So, what should you do? Outsmart the ants.
Ants are usually looking for food, water and shelter. Although spraying a pesticide may seem like an easy solution, this won't get rid of the reason the ants are there, and they will be back.
Instead, here are some other things you can do to keep them out and make your house less attractive to ants:
- Find where the ants are entering, then caulk cracks and crevices both indoors and out.
- Wipe up ant trails with soapy water as soon as you see them.
- Store food attractive to ants in closed containers.
- Ant-proof kitchen garbage pails with sticky barriers like petroleum jelly.
- Keep areas where ants are invading tidy – clean up grease and spills, pet food, and other possible food sources.
- Place pet food dishes in a moat of water with a drop of dishwashing liquid. The soap will keep the ants from floating.
- If you decide to use a pesticide, choose prepackaged or refillable bait stations instead of sprays. Place them near ant trails and nest openings. Ant bait stations take time to work. It can take 5 to 10 days before you start seeing fewer ants. In the meantime, keep washing away the ant trails.
For more information on how to keep ants from invading your home, visit the UC IPM Pest Notes: Ants or the Ants Quick Tip. You can also access the UC IPM video library to watch these helpful videos: What to do if you have an ant emergency, Why do ants invade, and How to effectively control ants.