Oh When The Ants Come Marching In…
When the weather starts warming up, ants start to appear out of nowhere right around the 1st of March. There are a couple of things you can do to try to keep them from marching right to your house instead of your neighbors when warm weather hits.
What Are The Ants Attracted To?
First, know that ants are mainly attracted to anything that tastes or smells sweet, but they will come to your house for pretty much any kind of food. This includes sugar, fruits left on the counter especially items that have a sweet smell to them like grapes and strawberries, they also love honey, and BBQ sauces with sugar in them.
Have you ever noticed ants in your bathroom and wondered why they are in the bathroom?? It’s the very little bit of sugar that is in your toothpaste! Yup, just a very tiny bit of sugar in toothpaste can have them changing course and heading to the bathroom to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Let’s Try To Keep Them From Showing Up So We Don’t Have To Figure Out How To Get Rid Of Them
The first step will be to keep the kitchen super clean during the months the ants like to visit. It’s a little extra work but if you do the following suggestions before the ants quickly take over, make your house the last choice for ants to set up camp during the summer.
- Be sure to wipe your counters after cooking to remove any scraps of food and rinse your dishes and put them immediately in the dishwasher.
- If you usually keep sugar for your coffee on the counter or cabinet be sure it’s in a tightly sealed container (no pour spouts) during the warm months consider keeping sugar in the fridge.
- Ants will also find their way to your honey. You may not realize they are under the lid of the container until you go to squeeze some out into your morning hot tea, at which point you will see the ants floating in your cup. You can also keep honey in the fridge but note that the cold temps will make it harder to squeeze, if you can buy it in the wide mouth jars and spoon it out this would be best.
- If you store fruit on your counter larger items like apples can be quickly rinsed off before consuming but smaller items like grapes should be stored in the fridge. I can tell you we have tossed grapes after forgetting to put them in the fridge and waking up the next day to find the bag of grapes full of ants. If you forgot to put your fruit away and it spent the night on the counter and you want to move them to the fridge be sure to check and rinse them all in a colander before you move them to the fridge.. the last thing you want to do is move ants to the fridge.
- Be sure to twist the ends of bread bags and double bag with a Ziploc during these months.
They’re Here! They’re Here! Now, How Do I Get Rid Of Them?
I have 3 favorite ant killers that I use here at my home. Two of them are pet and kid-friendly the other is not. We use them in different areas of our home. My kids are big enough now to know not to touch the ant baits, but my puppies do not know any better so for those areas that the dogs can reach I like to use the pet & kid-friendly options which are the following
Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy is a spray solution so you can target a doorway or threshold where ants may be making their entrance. Note that the spray is safe but is made up of oils so be careful applying to areas where people walk as it may make that surface slippery. The idea is to spray cracks where you won’t be walking and maybe outside around the doorway.
My brother-in-law brought this next product to our home after he was at our house for dinner and we were swatting ants away from the dinner table. It’s called Zevo instant action spray. It’s made by www.proctorandgamble.com
He saw it on www.walmart.com and bought it because of the “safe for use around people and pets” on the front of the bottle. In the fine print, it does say “when used as directed” and it also has a warning of keeping it away from heat, sparks, grills, and open flames. I am guessing this has to do with the oil also found in this product (the oil listed for this one is Lemongrass Oil and White mineral oil). Again proceed with caution when spraying areas where people may be walking.
We used this in an outside area once I ran out of The Aunt Fannies. I feel it worked just as well. They seem to be made up of the same kind of ingredients.
Our Steady Eddie, Better Known As ‘Bait On A Plate’
Our constant, always on our counter solution for controlling ants in our kitchen during the warm months here on the East Coast is hands down Terro Ant Killer.
The way it works is the ants are attracted to the liquid bait so you have to snip the end off of the plastic container it comes in and leave it out for the ants to be attracted to it. We found out through trial and error that if you bump it or move it, you will get the liquid solution on your counters. Poison on your kitchen counters where you prepare and serve food is not good for anyone.
In this picture below you will see the solution my husband came up with, which is cutting a paper plate in half and putting the bait on the plate. The plate also collects the ants as they make their way out of the bait and expire. Those black dots on the plate are dead ants, dead ants, dead ants, dead ants, dead ants, dead ants, da da da da… Sorry I couldn’t help myself.
Putting Up A Good Fight
I Know having your kitchen invaded by these tiny little creatures is no laughing matter when they start taking over. Follow these steps and be sure to have 1 or 2 of these products on hand when the army of ants arrives. You will be glad you were ready for the fight.