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Article 3 (May 2022): Arm yourself for ant season

May 27, 2022
Summer approaches, and that means that ants are hard at work wrecking your proverbial picnic.
They're annoying, some of them sting and they can carry disease -- and if that isn't bad enough, they're masters at breaking into your house to drive you crazy. But you're bigger and smarter, and if you arm yourself with some strategies to treat and prevent infestations, you can kick back and enjoy your home without thousands of tiny uninvited guests.
Safety first - make sure you have a secure place to store any unused ant treatments and never place them where children or pets can get to them.
Place ant baits.  Ant baits don't just poison the ants who stumble inside -- they take the poisoned goodies back to the colony and share them, and when enough ants participate, it's lights out for the whole colony. Some ants prefer sweets and others prefer fats or oils, so stock up on both carbohydrate and protein-based bait traps. Place them near where you see ant activity, but not directly in their trails. Drains, kitchen cabinets, around the stove or refrigerator and near wall openings are all common areas for ants to show up.
Use outdoor treatments.  If you don't control them outdoors, they'll keep trying to get in. Try a combination of outdoor ant baits, including liquid ant bait and ant granules. Ant killer sprays kill immediately, but leave the vast majority of the colony untouched, which means frequent treatment with lower effectiveness. Instead of ant killer sprays, try repellent sprays around points of entry.
Try some DIY remedies.  Diatomaceous earth, a powdery substance made of the fossilized remains of plankton, clings to insect bodies and dries them out, killing them without poison. Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth near ant trails or areas where they commonly get in.
You can also repel them by destroying their scented pheromone trail with a mix of glass cleaner and dish soap. Spray where ants congregate and wipe it away, but be sure to leave a light residue.
Ants also avoid certain strong fragrances. Try sprinkling brewed coffee grounds or ground black or red pepper around areas where they congregate. Certain essential oils, like peppermint, tea tree or lemon eucalyptus oil also repel them. Mix about 20 drops with two cups of water in a plastic spray bottle or saturate cotton balls with undiluted oil to leave in the prime spots. All fragrances can fade over time, so make sure to re-apply regularly.

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