Ant infestations aren’t necessarily the worst problem that a person can experience, especially given that many species found in the home and garden don’t do a lot of damage. What you need to note is that of the more than a thousand known ant species, only a handful are likely to sting, or even cause any real harm.
A majority of the species that like to dwell in the garden tend to do more good than damage, e.g., controlling damaging pests and aerating soil. But no one wants to have ants roaming inside their homes, as they can end up spreading unwanted bacteria. Carpenter ants, for instance, are known to cause damage to the home by burrowing through all available wooden structures.
Ant Colony Structure
As you look into how to get rid of ants, you should understand that ants are very social. They generally tend to form colonies where each ant has a specific role. Reproduction roles are left to the “queen” ants, which don’t venture out, choosing to remain in secure nests. The remaining ants – which can number several million – are referred to as the worker ants.
Younger workers also remain behind in the nest where their duties revolve around fulfilling the needs of their queen(s). In some cases, this may involve expanding or maintaining the nest. Older workers are tasked with retrieving food for the rest of the colony—these are the ones that get to venture outside, and they are the ones that you will see whenever you find a nest.
Any ant exterminator worth their salt will tell you that the key to getting rid of ants is to target the ants that you can’t see. Keep in mind that all the queen does is lay eggs to produce more ants. As such, when you spray the visible worker ants, your infestation won’t come to an end as the queen will just continue producing more ants.
How to Get Rid of Ants
Identify Ant Trails
Before you can use pest control solutions to eliminate the ants, the first step will be to identify the trails that are being used by the worker ants. The ants that you have seen in your home or garden are those in search of food. Whenever they find something edible, they will try and carry it back to the ants that are in the nest.
These ants will leave a visible chemical trail or path that is to be used by the other worker ants looking to collect additional food. Understanding this behavior makes it easier for an ant exterminator to get rid of the ants. This is because you can use the trail to fool the worker ants to take back poisoned food to the “queen” who is still hidden in the nest.
Use Ant Bait Indoors
As tempting as it may be, you should try very hard to avoid using pesticides to eliminate the visible worker ants. Pesticides are efficient, but they will only eliminate a handful of visible ants. And this will soon be replaced by others. In the end, you won’t make any real progress. The best option is to use the worker ants to poison the rest.
Ideal baits include sweet sugary carbohydrates that have been combined with toxic substances. The toxic item, e.g., boric acid should only be toxic to ants and not to humans or other animals.
Use Spray Pesticides Outside
If you have already identified a colony that is present in your garden, then you can proceed to try and get rid of it by dousing it with a heavy dose of liquefied pesticides. Such pesticides are likely to soak into the earth and finally reach the queen. Choosing to drench a nest using approved pesticides, and taking care to follow all instructions can also be effective.