Organic Control of Ants in your Home
1. Identify what ant species you are dealing with, and do some research. Each species has different habits and locating their food, water and shelter will determine your success.
2. Inspect and watch the activities of the ants; find where they are coming and going. If you find how they are entering your home you can physically exclude them.
3. Remove or alter the conditions which brought them into the house. Keep counters clean of food. If they are in search of water try to keep sinks and surrounding areas dry. Wiping counters down with vinegar or citrus oil can work as a temporary deterrent.
4. If steps 1-3 do not slow the ants down it is time prepare a treatment plan. An important fact to remember about ants is that you are only seeing a small portion of the colony at any one time. It has been said that only 10% of a colony will forage outside the nest. Taking this into consideration we must bait the colony to solve the problem. Applying any insecticide organic or chemical will not work to solve an ant infestation in the long run. It could cause the colony to bud or split into multiple colonies creating more problems.
5. Liquid baits are highly attractive to ants and under most conditions provide good control. Mixing 9 tablespoons of sugar to 1 teaspoon of boric acid in enough water to dissolve. Place the liquid bait into spill proof containers out of the reach of children and pets. The stations will need to be placed along active ant trails. . It is important to remember that boric acid contains elemental boron and at high concentrations will sterilize the soil. This process is slow and will require continued monitoring and refilling of the bait stations.
6. OutSmart ant bait is a highly attractive food source for ants; it provides quicker control for foraging ants because it contains a much higher percentage of boric acid. Outsmart is a boric acid bait that is purchased in syringes from local garden centers or at www.biosmart-ideas.com.
7. Ants have a habit of changing food sources from sugars to carbohydrates. It may become necessary to mix peanut butter with boric acid to supply both forms of bait to keep the ants feeding on the boric acid.
8. There are ant baits with the active ingredient abamectin. These baits can provide good control and should be used for heavy infestations or when other bait is not effective. It can be applied in stations around foraging ants or broadcast around ant trails.
9. The next step up will be asking a professional pest control operator to use the assortment of baits at their discretion. Many times it comes down to having a working knowledge of the habits of a particular ant species to solve your pest problem. Ask questions and become an informed consumer.