What attracts ants? Sadly it’s not your good looks and dashing hair, in truth it’s something rather more sinister.
The 8 Surprising Reasons Why
- Food – the most obvious reason for attracting ants is human food! If you have any food spills or left over scraps of bread, cheese, or pet food lying around then they will be sure to find them.
- Water – If there is water source nearby then ants can easily get into your house through cracks in walls or even under doors. They like damp conditions so try to keep all areas dry as much as possible.
- Moisture – This includes anything from wet soil to plants with lots of moisture on their leaves. This means that ant colonies can grow quickly and spread out very far.
- Dampness – If you live near an area where rainwater collects then ants may also build nests close by. Try to avoid building too many potted plants because these tend to collect excess moisture which encourages growth of mold.
- Heat – Warm temperatures encourage ants to move indoors. It’s best to use air conditioning during summer months when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Light – Light levels affect the amount of time that ants spend outside looking for food. In bright sunlight they’ll stay inside while at night they come out to feed.
- Noise – Noise disturbs ants’ sleep patterns and makes them less likely to venture outdoors. You should therefore try to limit outdoor activities such as lawn mowing and gardening until after dark.
- Smell – Odors attract insects including ants. especially sweet odors. They will pick up on the scent trails very almost instantly.
Nobody wants ants in their home, but using toxic ant control products is not only harmful to the environment but also your own health.
We should just be glad that ants aren’t any bigger than they are, since they can lift up to fifty times their own weight; in another reality we might be the ones subject to “human control” by the ants!
But, since ants are small and we humans have opposable thumbs and brains too big for our bodies, fortunately we can keep them out of the house.
Find and Eliminate the Ant Nest
Ultimately, you want to find the source of your ant problem and eliminate it altogether; which is the queen ant nest and her queen. Eliminating the nest is the only sure way to keep ants out of your home!
Search your yard and areas around your home to find entrances to the ant nest(s). If you can locate the nest, you’ll be able to eliminate the pests using one of several recipes, any of which you can pour down the entrance hole(s):
- Pour apple cider vinegar down the next entrance(s).
- Pour a “hot tea”, consisting of the hottest peppers you can find, chopped up and mixed with boiling hot water into the nest entrance(s).
- Flood the ant nest with a garden hose repeatedly. While not likely to kill the queen ant, it may encourage her to relocate the nest. Be persistent, dousing the nest thoroughly every day for a week.
- Natural ant repellents also include spices and plants such as tansy, catmint, peppermint and sage.
- A mixture of baking powder and sugar in equal parts placed around the nest or ant-infested areas will help to discourage their activity.
An ant can lift up to 50 times its body weight, but find the queen ant and her nest if you want to rid your home of these herculean insects! Create an Ant Barrier
- If you can’t locate the ant nest, try creating barriers to help keep ants out of your home:
- You can also harvest or purchase any of these plants and place the leaves or flowers in ant-infested areas to repel them or create a barrier to contain them.
- Use vinegar or lemon juice concentrate mixed with water to soak soil or concrete areas where ants may enter your house to create a barrier.
- Talcum powder, chalk dust and diatomaceous earth can be used to form ant barriers.
- Keep ants and other insects out of your home by caulking all cracks, seals, etc. with a quality silicone caulk that will not crack or shrink.
Keeping Ants Away
Once you eliminate the ant nest(s), keep them from returning. Here are a few methods to keep ants away from your yard and home:
- Mix four ounces each of peanut butter, sugar and boric acid; boric acid is inorganic, but far less toxic than most commercial ant control products. It is also very effective against cockroaches. Put the solution in a container you do not plan to use in the future and place it in any area where ants are a problem, but taking care that pets and kids will not be able to eat it.
- Orange Guard is an effective and safe commercial product that repels and kills ants on contact. Since it is not toxic to humans or pets, you can use it even in the kitchen or outdoor kitchen area where food is prepared.
- Plants such as catnip, pennyroyal, peppermint, sage, and spearmint in your garden will help keep ants away.
- Tansy is a natural ant repellant, mainly against sugar-type ants, which are the most likely to attack your kitchen. Tansy is toxic to many animals, so don’t plant or let it go to seed in livestock fields.
- Spread some ground cinnamon where you think the ants are coming in to the house.(this also works with cinnamon natural essential oils and has the added benefit of making your house smell just delicious.
- Basil repels flies and mosquitoes. To deter ants, use catnip. Sprinkle it in their paths.
- Make a mixture of 2/3 cup water, 1/3 cup white vinegar, and 2-3 Tablespoons dish soap. Spray where the ants are marching.
- Chili powder, sprinkle this all over the infestation and any cracks and crevasses where they enter or nest in. Personally I like to go overkill on this one.