Ants may have as much right to the planet as humans, but that doesn’t mean you want them in your house. And, although estimates vary, experts generally agree there are many billions of ants in the world, so they far outnumber humans.
That means you’ve got your work cut out for you when it comes to keeping ants outside and, even if your house is tidy, you may have noticed the insects sneaking in. So, why are there ants in your house?
Your home has cracks
Ants are tiny, and your home looms large, so it’s almost impossible to make an impenetrable barrier between inside and outside, especially because many houses have small cracks and crevices.
Wander through your house and around the perimeter, focusing on areas along the ground, to see where the ants might be finding their way inside. Then seal any cracks you find with caulk or another material.
You have open food containers
An untidy or dirty house is a magnet for ants but, even if you keep it clean, there could be food containers you overlook. For example, is everything in your pantry sealed? Perhaps your honey jar or syrup bottle has drips down the outside, or your bag of sugar is simply rolled at the top, with granules on the shelf underneath it. If your pet is a messy eater, there could be pet food on the floor.
Ants will find those spots, so take care to clean them. Wipe down sticky bottles and properly seal bags or transfer their contents to a different container.
Your trash is overflowing
Sometimes taking the trash to the can outside can be a drag but if you find yourself balancing discarded items atop an ever-growing pile, you could have found the reason that ants like your house.
Make a habit of taking out the trash whenever the garbage makes it up to the rim. Soda cans in your recycling bin could also be a problem, so give them a quick rinse before disposing of them. Even better, get lidded trash and recycling bins, which will not only deter ants but also improve the smell of the area in their vicinity.
There are spills in or near your house
Grease spills near the stove in your kitchen or drink spills from your last backyard barbecue are all open invitations to ants. Wipe the ones inside and hose off the ones outside.
If the spots are tough to clean, you may have to scrub them, which is more work, but the good news is the soap you use will also act as a deterrent to ants. For outdoor scrubbing sessions, opt for eco-friendly cleaners that won’t harm the health of local waterways.
You have potted plants
Indoor plants bring the beauty of the outdoors into your home, but they also invite other parts of the outdoors, including ants. They're not looking for leafy greens, rather they’re trying to find tiny insects such as aphids, scales or mealybugs.
“Ants love feeding on honeydew, the sweet and nutritious excrement these insects produce, so they’ll actually work to protect the pests from their natural enemies," according to Gardening Know How.
The website suggests natural remedies, including squeezing a citrus rind or making a heavy-duty repellent by boiling orange rinds and blending them with water. You could also scatter cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, coffee grounds or dried mint tea leaves.
Your hose is leaky
You may not think of water as a problem, but ants need more than just food to survive, so they’ll be drawn to water sources. If you’ve been putting off repairing minor plumbing problems outside, including the hose and other lines, there’s nothing like the sight of ants to give you the motivation you need.
Call a repair person, or make the fix yourself, so you’ll stop attracting thirsty ants — and, as a bonus, you’ll save water.
Hire a professional
Even as you implement these deterrents, the problem may be too far gone to reverse on your own. Luckily, the professionals at Paratex Pest Control can help you at any point in the process, from implementing preventative measures to tackling a problem that’s already there.
Visit paratex.com for more information and to schedule an appointment with a professional technician.