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How to stop ants from coming into your home

Why do the ants come into the house?

Ants are useful insects outside the house as they perform an important clean-up task at a small scale. They can however get into the house and become a real problem. North American houses have hollow walls. If the ants get somehow into the wall through a crack then they get suddenly access to almost any room in the house.

Ants are really not much interested in our houses. It's too dry there and if you have an air conditioning then they find it as well a bit too cold. However ants are constantly looking for food. The floor under the dinner table or the kitchen can be a paradise for them especially when you have small children leaving small amounts of food on the floor.

Ants that come into the house and build nest under the roof are usually an indication that you have somewhere wet wood. This could be a small leak in the roof or condensation under the roof. Thus do not only focus on the ants but investigate the root cause. Ants don't really like the dry climate in our houses. There is something wrong with the house if they decide to build a nest there.

Killing ants?

Hot summers can give ants a real boost and ants that have nests very close to the house are likely to pay regular visits to your house. It can therefore help to kill ants nesting in the direct vicinity (a few feet) of your home especially near doors. You can easily build your own ant poison out of food they like and borax powder (sodium tetraborate). Borax is available in drug stores and pharmacies.

To make such ant poison you just mix some jam, peanut butter or cat food with borax (add 1 table spoon of borax to a cup of food for the bait). The ants will bring this to into their nest and it will kill the whole colony within a couple of days (be patient).

Be careful to not poison any other animals, pets or even children! A good way to build such an ant bait is to use a metal can. Fill it with a spoon full of the mixture and then squeeze the opening of the can such that only a small gap remains open.

The can allows ants to walk in and out but bigger animals can not get to the bait.

Sealing cracks

Damaged insulation poorly installed insulation or a crack in the foundation can be enough to provide ants an easy access to your house. Outside doors with damaged seals under the door may allow the ants to walk straight in.

It is probably impossible to seal your home completely but it helps when ants don't use your home as part of the territory that the scan on a regular basis. To make it more troublesome for them to get in helps a lot. Therefore seal the gaps and cracks.

Ant deterrents

Most ant sprays contain Pyrethrins. Those are naturally occurring toxins from chrysanthemum flowers. Pyrethrins are neurotoxins that attack the nervous systems of all insects. Pyrethrins kill ants immediately and they avoid areas where you sprayed pyrethrin on the floor for several days. Pyrethrins have no immediate effect on humans but they are known to damage the nervous system of humans and animals in the long run.

Another common ant deterrent is Diatomaceous Earth Powder. This is a powder of fine silicon dioxide that injures insects mechanically when they get in touch with this powder. Pure food grade Diatomaceous Earth is supposed to be safe for humans and mammals however the problem are impurities. It may contain crystalline silica and that may injure your lungs over time similar to asbestos. What most of those powders do not say is that any crystalline silica impurities. can cause lung cancer in humans when you breath-in small amounts of the dust.

79.5% Diatomaceous Earth Powder. It does not say what the rest is. Even just a few percent of crystalline silica impurities could be a problem. I am not saying that this particular product contains crystalline silica. I am just saying that this stuff contains over 20% unspecified ingredients and just a few percent of crystalline silica or other mineral impurities would be enough to cause lung damange over time.

Save and natural ant deterrents

There are some good ant deterrents and they will not damage your nervous system or cause lung cancer. They are however not as dangerous for insects either. Ants will try to avoid those substances unless there is some kind of food on the floor or elsewhere in your house that they have discovered and they really like that food.

Thus clean cake and bread crumbs from under your children's chairs after every meal and don't leave candy bags open. I find that ants like especially some juicy jelly candy. So finish the bag of candy after you have opened it.

If you have a relatively clean house then you can use some of the following natural deterrents under your patio door to deter ants from "scanning" your home.


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