Ants are fascinating little insects. From a biological point of view, they are closely related to bees, wasps and termites and are organized in similarly structured systems, the so-called states. There are over 20,000 different species of ants that are found around the world, except in Antarctica. Ants are actually among the most widespread, numerous and oldest insects on our planet. Entomologists suggest that there are roughly ten quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) ants on earth! In nature and in the garden, the hard-working insects fulfill many useful functions and are even known as the “health police”. They accelerate humus formation, regulate pests, spread plant seeds, loosen and aerate the earth. However, ants are not welcome visitors at home because they can cause great damage to wooden components or insulation. In today’s article we will show you how to drive away the uncharged ants using environmentally friendly means.
Ants in the house are not only annoying, they are also dangerous
The tiny insects have a sweet tooth and love sweets
Fun facts about the ants that you should know before the fight
You can only defeat an opponent if you know its nature. Ants are incredibly intelligent little creatures with complex social structures, Communication patterns, Senses and team skills. Ant colonies are divided into at least three so-called castes, which consist of single or multiple fertile females (queens), fertile males and sterile workers. Many species of ants also have special soldier or scout ants. Each and every ant has an assigned task and the entire state works together as a single organism.
As a team, ants break and transport large pieces of food or attack threats. They build tiny bridges, rafts or gates in the event of floods and other threats to the state. When they settle, ants build numerous chambers underground, each with its own purpose – to store food, to rest in it, or to raise eggs and larvae.
Ant colonies are always on the lookout for food and opportunities to expand. They wage violent and deadly wars with other ants and insects for territory and resources. They also regularly invade our homes in search of food.
Ants are very beneficial to the ecosystem and our garden
However, they have no business at home
How and why ants invade our homes
Although there are some species that are exclusively carnivores or herbivores, most ants are opportunistic omnivores. They eat whatever they can find, including other insects, meat, and fish. In our homes, ants usually look for carbohydrates of all kinds to provide energy to their little bodies. Fruits, vegetables, sugar, sweets, honey, bread are all favorite foods. Because of this, ants can usually be found in the kitchen, on the dining table, or in cupboards, always looking for something to nibble on and bring back to the colony.
Before a real infestation occurs, you can usually only spot individual ants exploring your home. These are scouts looking for a reliable source of food. As soon as they find one, they break off a small piece and bring it back to the colony. In doing so, they leave behind a trail of pheromones that can be traced back to the food source. Soon afterwards, hundreds of worker ants are marching through the kitchen to the marked spot. If you follow these so-called ant trails, you can easily find the entrance to the state.
Ants communicate through smell, taste and sound
The social insects are very curious and sometimes get into the house unintentionally
Stop an invasion and drive away the ants early
Most species of ants are very tiny, which allows them to get into our homes even through the smallest of holes. You can quickly discover weak points in the insulation material, the foundation or wooden elements and start building the state there. Once you spot ants in your kitchen, find and seal all of those cracks, gaps, and holes. It is also a good idea to replace or repair fly screens and install door seals.
In some cases an invasion can be stopped quickly by simply crushing the scout ants. However, if the first signs are missed, colonies can quickly grow into thousands of individuals in just a few weeks. Of course, all of these ants also need a lot of food. If you can’t find enough in your home, you will leave your kitchen by yourself.
Therefore, keeping kitchen floors, countertops, and cabinets clean and free of food scraps is extremely important to keep hungry ants away. Keep food sealed in airtight jars or bottles. Keep fruits, vegetables, and cooked foods in the refrigerator. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink and throw away the trash every day.
All dry foods should be stored in airtight containers
Households with children and animals are more likely to be attacked by ants, as leftovers are always somewhere
Natural and environmentally friendly means that drive ants away
There are numerous chemicals on the market that promise a quick demise of the ant colony. However, these products can also harm the health of other residents, including adults, children, and pets. Also, if you destroy one insect state, another will quickly take its place if the problem of food availability arises.
There are a few readily available, safe, and natural alternatives to chemistry that will drive away and permanently deter ants. Many of these natural repellants have intense smells that are pleasant to us but extremely disgusting to the ants’ strong sense of smell. As long as these smells remain strong, ants will be unwilling to enter your home.
Most of the products you need can already be found in your kitchen. However, in order for these to be efficient, you need to apply them properly. You should aim to use these repellants to draw an unbroken line around your kitchen walls or the entrance to the ant colony.
Here are some suggestions that will drive ants away:
DIY anti-ant spray: In a spray bottle, mix warm water with dish soap, apple cider vinegar, salt, peppermint essential oil, lavender, clove, tea tree, and lemon or orange. Shake the bottle well and spray around the entrance of the colony. This solution will not only flavor your kitchen pleasantly, but also drive away the ants.
DIY anti-ant powder: In a bowl, mix together grated activated charcoal, chalk or garden lime, baby powder, turmeric, black pepper and salt. Scatter this powder around the entrance to the ant colony.
Bay leaves: Put 2-3 bay leaves in jars with sugar, flour, breadcrumbs, candy, cookies, etc. Replace them every few months or as soon as they lose their effectiveness.
For minor invasions, natural pesticides can be very effective and solve the problem once and for all. However, if your home is regularly invaded by large numbers of ants, then a pest control inspection and treatment will make more sense. Some species of ants, such as the horse ants, can cause severe damage to structural elements surprisingly quickly, similar to termites. In these cases there is little time for experimentation.
You don’t need chemicals to drive away ants
Ross ants build their states in wood and can cause great structural damage
Any loopholes should be sealed with silicone or grout
There are numerous natural remedies that deter ants from cooking
Insects like ants perform many useful functions in the garden, but not at home
Leftovers of all kinds attract ants like a magnet