Ants play an important role in the ecosystem by, turning and aerating soil, letting oxygen and water reach plant roots. They also act as decomposers as they feed on organic waste and dead creatures helping to keep the environment clean. But however useful in nature, ants in the garden, on your terrace or balcony, ants in your home or heaven forbid your kitchen, are a pest problem.
As soon as you discover these uninvited guests you need to act swiftly, but what helps to banish ants from inside your house, flat or apartment? What home remedies can effectively repel ants or help prevent ants from entering and nesting in your property?
Don’t panic, you can help prevent an ant infestation. Here are some actions you can take to help deter ants from entering your house, flat, apartment, balcony or garden.
The best way to deter ants outside in the garden
Most ants in UK gardens are commonly known as black garden ants, they often colonise locations under pots and patio slabs and in planters.
What helps against ants in the garden and on lawns? Here are a few tips to help deter ants outside:
Track ant trails in the garden – Typically patios are laid on sand, and ants will often emerge between the cracks to find and carry food. By watching where the ants disappear into crack, you’ll hopefully be able to locate their nest – and you will have a place to aim ant killer powder before the problem escalates any further.
Keep picnic food sealed – Most garden ants are content living outside where their main food source is sugary secretions from sap-sucking insects like aphids. However they are happy to take advantage of any sweet picnic food or sticky sugary drinks, as they have an acute sense of smell and can detect sweet, surgery substances from a distance. Be sure to store picnic food in sealed containers when not being eaten and clear spillages quickly, so ants don’t pick up the scent.
Encircle picnic blanket with chalk or talcum powder – This suggestion is unfortunately an ‘old wives tale’ and only briefly disrupts the ant’s scent (pheromone) trail. It doesn’t stop them from finding your food.
The best way to get rid of ants in the house
Most ant species prefer warmer weather, so are more visible in the spring or summer months. During rainy periods the insects often seek refuge in safe, dry locations – which can result in increased ant activity inside homes. Once ants get into your property what can you do?
Keep things sealed – That includes your property. Sealing small holes and openings in masonry walls using approved sealants will help remove the opportunity for ants (and other pests) to sneak into your property. Seals around windows and doors should be checked as well for gaps or leaks and fixed if needed.
Baking soda and sugar mix – An ‘old wives tale’ that can help with A small number of insects. Ants are attracted to the sugar in the mix and will carry it back to their nest, killing the ants that eat it. Baking soda kills ants when they ingest it, and it is thought that it does this by drying out their bodies from the inside.
How to get rid of ants in the kitchen
Once ants find a food source, they will lay down a chemical (pheromone) trail to give other ants a signal to follow, which means it’s possible that a small number of ants within a building can escalate into a bigger problem quite quickly. How do you eliminate ants from your kitchen?
Clear up after yourself – When there is a spillage or mess in the kitchen, clean it up as soon as possible. Once ants have found a food source the chemical trail they leave can quickly lead other ants to the area. Be sure to clean up sticky messes, and don’t leave washing up to fester. Also keep kitchen surfaces clean and clear of food, so there isn’t anything to attract the ants.
Be proactive with your cleaning – Aside from maintaining a hygienic environment on a day-to-day basis, a regular, proactive cleaning regime plays an important role in avoiding an unwelcome visit from ants. Pay particular attention to those hard-to-reach places, like underneath kitchen appliances, which could be fostering the moist conditions craved by ants.
Professional ant control
If caught early, ant issues can be dealt with quickly and easily. A range of ant DIY products are available for use both indoors and outdoors, in the form of sprays and powders. If however, an ant infestation problem persists, call a pest controller to visit your property and conduct a thorough survey of the infested area. Experts will be able to tell you the extent of the infestation, and be able to give advice as to what treatment is best, depending on the ant species that’s identified.