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Are you troubled by ants problem?
Quite often, we see lonely ants strolling in our home, especially in the kitchen area. These ants are the scouts sent out by their colonies to look for new sources of food and water. They will leave a scent trail and return to the colony with news of newly-found resources. Other ants will then follow the scent trail, resulting in a parade of ants coming into your home.
While ants can cause us major inconvenience, they do have a role in maintaining the environment and preserving nature's life cycle. Ants are a food source for some species of animals (e.g. anteaters, frogs and serpents). They also have an important part in soil aeration and pollination. Without ants, the existence of certain species of animals and plants would be endangered.
In view of the important functions of ants, we should refrain from destroying them altogether, if circumstances permit. Our goal is just to control them and keep them out of our home.
The following is five effective ways to handle the ant problem:
(1) Eliminate the scent trails
Kill the ant scouts the moment you see them. This stops the scouts in their reporting to the colony on the new food source, as well as to prevent the formation of major scent trails.
If there is already a trail, you have to use soapy water, lemon-scented cleaner or white vinegar mixture to wipe it, starting from the food source until the trail entrance (or as far as you can get to).
In addition, sprinkle baby powder along the trail after it has been cleansed. The baby powder serves as a barrier, making it difficult for the ants to crawl in.
You have to be quick and persistent in your action, until you no longer see ants along that trail.
(2) Maintain a clean home environment
In most cases, a very dirty home might be the root cause of the problem. Needless to say, the cleaner the house, the less likely there will be an ant problem as the ants have to look elsewhere for food.
Although listed below are obvious precautions, most of the time we tend to neglect or overlook them:
Sweep, mop or vacuum your house frequently.
Keep food in air-tight containers or refrigerator.
Clean the kitchen counter top immediately after food preparation to ensure no remains of food is left behind.
Clean the stove after cooking as crumbs of food might be lying around.
Make sure the dining table is cleansed after every meal.
Always maintain cleanliness of the kitchen sink. Do not leave dirty dishes or remains of food in the sink. Keep the sink and counters dry as ants also look for water source.
If there is food in the pet food bowl, put the bowl in a slightly larger bowl. Fill the larger bowl with some water to form a moat around the pet food, so that ants will not be able to cross over to the pet food.
See to the proper disposal of food and garbage.
Put bay leaves in cabinets and drawers as a deterrent.
(3) Seal ant entrance to your home
Ants are so tiny that they can easily crawl into the home, even from cracks. Seal cracks, holes and gaps permanently with flexible caulk.
Wherever possible, line suspected entryways with deterrent stuff such as cloves, cinnamon, peppermint oil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, vinegar, chili pepper, or garlic. Their strong scents will repel the ants.
(4) Destroy ants’ nest
If the ant problem is serious, and you are able to locate the nest, pour gallons of boiling water into it to destroy the whole colony.
However, if you do not know the location, your other alternative is to bait them. Many commercial bait products are available on the market.
Once there is an ant trail, place the bait next to the trail. Do not put it on the trail because this will interrupt their march home. When an ant returns to the nest with the bait, the whole colony can be wiped out in a few days after taking the bait, which includes a tasty attractant and a poison.
Always read and follow the instructions for pest-control products. Exercise extreme caution if there are children or pets in the household.
In the event of ants continuously raiding your home and you are unable to trace the source, your last resort will be fumigation. This can kill ants for six to eight months. However, this method causes inconvenience as you have to temporarily stay away from the place. This can be a few hours or a few days, depending on the fumigator.
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