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The most important thing to keep in mind while trying to get rid of ants in your household is to identify the species first. Different species have different living conditions. An important point to know while looking for ways to get rid of ants is to find the species of ants you’re dealing with.
Ant infestation is a process that ants go through to seek shelter. It means the incorporation of the ant species in suitable material materials wood or food.
Ants live in groups called “Ant Colonies“. The ant colonies are divided into two types of ants(sexual and asexual). The asexual ants are known as worker ants.
Ants are extremely resilient and can withstand extraordinary changes in the environment. Some ants are known to survive floods, they form bulk and can float in the water for days. In addition to being resilient, ants are super strong as well. An average ant can carry around 15 -50 times its weight.
Why are ants resilient and adaptable?
“Ants are so resilient because of how efficiently they reproduce and multiply. They have a queen whose primary responsibility and function is to lay eggs in bulk. Whenever you have one type of organism or animal that only has a single purpose in life, that specific creature tends to be efficient and effective in doing its job.
A queen ant’s ability to lay large quantities of eggs provides the colony with a numerical advantage that can increase the likelihood of having the traits needed to survive during changing conditions and situations.
This is similar to how, if you sell a product or service, the more doors you knock on the higher the chances you have of closing a deal. High reproduction rates combine with genetic diversity within ant colonies to maximize their ability to adapt to environmental stimuli and ultimately optimize the colony to survive.
Also, the ability of the queen to rapidly lay ants serves as a way to quickly replace the fallen ones during a change in the environment, predator pressure, or other challenges that reduce their numbers. This resilience is really important for maintaining the numbers and integrity of the colony ensuring that their productivity is not hindered.
If you want to control or get rid of ants in an area, it’s not enough to just focus on the queen. You also need to stop them from getting food and make their group smaller.
Ants are good at finding new food and making more ants fast. So, to make a difference, you have to deal with both the queen and the things helping them find food as quickly as possible.”
Ants have amazing survival instincts, hence it might be hard to treat an ant infestation. Moreover, with suitable methods and proper knowledge, an ant infestation can be treated permanently.
What Is Ant Infestation
Ant infestation usually takes place during warmer months. They tend to incorporate themselves into various items such as logs and wood and form colonies. This is known as ant infestation.
Identification Of Ants Species
The first step in getting rid of ants is to determine what species are you dealing with. With over 10,000 ant species of ants present around the world. All the species have some distinct features which guide us through the identification process.
Some Major Species Of Ants Widely Found In Our Households
1. Fire Ants-
The best way to identify fire ants is by their skin color. Fire ants tend to have a slightly red body color that can range from reddish-brown to dark reddish-black. These ants also possess a stinger near the mouth region.
2. Carpenter Ant
Carpenter ants are usually black or reddish-black and are relatively large. The name “Carpenter Ants” comes from the fact that they live inside wood by burrowing. They’re often misunderstood to eat wood but in truth, carpenter ants leave out a residue that looks like sawdust. Worker ants also known as scout ants, go out of the ant colony in search of food.
While doing that, they leave a scented pheromone trail behind to find their way back. While returning, they follow the pheromones that serve as ant trails which leads the scout ants back to their colonies. Because they live inside wooden logs and doors, they can’t be located very easily and, hence, are hard to get rid of. The nest or colony of a Carpenter Ant is really hard to find.
3. Odorous House Ants
Odorous house ants, also known as sugar ants are known for disgusting rotten coconut-like smells. They are smaller as compared to other ants. Odorous house ants have dark black or brown bodies. Another distinct characteristic of odorous house ants is that they have an unevenly shaped thorax (neck) when viewed from the side.
4. Argentine Ants
Argentine ants are known to have large legs. With the color ranging from dark brown to black, the Argentine ants are moderately sized about 1/8 inches in length. As the name suggests, Argentine ants are found mainly in northern Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
5. Ghost Ants
Ghost ants have a distinct body coloration, with the head and thorax a dark brown color, while the body is translucent. This translucent body makes the already tiny ghost ants look even tinier.
6. Pharaoh ants
Pharaoh ant is usually 2 mm in size. The color of the Pharaoh ant usually varies from light yellow to translucent. They are known to be found in every part of the world. Pharaoh ants are known to feast mostly on sweets and sugar.
