Because of their small size and persistence, ants are a frequent nuisance for many homeowners. Treating an infestation can be time-consuming and costly, and so the best method for dealing with ants is prevention. Ants require food, water, and shelter, and denying them these three things is the key to ensuring that a home will not be a target for an ant infestation.
Avoid Ants With a Clean House
The first, and perhaps easiest, measure to take is to keep a clean house. Ants will scavenge for the tiniest particles of food and ensuring that leftovers are not kept out overnight is not enough. Counters and dishes should be wiped down and spills should be wiped up with soapy water as soon as possible. Besides keeping the environment clean for humans, this also ensures that any chemical trails laid by ants will be washed away immediately.
Since ants often come indoors seeking water, leaks and drips should be fixed around the house. Not only does this keep thirsty ants away, but it keeps water damage from occurring and avoiding an inviting environment for ants to nest. Certain ant species can and will nest in the instabilities that form in walls, floors, and building foundations from water damage. Keeping an eye out for these damaged areas and removing them eliminates a potential nesting site for ants. Sealing cracks in walls and foundations also ensures that ants cannot enter a home.
Check All Wood Structures and Trees for Ant Colonies
Some ants species nest in rotted wood in and around the home. It is very important both wooden structures in the home and trees surrounding a home should be checked. Any dead portions should be removed, and foliage should, as a rule be kept trimmed back from a home in order to keep ants from coming close. Any nests noticed outside should be treated by a professional to keep them from spreading. Certain species of ants are capable of multiplying rapidly, expanding their nests into mega colonies with multiple queens. These interconnected nests can take up a large amount of territory and need a lot of food and water. By eliminating access to food and water the nests can not survive.
Kill Ants Immediately
If ants are seen indoors they should be killed immediately. Ants send scouts ahead to search for food, water, and potential nesting sites. Killing these scouts ensures that any information about food or water in a home does not make it back to the nest.
Prevention may be the best means of dealing with ants but it is not foolproof. If an infestation occurs, a licensed pest control professional should be called to exterminate any and all ants.