Category Archives for "Ants"

Ant Repellent – Remedies for Getting Rid of Ants

Ants can become very annoying when seen in your home. They are not typically found running amok in a home. Instead, you will usually notice the trail they create as they head towards their mission of picking up something to eat that could be an apple core or an opened can of soda. Something sweet will oftentimes entice ants into your home. If ants smell an attractive odor, they will head towards where that odor is originating from. They can get through the smallest crack, between door and frame, and through a slight opening in your window frame. There are ant repellents that can be used to avoid ever having an issue with ants. You can use natural remedies and ant repellents that will distract them or outright prevent them from coming into your home.  Repellents and deterrents are typically easy to employ as long as you can accurately identify the ants’ entryway into your house.

Vinegar For Ants

Mix white vinegar or apple cider vinegar with water. You can use it straight, but it may be a bit strong for you. Get a spray bottle half way filled with water and mix in either type of vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is usually used for cooking, so many homeowners already have it in their home. The idea of using vinegar is to send an awful scent to the ants to avoid using their usual trail. Wipe down all areas that you have seen the ants going and include doorways, windowsills, cabinets, and countertops. Vinegar is one of the healthiest ways of removing ants from your home. The fungicidal properties of the vinegar will help prevent the ants and other insects from entering.

Essential Oils For Insect Control

Again, use a spray bottle and add in the essential oil of choice such as tea tree oil or witch hazel extract. Tea tree oil should be mixed in a ratio of two cups of water to one-fourth teaspoon of the oil. If you use peppermint oil, then put 15 drops of the peppermint mixed with 1.5 ounces of water and alcohol. You can either use only water mixed with the oil, but the alcohol will help dispense the oils easier. Make sure to shake well before spraying in all areas that you have seen ants.

Eucalyptus helps ward off ants with its strong smell. Spray or wipe down cupboards and countertops with a fourth of hot water mixed with a cup of the oil. Witch hazel extract is another great essential oil to choose to keep ants away. Mix four tablespoons with water in a spray bottle. Witch hazel is great for multiple purposes for everyone including treating dry skin, treating chicken pox and healing bruises as they come in cream and liquid formats.

Dish Soap – A Safe Non-Toxic Ant Repellent

Other ways to help repel ants from your home is by using liquid dish soap mixed with water. Fill a spray bottle with water and add one tablespoon of dish soap. There are other natural ant repellents that you can use including cucumber peels and red chili powder. Here are some others to consider.

Spices For Keeping Ants Away

Cinnamon sticks can be placed on your countertops and near windows and doors as the scent will deter ants from entering your home through the crevices and cracks you place the sticks. Ground black pepper can be sprinkled where the ants enter along with areas you have seen the ants as they will run from the odor of pepper. Whole cloves, bay leaves, salt, and used coffee grounds all send off an odor to ants that make them avoid the areas they are placed.

Mint plants are great to have near entryways and in the front and back yards as ants are hesitant to enter through the areas these plants are placed.

These natural ant repellents will not harm cats and dogs. If they decide to chew on a plant such as mint plants they could get an upset stomach, natural sprays and cleaning areas where ants enter your home will not harm your pets. Vinegar has a very strong odor, and it is highly unlikely that your dog will lick the areas you put vinegar. In fact, they may also try to stay away from those areas with its highly potent smell.

Any variety of ant repellent that uses chemicals can harm your pet. Using a natural mix that involves sugar and borax keep away from your pets as well. It can make them sick. A homemade ant spray can be made with a mixture of water, a tablespoon of borax and a cup of sugar. Boil the combination for about three minutes to make an ant repellent. Let it sit for a while until it completely cools down and thickens. You will need to clean the areas where you plan to lay down the homemade repellent. It’s used as bait as the ants will take pieces of the homemade mix and take it back to the queen of the nest. This will kill off the ants within a week or two, depending on the size of the ant community that is making their way through your home. First, use the natural ant repellents and only use this homemade method if you find the ants are still entering your home. Natural remedies are better when you have kids and pets in your home, whereas some of the homemade methods are not as friendly and can harm them.  So please keep that in mind when figuring out your plan of attack.

