How to Get Rid of Ants Without Chemical Treatment or Hiring a Pest Control Service
A Word about Ants
Ants are social insects, and live elaborate lives in colonies with specific roles assigned to each colony member. Though the insects mostly remain confined to outdoor areas, colony workers can venture as far as indoors to search for food, particularly if scraps of food are left nearby. The most affected area is often the kitchen, but ant infestations are not limited to kitchens alone.
Ants are extremely useful insects, for clearing pests and aerating your soil, and you should only get rid of them if they prove to be a bother to your home. At times you can keep them confined to the garden, while exterminating the ones in your home and blocking any passages they use. These may be holes in your cupboards, floors or vents.
How do I Know if I Have an Infestation ?
If you have regularly spotted a trail of ants crawling in your home, then it is highly likely your home is infested and you will need to act quickly. The only reason ants come into your home is to find food. You will likely see them around sweet and sticky foods, like honey, sugar and peanut butter. Ants are easy to spot because they always invade in numbers, so their trail is quite visible.
Another thing to look out for is mounds in your garden, in the case of specific types of ants (like fire ants). Soil which has recently been moved is also a good indication that an ant colony is near by. Inspect anything you find and determine if ants in your garden are a problem, or if they can be peacefully left alone.
Are Ants Dangerous?
Ants are not generally dangerous, particularly field ants which pose no threat to man at all. Some species of ants, like fire ants, can sting and cause pain, and are also harmful to the flora and fauna in the near vicinity. Since they attack in numbers they can attack small animals and, at times, even prove deadly. Fire ant venom also causes burning at first, which can be somewhat painful to human beings.
Most ants are just a bother if they decide to invade your home, and do not carry diseases or prove harmful to pets.
There are rare species of ants which can kill with one sting, but you shouldn't be concerned since infestations are usually caused by field ants.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention usually means keeping your kitchen clean, disposing of any leftovers and debris of food. Keeping food in airtight containers is also a good way of avoiding ant swarms in your home, and locking jars and packets tightly will ensure any scouting ants can't sniff out your food. Consider using zipped plastic bags if you run into trouble.
Also make sure any small holes or passages are tightly sealed, which may mean using silicone, glue or plaster. Ants will be able to find their way from almost anywhere, but blocking off any holes near your cupboards will give you peace of mind.
There are many natural ways of getting rid of ant infestations. Since there are many species of ants, each extermination solution is exclusive to your specific problem. The most common variety is the pavement ant, and you can use a number of non-toxic products to get rid of them.
A common way to stop ants coming in is to use a mixture of water and vinegar, and apply it wherever you find a trail. This will stop them returning since the strong smell of vinegar acts as a deterrent. It also removes traces of the scent left by the ants, so that they are unable to find the initial spot of their invasion. This will help you concentrate on blocking any passages which they may have used to get in.
You can also use soap and water to spray any trails, and they will be quickly killed by the soapy solution. Similarly to vinegar, it will also ensure they don't find the trail again, as the soap and water destroys any leftover scent.
Spreading flour or cornmeal around ant trails will act as bait, and eventually kill them. The same can occur with bicarbonate of soda, which expands in their stomach after it is consumed. You can also spread these foods in your garden, as they aren't harmful to your soil or plants, and they will have the same effect.
Using strong smelling herbs or food to ward off ants is effective, like spreading garlic cloves, camphor or peppermint around ant trails. While this does not kill them, it prevents them from entering your house. You can also place these strong scents in an open sachet, which gives off an equally effective repelling smell for the intruders.
If you find you are unable to drive off the infestation by these means, consider contacting professional pest control services. AKKAD is a company that researches pest control solutions, and also provides services at affordable rates. The company operates all over the UAE, in cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.