An infestation of ants is not unusual, in fact, it can be commonplace in the UK. You may often see ants walking around on your patio or you may even see a nest. Although, despite ants being beneficial to your garden in many ways in they start to encroach into your home, or cause problems in the garden, you may have a legitimate reason to remove the nest.
We discuss in this article some reasons as to why you may have an infestation, identifying what species is causing the issue, and how to get rid of ants.
Reasons You May Have Ants?
Are you leaving food out?
Ants look for food sources they can infest with ease. Food that is left out in kitchens, utility rooms, and pantries including bowls of fruit, biscuits, and sweets are heaven sent to them. This also includes leftover food on plates that have not made it to the dishwasher!
Are your surfaces greasy?
Surfaces in the areas where food is stored, prepared, cleaned, and cooked will attract ants if they are greasy and have particles of food on them. Crumbs from a biscuit, a slice of cake, and the grease residue from the base of a pan or bowl will attract ants.
Do you keep containers for recycling inside?
If you do not wash out bottles, tins, and packets, the sticky, sweet, and savoury residues will attract ants. They are especially drawn to sugary residues.
Do you have any leaking pipes or dripping taps in your bathroom, cloakroom, and kitchen/utility room?
Ants, especially pharaoh ants need water to survive. A few drips from a leaking tap could be all that is needed to provide their water intake to survive and thrive.
Do you have rotting wood close by in your garden?
A rotten tree filled with moisture, a pile of logs you have placed close by to encourage wildlife can also attract ants and if they are not too far from your home, they can swiftly migrate indoors.
Is Identifying The Species Of Ant Important?
There are over fifty species of ant found in the UK, most of which are found in the south.
The most common species of ant found in Britain is Lasius niger, the common black garden ant. It is known for its tendency to enter houses. You will find them outdoors under paving slabs, along with the lawns, in the plants…pretty much everywhere in your garden! This prolific, fast, and robust ant can grow colonies up to 15,000 workers. This ant loves sugary substances with its main diet consisting of flies, beetles, fruit, honeydew, and fruit. They eat insects, nectar, and the bodies of their dead.
Another ant renowned for infesting homes is the Pharaoh Ant. It is coloured light yellow and red with black markings on the abdomen. They prefer to nest in warm areas, under appliances, carpets, and in-wall outlets and feed on proteins, sweets, and fats. They love warm areas and can live up to 39 weeks and lay up to 400 eggs. Their nests are usually well hidden which can mean you don’t spot the infestation in its earliest stages. Pharaoh Ants are persistent and renowned for foraging away from the nest with trails marked by trail pheromones.
You must identify the species of ant if you are planning to eradicate the infestation using DIY methods.
What Is The Best Way To get Rid of Ants
If you have spotted some clear signs that you have ants you should then act quickly to remove them.
You need to remove the temptations that are bringing them into your home as follows.
- Clean up kitchen spills immediately. Don’t have food – large or small amounts uncovered in your kitchen. Store food in airtight containers and keep fruits in the fridge when possible.
- Wipe off any sugary residue from bottles and containers such as honey, maple syrup, golden syrup, and jam. Your hob should be wiped down after use as should kitchen doors and tiled surrounds which may have splashes of food.
- Your bins – in all rooms but especially the bins that house your recycling and food waste should be emptied daily and sealed up before adding to the bin. Wash all recycling items before adding them to the bin. Sweet/cake wrappers in study bins and remnants of leftover toast or sandwiches should be redirected to the main bin.
- Inspect toilets, sinks, and appliances for leaks.
- Look under appliances for water-loving pharaoh ants and also under your rugs.
- Move rotten wood away from your home – at least 20 feet away.
- Check all window seals – faulty seals could be allowing ants to enter your home unnoticed.
- Check your pantry or food cupboard. Ants could be making a beeline for food that has not been secured. Out of sight is not out of their mind! Secure all food in tamper-proof containers.
Can You Use DIY Treatments?
There is a range of over-the-counter DIY treatments that can be used to eliminate an infestation of ants. These include:
- Bait stations
Search the internet and you will also find many non-chemical ‘solutions’ as suggestions for killing ants. This includes white vinegar, chalk, lemons, oranges, pepper, salt, and cinnamon.
Do they work? They may kill the most visible signs of an ant infestation but if the infestation is widespread, it will be in areas of your home that you are unaware of; areas that tend to be out of sight. And it is extremely challenging to find the actual colony of ants and to locate the Queen.
The treatment you decide on should be based on the ant species you are dealing with and the extent of the infestation in your home or business.
Are DIY Treatments Effective
For a small infestation of ants, you may have some success but a DIY solution does carry some risks. For example:
- DIY cannot guarantee the complete removal of an ant infestation. This is because the infestation is likely to be in several areas of your home.
- If you have bought products and traps (bait stations) the instructions must be followed to the letter if they are to work.
- If you have a ‘complex’ infestation – the ants are in wall cavities or other hard-to-reach/impossible-to-see areas the likelihood is that you can’t kill the Queen and she will relocate her colony.
- When applying any DIY treatments, you must be mindful of your pets and any wildlife ingesting or inhaling the products because you have applied them in open and easy to access areas. Randomly squirting powder at ants can be harmful to you too so follow the safety instructions to the letter.
Will Ants Return After DIY Treatments?
The answer to this is dependant on the extent of the ant infestation and if you have been successful in identifying all the areas that ants have infested your home and not just the obvious ones. If you have not killed the Queen, then the ants will return. If you do not maintain strict food storage and cleaning regime and you are still offering ants a home with plenty of moisture, then no amount of DIY treatment will stop the ants from returning.
Ant Prevention Tips To Reduce The Chance Of An Infestation
We have covered the best prevention tips under the previous heading What is the best way to get rid of ants?
Be thorough in removing all the temptations that will drive ants to enter your home and then with their pheromone trails, ensure thousands of others enter too. So, seal all entry points – cracks, exposed crevices, and faulty window seals hide all the sweet stuff in tamper-proof containers or wrapped tightly with cling film/foil wrap.
Do your chores, regularly cleaning worktops, floors, cabinets, and pantries where crumbs are likely to be unnoticed by you. And keep pet food properly stored between feedings and regularly clean pet bowls. And empty those bins regularly, keeping an eye on ant activity!
How Much Does Ant Control Cost?
It is not as expensive as you may think. However, we are unable to provide an estimate without speaking to you and surveying your property. This is because the cost of removing an infestation of ants will vary based on several factors that we will discuss with you before agreeing to any work (some of which you will understand, having read this guide). We always provide a fixed price quotation and will happily talk you through it. Dyno-Pest is a full member of The British Pest Control Association and abides by its strict code of ethics. So if you are in need of an ant control expert speak with us today.