I’m not much of a cook. When my parents sent me off to college, I knew how to make Easy Mac … and that was about it. My cooking skills have improved over the years, but I’m still no Betty Crocker. So, when I baked banana bread last week, and it actually tasted good, I was stoked. A sense of pride swept over me as I bit into a soft, buttery piece of my very homemade food.
Two days later, tragedy struck. I woke up craving some of that warm, banana goodness, but when I peeled the aluminum foil off of the bread, I was met with hundreds of little ants eating my masterpiece. My roommate and I had been struggling with an ant problem for a few weeks, but we had hoped they would just get bored and go away. This was the last straw, however. Now it was personal. I decided to look online to see how to get rid of these creepy crawly critters.
Ants are the most common household pest in the United States.
Photo by dimus62/Courtesy Flickr
Turns out, we aren’t alone. According to the Ants Management Guidelines released by the University of California, ants are the most prevalent pests in your household. But just because they are common, doesn’t mean they aren’t annoying. Here are a few tips to prevent ants from entering your home:
• Store food in closed containers. When they enter a building, ants are simply searching for food and water. Their favorite foods to snack on include sugars, syrups, fruit juice, honey, fats and meat. That’s why they can usually be found near food sources or areas of moisture, like your kitchen or bathroom. So, by eliminating their source of food, you may eliminate the chance of ants entering your house as well.
A spotless kitchen is the first step to getting rid of ants. Clean up spills right after away.
Photo by NathanaelB/ Courtesy Flickr
• Clean up spills immediately, remove garbage daily, and rinse out empty bottles and cans. Again, ants are on the lookout for any kind of food or liquid. By keeping your house clean, you take away any substance ants find appealing.
• Caulk cracks and crevices indoors, especially in your kitchen. By doing this, you prevent ants from invading your house, therefore eliminating future infestation problems.
The above advice came a little too late for my house. Ants have already crept their way into our lives. I want to get rid of them without compromising my health with pesticides. Here are some other options I found:
All of your ant infestation woes could be cured by a mop and a bucket of soapy water.Photo by kitsu/Courtesy Flickr
• Soapy water. The simple mixture of soap and water may be enough to eliminate your ant problem. The Ants Management Guide suggests mopping over their entry point and their trail into your house, which will eliminate the scent that keeps the ant trail moving. If soapy water isn’t potent enough, the guide suggests other non-toxic products, such as window cleaner.
• Lemon juice. Many of the articles I read online suggested squeezing lemon juice on any cracks or crevices ants may enter through, including windowsills and doorways, and also spraying the ant’s trail into your house as well. Supposedly, the scent deters the ants from your home. I also read that using vinegar in the same way can work as well.
Cinnamon is much more than just a spice. It can also be useful when trying to get rid of ants.
Photo by unk's dump truck/Courtesy Flickr
• Powdery substances. Many articles suggested sprinkling items such as flour, cinnamon, coffee grounds, or baby powder, on the entry point. This will discourage the ants from entering your home.
• Organic insecticide. Organic insecticides, like Garden-Ville Organic Insecticide, do not contain chemicals, toxins, or poisons, like most insecticides on the markets. This product is a mixture of mint and limestone that is advertised to kill ants, beetles, fleas, and many more pests.
So, next time you notice a few ants crawling on your kitchen counter on the hunt for some food, don’t automatically reach for your spray bottle of insecticides. Instead, give some of these home remedies a try for a safer household and a safer you.