When you see one ant in your apartment, you can be sure that there are more of them somewhere around it. Ants can be a nuisance in your house, especially when they decide to swarm your home in troops in search of food. Getting rid of them can be rather difficult especially if you have no idea on how to do it effectively.
So how do I get rid of ants in my apartment? There are several measures and interventions that you can take to help you do exactly this. These methods vary in effectiveness, but they will all get the job done in one way or the other.
This article will cover everything you need to know about getting rid of ants in your apartment. It shall also outline tips that will make you more effective as well as measures that you can implement to prevent future infestation. While you can also call an exterminator, it may be a smart move on your part to watch the ants’ patterns first and try out these proven ways to eliminate the insects before you have to call in the extra muscle.
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Ants are attracted to the pieces and crumbs of food they find all-around your house, and getting rid of these will cut off their food source, giving them no reason to continue to stay in your home. Pick one weekend to do some thorough cleaning of the house. Use a broom and a mop to reach all corners of the apartment, and clear your counters of any food. Empty all the trash, and clean both the outside and inside of the trashcans.
After all this is done, make a solution from mixing water and vinegar, and put it into a spray bottle. Spray over areas you have seen ants before, and the purpose of doing this is to disrupt any scented trails they may have left for others to follow.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon is not only good for cooking, but it also prevents ants from setting up camp in your kitchen. Pick a few lemons and squeeze them into a bottle. Spray the lemon juice into holes and cracks from which ants emerge. Then fill the same openings with caulk, which seals these openings, suffocating the ants and forcing them to look for another place to shelter themselves.
4. Chalk Lines
Despite being a very temporary solution to your ant problem, chalk is an effective way of preventing ants from getting into your house. Draw chalk lines along entry points like windows and doorframes, because the ants’ scent trails will be disrupted and they will be warned to stay away. This method is good for keeping the ants at bay as you wait for the exterminator’s help.
Chalk is also available in the form of chalk paint, which you can get in squeeze bottles at your local hardware store.
5. Cinnamon Lines
Cinnamon is an effective option of killing ants, because when inhaled by ants, they get suffocated and die. Sprinkle ground cinnamon along the ants’ path or around their anthills to ensure they have no choice but to come into contact with it. Cinnamon essential oil can also be used: mix a few drops of this and put into a spray bottle, then spray the mixture around windows, door and cracks.
An advantage of using cinnamon is that it can also be used to repel other pests like roaches and fleas, because they hate the smell.
6. Peppermint Oil
Fill a spray bottle with a quarter cup of water, followed by 15 drops of peppermint essential oil. You can add a bit of lemon essential oil if you have some. Shake this mixture well and spray it all along baseboards, at any ant entry points, and over areas you have seen ants before. Repeat this procedure for as long as is necessary.
Note that this method also deters other pests like mice and cockroaches.
7. Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossiled relics of marine phytoplankton. Its razor-sharp edges have the ability of cutting through ants’ exoskeletons, which causes them to dry out.
To get rid of ants, sprinkle a thin line of diatomaceous earth on areas such as windowsills, under cabinets, beneath the fridge, around garbage cans, and other places where you might have seen ants before. Repeat this process daily for as long as is necessary.
8. Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper
Ants are irritated by cayenne pepper, and black pepper works in just the same way. You need to trace the source of the ant problem, then sprinkle pepper all over and around the area. If possible, you can create a wall to block ants from having access to your household.
Another way of doing this is by mixing pepper and water in a spray bottle, then spraying the solution over the ants. This will not kill the ants, but will prevent them from coming back.
Aspartame is a sugar substitute that contains a natural poison that kills ants. Mix powdered products of aspartame with apple juice, then place it in a container trap. Since ants are attracted to sugar, they will come out to drink the bait, poisoning themselves and the entire colony.
10. Castile soap spray
This is a classic way of getting rid of ants naturally. Castile soap can be found in any natural health store near you or even in general stores. Crumble the soap and mix a quarter cup of this with a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Add one quart of water and shake well to mix. Spray the mixture around the ants to kill them.
11.Tea tree oil
Besides taking care of your skin, this essential oil is good for both killing and repelling ants. Follow this procedure to use it effectively:
- Put 2 cups of water into a spray bottle, then add 5 to 10 drops of tea tree oil.
- Spray the mixture onto infested areas. Another option is saturating cotton balls with the mixture, then placing them around the house.
If the scent is a tad too strong, you could try making a mixture of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and water. Note that like most essential oils, tea tree oil can be harmful to pets if exposed, so keep it out of reach.
