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Ants in Your Pants? 

Have you ever woken up and found your kitchen counter peppered with moving black dots? If you answered yes then you may have an ant infestation. These little critters are hard to kill so we’ve got a few tips on how to send them packing. 


Pesticide or Pesticide-Free? 

This isn’t a simple decision. Pesticides can make their way into the ground water. If you depend on well water you risk contaminating it. They are usually the most effective and can usually solve your problem in one application. You’ll need more patience going pesticide-free. It’s trial and trial again because sometimes the ants can shrug them off. 


Ants in the Yard 

If you want to get rid of ant colonies outside you have several options. The most popular pesticide-free methods for killing ants outside are: 


Nicotine — Place a bag of pipe tobacco in water and let it sit overnight. Capture the liquid, throw out the tobacco, and pour the liquid directly into the ant colony. The ants will receive a lethal dose of nicotine, and the liquid won’t poison the groundwater. 


Boiling Water — Prepare a pot of boiling water and slowly pour it into the ant colony. The idea here is to “scald” and kill most of the colony. 


Windex/Soap — Exterminators swear by this simple method. Mix Windex and liquid soap into a 50 / 50 mixture and pour it into the ant colony. 


There are commercially available products like carbaryl or Spectracide that you can apply directly to the outdoor colony. You can also have a pest control company out to take care of larger or stubborn colonies. To avoid future ant problems, just sprinkle the commercially available bait granules near old ant mounds, in cracks in the pavement, and any other place you see ants travelling. If you have pets, 


Ants In Your Home 

Most people don’t want to use pesticides in their home but if you do, baits containing boric acid are generally of low toxicity to other animals. 

  • Place bait stations directly in the path of foraging ants, but out of the reach of children and pets. Ant trails are commonly found along baseboards, the carpet edge along walls or along the edges and inside corners of cabinets. 
  • Use plenty of bait stations. Two different baits at the same time will give better results. 
  • Keep baits available for at least two weeks, repeated bait applications may be needed. 
  • Do not use chemical sprays to kill ants while using a bait system or the bait system will not work. Reapply the bait if needed. 


Here are the most popular natural methods for killing ants in the home: 

Baby Powder — When you see a trail of ants in your home, sprinkle them immediately with baby powder. The ingredients in baby powder will kill the ants and any ant that comes in contact with them. Increase the likelihood that this method will work by “sealing off” the ant’s point of entry with bar soap. 


Chalk — Similar to the baby powder method, sprinkling chalk near where the ants enter and exit the home will keep them from returning. 


Lavender Oil — Essential oils of all varieties work well on ants, but lavender oil won’t offend anyone’s noses in the kitchen or bathroom. This confuses the ants chemical communication signals and they will most likely leave your home. 


How to Prevent Ant Infestations 

You can take a few simple steps to keep ants from coming into your home. Even so, you can follow these “ant-free” rules to the letter and still end up with an ant problem. But if you follow these simple rules, you’re far less likely to have ants in your home. 


1. Keep kitchen countertops clean. Sweep or vacuum the floor frequently, especially around pet dishes 

2. Rinse containers before disposing of them in the garbage or in recycling bins. 

3. Empty kitchen garbage containers frequently. 

4. Place composters at a reasonable distance from the house. 

5. Repair and seal as many visible cracks in the foundation and exterior walls of your house as possible. 

6. Indoors, caulk along baseboards, cracks and crevices to keep the ants from passing through your house--if necessary, use duct tape or petroleum jelly to temporarily seal cracks. 

7. Ants will not cross sticky barriers--try placing two-sided tape around the legs of plant stands. 

8. Place pet dishes in a shallow dish of water. Ants can't swim, so they won't be able to get at your pet's food.   


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