Treating For Ants[ Ant Identification | Inspecting For Ants | Treating For Ants | Preventing Ants ]
Ants can be one of the most common pests for homeowners and renters to treat. Ants can be found both inside and outside and their survival will rely on if they can locate a source for water and food.
It is important that when beginning treatment, you must include a good cleaning of the areas in addition to pesticide treatments using a combination of professional outdoor and indoor ant baits and sprays.
Treatment Guide For Indoor and Outdoor Ants
There are many different species of ants, like acrobat ants, carpenter ants, fire ants, ghost ants, and little black ants. Not all ant control products are meant to treat all ant species, be sure to figure out which ants you are trying to treat before you selecting a particular treatment product.
Indoor Preparing and Cleaning
Cleaning the area to be treated is one of the most important steps to getting rid of ant problem. It is likely that your ant treatment will not work if this step is not done, or not done well. The idea here is to eliminate what is attracting the ants in the first place, including all possible food sources and water sources. Locating and sealing up the areas that ants are using to gain entrance is also important.
Get Rid of Food Sources for Ants Inside
Removing the food sources is an important part of an ant control treatment. Cleaning up your kitchen as well as other areas of your house requires some hard work, but you will have to get it done if you want to be free of ants.
- Clean Appliances: Ants that are in the kitchen will live off food spills and grease that could be under and behind various appliances. It is advised to clean thoroughly under and behind the oven, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, dishwasher, as well as under and around the main sink area.
- Clean Cabinets: Food spills that come from food products stored in cabinets and pantries can provide a great source for ants. Empty and clean this area thoroughly to eliminate this source of food.
- Keep All Food Sealed: Ants are definitely small enough and have no problem getting into cardboard packaging or closed boxes and bags that are not tightly closed. We recommend storing food in metal, glass, or hard plastics with lids that are resealable.
- Meals In One Place: If possible, try to eat all meals, snacks, and other foods and drinks in one room of your house, this will keep crumbs and food spills to one area of the house eliminating further infestation.
- Clean Up Before Turning In: Ants will come out for food at night time, if you clean up the kitchen each night before you go to bed, it won't leave anything for the ants to find and eat. Wipe down kitchen counters well, wash dishes, clean floors, and put away ALL of your food.
- Empty and Clean: dog and cat food containers as well as their bowls overnight.
- Trash Receptacles: Keep all trash cans cleaned and covered if applicable.
Ants need water and will drink it wherever it is accessible to them. Do your best to try to eliminate water sources for them.
- Fix any plumbing that may be leaking as well as sweating pipes.
- Dry all sinks, bathtubs, and showers completely and plug up the drains before turning in for the night.
- Wet dish rags, towels, and sponges in a plastic storage bag overnight or place them directly in the washing machine.
- Dog and cat water dishes should be emptied and dried at night time.
Get Rid of Ant Entry Points
Once you get rid of potential hiding and nesting spots, the ants will find your house less hospitable. Most ant colonies can be from a couple of hundred to many thousands of ants. If you do not seal the entry points, it allows new ant colonies to enter and infest your home again.
- We advise to seal cracks and crevices around window frames as well as door frames, around the baseboards and any other places where you have noticed ants entering with caulking.
- Plug holes around cables, pipes, and wires with a copper mesh or another similar material.
Once the the sanitation and preparation has been completed, you can begin the process of applying the necessary products to take care of the ant infestation. We recommend using three specific products to get rid of ants:
- A non-repellent type aerosol ant spray insecticide to be used around doors, windows, and baseboards.
- There are two kinds of ant baits for use in cabinets, counters, sinks, and other places where sprays would NOT be appropriate:
- protein-based bait
- carbohydrate-based bait
Indoor Ant Baiting
Baits should be placed in an area or areas where there has been noticeable ant activity. Always avoid putting the bait in the middle of an ant trail, or on the ants, doing this will cause the ants avoid the bait altogether and make the bait not work properly. The bait should be placed near the ant activity, or next to their trails. Below are examples of places we advise placing your ant bait(s).
