Can You Get Rid Of Ants Without Killing Them
Most of the time, when it comes to ants, homeowners simply find them to be a nuisance. Killing ants that have invaded a home can seem like the easiest way of dealing with them but for some, killing the ants is not the option they wish to choose. So how can you get rid of them without killing them? Well, it’s going to take some work but it can be accomplished.
1. Understanding Ants
Ants can be frustrating when they start getting into your home and rummaging through your pantry but on the flipside, ants are very helpful to the environment. Ants are social insects that live in large colonies or group when can consist of millions. Every colony or group has a queen or queens, female workers, and male ants. The queen, of course, is the only one who can lay the eggs making it the male ants job to mate with the queen(s). Soldier ants are also a part of the ant colony. These ants protect the queen, defend the colony, gather or kill food, and attack enemy colonies in search of food and nesting ground. If another colony is defeated then the ants will take the eggs of the defeated colony upon which once hatched will become slave ants. Other jobs within the colony consist of taking care of the eggs and newly hatched ants as well as gathering food and fortifying the surrounding area of the colony which we often see as anthills.
There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world. When these insects forage, they leave behind a pheromone trail to direct the other ants in their colony to food sources. They also hear by feeling the vibrations in the ground through their feet. If ants have to fight they fight to the death which may not seem like a big deal but ants can lift 20 times their own body weight making them extremely strong for their size.
Queen ants can live for a handful of years depending upon the species while producing millions of babies. They have wings that they shed when they start a new nest and are essential for the survival of the colony. Once a queen dies, the rest of the colony will die within a matter of months.
2. Get Rid Of What Attracts Ants
The first step in getting rid of ants without killing them is to eliminate their food sources. Ants are almost always foraging for food making your home a supply house as ants will go after anything from crumbs on the floor to open containers in the pantry and even spills on the counter. If you really want to keep ants in their natural habitat then you will have to go the extra mile to make sure all containers are sealed airtight including pet food or any other food sources in other areas like sheds and garages. Cleaning out your fridge may even be necessary as many fridges are full of spills and sticky food sources. Toasters, microwaves, or other kitchen gadgets may also need to be looked at as they can conceal food that ants will eventually scope out. Wiping down containers where food has built up is another step in ensuring that your home is not attracting ants inside your home. Learn what common foods attract ants to your home.
3. Cleaning Is Key
There is a lot of cleaning that is necessary in order to prevent ants from coming into your home. After cleaning up after anything that would attract ants as a food source the rest of the home also has to be maintained as ants leave behind a scent trail that prompts other ants to come inside. Wiping down your counters and floors and anywhere else you may have spotted ants crawling around will not only pick up excess crumbs but eliminate the scent trail that other ants have followed inside. This can be done with something as simple as vinegar and water. However, you’ll want to make sure you are using products that are safe for the surfaces that are being cleaned.
4. Natural Remedies For Keeping Ants Away
After all that work in cleaning and prepping your home, you’ll want to do anything to keep from having to do that all over again! Luckily, there are some natural ant repellents out there that can deter ants from coming around your home, let alone inside. Growing mint around the outside perimeter of your home is one of those remedies. Ants are not fond of the smell of mint so growing these plants around your home is a great deterrent. You can also cut off sprigs of mint and place them inside cupboards and other areas of your home to ensure that ants stay away. Other scents that deter ants are citrus scents, peppermint, and eucalyptus. These scents can easily be found via essential oils that can be soaked into cotton balls and left around the home to deter ants. You can always throw out orange peels in your garden beds or grow peppermint around the exterior of your home as well.
5. Ant Proofing Your Home
Lastly, the final step in getting rid of ants without killing them is to make sure that all entry points to your home are properly sealed. Windows have a tendency to warp after time and can lose their seal. Checking around windows and door frames for warping, cracks or even the tiniest of crevices will aid in the process of keeping ants out of your home. Cracks and crevices should be sealed on an annual basis as these will naturally be a part of your home settling with age. Using door seals or replacing aged seals around your doors is always a good idea as even the smallest of gaps will allow ants to come in. The extra benefit in doing this is that you will also be decreasing your air bill as gaps around your door frames let out a lot of the warm or cool air that you are trying to keep inside your house.
Ants start to come out around springtime in order to forage for food and store away for the next winter. Knowing this will help you to gauge when it’s a good time to start ant proofing your home. If ants do come inside your home you can either let them make their rounds until they discover that there are no sustainable food sources that will cause them to retreat or you can gently sweep them up and take them back outside. The best way to humanely deal with ants however is to prevent them from coming inside or around your home in the first place.