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How To Battle Ants

Q:  What do you call an ant who likes to be alone?
A:  An independant!
- for more ant jokes visit at Ant Jokes.

Of course, we want ants to leave us alone, but from time to time, they invade our homes.

There are thirty-six species of ants on the earth with numerous sub-families... But generally, only two kinds of ants create hassles in our households:  The black ant and the pharaoh's ant.

Black ants gravitate to sugared foods, and in drought conditions, seek out water. They do move across and through dirty land before streaming across our floors and counters to access their food source. That means they can transfer bacteria, etc. onto the food they come in contact with.

Pharaoh's ants present a bigger risk of infection to health, because they're drawn to a larger range of food sources. This includes sources such as waste pipes and animal dung. Even so, unless the food is severely assaulted by the ants, the chance of infection is likely small. Still it is best to toss out any ant contaminated food. By the way, Pharaoh's ants can also sting.

The first step in controlling ants in your house is to remove their reasons for visiting. Keep floors and counters clean. Empty trash recepticles regularly. Place all sugar and other food temptations into lidded containers or the refrigerator.

If the ants are only attracted to one particular area - say a trash container or a dog dish. Here is a trick that will keep them away. Spread a layer of petroleum jelly or vasoline all around the bottom of the container or dish. Be sure to coat the target area in a way that creates a complete, unbroken barrier. Ants do not like vasoline and will not walk on it. Thus it prevents the ants from crawing up the container or dish to where the food is.

You can also use this technique to place a barrier around an entry point into your house. Or course, the petroleum jelly needs to be re-applied periodically. I first learned this trick, ant-proofing a hummingbird feeder...

For larger infestations, you may want to try baits. Ant baits contain a pesticide mixed with an attractive food substance. Ants take small quantities of bait back to their nest to share with their nest mates. In this way, the entire nest can sometimes be eliminated. Ant baits are best used inside your home where you have control of their placement and can keep them from small children and pets.
ant control

Use baits with boric acid. and place the bait in the path of the ants. You may need to try different food stuffs in the bait as ants do change their food preferences frequently. If one bait is not working, try another. Wait at least a day to see if they take the bait. This method may take several weeks to kill the ants. At first, you will see more ants coming to the bait, but after a few days to a week you should see a significant reduction.

Another technique of control is to locate the nest or settlement by backtracking the trail of ants. The nest may then be dealt with by using, diatomaceous earth (DE), insecticidal dust or spray which the ants will import into the settlement. You may also want to spray or dust possible entranceway points to a colony including holes in walls, potentially close to drainage and wasteland pipes, and below poorly finished work surfaces and kitchen sinks, tubs and hand basins. Use gloves and a mask when using sprays and powders.

Other more anecdotal methods of ant control include:
  • Dusting the ant-infested area with baking soda or baby powder.
  • Mix one tablespoon of biodegradable peppermint oil soap with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle to spray on the ants and areas where they travel. this mixture kills ants on contact and helps drive away future ants.
  • To control ants outside, sprinkle anthills with a mixture of equal parts powdered sugar and powdered borax.
  • At the point of entry, pour a line of paprika, red chili powder, dried peppermint leaves, salt or cream of tartar. These substance act as a barrier to the ants.
  • Sprinkle plain old instant grits near ants. The ants eat them, and then go for water; which makes the grits swell up and they die.
An exceptional insect powder treatment for Pharaoh's ants is available, but it is used exclusively by the pest control companies. The powder for Pharaoh's ants is mixed with food to form a bait that the foraging ants return to the nest, which should then ruin the ant colony. This treatment is not available for dealing with black ants and takes a prefessional to administer.

A note about fire ants and their control. The above methods maybe of use, but generally fire ants are an outdoor problem. I recommend you locate your local agriculatural authority and follow their recommendations. Many techniques are being used to fight the fire ant invasion and coordinated efforts work best.

When it comes to ants in the pantry - a little persistance pays off. Start off using a wet rag to wipe away the current ants. And clean up any food that maybe attracting them. Then be vigilient and ready to wipe away any new ants as they appear. The colony will soon get the message that they are not wanted and may leave you alone. If this does not work, start applying the techniques listed above and you will win the battle againt the ants.

About the Author:  Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: The Price of Oil, News about Jimson Weed, Tattoo Parlor Finder, Dieting Help | Move More - Eat Less, and On The Hook | Surf Fishing Rods.

News about Ant Control

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