Additional Ant Control Resources:

 

Easy Ant Traps and Baits

Ant control can be difficult, and if you have been invaded by ants and just have no idea what to do, think about getting rid of those pesky critters yourself!  Sometimes it seems like no amount of cleaning the house (or squashing those pesky bugs) will keep them from coming back, and many people just don’t want to purchase those dangerous looking ant traps from the store.

One of the most important things to remember about the ants you see in your home is that you do not understand the entire problem!  The ants leave a trail for other ants to follow once they have located a food source.  Back in the nest, there are thousands more ants just waiting to get that food.  You must be able to kill all of the ants, including the ones you can’t see.

Preparing ant traps that contain ‘food’ that the ants will carry back to the nest with them is essential to getting rid of ants, no matter what type of ant you have in your home.

A Simple but Powerful Ant Trap

One of these simple all-natural recipes for an ant trap takes just three ingredients.  For this recipe, you will need:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of Borax

Simply mix all three of these ingredients together.

To make this solution into a trap, pour it into an old plastic container (or divide the mixture between two) with a lid.  Poke holes in the lid.  Place the container in an area where you have been seeing the ants.  This way, they will be sure to find it.  The ants will carry the mixture back to their nest, and it will kill all of them.

If you don’t have a plastic container, you could try a glass jar with plastic wrap over the top. Rubber band the plastic wrap and poke holes in it.  Just be sure that you set the jar up high enough that it is away from kids and pets (perhaps on a windowsill).

However you set up your solution, you’ll want to place it right where you previously saw the ants walking to be sure they find it. Once they do, they’ll go get all their buddies, and they’ll all carry it back to the nest. Everyone will party and have a big feast and then they’ll die.

No more ants!

Another Great All-Natural Ant Killer Recipe

Or, if you don’t feel like heading out and tracking down a box of Borax (or ordering it online and waiting days for it to show up), you can head to your kitchen and grab these three ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. This one is not a ‘trap’ recipe, but it’s great for spraying on the ants as you see them.

You will need:

One teaspoon dishwashing liquid
One teaspoon olive oil

1-quart water

Mix all three of these together. You can put this mixture right into a spray bottle and spray on the ants (or any other insects that ‘bug’ you!) as you see them.

You can also use this ant killer as a barricade. Spray it wherever the ants are entering your home to help keep them out.

Other Natural Remedies

If you want to wage war on the ants, naturally, here are a few more tips and tricks you can use.  These home remedies are excellent options for anyone who prefers to use natural pest control for their ant problem.

You can keep ants from coming into your home by making a line they simply will not cross.  Take cinnamon, chili powder, black or cayenne pepper, baby powder, or even cornmeal and ‘draw’ a line wherever you think the ants are coming in.  This may be your back door, front door, garage door or windows.  Putting a line of one of these down will actually keep ants out.

Or, you can purchase food grade diatomaceous earth.  Sprinkle this outside and inside of your home. Ants hate it and will not come inside.  This is ‘bug killer that you can eat’.  Diatomaceous earth is pure silica that will work to dehydrate any insects it comes into contact with, killing them.  This stuff is actually great for any type of bug with a carapace, as it get under the bug’s hard outer covering and dehydrates them quickly.

Ants also hate white vinegar, so keep cleaning your home with it. Wherever you have seen ants (kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, etc), clean the counters and floors with white vinegar.  You can also rig up a spray bottle full of white vinegar and water and spray the ants. This will kill the ones you see and keep others from coming back to that same spot.

Sachets

A natural ant repellent that also smells wonderful is a sachet.  Make these handy sachets can be added to drawers or closets (or the pantry) to keep ants at bay.  Your sachet should include mint, lavender or bay leaves to keep the bugs away.

And if none of these solutions appeal to you, make sure to contact your local pest control company to help you take care of your ant problem.

Additional Ant Bait Resources:

Best Home Remedies for Ants

Ants are interesting creatures to watch, as long as they stay in those little plastic ant farms. The problem is that they get inside your house and create quite a mess in their hunt for food. In the summer, the slightest bit of food left on a table top or counter can attract them in droves.

Getting rid of them is easy, but if you have children and pets around you’ll want to use natural products that will be safe but effective at killing them. Here are a few household items that you can use to make your own ant killer and repellent.