7. Big-headed Ant
Big-headed ants are also known as Pheidole. They cause a major ant problem if avoided. They were first found in the United States but then became a worldwide problem.
How To Get Rid Of Ants
Once you’ve identified the ant species, the next step includes control over the infestation. Controlling the infestation includes methods to kill ants based on the ant species and their habitat.
It’s important to decide the method that will be used to get rid of ants. Many ants form an ant nest, they seek shelter inside the ant nest and in case the ant nest is destroyed, getting rid of those ants gets easier.
Since ants are mostly attracted to food items, ant infestation on food items can be dealt with with ant sprays. While repelling ants is a solution, prevention would be a better option. Natural bug repellent can help in the case of ant problems. The primary characteristic of bug repellent includes repelling ants, which helps in keeping the ants away from your household.
Ant repellent is most useful in the case of Carpenter Ants since they infest wooden items, and their nests can be easily spotted. Other ants also seek shelter in ant nests. If you can find the ant nest, getting rid of those ants with ant repellent can become easier.
How Do Get rid Of Ants Based On Their Ant Species
1. Fire Ants
Fire Ants are bright red or reddish-brown. Fire Ant infestation can also be treated with repellent. If fire ants have infested your house, the most common way to get rid of them is to set up bait.
A bait can attract ants, hence, can make it easier to spot them and get rid of them. This is the best method to deal with an ant infestation in your home.
2. Carpenter Ants
Carpenter Ants are harder to get rid of, compared to other species. The reason is, that these ants infest tree stumps, and damaged or wet wood, making it harder for us to find their nests. They can easily infest any wooden item inside your house as well.
Sometimes it can get difficult to spot their nest. How to get rid of ants if you cannot find their nest. The best way is to set up the bait, follow their trail, and track their nest.
Maple syrup acts as good bait. The scout ants will feed on the bait and retrace their steps back to their colony. You can follow the trail and locate their nests.
Once you’ve located their colony, pesticides can help in getting rid of these ants. Boric acid is usually used as a pesticide. Mixed with a bait, worker ants feed it to the entire colony.
Odorous House Ants
When dealing with odorous house ants several steps can be implemented –
- Baiting – The best way to deal with ants is using baits. Ants may prefer different types of food during different seasons, so it is advised to use different ant baits over time to attain better results. The bait mixed with a pesticide helps in getting rid of the entire colony.
- Using Indoor Sprays– The best way to efficiently use the ant spray is to use it on the entire nest. Locate their nest first and then use the ant spray thus eliminating the chances of these ants returning.
- Control Through Perimeter- Sealing the perimeter of the house with some pesticide may work in combating ant problems. Spraying the perimeter of the house with pesticides will prevent the ants from entering the house.
Baiting and ant spray are commonly used methods in the case of Argentine Ants. With baiting, the ant feeds the poisoned food to the queen and the entire colony, thus getting rid of the colony permanently. This prevents the chances of future infestations. are
In the case of spraying, we spray pesticides as pest control. The spray is used to deter ants away from the ant nests.
Pharaoh ants are tiny. Two methods are widely used while tackling this problem. Firstly, baiting is the most effective technique used to get rid of these ants. While choosing the bait, it is advised to use both starchy and protein-based substances for better results. Boric acid is a great choice of chemical during our ant baiting.
The non-repelling spray is also used to kill ants nesting indoors as well as outdoors. It is widely used on ants hidden around the house. It works as a repelling agent to repel ants away from the household.
Ant trails usually lead to ant nests. The worker ant usually follows the same path and thus reveals the location of the colony. Destroying the colony is the best way to stop ants from becoming a problem again.
The best way to get rid of ants of this species is to locate the nest. If you are successfully able to locate the nest outside, drench it with outdoor insecticide or bug spray. To locate the nest, you need to follow the ant trails which are used by a worker ant to find its way back to the colony.
How To Get Rid Of Ants Using Chemicals
They are used mostly outside the house to repel ants and kill them. It is often sprayed on ant colonies and is a crucial instrument when it comes to ant control. It is mainly used as an outdoor pesticide. When sprayed in ant holes, it will kill all the ants present inside the colony.
