming back over and over again. But there are ways you can get rid of them without breaking your account. Did you know that most of the things you need to get rid of ants are available in your home? In fact, some of the commercial solutions we buy consist of the very things we are going to mention below.
Top three homemade ant killers
Before you begin making your homemade solutions there are a few things that you need to invest in including:
- A spritzer bottle
- A plastic container where you will do your mixing
- Jars to place the solutions in
- Measuring containers
These are items you will need regardless of the solution you are making.
Vinegar and water homemade spray
This is one of the simplest solutions to make to get rid of ants. You need to add white vinegar into water in a ratio of 50:50. You can mix this directly in the spritzer bottle directly and shake properly to mix the solution. Keep this solution always ready and whenever you see ants you can spray on them. Leave it on the surface where you have sprayed for a while and then wipe it clean paper towel. The smell of the vinegar will linger and deter any more ants from coming in.
Essential oil spray
Essential oils have been used for centuries to get rid of insects and pests. They are naturally extracted from plants in concentrated from which makes them extremely potent. When using them ensure they are diluted in order to make them easy on your senses and also on your skin should they come into contact.
There are quite a number of essential oils that effectively kill off ants especially if you are dealing with the hardy types of ants like fire ants. The top three essential oils that we recommend include the peppermint essential oil as well as tea tree and clove oils. In fact, these are very common components of commercial insecticides. Mix it in the mixing container putting 10 drops into quarter of a cup of water. Shake and spray directly onto the ants.
Ant bait traps
If you have identified the entry point of the ants you don’t need to wait around for them. Just place the homemade ant bait in these areas. Ants love sugary stuff so add some boric acid to a sugar treat and lay it at their entry spot. The plus of using such bait is that the ants will take some of the food back to their nest and kill off the rest of the population. Just make sure the bait is away from pets and kids.
How long do ants live
Did you know that bees and wasps are sort of related to ants? The cinched waists should be a dead giveaway but since wasps and bees fly and ants don’t it can be hard to make the correlation. Like their flying cousins, ants are eusocial insect meaning that they live in a colony with a queen. They belong to the order Hymenoptera and the family fomicidae.
There are more than 10,000 species of ants all around the world and they are prevalent in tropical climates especially in the forested areas where they make up more than half the insect populations.
The life cycle of ants
Ants are among the species of insects that undergo a complete metamorphosis. They go through four life stages namely the egg, larvae, pupae and adult. Unlike other insects they do not molt multiple times instead emerging out of each stage fully developed and ready for the next one.
The eggs are laid by the female and are white in color and soft to touch. These eggs are super tiny and typically look like a period used to denote the end of a sentence. The eggs that hatch first will feed on the remaining eggs for extra nourishment even as they go into the larvae stage. The larvae of the ant looks worm like and it eats a lot to grow into the pupae stage. As a result the adult worker ants are kept busy finding food for them to nourish their growing bodies.
When the larvae have grown to the correct size they metamorphosis into pupae during which they rest and develop undisturbed by the rest of the colony. The pupae look like an adult only their legs and antennae are still folded. At the beginning of the pupal stage they appear white but as they develop into adults they begin to acquire the darker hues of ants. Some pupae will build a cocoon around themselves at this time to keep their development undisturbed and also to protect themselves against predators. But this is not a requirement across species.
When they finally appear out of the cocoonthey may still be smaller in size. Their exoskeletons are completely strong like the adults and they are ready to get down to their role which is either worker, male or queen.This process is likely to take a few weeks to months depending on the species of the ant. This part makes up a small part of the life span of an ant.
How long do they live
This also depends on the species. The black garden ant can live as long as a teenager reaching 15 years of age. But other species will only last as long as four months to one year. Factors like availability of food and lack of predators are huge determining factors in how long the ant will live.
How to get rid of ants in the kitchen
If you didn’t know the ant’s favorite place in the house then here it is: the kitchen. The kitchen has everything the ant needs to thrive and feel at home. They can quickly go from an annoying nuisance to a persistent pest problem. Ants are not carriers of diseases but they can carry bacteria as they walk through different surfaces enroute to your house. The good news is that ants can be completely eliminated from your space.