Kitchen Ingredients:

  • citrus
  • baking soda
  • sugar
  • vinegar
  • essential oils
  • spices
  • dish detergent
  • 20-mule team borax
  • citric acid
  • boiling water
  • cornmeal, grits, cream of wheat

Ants are a nuisance, but are not impossible to control once you know what kind of ants you have. There are different types of ants, the most common ones are carpenter ants, fire ants, and sugar ants. They have different habits and some tend to be aggressive, so you’ll need to exercise caution when dealing with them.

The first thing you’ll want to do before mixing any concoctions, is to determine what type of ants you are dealing with. Some ants can be gotten rid of simply by spraying citrus or strong-smelling mixtures near entryways as a deterrent, and others can only be eliminated by destroying the whole colony.

Identify the Ant Types

Carpenter ants are generally black in color but may also be red, with segmented bodies and pronounced antennae. They are somewhat large and therefore, easy to see and identify. These ants make their homes inside of walls and create havoc much like termites. These guys are harder to get rid of.

Fire ants can be large or small red ants that make their home outdoors in ant hills. They gather food during the day and can be aggressive when their nest is disturbed. They bite and sting when they come in contact with people by walking near their home or stepping on it. The bites are quite painful and may require a visit to the doctor in the case of small children or if many bites were sustained.

Sugar ants ( also called odorous ants) are small, tiny black ants that you may see in your kitchen making a trail to some little crumbs or something sweet left on a counter. They are attracted to the tiniest bits of food left behind and leave a chemical trail (pheromones) for other to follow like a road map. These ants generally do not bite, but can really be a nuisance when they get in pet food bowls and sugar trails.

The ingredients listed above can be used to make applications to kill them and then keep other from coming in. In the case of fire ants, you’ll need to get rid of the whole colony and the ant hill to get rid of these guys. It will also depend on whether you have a mild case, meaning just a few ants here and there, or a full-blown ant invasion. Try the simplest things first and if that doesn’t solve the problem, try a more complex strategy.

Sprays

Ants and other insects, including spiders, dislike strong-smelling substances. Vinegar, citrus (lemons, limes, grapefruit) peppermint, cinnamon, cloves, garlic are just a few things you can use in preparations to keep them away.

Mix equal parts of vinegar or lemon juice and water and spray on patios, near the entrance of the house, porches and around baseboards. If you see an ant trail, spray the ants and then wipe the trail down to remove the chemical trail so others won’t follow it.

Another mix is to fill a spray bottle half way with water, add a little vinegar and a few drops of Dawn dish soap to make it soapy and spray at will.

Powders

The powdered mixes include borax, powdered sugar and baby powder to deter them and kill them. Baby powder sprinkled on counters and in corners works as well as mixing powdered sugar and baking soda and placing on a small dish. They’ll be attracted to the sugar but the baking soda will make them swell up and explode.

If you get ants in your carpets you can sprinkle them with cinnamon or cloves and vacuum them right up. Be sure to empty your vacuum cleaner right away to avoid them crawling back out. The cinnamon will have them going around in circles because it interrupts their thinking processes.

Another non-liquid mix you can try is cornmeal or grits. Sprinkle a little mound of it and leave it where they can find it. They will eat it and take it back to their nests.

Sticky Traps

These are the easiest way to deal with ants of most types. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it method. You simple mix the substances and place it on or in something disposable and throw it away when it has done it’s job. These are similar to the glue traps used to kill roaches.

For sticky traps you will need honey, molasses or corn syrup and borax powdered detergent. Sprinkle some borax in a glass baby food jar and add honey or syrup and mix well. Put 3-4 holes in the lid and cap it tightly. This will keep pets and little ones from tasting it, but kill the ants that crawl inside the jar.

A similar method is to use small cards, 3 x 5 index cards will work just fine. Mix the honey and borax together and place a small amount on the card. Spread it on with a knife and set in areas where they will find it. When the card is full just throw it away.

Tips to Keep Ants Out of the House

Once you have killed all visible ants, to keep them from coming back use the citrus sprays just like you would for roaches, in every crack and corner. Spray on baseboards, door frames, window ledges, under cabinets and sinks and anywhere else you can think of. Your house will smell super-clean and you’ll have no ants. Spray outside as well to keep them from coming inside.

