Monday, April 2, 2018

Welcome Spring! How to un-welcome the household ants that come with it

property management tips for ridding household ants
Ah, Easter and baseball season really do mean spring has arrived.  But the warmer weather also is when ants start arriving in or around your home.  When hibernation is over and food becomes more plentiful, ants are driven to find a place that is warm in the night and has plenty of easily accessible food and water for them to feast on. They also seek shelter from the hot sun and the spring rains by entering into our homes. 

Once ants discover a reliable food source, whether that means crumbs left out on the counter or fruit for them to feed on, they are likely to keep returning to that place.

The best way to get rid of ants is to prevent them from ever considering your home a comfortable crash pad.

This is definitely one of the most important steps to getting rid of ants (and keeping them away), and most ant treatment programs will fail if this step is skipped or poorly implemented. You must eliminate what attracts ants, including as many food sources and water sources as possible. Then, finding and treating areas that the ants are using to gain entrance into the structure will keep them marching elsewhere.

property management tips for ridding household ants

  • Clean Kitchen Appliances. Ants in your kitchen can live off grease and food spills under and behind your appliances. Clean under and behind the stove, refrigerator, microwave, toaster, dishwasher, and around and underneath the sink.
  • Clean inside the cabinets. Crumbs and food spills from stored food products provide a buffet for ants. Clean to eliminate this food source.
  • Keep Food in sealed containers. Ants are small enough to get into the cardboard packaging or loosely closed boxes and bags. Store food in metal, glass, or hard plastic sealable containers.
  • Limit food consumption to one room of the house. Keeping all food and eating in one area of the home will eliminate crumbs and food spills around the home and limits your treatment concerns to one area of the house.
  • Clean the kitchen thoroughly each night before bed. Ants come out to feed at night, so cleaning the kitchen each night will leave nothing for foraging ants to eat. Wipe down kitchen countertops, wash all dishes, sweep the floors and put away all food.
  • Vacuum or sweep all other non-food areas of the home every few days. Picking up stray crumbs and ant detritus that attract other ants to the same areas, will help make your home ant-unwelcome.
  • Empty pet food containers overnight, or cover tightly.
  • Keep garbage cans clean and covered.

Now that you have completed the sanitation and preparation, you can start the process of applying products to treat and eliminate existing ants who have gained entry. 

  • Use an aerosol or vaporized ant spray insecticide for use around doors, windows and baseboards.  There are many brands available at your local hardware or grocery store.

  • Carefully read and follow instructions provided, and use caution if treating in or around kitchen counters and appliances.

You can also make a natural ant repellent/treatment solution

  • Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  • Add a few drops of any essential oil and shake the bottle thoroughly.
  • Spray this solution around baseboards and other entry or activity points.

Follow these tips and you'll be well on your way to enjoying the warm weather without unwanted ants for guests.

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