Ants are important to our ecosystem in that they have several functions that actually keep our earth in balance. They aerate the soil and consume various seeds. They also move seeds and are considered the most important herbivores in the American tropics. They are a very social animal and will take care of their queen and larvae just as we would take care of our parents and babies. The queen ant is always deep within the colonies, while the male ants will die off. The worker ants are only made up of females. Interestingly when the worker ants find a food source they will leave a scent along the trail for others to follow.
Ants tend to become a nuisance when they enter a home. They can get through the smallest of cracks if they sense water or greasy and sweet food. Once in your home they can nest anywhere such as walls, under foundations and in lawns. A colony can be as large as three hundred to five hundred thousand ants, which can completely move in a very short period of time when threatened. Ants can live up to seven years with the queen living up to fifteen years. When the scout ant locates food it is only time before the whole army shows up for the meal.
Preventative Measures for Keeping Ants Out Of Your House
One of the best ways of preventing ants from coming into to the home is to remove the food source. Clean up the area where ants are likely to be heading. For example, have you ever had a soda outside and it tipped over on your patio? This is a calling for the ants and with a quick hosing off; the ants will not have a chance to discover it. Another thing to do is to fill in any cracks that you may have around your doors and windows. It doesn’t take much for them to get in. If you are lucky enough to find the scout out searching for food, by getting rid of it you will eliminate any further invasion.
Repellant Plants and Barriers
There are a few plants that ants do not like and will stay away from such as catnip, peppermint, sage, and spearmint. You can spread the leaves and flowers of these plants outside of your house or around the plants that attract ants. Better yet why not plant some of these repellents in the flower beds that are closest to your home. Another natural repellant is cucumber peelings that can be distributed. Cucumbers have a natural repellant called “trans-2-nonenal”. There are also various sprays such as vinegar and lemon juice that can be sprayed around an area after it is cleaned up. Sticky barriers also work such as petroleum jelly around the base of plants.
Drastic Measures for Getting Rid of Ants
Boric acid is a common use for getting rid of ants and their colonies. To make the formula you take one cup of sugar, four teaspoons of boric acid, and twenty-four ounces of water and mix. Place the mixer in a small glass jar that has a lid that holes can be put into and set by the ant hill. The process of elimination is when the ants take the formula back into the colonies for other ants to feast on. Within a couple of weeks the colony should be gone. Unless the queen is no longer part of the colony, the colony will continue to thrive. Another important factor to know about this remedy is to keep it away from children and pets.
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