Ants invading homes is a year-round issue, but the problem often worsens during the winter months. Winter’s rain and cold temperatures drive ants to seek more hospitable environments. Unfortunately, ants frequently choose to ride out the winter in the same comfortable place that people do – indoors.
Because of their ingenuity, persistence, and sheer numbers, it is very frustrating when ants invade your home. Luckily, there are a couple of inexpensive, easy, and generally safe alternatives to spraying pesticides that you can use to that are often effective at preventing ants from getting into your home.
Sprayed Pesticide Problems
Many people – quite understandably – turn to sprayed pesticides when the ants come marching in. However, whether applied by a professional exterminator or by the home occupant, spraying pesticide has its drawbacks. When an exterminator sprays pesticides outside to eliminate ants, unfortunately the poison can have a deleterious effect on beneficial insects too, which could open the door for future infestations by harmful bugs.
Outdoor insecticide application by professionals also might necessitate indoor application to kill ants scurrying indoors to avoid the pesticide outside. Though manufacturers have worked to make pesticides less harmful to people and animals, indoor pesticide use still can be unsafe to all indoor occupants, especially pets and children.
When the home occupant turns to spraying aerosol pesticides purchased at the store, the results often are disappointing, as the spray only combats the few ants seen on the surface, but fails to eliminate the nest.
If poison is to be used against ants, a safer and more effective way to do so is by using ant traps. Ant traps use an enticing bait to lure ants inside them, where they find poisonous particles of “food” to take back to their den; the colony eats the poison and eventually is destroyed. While ant traps still have the drawback of containing a small amount of poison and should be kept from pets and children, they are far less indiscriminate in application than sprayed insecticide.
Traps can be placed outdoors and indoors. Indoors, place the traps around areas where ants are likely to or already have encroached into your home. Outdoors, place traps around areas where ant activity has been observed or around likely breaches into the home, like vents, windows, etc. A good strategy is, a little prior to the start of winter, to place traps outdoors in areas where ants have been observed.
Seal Possible Entrances
There is another technique that is straightforward and effective to use against ants and, best of all, requires no poison: sealing off ways that they can enter the home. Prior to winter, walk around your home – in and out – and see where ants could possibly enter. Take notice of vents, pipes, wires, windows, cracks, etc. Then seal off those entryways. You could use caulk, foam, or weather stripping to seal these types of breaches. If you are in a pinch and just need a temporary barrier to ant entry, you can even use packing tape. The great thing about the placement of barriers is that the method is very safe and usually long-lasting. The drawback to blocking off entrances into the home is that it can take a little time and work to do.
While some ant species are not effectively handled with traps and some infestations are so dire that they do require professional assistance, the two techniques mentioned will often eliminate the problem.