Begin by identifying the ants in question to enable you to come up with the apt solution in eradicating them. Since there are different species of ants all with different habits, misidentification will mean you are throwing the wrong solution to your ant problem. Even when you are shopping for ant bait the vendor selling you the solution will ask you which type of ants you are exterminating. Look at the color, size, and whether they are biters.
Next identify their entry point. You can do this by following the ants’ trail to find the spot where they are gaining entry from. Focus on these areas for treatment. Also follow this trail to the actual ants’ nest. The colony and nest are typically located outdoors and what you get to see are the scouts as they look for food. The nest may not be easy to locate but with due diligence you will find it. This is the spot to bring in the heavy artillery. Use ant poison and spray the area liberally. This will ensure the entire colony is eradicated.
How do ants enter your home?
There are several entry points for ants into your space. They gain access through gaps in the windows and door as well as through areas where the utility pipes enter your space. They will enter the house usually during the warmer months of the year as they find food for their growing colony. The queen has by this time laid her eggs and they are hatching into larvae which need a lot of food for their growth development into the pupal stage.
In order to attract each other when they find a source of food, ants will leave behind a scent that attracts others. In order to ensure you don’t get an ant infestation it is crucial to undertake annual treatment of your house and the outdoor nesting areas. This means having some granular bait in the environs of your house as the warm months begin to roll in.
Ants are admirable because of their diligence and discipline but they are pests nonetheless and must be treated as such. For effective results in eradicating ants get the help of a professional pest exterminator.
Anyone who has spent significant time in the southwestern United States has come into contact or been warned about and made efforts on how to get rid of fire ants.
These little creatures bite and leave an itchy and uncomfortable mark where the bite occurred. These ants are widespread and native to the United States. They occupy much of the southern United States from Florida, up to the Carolinas, and then all the way west to California.
The life cycle of the fire ant is similar to most other ants. The life cycle of these insects follows the pattern of egg, larva, pupae, and finally the adult ant.
While individual ant life cycle is an interesting point, there is a broader issue of the life cycle of the colony. Ants operate as a collective and therefore the life cycle of their colony is an interesting study.
There are multiple types of ants within a colony that all serve different functions. The most notable of the types of ants in a colony is the queen.
The queen is the largest ant in the colony and their primary function is breeding. The queen can produce up to 3,500 eggs in a day and survive around 6 or 7 years. This means that a single queen fire ant can produce over 8 million eggs in her lifetime.
Queen ants are able to produce so many offspring that they may fill a nest. Queens have been observed leaving the nest with a set of workers in order to form new colonies. The queen’s natural instinct is to expand and this helps to facilitate that instinct.
These new colonies are usually very close to the first one and can lead to quite the issue if these colonies are around a person’s yard.
Drones have only one single purpose: to mate with the queen. The lifespan of male ants is normally around 4 or 5 days. Similar to the queen ants, male ants have wings — only that these wings are permanent.
The third type of ant in a colony is the worker ant. These ants are sterile females and have a myriad of functions within the colony. The workers serve as the defense against predators and build the nests.
Most of the ants’ people meet are worker ants that are out in search of food or supplies used for maintaining the nests. The workers are able to build very intricate nests that have many different areas for adult ants and nursery-type areas for ants that are not adults yet. The average lifespan of the worker ants is around five weeks.
While fire ants are a serious pest issue in the south, they can easily be dealt with. Due to their prevalence, many pest control companies are experts at seeking out the issues with fire ants and dealing with them accordingly.
Additionally, fire ants are not deadly unless the human has an allergy present, although the stings are very uncomfortable. If you feel as though you have a serious issue with fire ants, contact your local pest control company immediately.
As the weather gets warmer, you can count on one thing: the possibility of an insect invasion. In fact, one of the biggest causes of the ant insect invasion is a changing climate, especially dry, hot weather that will cause ants to seek shelter indoors.
Since homeowners normally air condition their homes when it’s hot outside, it creates the perfect environment to attract ants to come in and stay awhile.