Tea tree oil can be found in your local grocery store or on online shops.
12. Boric acid
This is a type of poison proven to kill worker ants as well as their queen within three weeks of exposure. When consumed, boric acid erodes the outer shells and stomachs of ants, killing them. Always wear gloves when handling this substance and keep it out of reach of children.
Follow the procedure below to obtain the best results:
- Mix half a teaspoon of boric acid, 8 teaspoons of sugar and one cup of warm water to make a solution.
- Stir the mixture until all substances are completely dissolved. Soak some cotton balls in this solution then place them in areas you have previously seen ants.
- You may choose to also leave the solution in mixtures. Wash the containers thoroughly or discard them after use.
Boric acid is available in gardening or hardware stores near you or online shops.
If worse comes to worst, and you are completely unable to eliminate the ants on your own, it means its time you called pest control services for help.
Inform your landlord before making this decision, so that you can both discuss the way forward, including any costs to be incurred. However, if you are entirely to blame for the ant problem, all costs and responsibilities will be on you.
How to keep ants away
Suppose you got rid of your ant problem, how willing are you to make sure it does not happen again? What can you do to prevent future infestations? Also, apart from using remedies to kill ants, you need to apply additional measures to keep the insect problem at bay. Here are a few ways you can prevent ants from setting up shop in your apartment:
1. Clean up dirty dishes
Dirty dishes and leftover food are attractive to ants, bringing them over instantly. This work is certainly not the most enjoyable, but you have no option if you want to keep your apartment free of ants.
2. Store food properly
Always make sure food is stored in sealed, airtight containers. By doing this, you are restricting access to food sources by the ants, discouraging them from staying longer. This also deters other pests that may have been looking for food at the same time.
3. Sweep and vacuum
Sweeping the floor regularly goes a long way to remove unnoticed crumbs, especially around places at which meals were taken. If you have a vacuum cleaner, your work is even made easier. Vacuum the carpets and mats too for better results.
4. Seal off cracks and entry points
Now that you have prevented ants from accessing sources of food, it is now time for you to prevent them from accessing your house. Keep an eye out for areas that could potentially be entrances for the ants. Using caulking, seal off any holes or cracks on windows and doorframes. The caulking will degrade and disintegrate with time and exposure, and this prompts you to be on the lookout so that you can reapply it when need be.
5. Keep surfaces clean
Ants are not only attracted to food, but also sweet and sticky matter from accidental spills around the house. Something as simple as spilling soda on the kitchen counter and failing to clean it up could bring you problems. Hence, always wipe counters, workbenches, tables, or any other surfaces with washing products and water to get rid of these spills. You can also use vinegar as a substitute for water, as ants are irritated by it.
6. Deploy baits
Placing bait traps is a good idea if you have noticed scout ants around your house. These baits do not immediately kill the ants, but may seem to attract more and more ants temporarily. However, what is happening is that the ants are carrying the toxic baits to the colony, poisoning themselves as well as the rest of them. This way, a large number of ants is eliminated without much of your effort, and within a short time too.
7. Spray ant barrier
Ant barrier is simply another name for insecticide. Spray this around the perimeter of the house, especially if you live on the ground floor. If done properly, the scout ants will be driven away from your home, preventing ants from gaining access to the inside while searching for food. Insecticides are available in hardware stores near you at available prices.
8. Mind your pets
Dogs, cats, and other pets can unintentionally bring about ants into your house. Pets’ feeding bowls can attract pests, and so you should ensure they are always clean. Also be sure to clean up after spilling water or food. You could even opt to dry pet food in sealed plastic containers instead of the usual plastic bags in which they come after purchase. These plastic bags are not suitable as ants and other pests have easy access to food.
Another measure to put in place is inspecting doors to pet houses to make sure there are no gaps or holes through which ants can pass, since they can squeeze through the tiniest of openings.
Table salt is among the best yet cheapest way of naturally eliminating ants. Ordinary table salt is recommended, as opposed to health-boosting rock salt. The process is simple: boil water and add salt in large amounts, then stir until it dissolves completely. Pour the solution into a spray bottle then spray areas that you think are entry points for ants.
Baking soda is also quite effective. It absorbs moisture from ants’ bodies, interfering with their natural chemistry and killing them in the process. Mix equal amounts of baking soda and powdered sugar then sprinkling it in different areas of the house where you have observed ants. The ants will be drawn to the sugar in the mixture and will feed on the baking soda unknowingly, even taking some back to their colonies. This is the perfect bait to kill many ants at a go.