How to Deal with Ants Outside

When you have a visible ant hill anywhere on your property you need to dispose of it to get rid of the ants, otherwise they will just keep coming back. Especially if you have fire ants. Scout the edges of your yard and locate every one of them and you’ll need to boil some water and pour it straight down inside the hill. Be careful though, they will start running for cover so be prepared. You can also fill up the mound with cornmeal or grits first, and then use the boiling water if that doesn’t kill them all. When all the ants are dead, destroy the mound so they don’t return to that spot if there are any lingering around that escaped.

Once the ant hills are gone, spray your repellent sprays around the outside entrances; doorways, patios, window sills, and etc. These combined methods should get rid of the ants and keep them from coming back.

Sugar Ants – Learn About Them & Get Rid of Them

Sugar ants, or banded sugar ants, are attracted to sweets. Their true Latin name is Camponotus consobrinus.  These small ants range in size from 2 to 15 mm.  The male sugar ants are winged, and those with royal blood are completely black.  Female worker sugar ants have orange-colored bodies.

While they are primarily attracted to sweet foods, they will also feed on breads and fatty foods.  They are mostly found in the suburbs, and when you see their colonies outside your home, you will recognize the dirt hills they build to surround the entrances to their homes.

They prefer warm, humid climates; you can find sugar ants in the southern states year round.

Extermination Plans

The best way to exterminate sugar ants is to combine homemade traps and repellents.  If you just treat with a spray, you will force sugar ants into other areas of your home.  They will simply spread and you will find more and more of them.  A two-fold plan is the best plan of attack.

Getting Rid of Sugar Ants

  • Borax

One option is to use Borax.  Borax is poisonous to household ants but non-toxic to humans (however, you should keep it away from household pets). You can find Borax in the laundry aisle at the grocery store.

Simply mix the Borax with something sweet (such as sugar, honey, syrup, or jelly) to use as bait, this way the ants will take the poison back to their colony and spread it.

Directions for making the bait: Mix together two tablespoons of Borax and eight ounces of whatever sweet food source you are using in order to create a paste-like mixture.  You want to put about two inches of this mixture on a strip of masking tape and place the tape wherever you see ants.

Or, if you have pets, you may want to create a trap instead.  This will ensure your pets never come into contact with the Borax mix.  To make a trap, place the mixture on a cracker. Put the cracker inside a small box and poke pinholes into the box. Put the trap out and night, because that is when the ants do most of their hunting.  Some of the ants will be killed inside the box, but most of the ants will take the bait back to their colony.

  • Whole Cloves

Sugar ants are repelled by whole cloves: they hate the smell.  Place them in any area where you see sugar ants, such as countertops, baseboards, windowsills, etc.  You will keep the ants away and your home will smell nice, too.

Preventing Sugar Ants

After you’ve gotten rid of your sugar ants, you want to make sure they don’t come back.  The best way to do this is to keep your home clean.  Here are some cleaning tips that will keep those ants at bay:

  • Clean the Kitchen Sink

Make sure that you clean out the kitchen sink every night.  Don’t leave any dirty dishes, because the ants will find that food!  Run the garbage disposal after you wash your dishes, and even run some white vinegar through the disposal each night to keep it clean.

  • Vacuum

Vacuuming will get rid of any crumbs that might be hiding, just waiting for the sugar ants to find them.  Vacuum regularly to clean them up!

  • Clean up your Trash Can

Make sure that your trash bags are strong, so that they don’t get punctured.  You don’t want to leave a trail of crumbs for the ants to find. If you notice that your trash has spilled into your trash can, clean it out with white vinegar.

  • Clean the Counters and Floors

You might have noticed that the key here is white vinegar.  Ants hate it!  Clean your kitchen counters with it each night to keep them at bay. They had the acidity of it (but they love the sweetness of apple cider vinegar, so don’t mix up the two!).

You can even mop your kitchen floors with a mixture of vinegar and water if you’ve noticed sugar ants on the floors in the past. Remember, anywhere they can find food, they will appear!

Controlling Sugar Ants Outside

You will also want to get rid of the sugar ants outside, to keep them from getting inside your home. There are a number of natural ways to do this, but you can also back this up by calling a pest control company.

  • Coffee Grounds

Keep your coffee grounds and spread them around the foundation of your home. You can also spread them out underneath the windows near the kitchen or anywhere you’ve seen evidence of sugar ants (remember to look for those dirt hills).

