While ant infestations are a common problem for house owners, many people will tell you that high-storey flats have also become a victim to their colonies. In order to understand why this is happening to you, try to understand the ants themselves.
So, if you have:
ants in your kitchen and want to get rid of them, but don’t want to resort to using pesticides in your cook’s room. already tried some products such as bleach and vinegar, but with no results.
not had infestations for years, but now, all of a sudden you do
Then read along! We’ll cover this and more, starting with…
Believe it or not, ants do not live or hide in your home. They create colonies around it and send scouts inside. The scout ants’ mission is to find any food or water and take it back to the colony. This is the reason why sometimes you’d see only a single ant crawling in one of your rooms. As soon as it finds something, that said room would be swarming with the rest of its buddies.
Ants can appear in any room as long as there’s a food source.
Why are there ants in your kitchen?
Like any other living being, ants are attracted to food. That’s why the most common place to spot them on your property would be the kitchen. Dried food in open packages in the cabinets is the easiest way to attract ants. Same goes for food crumbs on the floor and tabletops. And if there is a bowl of uneaten cat or dog food – that’s an open invitation.
The one thing ants are most attracted to is sugar – especially in the summer. It makes sense since most creatures on this planet are attracted to the biggest source of energy. Artificial sweeteners are not the same as sugar, but they’re close enough to attract ants as well.
Like any other animal, ants also need a water source near their colony, in order to prolong their stay. Unlike some other types of insects, ants don’t need puddles of water to survive, as they get most of their daily amount from food. But some species are additionally attracted to damp wood materials.
What types of ants infest UK homes
There are a few common species of ants that plague the lives of UK homeowners.
The pharaoh ant is a species found in every corner of the world. They are a huge indoor pest, which is especially interested in sterile places like hospitals. Their colony is polygynous, meaning they have more than one queen per colony, which, for a close observer, could be interesting if he or she were into investigating their caste interactions. Buildings with central heating are ants’ most common choice of habitat.
The pavement ant is most common in Europe. The name comes from the fact that the colonies make their homes in pavements. Pavement ants are considered hostile, as they pick fights and attack other ant colonies. It’s not unusual from a human standpoint to notice thousands of ants, dead on the sidewalk, or even witness a huge battle. Little kids like to additionally stomp on them, which in the end leaves no winner. Cruel world.
The Argentine ant is not typical for Europe, but, as reported, these ferocious insects have been establishing themselves in the UK. Note that it is an invasive species. These ants will set up their colonies in the ground, in cracks in concrete walls, in the spaces between timber fixtures and structures, even among people’s belongings in residential properties. This species prefers to also settle close to water sources.
Once you know you have an infestation, there are two important things you should learn: how to get rid of ants and how to deter ants from coming close. There are effective methods of how to achieve both and this way, ensure that your house is ant-free.
In any case, you can follow the general steps below:
Find the ants’ targets. Focus on the path the ants are following and you will find their entry points and their targets. You will then know what the primary cause of the infestation was. And this will also determine your next course of action.
Place ant traps. You can easily find affordable ant traps to help you in your battle with the infestation. Note that some contain ant poison, which is harmful to human and pet health. Discuss this matter with the store clerk and decide accordingly on what kind of trap is most suitable for you.
Seal all entryways. Seal any cracks and crevices with caulk. Now, ants will definitely find new ways to come in, but this can buy you some time. And sometimes, this might be enough to motivate the colony to move elsewhere. If not, there is only one other thing to do.
Remove ants with natural means –
White Vinegar – undiluted white vinegar is excellent against ants. Pour some into a spray bottle and spray the ants crawling in your home. It will kill them instantly. Spray the place where you think the ants are coming from. It will completely obliterate their scent trail and prevent them from using that path.
Boric Acid – it’s a good solution if you want to remove the colony living outside of your property. Mix boric acid with a portion of sugary food and leave it outside. The ants will take it to their nest, where it will kill them and their queen.
How to deter ants
Removing the pests from your kitchen is half the battle. The other half is not allowing them to return.
Keep your house clean. It doesn’t take too much effort to keep ants (and any other bugs) away from the kitchen, or any other place in the house. Simply take away their food source. Keep the floors, countertops and cabinets clean of food crumbs, especially crumbs containing sugar. Have all food that you keep outside the fridge, even such in your kitchen cupboards, in tightly sealed containers.
Take out the rubbish regularly. The waste bin is another place ants might get attracted to, as it will most likely contain food scraps. To avoid an infestation, throw away the rubbish regularly and wash the bin to eliminate odours.
Vacuum often. A vacuum cleaner is a “God-given” device when it comes to keeping insect infestations away. Brooms and mops cannot always remove everything from the floor, but nothing escapes the vacuum. Be sure to regularly hoover all kitchen surfaces, where remnants of food may end up, such as under the table, near the fridge, cooker or microwave oven, under kitchen settees and chairs.
Keep the kitchen sink clean and dry. Since the kitchen sink is where tiny food scraps, grease and liquids are being washed down every day, it naturally gets dirty. So, it’s essential to keep it clean to stop ants from crawling into it. It will be also a good idea to make sure the sink is always dry, as well, since, as we’ve already said, some ant species are attracted to water.
Use natural deterrents. There are certain smells that ants do not like and keep away from. Good news is, some of those smells are wonderful. One example is the fragrance of cinnamon. Another is the scent of cucumber. A couple of not very common, but still effective deterrents, are white vinegar and cayenne pepper. Simply spray or sprinkle any of these around the base of doors, on window sills, next to wall baseboards and trim work and near any other places that might serve as an entryway for ants.
Essential oils that repel ants. Here are more smells ants dislike. The fragrance of essential oils tends to linger for a longer time, and unlike some other remedies, they make your house smell wonderful. All you need to do is add a few drops of your favourite oil in some water, dip a cotton swab in the solution and wipe any surface. The most potent essential oils are:
Tea tree essential oil
Peppermint essential oil
Lemon essential oil
Clove essential oil
Don’t touch the oil with bare hands, as it’s a highly concentrated substance that might cause skin irritation. Also, keep it away from your eyes.
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If everything else fails, simply pick up the phone and get in touch with a reputable ant exterminator. Fantastic Services offers ant control services which will help you get rid of the annoying pests. We work with RSPH-certified pest controllers who are well trained and fully equipped to handle any infestation.
Remove the ants using natural means, if possible.
Remove old garbage and dirty dishes as they attract ants.
Seal all entryways to prevent ants from entering your property.
*** Did you find our article on how to get rid of ants helpful? Have you dealt with ants before? Why not share your thoughts with us in the comments below?