At American Turf & Tree Care, we spend a lot of time getting our hands dirty. Working closely with lawns means that we come into contact with a number of pests – but when those pests find their way into your home, it can be distressing. While calling and scheduling an appointment to treat your house with a professional company is often the best solution, sometimes you need the problem taken care more quickly than that.
We reached out to our friend Jai Buttram, owner of Consolidated Pest Control in Plant City, FL for a step-by-step guide of things you can do for a quick fix if it needs to be done in just a day or two, including what works best in each situation.
Step 1: Block Up the Entrances
One of the first things that you should try if ants are marching in is blocking up all of the potential entrances with tape, window stripping, paint, or anything else that will cover it up. Sometimes you can figure this out by just watching where the pests go after they get food from your house.
This will work best when you have something like fire ants where the insects are actually living outside, and just coming into your home for food. If your infestation is something like carpenter ants where they actually live in the house, you'll want to move on after you determine this.
Step 2: Create a Homemade Trap for Killing Ants
Another potential quick way for getting rid of a small ant infestation is by using a trap with household ingredients. Ants have very simple digestive systems, so there are some things that are no problem for humans but highly toxic to ants. One of these things is sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda.
One way to set a trap for ants that can kill them instantly without causing any damage to the surrounding area in terms of chemicals is to mix sugar and baking soda together and put it in a bowl that you leave out. The ants will be attracted to the sugar, but because they can't tell the difference between the baking soda and sugar granules, they’ll ingest both.
When an ant tries eating baking soda, it expands in their stomach and can kill them.
Step 3: Clean Up Scent Trails
If you see a line of ants going to and from your kitchen, they are most likely following a scent trail. Chemical trails are how ants alert other ants from their colony about a source of food. When a scout ant finds some source of food within your house, it produces a scent as it moves the food back and forth from its home. The scent remains on the ground, creating a path for other ants to follow.
This is how an infestation can appear to happen so quickly. One minute, there's just one ant there - the next, there's a huge line of them swarming over your countertops.
It’s important to keep crumbs and spills under control in your kitchen, but if ants still find their way in, there’s still a speedy solution. Cleaning using antibacterial solution should kill the scent and prevent other ants from picking up on the scent trail.
Step 4: Try Peppermint
If you've tried to block up every possible entrance to your house, tried traps and don't see any scent trails, another option is to spray peppermint in any areas that you think are a problem.
Peppermint is actually a neurotoxin to ants, and it is highly deadly to them. You can buy essence of peppermint at a store quickly, and then you can either use an eyedropper to drop a small amount for spot treatments, or you can dilute it in a water spray bottle in order to spray on ants to kill and deter them from going where you don't want them to go.
Step 5: Get a Professional to Help
While do-it-yourself treatments can be helpful in a pinch - the best way to deal with an ant infestation is by working with a professional team who can ensure that your pest problem is completely under control and keep them away.
Don’t let ants take control of your home!