No one wants ants indoors, and understanding a little about ant behavior can help you choose the best pest control approach. Ants are social and live in colonies, so treatments need to include a plan to irradiate the colony. A typical ant spray will generally kill the ones you see, but not at the colony. Ants will come into a home foraging for food, water, or a new shelter. They like foods that have a sweet base or a protein/grease base. Ants can come in through the smallest openings, and once they find what they are looking for, they leave a pheromone trail for their friends to follow. If you see ants coming in through a crack in the door, cabinet, electrical outlet, floor, or window, it is likely looking for food. If you notice a trail of ants, it’s possible there is a nest of ants inside your home. Once you determine the points of entry, then you can choose the best ant control product.
There are several effective ant control products on the market, such as baits and gels. These all have chemicals you need to use caution around pets and children. Bait stations are designed to lure the ant in and allow it to carry the chemical back to the colony. They can have granules, a gel, or liquid inside, and you place the bait station close to the ant’s point of entry into the home. A gel is designed to be placed in cracks and crevices where the ants are coming in, which can include around cabinet edges, behind appliances, around sinks, or the baseboards. Within a few hours, the ants will carry the chemicals back to the nest, and it can take a few days for the colony to die out, but the ones visible will decrease quickly. If you have an ant problem that continues to return, be sure to change up the type of active ingredient you are using for the bait or gel because they can become resistant to it over time.
The most commonly used and effective active ingredients used in bait stations and gels. Boric acid or borax are usually mixed with syrup or sugar and are efficiently carried back to a colony. These are low toxicity products unless there is exposure over an extended period of time. Methoprene and pyriproxyfen are designed to inhibit the growth of ants from one stage to the next and have a low toxicity level to humans. If you have a visible nest of ants, it can help to dust with a high-quality residual dust like D-Fense Dust directly. Dusting is only effective if you find the colony. If the nest is located behind a wall, there are specially designed dusters that can shoot the dust into the wall after you drill small holes. Aerosol sprays and foggers are not recommended because they can harm you, as well as the environment.
Alternative options are to look for possible ant entry points and seal them with non-toxic caulk. It is a great way to prevent ants from coming inside. After you’ve found ants coming in, you can use a soapy water solution made with a citrus-based cleaner, peppermint soap, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper to remove the invisible pheromone trail left for other ants to follow. Keep the kitchen clean and putting food into containers that have a tight seal or in the refrigerator to eliminate any temptations. Keep flooring clean from crumbs with regular sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Create a moat around pet dishes or any potted plants attracting ants.