Thanks to their incredible work-ethic, industrious nature and habit of appearing (seemingly) out of nowhere, ants have rightfully earned themselves a formidable reputation. What this means for homeowners however, is that they’ll inevitably encounter these busy-bodies at some point. While a kitchen crawling with ants poses no danger to human health, it is extremely irritating. If you’re tired of waking up to an ant-infested kettle or a driveway covered in ant holes, we have compiled our tips for ant control that’s safe, and effective.
Worker ants are tasked with foraging for and collecting food – these busy bodies make up only a tenth of the colony.
Many people attempt to eradicate ant infestations with little success. This is largely due to the reason that the ants traversing your counter-tops or meandering across your floors are only one-tenth of the ant colony. Ant colonies typically contain 300 000 – 500 0000 ants, which explains why ant control methods aren’t always effective.
Worker ants are tasked with finding and obtaining food for the rest of the colony, which is why they’re moseying about your kitchen or garden in the first place. While worker ants go about their day, the rest of the colony is kept busy reproducing, maintaining and cleaning the colony and feeding the larvae.
Your home is prime real estate for an ant colony.
Ants can nest almost anywhere – including lawns, foundations and walls. Nests are typically far away (in ant terms) from a food and water source, and typically in a quiet area. This means that areas underneath paving, foundations or eaves are all attractive spots to nest in.
Because of their size (typically between six and nine mm), ants are able to get into human habitats via small cracks or holes, which means that it’s almost impossible to prevent them from entering your home.
South Africa is home to three types of ants, none of which pose a threat to human health.
The Garden Ant < hyperlink to is the most common species of ant found across the country, and as far as their interactions with humans are concerned, they’re more of an irritant than anything else. Two other species, namely Pharoah’s Ants and Fire Ants can be more problematic, damaging lawns and fabric.
Effective ant control relies on removing readily available food and water sources.
In the eyes of an ant, your home is a ‘one-stop-shop’ – a haven filled with delectable food for the entire colony. In order to avoid advertising your home as a hotel for ants, regularly wipe down your kitchen surfaces, refrain from leaving pet food out and clean dustbins frequently.
Natural ant control remedies abound – in fact – your kitchen is already full of them.
As far as pest control is concerned, it’s advisable to use non-harmful, non-toxic remedies before resorting to harmful chemicals or poisons. Luckily, DIY ant control solutions are plentiful, and affordable to boot. If you’ve got cinnamon, ground black pepper, bay leaves, whole cloves, red chili powder (sprinkle liberally or make a paste with water) or sage in your spice rack, you’re good to go. These can be sprinkled in and around entry points and across existing ant trails.
Alternatively, used coffee grounds from your morning caffeine fix. Cucumber peels work just as well. Essential oils like peppermint, lavender and eucalyptus can also be used – just swab these around potential entrance points.
If after trying a DIY ant control remedy, you’re still inundated by a seemingly endless stream of ants, it’s best to contact a pest removal company.
While DIY methods can be extremely effective, their efficacy is dependent on the extent of your ant problem. If you’re still sharing your sugar with these diligent creatures, you’ll need to call in a professional pest removal service. They’ll use ant granules that serve as a ‘Last Supper’ – tasty morsels that when eaten and taken back to the colony, serve as palatable cyanide. These are only toxic to ants, and are environmentally friendly and non-harmful to humans and pets.
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