Boric acid is often used in the technique of baiting. Boric acid is mixed with either starch or protein substances as baits. Baits can be used to find any nests that are present in your house. The poison is distributed among all the ants. By following the ant trails, we can follow the steps required for ant control.
Diatomaceous earth is used for insects that have an exoskeleton. Diatomaceous earth is poisonous to ants and this helps in solving an ant infestation. Diatomaceous earth is used when a large area is infested by ants. It is also effective against bed bugs.
It is effective while dealing with ants indoors. It is easily available and very simple to use. Although effective for indoor infestation, the repellent spray is not effective for outdoor ant infestation.
How To Get Rid Of Ants Using Organic Methods
An ant infestation can be controlled using many organic and household substances. When combating the issue of how to get rid of ants, the best way is to stay natural. The nuisance of ants can be terminated by using organic and repellent.
- Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is used to repel ants and bugs. Tea tree oil mixed with water can be stored in a spray bottle. It is then used as a repellent spray. Tea tree oil is one of the many natural repellents. It is the best natural pesticide. The best way to use tea tree oil is to use it on the entire colony. This way instead of killing a few ants, permanent pest control can be done on the colony itself.
- Peppermint Oil- Peppermint oil also acts as a natural repellent for Carpenter Ants. 20 drops of peppermint essential oil are mixed with 20 ml of water. This mixture is then sprayed on wooden framing, thus protecting items from becoming hosts to ants. This method is applicable for outdoor and indoor infestation. Pest control via peppermint essential oils is widely used throughout America.
- Cayenne Pepper – Black pepper as well as Cayenne pepper both work as ant repellents. One common method is to sprinkle pepper on the infested area. They act as natural repellents. A black pepper repellent spray can be made by mixing pepper with water and sprinkling it on the ant nests.
How effective are these organic methods for ant control?
“In my home and garden, peppermint oil has been a game-changer. Its strong scent disrupts ant communication, effectively deterring them without the harsh effects of chemical insecticides. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, has shown both repelling and killing properties against ants, which I’ve found particularly useful in more severe infestations. However, I always exercise caution, especially around my pets, as these oils can be harmful to them.
Scientific studies corroborate my experiences, highlighting the varied efficacy of these oils, with peppermint oil being notably accessible for everyday use. Integrating these oils into my cleaning regimen has not only managed ant issues effectively but also aligned with my commitment to environmentally responsible living.”
These are a few major methods on how to get rid of ants permanently. These methods prevent present as well as future ant infestation.
Call For Professional Help
If the problem seems to be getting out of hand, and you’re not able to understand how to get rid of ants that keep on increasing proportionally. We suggest you call for some professional help.
There have been cases where the ant growth has kept growing exponentially and homemade remedies or pesticides aren’t able to treat the infestation. Such cases are known while dealing with Carpenter Ants. Carpenter ants being embedded inside wood or timber are hard to find. Thus, their colonies remain safe and they keep growing exponentially.
In such cases, if professional help is not called for, it might lead to various problems. Although ants aren’t deadly as such, they can be carriers of various bacteria. They indirectly make the household a pool for germs. Hence, ants can affect your health as well.
Points To Remember While Tackling Ant Infestation
- As a precaution, the food source of ants should be kept closed.
- The major food source of ants includes starch and proteins. These food sources attract ants more efficiently.
- Repellent sprays and natural repellents are very effective in repelling pests. Essential oil of peppermint or essential oil of tea tree can be used as natural repellents.
- Ants have a habit of leaving a trail of pheromones behind, pest control can be achieved efficiently if we treat the food item or place infested by ants. In this way, they won’t be able to reach back to the source again.
- Using dish soap and cotton balls to clean the affected area is also a form of pest control. Make sure the cotton balls are disposed of properly after cleaning.
- When tackling the issue of how to get rid of ants, make sure to eliminate them from the origin, to avoid future infestation.
You can refer to these measures if you are trying to figure out how to get rid of ants permanently. We know that these uncalled guests cause a lot of trouble, so it’s better to get rid of them as soon as we can.
Ants can infest your home very quickly and become a health hazard as well as a danger for you. It’s very important to be cautious while dealing with ants.