How to get rid of ants

Insects in the house are an unlikely situation. Especially if these animals are coming in hordes and causing substantial  damages. Ants in the house or flat can make our lives hard. Already after a few specimen prompt actions are necessary. You can successfully eliminate these ants from your home, even without the usage of chemical means.

Facts

Ants are essential helpers in the nature. One of the most important ability of these little crawlers is that they can re-utilize floral and faunal remains. In the garden, these insects are fascinating and exciting for silent watchers. In the house or flat this excitement can switch completely. Almost nobody likes these insects inside their home. They can quickly develop to a plague and cause damages. By means of simply tools it is possible to successfully control the ants.

Disliked Housemates

Ants are essential in the garden and in the wild nature. The little crawler having an effective influence to the ecological balance. For instance, they loosen the soil with their long and complex tunnel system and therefore foster the growth of plants and their resistance. At the same time, ants are responsible for the dissemination of seeds and fungal spores.

In their role as biological defenders they control disliked insects in the garden. They even quickly and efficiently eliminate rotting materials and carrions. A few indigenous species, like the red ant (Formica rufa), are strictly protected. Our indigenous ant species are not harmful for human beings. For most of the time, a bite only causes a minor irritation of the skin.

ants in nature

All this usefulness of these six-legged crawlers is gone, as soon as their ant trail is not going through the front yard but through your living room. In the kitchen or in the storage room, they are showing their annoying side. Products that are containing sugar and protein magically attract hymenopterans. After the scouts discovered these delicacies, more and more insects are coming. Not only their voracity makes the ants a plague in the flat or house but the crawler can also spread harmful gems. Due to this reason, it is important to throw out contaminated foods.

Prompt action is needed. If the animals feel comfortable in your home it is hard to get rid of them. Even a strong winter cannot harm the ant population. At the latest by next spring you will see the next generation of insects on their search of food.

Finding Causes

It is understandable that almost nobody like to share their living room with these small insects. It is easy to combat ants in the house or flat. Before using any effective means you should first locate their access to the house and the reason for the infestation. Leaky windows and doors are no obstacle for hungry ants. Additionally, porous masonry work or small opening are invitations for the small pests. For a heavy ant infestation, it is easy to find the entrance: Follow the insects. With this method you will discover the entrance and their destination at once.

There are tried and tested actions against ant plagues in the house:

  • seal holes and cracks with silicone, gypsum or clay
  • set up glue traps
  • fill open food immediately into containers
  • regularly wipe with vinegar
seal holes and cracks with silicone to get rid of ants
Silicone

The last point is important to delete the smell traces of the insects. For confusing the ants and for a small infestation it can help to remove them completely. It is worth keeping one´s eyes open even if only single insects are visible. Most of the time the single insects are scouts which helping the rest of the horde to find the way if they found something. Remove the animals before is come to that point.

You have to expect much rarer hymenopterans in a flat on the first level than in one on the ground level.  If you like to cook or bake with the window open, then immediately wipe away any remains that contain sugar from the floor. That will prevent the ants to pick up the scent.

Through strict packaging of sugar containing foods, storage rooms and larders will be made unattractive for ants. Use hermetically sealed containers for all open foods and dishes. It is an effective method to also prevent other harmful insects the entrance. Food moths and meal beetles (Tenebrio molitor) are storage pests and can cause enormous damage. Contrary to ants, these insects are harder to combat. The usage of insecticides is almost always unavoidable.

Besides sweet food and drinks, open dog and cat food attracts ants. During the hot summer months this can be observed, when the meat remains for a loner period inside the feeding bowls. Always feed only that amount your pet can eat in a few minutes. It will be a bit of work with cats. They need to eat regularly to aid their metabolism process and digestion. Another possibility is to place the feeding bowl in an elevated position and put a barricade around to repel the annoying ants.

regularly wipe with vinegar to avoid ants
Vinegar

Effective Household Remedies

For combating ants in the flat or house there are more or less aggressive means. At first, try some soft means to remove the annoying insects permanently from your home. In some cases, there are numerous little creatures in your home anyway. In such situations you need different methods. It is not unusual that smaller ants will nest permanently in flower pots. For this reason, check all indoor plants carefully.

Pests on the plants can be a potential target point for the six-legged contemporaries. Aphids attract ants with their honeydew. Both insect groups form a symbiotic relationship. While the hymenopterans milk the cell sap sucking pests time they give them protection against predators. Here it is advisable to fight ants and aphids at the same time. Unless the indoor plant tolerates outside conditions, operate the measures outside. So that you stop the spreading of the pests to other plants in the rooms and at the same time the ant trail is leading away from the living rooms. It is literally a detour. The insects will locate quickly “their” aphids in the new surroundings.