Even worse, if you make the mistake of leaving food out on your countertops, including decorative fruit in a bowl, you better believe that ants will be likely to set up shop in your house.
Warm Weather Awakens Ants
If you’re wondering why ant invasions and warm, dry weather go hand-in-hand, it’s because scorching weather is known to “wake up” ants and bring them out in masses.
Even worse, as the rainy season subsides and the weather becomes hot and dry, ants are likely to invade a home to find some source of moisture, especially if a leak has created standing water.
Once ants have made their way indoors, watch out: they’ll start to gnaw on woodwork and create nests in hidden areas that are difficult to detect, including the foundation of a home. After ants make a nest, they can wreak mass havoc on a residence.
If ants are detected early on, they may not have time to do serious structural damage to property. But if an ant problem is left undiscovered and untreated for a long period of time, severe damage can occur as ants gnaw on damp wood and decaying materials that may have been caused by a leak.
A large ant colony can weaken joists, studs, and structural timbers in a home. When this is coupled with outside stress on a property caused by damage from snow or wind, a structure may be more likely to give out as wood deteriorates and moisture builds.
How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Home
When dealing with an ant infestation, it’s important to understand that ants are social insects. They live in colonies in large groups. If several ants have been detected, you can bet that a large colony lies nearby.
That’s why it’s critical to consult a professional at the first sign of an infestation in order to eradicate the “home base” and exterminate the ants completely.
A professional exterminator will normally start out with an inspection to follow ant trails and find the colony. Since ants leave a chemical trail of pheromones in order to signal to other ants in the colony where to find the food supply, these chemical trails must be eliminated with a pesticide or neutralizing agent like vinegar.
A professional exterminator will then inspect doors, windows, carpet edges, and the kitchen to find out where an ant trail leads to locate the main colony.
Once the nest has been identified, it can be treated with professional pesticides or bait, if necessary, to control an infestation and prevent ants from returning.
The best way to get rid of ants is to cut off the source. Ant control starts with the first ant. If you ignore that first ant you can be assured that more will follow.
Types of Household Ants
There are various types of household ants that you can find hiding in your kitchen. Common household ants are sugar ants, odorous house ants, carpenter ants, Argentine ants, Pharaoh ants, and more.
The kind of ants that you find in your kitchen could depend on the area that you live in. In the case of some, they could be part of a supercolony that stretches through your neighborhood.
Household ants can be very difficult to deal with because there are usually several nests with various queens. You may have these pests in your home before you are aware of them.
It is important to have the type of ant that has infiltrated your home identified correctly because each ant has its own characteristics. Your pest control professional can identify the ant and decide on the best course of action.
How to Prevent Ant Invasions
The easiest way to keep ants out of your home is to make sure that there is not any food left out, the counters and appliances in your home are wiped clean and that all foodstuffs are tightly sealed.
Fix leaky faucets to interrupt their water source. Once a scout ant finds a food or water source, they leave a pheromone trail back to their home.
The trail will lead the other ants back to the source and now you have been invaded. Use a mixture of 50% water and 50% vinegar and wipe away the ant trail.
By doing this, you can temporarily break up their ability to find their way into your kitchen. If you can, save a couple of ants to show your pest control technician so that they can quickly identify the type of ant that they are dealing with.
How to Rid Your Home of Ants
Ants can be very difficult to get rid of because by the time you see your first ant they usually have a full-grown colony developed. You may deter them from one entry point but it won’t be long before they find another.
Usually, a professional pest control company can rid your home of ants effectively in a few visits. Sometimes for larger infestations, it could take longer. It can be time-consuming and frustrating to try to keep these pests out of your kitchen.
While there are many home remedies to choose from, many times it can be a losing battle against a well-organized and determined army of ants. Call your pest control specialist and win the battle.
Successfully eradicating ants or other pests requires some knowledge of their likes, dislikes, and habits.
The safety of your family is important and choosing to use a qualified pest control specialist is the first step to ensuring that the products that are used are not harmful to humans or pets but also effective.