There are about 1,000 kinds of ants in the United States alone. At some point in your life, you can bet on battling it out with one of these insects. Whether it's inside of your home, or out in your yard, here are some tips and remedies to getting rid of these pests.
There are several remedies to getting rid of ants. If you are having a problem inside the home, the first thing to do is put away food in air tight containers, dispose properly of waste, and don't leave crumbs around. Ants come into the home searching for food, so if they don't find any, they wont stick around. One thing people sometimes tend to overlook is pet food. Ants will easily find their way into dog and cat food bags, so its a good idea to keep food stored in plastic containers. Even standing water or toothpaste can be attractive to ants. Be sure to wipe off counters, sweep, mop, and vacuum on a regular basis. Keep doorways and windows sealed with caulk, and check the bathroom for cracks around the bathtub or counter. Another possibility is to hire someone to come out and spray monthly, but that can be costly.
Several stores such as home improvement, grocery, and dollar stores offer a variety of sprays to kill ants. Or you can also buy what is known as an ant 'fogger', which is a can that will fumigate an area. The downfall to this is if you have pets, you will have to take them out of the room for several hours which may not be easy or convenient for you. Ant traps are also available on the market.
There are several home remedies that people also claim to work. Some choose to 2 tbsp of boric acid with 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water as ant bait. This mixture will kill ants when it is ingested. If using this method it is better to wait till you see the ants to place the mixture out, otherwise you will just lure in new ants. Place the bait beside their trail, so you don't interrupt their path. If you have pets or small children, place this mixture inside of a jelly jar and poke holes in the lid so that ants may still get in and out. You can also try spraying the trail with cleaner or bleach. Or mix rubbing alcohol, dish soap, and water into a spray bottle and spray where they are coming in, because ants tend to avoid alcohol. Other things that people claim ants do not like are pepper, cinnamon, peppermint, vinegar, and bay leaves. Some believe that sprinkling baby powder around door entrances, windows, or the foundation will keep ants from coming in. Others claim that aspartame is deadly to ants. Diatomaceous earth, which can be found in nurseries and not to be confused with the kind for swimming pools, can be sprinkled in front of doors or on ant trails to keep them from coming inside.
One important thing to remember when choosing what to use is to consider whether you have pets or small children. You don't want to leave out any substance that is harmful to your child or animals.
If you have a huge ant problem in your home, you will need to find out where they are coming from in your yard to help eliminate the problem. Ants that invade the home typically have a nest near the outside foundation.
There are also several remedies to kill ant hills located in your yard. Some try dumping boiling hot water on top of the nest. Others choose the typical approach of spraying, or putting out substances like seven dust. Poison is also available in granule form, which kills the ants as the 'workers' carry it back inside the nest to the other ants. As with in the house, if you have pets or small children also take that into consideration when choosing your method.
Another natural remedy is to soak pipe tobacco in a bucket of water overnight. The next day, remove the tobacco and pour the water on top of the ant hill. Some claim that you can also get rid of ants by taking a shovel full of dirt from one ant hill and swap it with another, stating that this will cause the two different colonies of ants to kill each other. Others fill the ant hill holes with glue or baby powder in an attempt to kill them. Some even pour gasoline onto the nests, which may work but can be dangerous. There are claims that sprinkling grits around the nest will kill the ants, because after ingesting the grits it will expand in their stomach and explode. The same goes for cornmeal. You can also puree orange peels and pour it on where the mound was to repel ants from coming back. Try sprinkling used coffee grains around the yard, the scent is believed to deter ants. Or use chili powder lightly on nests and trails. Lemon juice can also be sprayed inside or outside the home to eliminate ants. Some people even use caulking to seal up the entrance to the ant hole.
Planting grass in bare areas is also believed to help deter ants from building a nest. Also don't stack firewood next to the house because ants thrive in firewood. Certain flowers and plants also seem to attract ants, so avoid ones that secrete a sticky honey dew substance. Mulch is also a place that ant colonies tend to build homes.
Although many types of ants are just a nuisance, getting rid of ants is important for your home, especially if carpenter ants are the problem. These ants will destroy your home by weakening the foundation. Look for sawdust trails that lead to the nest. Fire ants are also hazardous and will bite quickly if their nest is disturbed. You wouldn't want to accidentally step in a nest of them, or especially a pet or small child.