Ants are an integral part of our ecosystem, but they’re not exactly welcome houseguests. They can cause structural damage to your home and be a nuisance when they find their way into your pantry or crawl across your countertops.
The good news is that there are numerous ways to maintain ant control in your home. Here are 8 several simple, effective, and eco-friendly methods to maintain an ant-free home.
1. Maintain a clean home
Maintaining a clean environment is the first and most crucial step to keeping your home ant-free. Ants seek food sources, and even the tiniest crumbs can be a feast for them. To deter ants from entering your home, follow these tips:
- Sweep and mop your floors regularly, especially in the kitchen and dining areas.
- Wipe down countertops, tables, and stovetops to remove food residues and crumbs.
- Store food in airtight containers or resealable bags to keep ants from sniffing them out.
- Dispose of garbage frequently and keep trash cans clean and tightly sealed.
- Clean up spills and food debris immediately, especially ants’ favorite sugary substances.
2. Seal entry points
Ants are persistent creatures and can find the tiniest openings to enter your home. Inspect your house for cracks, gaps, or holes in the foundation, walls, doors, and windows. Use caulk, weatherstripping, or sealant to close up these entry points, making it difficult for ants to enter. Additionally, ensure that all screens on windows and doors are in good condition, and repair or replace any damaged screens.
3. Use natural repellents
There are many natural and eco-friendly ant repellents that you can use to discourage ants from entering your home. Some of the most effective options include:
- Vinegar: Mix equal water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Apply the solution to areas where you’ve seen ants or potential entry points. The smell of vinegar disrupts the ants’ scent trails, making it difficult for them to return to their colony.
- Essential oils: Many essential oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon, have strong scents that ants dislike. Mix a few drops of your essential oil with water in a spray bottle, and apply it to areas where ants are present or likely to enter.
- Diatomaceous earth (DE): DE is a natural, non-toxic powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. Sprinkle it around the perimeter of your home, focusing on potential entry points. DE is abrasive and can cause dehydration in ants, killing them when they come into contact with the powder.
- Coffee grounds: Used coffee grounds can also serve as an ant repellent. Sprinkle them around your home’s foundation or near entry points to deter ants from entering.
4. Use bait stations
Bait stations are an effective way to eliminate ant colonies without resorting to harmful chemicals. These stations contain a slow-acting poison and a food source that attracts ants. Worker ants carry the bait back to their colony, sharing it with the queen and other members. Over time, the poison kills the entire colony, including the queen. Place bait stations near ant trails and check them regularly to ensure they’re working effectively.
5. Keep outdoor areas tidy
Ants are more likely to invade your home if they thrive in your yard. Keep your outdoor spaces clean and free from potential ant habitats:
- Store firewood at least 20 feet from your home and elevate it off the ground to prevent ants from nesting.
- Trim bushes, trees, and other vegetation so they don’t touch your home’s exterior. Ants can use branches as a bridge to enter your house.
- Clear away dead leaves, grass clippings, and debris from your yard. These can provide hiding places and breeding grounds for ants.
- Repair any leaking outdoor faucets or hoses, as ants are attracted to sources of moisture.
- Keep outdoor trash cans clean and tightly sealed to prevent ants from feeding on waste.
6. Maintain proper moisture control
Ants are attracted to moisture, so addressing any damp areas in and around your home is essential. Leaky pipes, clogged gutters, and poor ventilation can create the perfect environment for ants to thrive. Address any moisture issues by:
- Fixing leaks promptly and inspecting pipes and faucets regularly for signs of wear.
- Cleaning gutters and downspouts to ensure proper water drainage.
- Installing a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as basements or crawl spaces.
- Ensuring proper ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to reduce humidity.
7. Try natural predators
Some insects and animals are natural predators of ants and can help to keep their populations in check. If you have a garden or outdoor space, consider introducing some of these beneficial creatures:
- Ladybugs: These insects feed on many types of pests, including ants. You can purchase live ladybugs from gardening supply stores and release them in your yard to help control ant populations.
- Praying mantises: These fascinating insects are voracious predators that can help control various pests, including ants.
- Birds: Encourage birds to visit your yard by providing birdhouses, feeders, and birdbaths. Many bird species feed on insects, including ants, and can help to keep their numbers down.
8. Monitor and adjust
Monitoring your home for signs of ant activity and adjusting your prevention methods as needed is essential. No single method may work 100% of the time, so it’s crucial to remain vigilant and combine multiple strategies to keep your home ant-free. If you notice an increase in ant activity or a new colony nearby, quickly prevent them from entering your home.
Call an Expert
Keeping your home ant-free doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If these steps don’t work, then it’s time to call in the experts! Pure Pest has been keeping St. Louis ant-free for decades. We are the best in the business at pest control and can build a plan to keep the ants at bay for good.