So, the scouts sent out by the ant colony in your garden have decided that your home is a good place to be. You can reach for one of the many chemicals on the market to deal with the little blighters, knowing that these are not ideal for the environment or your health. Or, you can pay for a pest control expert to come in and fumigate.
If you and your family have sat down to one of the many films in which cute ants wander around behaving like humans, you may prefer to remove the little creatures without causing them harm. The following tips are worth a try before you call in the exterminators.
Throw Them off the Scent with Vinegar
Ants use pheromone trails to communicate with each other. The scout ants go looking for food and leave scent trails so that other ants can follow them. With every ant that follows the trail, the scent gets stronger, making it a sure-fire way to have the colony on the track to your home. Removing the scent trail will deter the ants from following each other into your home.
Mix up a solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Use a clean cloth to wipe across the areas that the ants have used to come into your home. If this is a large area, you can fill a spray bottle with the solution and spray all these areas instead. Spray generously and pay attention to worktops where food traces may be.
Time to Draw the Line for the Little Army
Use standard sidewalk chalk to draw a line around the entry points to your home. If you want to keep ants off of plants, you can crumble a piece of chalk and sprinkle it around the plant. It should be noted that this may not work for very long, so this method should be used alongside other measures.
This solution seems hard to believe, but many claim that it works very well. Some believe that the chalk is toxic to ants while others say it's a myth. It's certainly worth a try. The theory is that the chalk impedes the ant's ability to follow the scented trail left by the other ants in the colony.
The Essential (Oil) Way to Deter the Little Ones
Essential oils work in two ways; the strong smell makes the pheromone trail difficult to recognise and follow while the oil itself covers any ant that walks across it. This isn't pleasant for the ants and deters them from crossing the oil. A number of essential oils work well for this; minty oils are a good place to start.
Create a solution of 20 drops of essential oil and fresh water in a spray bottle. Spray a generous amount of the solution on the entrance areas that the ants have been using. Repeat this when the smell starts to fade.
If you're still faced with an ant problem, consider contacting a pest control company in your area.