  • Plant Mint

You can also plant mint.  It repels not only ant, but a number of other insects, and it smells good, too!

No matter what you do, remember that getting rid of sugar ants is a round the year production if you live in warmer, humid climates.  Get rid of the ants, prevent them from coming back, and make sure to treat the outside of your home, too, and you won’t be pestered by these pesky sugar ants again!  If you combine this with professional pest control, you’ll be ant-free forever!

Carpenter Ants – Everything You Need to Know

Carpenter ants appear like ants, some have wings like termites and they will always be found chewing through wood. They don’t eat wood, they nest in it. If your home has become a nesting spot for these aggressive creatures then you will have a lot of work on your hands to try to get rid of them. With a great sense of smell, they are able to avoid pesticides by going away from it whether that means making a new trail or waiting for the scent to leave the area to search for more food. Ultimately, it is the queen of the nest who lays the eggs and worker ants continue to bring food back for. She must eat in order to continue to lay eggs for additional working ants.

 

What Do Carpenter Ants Eat?

Carpenter ants feed on honeydew produced by aphids, plants, living and dead insects, and sugary matter. They don’t eat wood and instead will find a good spot where there may be some rotting wood to start nesting and create colonies for the queen ant.

Are There Different Types of Carpenter Ants?

There are three different species of carpenter ants including Florida carpenter ants, the Modoc carpenter ants and Pennsylvanicus carpenter ants. Florida ants are red and black in color and are sometimes called that. Modoc ants are located in the Western area of the country and the Pennsylvanicus ants are located in the Eastern region and also considered big black ants even though they are moderate in size and still smaller than the average crawling ant. Every colony has at least 3,000 workers and large colonies can have more than 100,000 working ants. This leads to a major infestation as there is plenty for the ants to eat and lots of wood to nest in. There are three levels of working ants that can lead to such large numbers and they include Minor to Intermediate to Major workers. The queen for each nesting area will lay eggs and they will take up to 60 days before they become adults and start working towards creating a larger colony or additional colonies.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

It is very difficult to kill off all of the carpenter ants. The key is reaching the queen and it is impossible to do so with a spray or fumigation. Therefore, the best way to get rid of all of the ants is to use a bait or dusting technique. Apply Timbor or Nibor D that are dusting products. Place the dust in areas around your home that have cracks, crevices and any entryway into your home that include near windows, doors, attics, and anywhere else you feel the infestation is taking place. Us such baiting products as Advance Carpenter Ant Bait or KM Ant Professional Ant Bait Station that tend to be the most effective whether it is indoors or outside. Place a little at first near where you have seen the ants. If the baits disappear quickly then add twice as much as you had before. If you don’t see them disappear at all then find another spot you may notice the ants are infesting. The bait should disappear gradually or rapidly depending on how bad the problem is. Continue to check every few days to make sure the bait is disappearing. After one week remove the left bait and place new bait. As you notice fewer bait being taken that means the colony is decreasing. Bait can be taken back to the queen which is what you want in order for the infestation to stop. As all of the ants eat the bait, they will die off.

If you use sprays to get rid of carpenter ants, they will avoid where you sprayed and it will only kill off the exposed ants. From there some of the ants will fly over to another location to start up another colony. Your infestation can get worse rather than better. Instead of using the typical trail, the carpenter ants to create a new pathway and avoid the smell of the repellent. Non repellent dusts can be more effective with working ants but they will have a harder time reaching the queen than bait will. If the queen notices that many of the workers are no longer there then she will lay more eggs and they will multiply and outnumber the amount of workers that were there before. Basically, without the right tools to remove the carpenter ants your infestation can get a lot worse. You may consider calling upon a professional if you question having the right materials to remove and kill off the carpenter ants from infesting your home.

Finding Carpenter Ants Outside Your Home Can Mean Trouble Inside

Most of the time you will notice carpenter ants nesting outside your home before they find a nesting area within your home. About 35 percent of the ants find a spot in exterior walls, flower pots, cracks, and any expansion from the window to the walls. About 21 percent of the carpenter ants can be found infesting the attic and 19 percent are usually located in crawl space, ceilings, and interior walls and roofing.