How to get rid of ants

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Ant control can be a nuisance as once one ventures into your home in search of food and scores something yummy, he’ll send a message home to call in all the troops.

Never fear, as you can get ready for battle like Ant-Man with these three ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Borax

Warning: Keep these traps away from kids or pets, as they are not safe for consumption.

Get battle-ready – when there’s an ant infestation at your place, it means there’ll likely be loads of ants everywhere! Picture: Getty

How to prevent an ant infestation at home 

The easiest way to prevent an ant infestation in your house is to create a barrier against them before they infiltrate your home. In a spray bottle, fill half with vinegar and the rest with water. Add a few drops of dishwashing mixture and shake well, then spray all the possible ant entrance points into your house such as the window edges, door edges, and around your waste area.

Ants have the ability to detect chemical substances in the air with the olfactory receptors on their bodies. These receptors appear as small little bristles on their bodies, which they use to detect smells and food. The receptors are extremely sensitive, hence the reason why ants hate the pungent smell of vinegar and will avoid it like the plague.

Aside from that, ants also leave a trail of pheromones when they roam so that other ants can find food sources. A secondary function of the vinegar besides turning the ants away from your home is that the smell of vinegar also covers up the smell of pheromones, and prevents the ant’s colony from following the scouting ant’s trail.

But what to do if the ants are already in your house? This is what we cover next, creating an ant trap.

How to create a homemade ant trap:

Step 1: Mix sugar and Borax

In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of sugar with 1 tablespoon of Borax. Take note of the ratio of sugar to Borax, as the Borax should not overpower the sugar as ants will not take the bait if they scent the Borax.

Step 2: Separate into different containers

Separate the mixture into 2 to 3 small sealable containers.

Step 3: Make the paste

With a straw or teaspoon, take a few drops of water and drip a few drops into each container. You want to create a paste, so gradually add more liquid slowly as needed. Stir and mix until it has the consistency of maple syrup.

Step 4: Seal it

Seal the lids tightly, then pierce small holes into the lid and upper side. Ensure that the holes are big enough for the ants to crawl through into the container.

Step 5: Place your traps strategically

Now that your ant traps are ready, place them in areas most affected by the ant intrusion, such as behind the fridge or behind a drawer. Leave them be for a few days to attract the ants but don’t kill them, as you want to track the ant back to its colony. If you don’t see where the ant goes, spray a little vinegar on the next ant you see and watch it make its way back to its colony. It is the ant colony you really want to treat to remove the underlying issue.

Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft, colourless crystals that dissolve in water. Picture: Getty

Once you find out where the ant colony is, a chemical-free approach is to run a hose up to the colony and let it saturate the area so the ants get packing and move on. A more hardcore option is to boil a saucepan of water with a decent amount of cayenne pepper (or vinegar will do the trick). Once boiled, remove the pot with protective mitts and pour over the colony to immediately destroy the nest.

4 everyday tips to prevent and get rid of ants:

  • Keep pet food off the floor on a pedestal. Otherwise place the pet dish inside a saucer or larger bowl. Pour some water around the outside to create a moat.
  • Never leave food scraps lying around, especially those which are sweet like honey, and wipe the exterior of the bottle before placing back into the pantry.
  • Rinse your recyclables and Tupperware containers well before storing.
  • Spray a vinegar and water solution inside your garbage bin each time you remove the bag.

What is a Charlie Ant

Also known as rove beetle, these insects are very poisonous. Although they do not bite or sting, their blood however contains a type of toxin that can irritate your skin. They’re usually found in the jungle, but recently Charlie Ants have been making quite a number of appearances in the residential area.

How to protect yourself against a Charlie Ant:

  1. If you see them around, remember not to touch or crush them. Blow it or wash it off your skin.
  2. Minimise lighting in infested areas at night as these creatures are attracted to bright lights. Otherwise you can spray insect repellent around the lighting area too.
  3. Cover yourself with long-sleeved clothing to minimise exposed skin.
  4. Get rid of the Charlie Ant’s food sources such as flies and moths.

If you crush it by accident, wash the affected area with soap and water immediately to wash off the toxin.

With these tips, you’ll have the ants marching one by one, right on out the door. Hoorah, hoorah!

Insects are the worst sort of uninvited guest into our homes. Read on to find out how to get rid of more of those unwelcomed guests:

This article was originally published as How to get rid of ants by www.realestate.com.au and is written by Elke Keeley. Additional content by Stephanie Yap. 


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