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How to get rid of an ant infestation at home

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People tend to think of cockroaches first when they think if insect problems, but controlling ants can be just as big a challenge. When you start seeing these little pests around the house, you should immediately take some steps to get rid of them before it becomes a full-blown infestation.

Bait Traps

Since there is always a colony of ants that you don’t see, it’s best to try and eliminate that rather than just the ants you see on your kitchen floor. That means a good poison bait approach. The idea is that ants will take a toxic substance back to the nest and you can kill the problem at its source.

You can use commercial traps that operate like this, or try a DIY option instead. A sugar solution laced with Borax will attract ants, and eventually kill them as they bring the bait back to the colony. There are many recipes but a standard mixture of 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon of Borax and 1/2 cup of water is pretty typical. Just mix and boil for about 3 minutes to create a thicker syrup. Fill a very shallow dish (even just a jar lid), and let the ants have access to it.

The trick to using a bait successfully is that you can’t go killing the ants you do see. You have to let them go about their business so that the poison ends up back at the nest. It can take time for this approach to work to, which may or may not be an option for you.

Sticky Traps

If you are still trying to go with a non-pesticide approach and don’t want to wait around for baits to work, a supply of sticky traps are great for ants. Because they tend to follow established trails, you can plan out where to place the traps after watching them for a bit. Lay them out and let the ants get stuck. That’s all there is to it.

Pesticide Sprays

Sometimes, you just have to play hardball with insects and break out the pesticides. There are standard sprays or similar products that can be applied in areas that ants are frequently seen, and you can get these at any hardware or garden store. Alternatively, if you are still having difficulty with an ant infestation, you can hire a professional to use stronger products.

An exterminator may also be able to track the ants and determine where the nest is (probably outside), and deal with the problem at the source if its accessible to a pesticide treatment.

Prevention First

Of course, the best course of action is to do your best to keep ants out in the first place. They are primarily attracted to food, so don’t leave uncovered food out or leave crumbs and spills on the counter tops. Keep food properly stored and regularly wipe down the counters with a cleanser (even a natural one) that eliminates the smell of food. Use caulking to block any cracks along baseboards or cabinetry.

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