I have been getting these pesky ants in my kitchen. They seem to be coming up from under the house, behind my dishwasher. I could never see where they were coming in, and there was no trail of ants marching in formation, either inside or outside. I didn’t see where the anthills were, but they didn’t seem to be under the house. So, I did some research on ant behavior.
Ants are very social and live in colonies. Most colonies consist of a few dozen workers, some males and females, and one queen. Some larger colonies have several queens.
The queen’s only job is to produce more ants, workers, males or future queens.
The male ant’s only job is to mate with the queen. Once they have performed this task the male dies within a few days.
The worker ants are wingless females who never reproduce. They forage for food, care for the young, and take care of the queen. These are the ants that you see running around your kitchen or picnic table. They can forage as far as 700 feet away from their colony.
The soldier ant’s main job is to defend the nest. Not all ant colonies have soldier ants.
The queen ant is the diva. The workers just adore their queen and will do anything to make her happy. She sends out her minions to forage for food, which they seem to do mostly at night. Night after night, after night. Did you know that even with those tiny brains, ants can not only find their way back to the colony, but they can communicate the location of the food to the other members of the colony…I find that to be amazing!
Actually, they can’t really speak to each other, but they are very clever nonetheless. Each ant leaves a trail of pheromones as it looks for food. When they find the food, they follow the pheremone trail back to the colony. Eventually, the ants will find the shortest route to the food, leaving a stronger scent of pheremones because they can make more trips, leaving more pheremones each time. The trail with the strongest pheremones is the shortest route. It’s brilliant!
What to do about these pesky ants?
Oh, I know you’re going to read about all of those home remedies. They tell you how to prevent them from entering the house in the first place. Close up the entryways, repair window screens (btw, ants are pretty tiny and can get through most window screens), spray around all entryways, caulk up the holes and cracks around the house.
And, of course, you must keep your house spotlessly clean. Use vinegar, lemon juice, coffee grounds, peppermint oil, spices and herbs, chalk, baby powder, cucumber and citrus peels, dish soap, the list goes on.
These remedies don’t control ants!
Ants are tiny little buggers and can get into the tiniest places. These remedies may be all well and good, and they might keep the ants at bay for short periods of time, but I guarantee that if you don’t nip this in the bud, they will keep coming back.
Spraying merely kills off the ones foraging for food in your kitchen. When the queen senses that these foraging ants aren’t coming back with food she simply sends out another raiding party to invade your space.
How this stuff works:
All you need to do is provide something yummy for those ants to bring back to their loving queen.
Well, I found the perfect ant food, recommended by my neighbor and it had rave reviews on Amazon. It is called Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait.
The idea is to kill the ants outside, so they can’t come inside. 24 ounces of Amdro will treat 1,080 linear feet as a 1 ft. band around the outside perimeter. Granules are carried directly into the mound by workers as food for the colony. When the queen is dead, the mound dies. Kills carpenter ants, argentine ants, fire ants, field ants and other listed ants. See fewer ants within a week of treatment. For use on lawns, landscaped areas, ornamental gardens and other non-cropland areas.
So, since I’d much rather buy it online and save a trip to Home Depot, I ordered it and it was delivered in two days (I just love Amazon Prime). It comes in granular form.
I sprinkled it all the way around the outside of the house, zig-zagging the flow about one foot wide. The 24 oz bottle is plenty as long as you sprinkle and don’t pour.
And guess what happened?
I swear, I’m not pulling your leg. It was the very next day, I said to my husband, “Knock on wood, it might be too soon (keeping fingers crossed), but I don’t see any ants.” I opened the dishwasher, where they always appeared first, and there was absolutely no sign of them. Not one! None on the floor, or the wall, or the countertop, nowhere! It worked! Amazing! That was several days ago and we are totally ant free.
It is early October. The weather’s beginning to change, and soon the ants would have gone into hibernation for the Winter, anyway. But, come Spring, if they come back I’ll be ready for them.
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