Ants begin marching into homes in spring and summer: Here’s how to get rid of them

PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

With the right pesticide and some intervention tricks, you can get ants out of your home.

Sydney Crawley, a professor and extension specialist with expertise in insect and vertebrate pests, shares why they’re in our spaces and how we can reclaim our homes.

Why do ants enter homes?

Ants come inside homes in search of three things: Food, water and nesting habitat.Many species of ants love protein, sweets and grease.

“Once a foraging ant has found suitable food, they will communicate this to other foragers, usually through a trail pheromone,” Crawley said. “This leads more and more workers to the food source, explaining why you may see more ants over time.”

How to get rid of antsExclude: Caulking or sealing openings that might allow ants inside can prevent invasion. Trimming back ornamental plants and trees that touch the home also can help. You also should repair rips in your screens, replace weather stripping and check electrical conduits to ensure your home is sealed.

Sanitize: Keep your food sealed. Ants in a home feed on food crumbs, liquid drippings or debris on dirty dishes. Leaky faucets and standing water can attract ants as well.

Apply pesticides: Sugar bait with a toxicant, such as boric acid, typically works well. Foraging ants take food back to the queen. You must kill the egg-laying queen to get rid of the colony. If you don’t see any reduction in ant activity after a week, it might be because ants are not feeding on sweets. You might have to switch to a protein or fat-based carrier.

Kimberly Cataudella writes for Raleigh News & Observer.

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