Ants can be particularly persistent pests once they find their way into your home. So aside from exterminators or toxic bug sprays, how can you keep them out? Firstly, it is important to note that if it is carpenter ants you're seeing in your home, call an exterminator. Avoiding toxins is great, but these pests are a serious home maintenance problem, gnawing away at your home's structure, and call for a quick and thorough solution.
As for other ants, an invasion is most easily stopped before it really gets started. The first danger sign of a full-scale invasion is the appearance of a few ants in your home. These are scouts, and if they find a source of food, they'll use a scent trail to mark a path for a few thousand of their compatriots. Here are 3 non-toxic ways prevent that invasion:
- Locate And Deal With Entry Points – Your ant scouting party will typically follow a distinct path as they search for food, which you can follow to their entry point. If they are entering through a small crack or hole in a wall, baseboard or window frame, seal it with caulk. If they are marching in beneath a door, a barrier in the form of an unbroken line of cinnamon, crushed mint leaves or cayenne pepper can deter them.
- Get Rid Of Scent Trails – Eliminating ant scent trails can be done by washing their path with a strong vinegar and water solution, or by wiping the area with a strong-smelling essential oil, such as peppermint oil. Just put a few drops on a damp sponge or mix it into a small bucket of water.
- Handle Ant Hills Around Your Foundation – Surrounding ant hills near your home with coffee grounds can make these pests find new homes, since the odor will act as a deterrent to ants and interfere with their scent trails. You'll need to perform this little home maintenance task every spring for effective ant control.
As for those scouts, you can sweep them up and throw them outside, or wipe them from counters or tables with a wet rag and drown them in water. Of course, if there are just a few, simply squashing them works.
Have you read our Home Maintenance: Water Heater post yet? Check it out!