When it comes to ants in the home, there is never just one! So if you see one, it might just be a lonely ant that has lost its way and made it into your home; but it's more likely that its family members are somewhere close by in your home, too! If you've had an ant problem or just have some ants that have made their way in a few times, then you know how unpleasant it can be. And if you haven't had any visiting ants then consider yourself lucky, and keep reading below to learn helpful tips for preventing ants from entering your home in the future.
These tips may seem obvious to some, but not to others. This is partially because ant infestations are more common in certain areas of the US (such as Arizona), and so some people are more well versed in dealing with ants. The bottom line, though, is that it's important to know methods for preventing ants that actually work to keep the ants away for the long term. So even if you are from a cooler, northern state like New York, you'll want to read below, as these ant prevention tips are applicable for any state in the US. If bugs or insects, even small ones like ants, make you cringe, then consider hiring a skilled exterminator to take care of it for you.
Ant Prevention Tips
1. Never leave food out. This takes discipline for some of us, but it's well worth it, especially if it's ant season in your region. Closing a cracker box sometimes isn't enough to keep ants away. You'll actually need to put it in a sealed bag in a cabinet.
2. Store food that you leave on the counter in airtight containers. If you like keeping coffee, sugar or flour containers on your counter, then make sure they are stored in airtight containers that will deter ants. They won't be able to smell it, which means they won't come that way.
3. Clean spills immediately. I once left some spilled chicken grease on the counter while I ran out for a quick errand. Just 10 minutes later I returned to hundreds of ants crawling all over the chicken gravy/grease spill.
4. Make sure the bottom of your garbage can stays dirt-free, as dirt can attract ants. During ant season, it is especially important to take the garbage out every day.
5. Keep pet bowls and dishes clean by changing the food frequently, and also checking to make sure small ants haven't invaded the bowl.
Natural Ant Repellents
- Garlic is a natural repellent for ants. Sticking a few cut-up cloves between the cracks of your deck is a great way to keep ants away, which in turn will help prevent them from getting close to the interior of your home.
- Cayenne pepper
- Citrus oil
- Coffee grounds
- Mint tea
- Lemon juice. Try leaving a cup of lemon juice out on the counter: It might help keep the ants away. Just make sure the juice doesn't have any sugar, as that can have the opposite effect.
Some plants have been known to repel ants. If ants are a real problem in your area then consider planting the herbs listed below around the house, or in pots, and then use the leaves in sachets or rub them around areas you want ants to avoid.
- Cedar wood
- Bee balm
- Chili peppers
- Lemon balm