Backing soda

An effective but controversial method for fighting the annoying crawlers is the use of backing soda. Similar to the use in the oven, the powder is swelling in the stomach of the ants what leads to the death of the insects. This is a painful ending but an effective and non-toxic solution as well.

  • spread the powder at the entrances
  • combine baking soda and glue traps
  • renew the barricade regularly
use backing soda to fight ants
Backing soda

The only consolation here is that only with valuable baking ingredients you will not get rid of the whole ant nest. Only a few of them will die due to the powder. This is usually enough so that in the future the ants will avoid this area.  Caution: Remove the source which is attracting the ants. If this source is to attractive the ants will find quickly a new way to enter the house.

Ammonium bicarbonate

Similar to the baking soda is the effect of ammonium bicarbonate. The classical raising agent set ammonia free inside the ants. The insects are dying of a toxic poisoning. For human beings and pets this is completely safe. Therefore, you can spread the ammonium bicarbonate on the ant trail. You should use enough means so that the crawler can´t find an alternative way.

Countermeasures

Precise fighting with smell

Like almost all living insects that live in colonies, even ants communicate via smells. Like mentioned before, the scouts finding new food sources and inform their conspecifics. Use this for yourself. Ants reacting sensitive to new smells. If you precisely use smells you can expel the insects from the living rooms.

Apply one of the following components generously on the affected spots:

  • Cinnamon powder
  • Lemon or Orange peel
  • Vinegar
  • Dried cloves
  • Tea tree oil
dried cloves as a countermeasure
Dried cloves

As well the smell of essential crops and medicinal plants can confuse the sense of smells of the insects. Put freshly picked plants parts of these herbs directly on the ant trail.

The following plants are useful for this option:

  • Thyme
  • Juniper leaves
  • Chervil
  • Lemon grass
  • Lemon balm
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender flowers
  • Bracken
  • Coffee grounds

Benefit from this reluctance of the ants to these herbs and plant these versatile plants into your garden. Another option is to cultivate these plants on your windowsill. So you kill two birds with one stone: First the ants stay away and second you can add a culinary taste to your dishes. In the winter you should use strong smelling essential oils, like e.g. lavender or peppermint. The advantage of these natural fragrance components: the means are not poisonous for allergic and children. The ants have no damage as well; they will be expelled only by the smell.

Lavender flowers
Lavender flowers

Coffee grounds is a versatile means. The freshly brewed powder conjuring a tasty drink. After drying it is a natural fertilizer for your garden. After you located the entrance of the ants, you should apply a thick layer of the strong-smelling powder outdoors. Renew the barricade regularly. The advantage: you can directly spread the old coffee ground into the substrate of plant or dump it on the compost.

Relocate Ant Nests

The watching of a colony of these small crawlers is fascinating. They are rapidly moving and carrying heavy stocks that are much longer than themselves. In the garden ants are welcome. Caution should be exercised when these insects that are only a few millimeters in size, settle on the terrace or the wall of the house.

The way to the living rooms is not far anymore. Porous walls of old houses are a perfect shelter for ants. Instead of using chemical substances you can use an old trick and relocate the whole nest. This works well for young or small population. Everything you need is a clay pot, wood wool and patience.

  • put the wood wool into the pot
  • put the whole pot over the ant nest
  • after a few days, you can relocate their new home to the garden

You can speed up this process by uncovering the nest a few centimeters below. By this you simulate an attack of a predator and the ants will try to bring their offspring to safety. The clay pot offers the insects heat and a protected habitat.

ants on forest floor
Ants on forest floor

Chemical Auxiliaries

Insecticides

If the sealing of the entrance and the use of conventional household remedies is not working, you need different methods. Insecticides can be useful to keep the ants check. In the special trade you can buy special contact poison. The insects will pick it up and carry it into their nest.

There it will have fully effect and eliminate the majority of the ant population. Be well advised in the shop, since not every trap or contact poison is useful for every ant species. These means are extremely toxic, Children and pets should not come in any contact with these traps. Apply these baits in hard-to-access spots.

Lemon or Orange peel to fight ants
Lemon or Orange peel

Biocides

A heavy infestation of ants in rental flats and houses can cause a rent reduction. Depending on the age and size of the nests the removal of it with conventional household remains is almost impossible. In such a case only a pest controller can help. He will use biocides to eliminate the ants and other pests.

The exact procedure is depending on the size of the living rooms and the number of pests. Do not help yourself with these toxic substances. An improver use can cause significant damage to your health. The advantage of a pest controller: After his assignment you are free of all the annoying insects.