- kitchen cabinets, counter tops.
- all around the stove area (under, behind, next to)
- sinks or drains.
- pipes, cords, cables that come through a wall
- under bathroom fixtures, behind bathroom fixtures
- medicine cabinet and vanity.
Indoor Ant Spraying
We advise using a non-repellent ant spray to along with the using the bait. There are times that ants may be in a nesting cycle, or they may already have a safe food source and they might simply ignore the baits. The non-repellent spray take several days to start being effective, but that gives the product time to start spreading through the colony, infecting more of the ants.
Outdoor Cleaning and Prep
If you see that you have some ants around the exterior of your house or structure, you should consider treating the outdoors to avoid an infestation inside.
Just like you treated inside, you must change the factors around your house that made the ants attracted to your house to begin with. Cleaning will mean changing or removing the things ants need to live: Food, water, and shelter. Ants will seek these things when looking for a place to nest. If you remove or limit one or more of these details, you will make your property less attractive to ants/pests.
- Trim trees and shrubbery so that the branches do not touch your house.
- Remove moist and shady areas where ants like to nest by trimming bushes and shrubs up from the ground so you can see underneath.
- Make a dry area where there isn't any of any landscape debris present. Ants most likely will avoid these areas by raking mulch, leaves, and other landscape bedding at about 6 inches from the foundation perimeter.
- For reducing moisture and discouraging ants from building a nest, turn the mulch or other similar bedding material every couple of weeks or so.
- Insects and other pests are known to take residence in gutters and downspouts, be sure to try and clean these out frequently. We also recommend keeping your grass short, mowing as often as it is needed.
- To remove potential nesting areas for a wide variety of insects, remove any grass clippings, leaf piles, stacked wood, and other lawn debris.
- If you have fruit trees are on your property, take the fruit from trees when it is ripe, and pick up any fallen fruit from the ground removing any opportunity for infestation.
- If you have garbage cans outside, they provide ample food and shelter for pests. If possible, store them as far away from your house as possible. Make sure their lids are on tight as well.
- Wash out aforementioned trash cans with an ammonia solution when necessary.
Certain ants in your yard or near your house is relatively normal, and is actually necessary to keep other types of pest populations under control. When the ants start to move indoors you will need to kill them outdoors around the perimeter. Using a mixture of ant baits and non repellent spray, you can eliminate the ant colonies near the house/structure.
Outdoor Any Spraying
There are quite a few insecticides on the market that are labeled for getting rid of ants. We advise that you use a non-repellent spray. Most ant sprays will only kill ants that actually crawl over the treated surface. Only about 20% of an ant colony is likely to come out to forage for food, these sprays will not adequately control the colony itself. Another drawback of using ant sprays is that ants can be sensitive to most insecticides and will try to avoid the area that was treated. Non-repellent products are undetectable by ants as well as other insects so they easily can cross over the surface treated. When the ants come into contact with the surface, the product will stick to their bodies, causing them to carry it back to the rest of the ants in the colony. Once the infected ants get back to the colony, they spread the product through interaction with the other ants, eventually leading to the colony's demise.
You'll need a pump sprayer or a backpack sprayer to apply the non-repellent spray. Following the instructions on the label, mix the amount of product indicated with water. Most applications will need 1-2 gallons of finished solution to complete a standard home perimeter application. It will need to be applied up the foundation and out onto the ground to make a "barrier". It can also be applied to window frames, door frames, areas where cables, pipes, and wires enter the structure, and any other places where ants are crawling into the building.
Ant Baiting and Spraying Outside
Having ant baits outside will let you to exterminate ants that are farther away from your home or structure. We advise you use both a liquid ant bait and a granular ant bait because ants can be rather choosy and and will only take one or the other, depending on what nutrition they require. Bait stations should be placed near areas where you see a lot of ant activity. Always check the stations about once a week, and refill the bait as needed until the ants are gone.
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