The best way to both prevent ants and to get rid of them is to clean your house regularly and make sure that there is no food lying around that can attract the ants in the first place. Food should be kept in air tight containers, dirty dishes should not be left around, and surfaces should be wiped down in case there is any leftover food residue. Seeing one ant might not cause you any alarm, but nests of ants will send out scouts to seek out food and then they will go back to their nests and bring back the cavalry. It is best to squish that lone scout ant.
There are thousands of tiny holes and cracks in your house in which ants can find routes in, so do your best to barricade your home by sealing up the cracks with caulk. Sometimes the only way you will be able to find the entry way for which ants get into your home is following the line of ants to their origin. If you can’t seal some areas, such as doors, you can line the area with substances that deter the ants, such as Raid for ants, diatomaceous earth, talcum powder, whole cloves, cinnamon, and pepper. Keep in mind that these substances only work for a short time; they do not fix the problem.
Eradicating Ant Baits
In order to know the proper way to get rid of ants you need to know which type of ants you are dealing with. One of the most common types of house ants in the US are brown pavement ants, which are sometimes mistakenly called sugar ants. These types of ants commonly build small sand mounds near sidewalks and driveways. The best way to get rid of this type of ant is to use a mixture of 5% boric acid and 95% karo syrup, mint jelly, or mint apple jelly. Keep in mind that if too much boric acid is used you stand the risk of killing the immediate ants, but not the colony, while using too little boric acid will only temporarily weaken the colony. Put the boric acid mixture on masking tape in various areas where you have seen ants. If the sugar based bait doesn’t work well, consider adding peanut butter to attract ants that eat protein.
The brand Terro makes a sweetened boric acid bait that works well on pavement ants. When fighting a fire ant infestation make sure to use bait that contains Hydramethylnon. Some insecticides that contain Hydramethylnon include MaxForce, Raid Fire Ant Killer, Amdro, and Precise.
This type of bait works well on pharaoh ants as well. Argentine ants are very hearty little creatures, so to fight an infestation of these little pests you may need to use two different types of baits since these ants eat both sugar and protein. Using a sugar based bait, like Terro, and a protein based bait, like MaxForce, should work.
Tips When Using Ant Bait
There are a few tips to remember when fighting ant infestations. Do not put bait right in a line of ants, it will disrupt them and may make the ants less likely to take the bait, instead put the bait next to a line of ants and they will be attracted to it. Try to put the baits as close to the nest as possible.
When using baits, do not kill the ants on their way back to the colony as the bait works because the scavenger ants bring the bait back to the colony and spread it to all the other ants. Using repellants on the ant mound will only make the ants create a new nest, most likely only a few feet away from their current mound. There are numerous ant baits out there, so make sure you are getting the proper one for your needs, and always make sure that no children or other animals can get into the bait.