Ants can be a problem any time of the year but they are likely to start their invasion in mid-spring to early summer when they come out of winter dormancy and begin to search farther from their homes for food.
Ants are definitely attracted to our garbage and once one ant finds your trash can they will return to the colony and alert all of their friends of an abundant food source. For this reason it is important that you use a kitchen trashcan with a lid to reduce the odor of rotting food and keep your trash storage outside and away from your home. When eating food outside you don’t want to let it sit around. Whether you are on a picnic or just on your back porch you should prepare your food and dispose of the waste away from the actual area you will be eating. Then clean up and seal your waste in plastic bags you keep away from your living or camping area.
Now that you know it is important to remove the temptation of food from ants you may find that they have found your kitchen. Dried food products are not normally as attractive as trash but sugary cereals and other items that are not sealed can attract thousands of ants overnight. When you find ants have invaded your food it is important to discard it. New food should be stored in a sealable container. Large pickle jars are good for storing grains, beans, cereals and other items that you may purchase in a box. Chips and cookies can be transferred to a ziplock bag for ant proof storage.
Getting Rid Of Ants
I actually saw a page on a major home company’s website that listed about a dozen old wife’s tales about products that can be used to get rid of ants. A whole list of things like using black pepper, bay leaves, cinnamon… what were they thinking? maybe they were trying to season the food for the ants because they knew eventually you would need to use chemicals to get rid of them and they were going to sell you those chemicals.
Once you find ants in your home you want to follow them back to where they entered your home before you start killing them all. Usually it is around a door but you may find they are coming through a baseboard in that case you may need to crawl into your basement and find the place they enter your house.
There are two ways to get rid of ants.
Mechanically this is when you kill the ants physically with your hand, a foot, fly swatter. Anyone who has tried this knows it is relatively useless. However if you find a large number of ants in your home a canister vacuum / shopvac is the best way to attack the hive. You want to vacuum up the ants as fast as you can so don’t fumble or they will disperse. Look for a large ant about an inch or more long. This is the queen and you want to kill it so the ants won’t return.
Chemical Ant Killers There are two types of chemical ant killers. Sprays that come in a aerosol can or that can be mixed up and applied with a garden sprayer. Liquids of this type are only good for killing ants that you can see.
The other type of chemical ant killer is slower acting and eaten by the ants. When they bring the granule pieces back to the nest it will sterilize the ants so they can not reproduce and also kill the ant over the next few days. This is the best method and like said it comes in a granular saw dust type material that you distribute in a band around the outside of your home. Distribute the material for about 2 feet on the outside of your foundation and also under bushes or where you see ant hills.
So don’t listen to the idiots that tell you to distribute herbs or use vinegar or some other foolish idea. You need to use chemicals that are similar to the ones that professionals use.
Apply the chemicals following the directions of the manufacturer then wash up and even take a long shower afterwards. Although humans are different then ants you can not allow these chemicals to stay on you for long periods of time.
Use a Face Mask or respirator specifically made for pesticides and wear long shirts and protective clothing. A disposable painters suit may not be a bad idea but check with your manufacturer.